Santa Cruz Good Times

Saturday
Jul 04th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

The Little Basin That Could

blog littlebasin1Try Little Basin Campground for a local camping getaway

Local state parks make for the perfect summer staycation: they are nearby, affordable, beauteous, and, in Santa Cruz’s case, there are several to choose from. And now we can add one more valuable state park campground to our local trove—Little Basin Campground.

Formerly a retreat center for Hewlett Packard employees, the year-round campground is now part of Big Basin Redwoods State Park in Boulder Creek. Its 524-acre lot is a medley of grassy meadows and majestic coastal redwoods, checkered with 38 tent sites, 12 tent cabins, and RV sites.

It’s hard to imagine a more kid-friendly campground than this one. During my stay, little tykes on bikes and scooters cruised the paved roads that loop through the campground, reveling in their fleeting independence while their parents started campfires and barbecued nearby. Witnessing their unencumbered enjoyment, it was easy to imagine that Little Basin might become the kind of place that families return to year after year; where they’ll bump into other families who do the same, and the children will form lasting friendships defined by summer vacations spent together at this Santa Cruz Mountain campground.

blog littlebasin2United Camps Conferences and Retreats (UCCR), the organization that runs Little Basin through a public/private partnership with California State Parks, fuels this family summer camp vibe with plentiful group activities, like group campfires and nature appreciation walks. If nearby hiking trails aren’t enough to tucker the kids out, the grounds include a playground and sports courts and fields. It’s fitting that UCCR’s educational program, the Web of Life Field (WOLF) School, also operates educational camps for students at Little Basin.

The setup is also prime for group getaways and retreats: in addition to the recreational facilities, there is a group barbecue area, a rentable kitchen, a stage and amphitheater, and they accept group reservations of up to 400 people.

Alas, I did not visit Little Basin with a large group or any boisterous children. But the nascent public campground still gave me just what I needed: a peaceful, sun-drenched weekend camping with good friends. Well, pseudo-camping. Our cabin, named “Jerry’s Joint,” was a simple, spotless structure tucked away amongst towering trees. It’s incredible how much easier camping is when, instead of a tent and headlamp, you have a roof, bed and electricity. The cabin was surprisingly spacious, with a high ceiling, two large sets of bunk beds and a long wooden table. And yet we spent the majority of the time stationed around the fire pit and picnic table out front of the cabin, where the mountain summer is at its best.

The grounds have ample hiking trails to choose from, and the heart of Big Basin is only a short drive away. We opted for a 10-mile hike to Berry Creek Falls that starts from the Big Basin visitor parking lot. 

blog littlebasin4

Other than being long, the hike isn’t too demanding and rewards you with the sight of gorgeous natural waterfalls (which I’m happy to say were rushing with water for my visit). A worthwhile trek, certainly, but be sure to start early in the day if you want to make it back in time for Little Basin’s group campfire.

Other than the pleasant atmosphere and bounteous amenities, perhaps the most memorable thing about Little Basin was the staff, which is impressively friendly, helpful and attentive (one ranger was trying to remember every single camper’s name and, from what I could tell, was succeeding). Not to mention they all seem to genuinely love Little Basin, the place.

If you have a few days to spare before summer is over, why not support your local state parks while enjoying a relaxing outdoorsy staycation? Better yet, the campground is offering a second and/or third night of camping for half off until the end of August (good for Mondays through Wednesdays, only). Learn more at 338-3314 or littlebasin.org.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

The Boards Are Back in Town

More than a century after a famed trio of Hawaiian princes first surfed in Santa Cruz, their redwood olo surfboards are returning to the Museum of Art & History

 

We Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident

Saturday, July 4, is the 239th birthday of the United States, commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence (the U.S. astrology chart has Aquarius moon—freedom for its people, by its people). Cancer, a liberating and initiating sign, is the “gate” where Spirit enters matter. Cancer receives and distributes Ray 3 (Divine Intelligence) and Ray 7 (new rules, new rhythms, new free nation under God). Cancer represents an intelligent freethinking humanity that can and must create right economics for the world. This means a policy of sharing, an opportunity for the U.S. when Venus (money, resources, possessions, etc.) retrogrades July and August in Leo (the heart of the matter). The United States has a unique spiritual task for the world: to lead humanity within and toward the light, accomplished by its people who must first awaken to this task, learn discrimination and be directed by the soul to assume the Herculean task of spiritual world leadership. Let us review the first words of our Constitution: “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America.” Let us form that union together. The following is a review of the spiritual tasks for each sign. Read all the signs. They all apply to everyone.  

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 3

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Lunch is Packed

Picnic basket lunches from Your Place, plus smoked chili peppers, and new owners at Camellia Tea House

 

What would you like the Supreme Court to rule on next?

Raising the minimum wage so that those that are in poverty now can have a higher standard of life. Greanna Smith, Soquel, Nanny

 

Bruzzone Family Vineyards

Bruzzone Family Vineyards is a small operation run by Berna and John Bruzzone. Starting out a few years ago making only Chardonnay, they eventually planted Pinot Noir on their extensive property and now make this varietal as well.

 

Ty’s Eatery

Pop-up hooks up with Santa Cruz Food Lounge for healthy comfort food