Adventure: Santa Cruz beach coastline hike at Wilder Ranch State Park // CRAVE: The ocean breaks crashing on the 200-ft, straight-drop cliffs
Eating: The Crepe Place // CRAVE: Anything with White Cheddar Cheese
Ready to explore around the Santa Cruz beach? Want an amazing brunch and beautiful, serene hike? This day adventure is for you!
I’m still torn whether the best combination of eating and hiking is eat-then-hike, hike-eat-hike, or hike-then-eat. It kind of breaks down like this:
- Eat-then-hike: You’re fueled up and ready to go! Potential hazard of eating too much.
- Hike-eat-hike: Yes! You are rewarded part way through and get some nourishment. But now you have to hike back to where you started and may have lost your momentum on your break.
- Hike-then-eat: You worked out, killed it, you deserve this meal! Again, potential hazard of eating too much.
For our recent Santa Cruz hike, we went with the eat-then-hike option since it made sense with our driving route (aka food was closest, lucky us!).
Stop 1: The Crepe Place
If you find yourself near the Santa Cruz beach, you need to try The Crepe Place.
It’s a little off the beaten path, not downtown or along the coasts, so you won’t have to wait with hordes of other breakfast-hungry individuals. The Crepe Place could also fit a small army — you walk in through a huge front bar —
through a large dining room of several wooden tables —
and out into a garden that’s filled with another huge number of tables.
The garden itself is enchanting with gorgeous flowers, fountains, small lamps, and several garden structures covered in ivy and greenery.
To start you’ll get a house-made corn muffin and butter. This is delicious, crumbly, and moist.
The Crepe Place is known for their crepes, which include sweet and savory options. They also have benedicts and customizable omelets with over 30 ingredients to choose from!
Order a Denver crepe, cheese blintzes, or the “Triple Bypass” crepe of white cheddar cheese, eggs and bacon and sour cream. A number of their dishes have their white cheddar cheese and, if you get one of those, you are winning. Bonus: The Crepe Place often has evening music — come back for this if you can!
Stop 2: Santa Cruz Beach Hike
Next, you are driving 15 minutes across Santa Cruz beach coastline to Wilder Ranch State Park.
Wilder Ranch has a number of hikes that take you through rolling hills, fields of coastal flowers, by an old farm barn, through trees or along the stunning California coast.
We chose to do the Old Coastal Trail which is about 2-3 miles and relatively flat. There are a number of hikes and loops you can do to take on more mileage if you are feeling aggressive! Either way, make sure to pick a hike that takes you along the water and small inlets of Santa Cruz beach!
Don’t be fooled, this cliff, drops down hundreds of feet. As the waves come in, you’ll see huge splashes of white water crash and jump up against the cliffside.
Keep an eye out for wildlife like these lazy seals lounging on this massive rock.
Pro tip: When coming up highway 1 from Santa Cruz, look for a large turnout of parked cars. You can park here and skip the parking fee you otherwise incur from driving in to the state park parking lot.
Need another hiking adventure? Check out some more ideas here.
Or if you just want that delish brunch, get some more inspiration here.