Six miles from Santa Cruz is the stuck-in-time Roaring Camp.
You don’t need to put on your woodsman’s best, but Roaring Camp does feel a lot like stepping back to Santa Cruz’s logging days, circa 1880s. Locomotive trains steam downhill to the beach and snake into the redwood forest in the Santa Cruz Mountains, leaving from the town of Felton.
We won’t go into train particulars (if you’re interested, go here), but we do promise that they are seriously old and meticulously restored—with a super-special option to ride with the engineer. Roaring Camp itself re-enacts life during this period with a depot and one-room schoolhouse. Hot cider, carolers, and trains lit up like Christmas trees are part of December events. A Hanukkah train starts at the beach for the lighting of the menorah; once aboard, there are Hanukkah stories, dreidel playing, and kosher eats.