About Camp Cruz Large Group Retreat
Privately located on 4 acres in the redwood forest of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Camp Cruz is a premium group campground with all the basic amenities of modern life. It is an ideal choice for adult getaways, family camps, and special events like reunions or retreats. Camp Cruz offers creature comforts not found in regular campgrounds such as a covered outdoor kitchen on a spacious deck equipped with pots and pans, a 3-burner stove, a grill, a sink with potable water, tables, and electricity. Our camp has a geodesic dome, a yurt, and a tent cabin - all with sources of heat for year-round comfort. It has a campfire encircled by benches, clean composting toilets, and hot showers. it has several flat spots in the forest for pitching tents. The natural landscape of the site offers a creek with easy access, a vibrant garden, sun and shade, and open space for relaxation. Lastly, we're near the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park for hiking or biking, and it’s close enough to town for day trips to the beach, Santa Cruz, or Monterey.
Important Note Regarding Children at Camp Cruz:
While families with children are welcome to Camp Cruz, we have learned from experience to limit the amount of children under 12 years old. Hence, our limit is only 12 kids under 12 years old. Thank you for understanding.
What to Bring: Bring everything that you would normally bring to a public campground: coolers with ice, tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, plates, cups, eating utensils, toiletries, charcoal for the grill, FIREWOOD, etc.
Expectations: As a campground used to provide opportunities for underprivileged kids to get outdoors, this campground is NOT a place for raging late night parties with excessive alcohol drinking. Groups are expected to follow Hipcamp's "Leave no Trace" agreement, leaving the campground clean and everything in good condition. Upon departure, guests are expected to thoroughly clean the kitchen, the dome and all indoor sleeping spaces, and sort trash and recycling. We provide written guidelines on clean up to help guests meet our expectations. The dome has a shoes-off policy, and is meant for quiet activities - not for overnight sleeping. Kids are not allowed in it without adult supervision. While the campground is secluded enough for late night campfires, quiet hours are observed from 11pm - 9:00am, particularly around the residences and parking area.
The group limit is 30 guests except for special events. (You must inquire through messaging for details about special events.) When requesting a booking, we ask that you tell us about your group and the intention behind your visit. Thank you.
A little note about waste: Guests are expected to leave a minimal amount of garbage and recycling which we will gladly dispose of. One can of each per night is standard. Waste in the form of broken tents or canopies, excessive cardboard, or wrapping materials from newly purchased camping products are not permitted to be left behind.
- Listing type: Private
- No. of sites: 1
- Accessible by: Drive
- Accommodation: Tent Only
- Check in after: 3PM
- Check out before: 1PM
- Cancellation policy: Super Strict
- On arrival: Go straight to camp
- Minimum nights: None
- Accepts bookings: 6 months out
- Weeknight discount: 5% off
- Response time: Within 12 hours
- Response rate: 100%
The vibe at Camp Cruz Large Group Retreat
If you stayed here and have some insider info for us, let us know!
We are 12 families from Sunset Coop Nursery School in San Francisco. Cruz Camp totally exceeded our hopes and expectations! Ismael is super friendly and responsive- I was emailing him a lot with questions and he always got back to me the same day. And the camp...well, let's just say that most of the families were begging me to organize an annual trip here and the kids were basically hysterical that they had to leave. "I want to keep camping here FOREVER momma!"
Tons of room and the layout of the camp is great. We pitched our tent down by the creek and slept to the sounds of water at night. The wall tent is totally pimpin, and really convenient for a family with a baby or first time campers. The main social area with the HUGE group kitchen, large "play" space (at least that's what we used it for), and fire ring was just perfect. There's tons of kindling and firewood (but they ask you to bring some too to replenish their supply).
Man, I don't want to write a book here so I am just going to list the killer aspects of this camp:
-geodesic dome is tranquillo and stocked with electric water boiler, tea and mugs; small fridge, drums, guitar, massage chair, meditation chairs, a glider for nursing moms, board games, cozy couch, wood stove. It's so pleasant. I saw posters for a small music festival held on the property and I could see it would be perfect for something like that..
-hot outdoor showers are such a luxury. Clean and pleasant. Actually biodegradable soap, shampoo and conditioner in the showers for your use!
-group kitchen completely ready for major cooking projects. We easily made 2 big groups breakfasts, and then a giant pot luck dinner. At times there were maybe 8 people cooking at once in there and there was plenty of space. There are several tables by the kitchen for lounging and eating- and the kids can play in the large clearing right next to the kitchen while you enjoy your wine and appetizers:)
-A standard size refridgerator for your use!
-Tent sites were in the redwoods, flat, clean and lovely. Some sites along the creek
-Generally amazing fung shui and coolness abounding. Gorgeous gardens, the sweetest dog, Cody, hammocks all over, so many beautiful touches...
-Super close to amazing mountain bike trails
Ummmm....so that's it. Camp Cruz does not suck. THANKS ISMAEL! (And see you soon!)
Camp Cruz was a great site for our group of 18 to camp for my birthday. Ismael was a very attentive host who checked in to make sure everything was as expected and even hung out with us late night at the campfire. The land is really spacious with lots of room for tents. The outdoor kitchen was perfect for BBQing. The tent cabin was perfect for our friend with a baby to stay in. It was an easy spot for camping with my not-so-outdoorsy friends.
Camp Cruz is the perfect spot to go camping in a big group! We were 14 for 2 nights and absolutely loved the tranquility of the woods to sleep in our tents and all the amenities (equipped outdoors kitchen, hot showers, the dome...).
Camp Cruz is ideal for a large group of people (experienced or newbie campers alike) to spend time together in a beautiful secluded spot. Besides, I personally won't forget my weekend at Camp Cruz as it's by the campfire that I made (and ate) my first smores (yes - clearly I did not grow up in the US!)
I booked Camp Cruz for a surprise 30th birthday party for my fiancé. Ismael was very easy to coordinate with and got back to me very quickly with answers to any questions I had. They've got a really great geodesic dome with a nice wood burning stove and amenities for coffee, tea and some great board games. There is a sweet outdoor kitchen with compost pile, pots and pans, a grill, a stove and a sink. There's also at least one other canvas tent on the property situated by a stream that has a couch and room for two in sleeping bags and pads. There's a compost bathroom and sink with soap to wash your face and get clean as well as an outdoor shower. It's quite a great gem and I highly recommend to anyone looking for a peaceful retreat.
We went on a retreat of 16 people to Camp Cruz. Ismael was extremely friendly and made sure we had everything we needed. We had the site to ourselves, and the outside kitchen and dome were great! The puppies were very friendly too. This was such a cool spot and a hidden gem; I would strongly recommend this site to anyone!!!
I participated in the Hipcamp Earth Day clean up this year and was able to camp on the beautiful grounds of Camp Cruz hidden away in the Santa Cruz mountains. The camp is not only an incredible getaway for campers but also an incredible camp in itself as a place that offers an education bilingual nature adventure program for kids. The camp is hidden under tall redwoods and firs and has an amazing layout for camping. It’s perfectly situated in the mountains less than 30 minutes from the beach and city. The host, Ismael, is a fun, kind and passionate guy who wants to share property with like minded and spirited people and provide a place for kids to connect with nature. The main area has an awesome stage and kitchen area if you have a big group with you and ample space to set up tents. There a lights strung across the open space to really set the ambience. It’s a great getaway for a group of friends. I’d highly recommend giving Camp Cruz a go!
We booked a team offsite in at Camp Cruz and I was communicating with Ismael prior to the event with many logistics questions. he was always very responsive and accommodating.
I even stopped there on the weekend couple of weeks prior to the event to get a first hand impression of the place. This place is amazing and I can only say good things on the camp and what they are trying to do there. the outdoor kitchen was fun to work in and cook together and our event was really successful. I will recommend this place to anyone who is looking to being remote without investing in a long drive out of the bay area.
We had a great time here and there was a lot of resources to support the group. The deck/kitchen was amazingly useful, and so was the option to have a warm shower! We were 17 people, 5 cars. I think the camp could support a lot more people, but not too many more cars, be green, y'all
We had an amazing time at Camp Cruz! We were a group of 20 (6 of whom were kids under 3 years old and got to experience their first nights in a tent!) and the site was perfect! Great outdoor kitchen for making group feasts, awesome fire pit zone, peaceful spots for pitching tents. Ismael was also incredibly kind, helpful and responsive. Everything had a blast. I totally recommend Camp Cruz for a fun weekend getaway in the woods!
I had an absolutely fantastic time this weekend at Camp Cruz, despite the persistent rain in the forecast. My party of 20 had a very comfortable and enjoyable stay.
Ismael was a very attentive host and did a great job of sharing tips and tricks and giving a tour of the large space. He stopped by at least once a day to make sure everything was going alright and even came by to share a warning of a severe storm that had been forecasted near the end of our trip.
We pitched at least 7 tents in a couple different flat areas of the campsite, all in very close proximity of the kitchen and bathrooms. This was my first time camping in the winter, but we did our best to prepare. We brought up a few EZ Up canopies that were vital in allowing us to congregate outside by the picnic tables and kitchen area. Speaking of the kitchen, the listing was not exaggerating when it mentioned having a full kitchen. There was a 3 range stove top and a large grill (propane included). We had come up with just a large soup pot and egg skillet, but the kitchen was also equipped with a few large pans and basic cooking supplies (i.e. knife & tongs).
The dome was phenomenal in how accommodating it was for our group. It has a wood fire heater, mini fridge, and plenty of seating on the floor or on the furniture provided. We brought a ton of games to play, but the dome also had a stash of its own.
The composting toilets were a first for all of us, and they were just the same as using a portable restroom, but a bit better because of the open structure and size. None of us got to using any of the showers because it was raining the whole time we were there anyways, but there were 3 showers.
Overall, we had a wonderful time and I would definitely look forward to planning a trip in the summertime.
TIP FOR WINTER CAMPERS: Be sure to heed Ismael's advice and also keep your eye on weather and road conditions. There were a number of roads that were completely closed, but most of our party had no difficulty in locating the site.
*** Finding that blue and white sign for the Buddhist Temple was absolutely key in locating the campsite.
THANK YOU FOR THE HOSPITALITY, ISMAEL!
My friends and I drove down from San Francisco for the weekend and had a great time! Ismael had everything set up. He had enough pots and pans to cook meals for the 11 of us and a grill set up in a complete kitchen with running water. Everyone really enjoyed the tent cabin and geodesic dome. We took a long hike to the neighboring Stupa which was really nice. The fire ring was excellent and kept us warm at night sitting around the fire. I would highly recommend Camp Cruz for a weekend under the redwoods and a quick getaway with friends!
This is my 2nd hipcamp experience and it did not disappoint. The area is secluded with the host not too far away if you need anything. The area is full of redwood trees so there is plenty of shade. There's also a small river/creek near the site so you hang there in your downtime. The area is a little tough to find, but if you follow the directions given by Ismael correctly it should be no problem. Would definitely come here again!
We went with camping with 14 people. Friday night was raining incredibly hard and the roads from the top in were extremely precarious- however there is a way in from the bottom roads that was much easier on the way out (wish we had driven in that way).
Ish, the host, was super helpful in getting us squared away and making sure we were knew how to run the site. Saturday was terrific! We walked to the Stupa and hung out around the camp playing games and taking in the nature.
We made a great breakfast/dinner in the outdoor kitchen and had a sweet campfire at night.
This was an amazing place to camp. Great for big groups & for us that have some young children as well. The area is very spacious, has huge trees & a wonderful stream. The kitchen area makes cooking meals for groups a breeze. Leave no trace. Couldn't recommend this place enough!
Please note in the directions there that the right turn to the camp is IMMEDIATE at end of the directions. A few of the people of our group got lost because the address sign is very small & they came later in the day.
We loved our trip to Camp Cruz! Our group of 35, kids ages 3 - 10, and adults, had a blast. The kids stayed busy exploring the expansive site while still feeling safely nearby, and loved playing in the creek! The adults all loved the many places to hang out and relax. The kitchen area was so nice to have, and made preparing big group meals so fun and easy, also utilized the great new grill. Ismael, the owner was very kind, helpful and easy going. We can't wait to go back next summer!
This was a FANTASTIC place to stay for our retreat! Ismael was incredibly welcoming, and the retreat was absolutely perfect. The dome was great for hanging out. The cooking facilities/lounging area was excellent. The showers had hot water, soap, shampoo, and conditioner! And there was plenty of space for everybody's tents for camping. Would highly recommend this, and I would love to stay here again!
If you’ve read the other reviews, you've heard that Camp Cruz is an amazing group camping grounds. Ismael has put a lot of effort and thought into making the grounds a fantastic place for groups of campers.
But I want to tell about the wedding we had here. The location is beautiful, with a brook in the background and a natural altar of redwoods that is absolutely perfect to hold a ceremony in. And there is a clearing that is ideal for a reception and dinner. Afterwards, we camped with our friends, which was wonderful.
I wouldn’t recommend the place if you’re looking for a pre-packaged, all inclusive wedding venue, but if you want a beautiful, low key sort of wedding, and are willing to put it together yourself, this is a perfect place for it. We actually planned the thing from New York, and Ismael was indispensable. Also, his alter ego made an appearance to throw an impromptu dance party, which was pretty great.
All in all, this is a magical gem of a place.