Felton offers the perfect escape for those looking to enjoy a bit of solitude in a serene redwood forest near Santa Cruz.
During our visit to Felton, we stayed at the Fern River Resort and we loved it! The Fern River Resort is nestled in a wooded property off Highway 9 that connects many historic logging towns and the surrounding redwood State Parks.
The cabins at Fern River Resort come equipped with all the comforts of home and are filled with thoughtful touches for a cozy experience.
Here is my review of staying at the Fern River Resort!
The Fern River Resort is encircled by forest and is just a short drive from Santa Cruz. This remote property is situated at the edge of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park offering easy (and free) access to many of its trails.
Within a 15-minute walk from the resort, you can reach the main visitor center at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park and attractions including the popular Roaring Camp that offers guided train rides through this park.
All other trails, attractions, restaurants, and stores in Felton are just 5-minutes from the resort. Big Basin Redwoods State Park, The Mystery Spot, and Santa Cruz beaches are a short drive away as well as popular trailheads like Redwood Grove Loop and Lime Kiln Trail at Fall Creek Unit.
While the location offers easy access to everything you may need for a stay, the resort itself feels remote tucked away in a quiet forest far from the city noise.
About Fern River Resort
This rustic sanctuary welcomes guests seeking a quiet escape in the mountains near the Central Coast. All around the property you can enjoy stunning views of towering redwood trees, the San Lorenzo River, and lush, well-kept gardens.
The layout of the property ensures that the guests have plenty of space and privacy. All of the cabins have their own designated parking spaces, entrances, and private decks with chairs to enjoy the garden views.
The aesthetic of the resort is charming with natural colors that blend well with the redwood trees.
The Fern River Resort also offers a designated reception area for small, intimate weddings up to 150 guests. The receptions take place in a manicured garden with an elevated wooden gazebo at the center of it.
The Fern River Resort does not allow dogs (except for service animals).
There are several cabin options to choose from at Fern River Resort, for various budgets and traveling group sizes. My mom has stayed in one of the larger deluxe cabins on a previous visit but this time we booked the smaller, studio cabin #12.
The studio cabin comes with one queen bed that can sleep 2. In your downtime, you can sit out and relax on the tranquil wooden deck or the community area.
The spacious interior, wood-paneled walls, and tall ceilings create a cozy and inviting atmosphere. While this resort is surrounded by rustic nature, it features tasteful décor and modern flooring.
The rooms are furnished with a small table, a private bathroom, a TV, and coffee-making supplies. Other units may include a kitchenette or a fireplace. Additional items like pots, pans, a blow dryer, iron, and fan can be borrowed from the front office.
The main room has a heater that will keep you warm during the colder months. We stayed here in December and the bedding included several blankets as well.
The hotel provides towels for showering but guests do need to bring their own toiletries like soap, shampoo, and conditioner.
Overall, the Fern River Resort is one of the nicest vacation resorts that I’ve stayed at. With a variety of room choices that range from $100-$250 a night, staying at the Fern River Resort is a great deal!
Food & Dining
The cabins at Fern River Resort are set up to make your stay comfortable and worry-free. Whether you choose to take advantage of the at-home eating setup or head out for meals, you have plenty of options for food & dining in the area.
For those that prefer to make their own meals, the cabins came equipped with cooking essentials including a fridge, microwave, toaster, utensils, cups plates, and bottle opener. Dish soap, sponges, and small towels for cleanup are also provided.
Some cabins come with a full kitchen for the ultimate family-style vacation. Our cabin #12 was stocked with a fridge and microwave which was enough for us to make basic meals.
The Safeway grocery store is just a 5-minute drive from the resort (have we already mentioned how conveniently close everything is in Felton?)
Here are a few popular restaurant choices in Felton:
The star of this property is the fantastic outdoor area equipped with a community BBQ, a badminton court, and a ping pong table. Pretty blooming gardens fill the grassy yard year-round. Each unit has its own individual grilling stand just outside the cabin.
Several of the cabins have porches overlooking the San Lorenzo River and all guests can enjoy private access to the riverfront. When the weather is warm, guests can lounge by the meandering river and enjoy a bit of swimming.
While the resort does offer free guest WiFi, it was just enough to browse the internet. Paid WiFi was an option at $5 per day. Our cell phone barely had any reception in this region so it’s best to download movies, look up directions, and research any attractions you want to visit ahead of time.
This location also has an electric plug on the property for charging electric vehicles between the hours of 9:00 am to 8:00 pm.
Things To Do Nearby
There are many exciting activities that you can do nearby! We spent a few days exploring Felton and enjoyed a bit of hiking and learning about this region’s history.
Fall Creek Unit
The Fall Creek Unit trails bring you on a journey through an ancient redwood forest to old overgrown industrial ruins. This is one of the most day popular hikes near Felton that offers amazing views. The unique part that sets the Fall Creek Trail apart from other redwood hikes is the ruins that you can visit here.
The Fall Creek To Lime Kilns Trail is 3.3 miles long and passes fern-covered creeks, wooden bridges, giant redwood groves, and interesting historical sites. With serene trails and little elevation gain, this hike is a great choice for those looking to enjoy a bit of nature near Santa Cruz.
About halfway into the trail, you will come across the Old Lime Kiln Ruins. These ruins mark the location of historic lime kilns, a barrel mill, and other remains of an old industrial complex that operated in this forest between 1874-1919.
After the factory closed, the property slowly deteriorated. Now what remains of the complex are overgrown with fern, moss, and trees as nature claim back the land that was once logged.
Redwood Grove Loop
If there is one hike that you should do in Felton, it’s the Redwood Grove Loop Trail. This trail passes through a 40-acre grove with some of the tallest and oldest tree species in the world. While many of the region’s redwoods have been logged in the early settlement days, this grove has been protected and admired since the early 1800s.
Some of the redwood trees in this grove are over 2000 years old and 300 feet tall. As soon as you enter the trail you will feel the temperature drop and experience the stillness of the redwoods all around.
The Redwood Grove Loop Trail is only 0.8 miles long and flat so it’s a wonderful option for families and little kids!
The Mystery Spot
The Mystery Spot is located a short drive from Felton and is one of the best attractions to visit in the area. If you’re thinking about going – do it! It’s a unique once-in-a-lifetime tourist attraction that is well worth visiting.
Once you arrive at the Mystery Spot you will need to buy an entrance ticket for a guided tour of the location. The tours run multiple times a day & you can check out the tour schedule on their website ahead of time.
Our guide kept the whole group engaged for the entire tour and pulled people from the crowd to take part in the “mysteries” that can be found here. The main attraction includes a slanted, gravity-defying cabin that was built on the side of a cliff.
While the historic town of Felton is small, it offers no shortage of breathtaking natural attractions and homey vacation rentals.
Looking for more things to do around the coast? Check out these posts next:
- 10 Top Rated Vacation Rentals & Hotels In Felton, California
- Visiting The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park Near Santa Cruz
- Review Of Camping At The Santa Cruz Redwoods RV Resort
- 12 Top Places To Stay In Santa Cruz For a Getaway To The Central Coast
- Visiting Portola Redwoods State Park On The Central Coast
- 15 Amazing Redwood Hikes Near Santa Cruz
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