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Sunset State Beach
Max. Trailer Lengths
Trailer: Up to 31 Feet
Camper/Motorhome: Up to 31 Feet
Dogs not allowed on beach.
Driving Directions to Sunset SBThe beach is 16 miles south of Santa Cruz. From Hwy 1 take the San Andreas Road exit. Proceed south to Sunset Beach Rd; go west to beach entrance.
Visitors will be able to reserve campsites and lodging six months in advance from the current date. Bookings may extend from the arrival date to the desired departure date – based on availability and the park’s maximum stay rules.
Upcoming Park Events
No events scheduled at this moment.
Hike or Bike Campsites
Exhibits and Programs
Restrooms / Showers
Drinking Water Available
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Winter Storm Closures
Due to a forecasted severe winter storm, several state parks in coastal Santa Cruz County will be closed on Tuesday, March 28. Parks will be evaluated for reopening on Wednesday, March 29.
Parks that will be closed include:
o Wilder Ranch State Park
o Natural Bridges State Beach
o Lighthouse Field State Beach
o Schwann Lake trail area and Blacks Beach at Twin Lakes State Beach
o New Brighton State Beach
o The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park
o Uplands day-use area of Manresa State Beach
o Upper area of Sunset State Beach
o Palm State Beach
Please be aware that additional strong weather systems or damage from previous storms may cause additional or extended park closures.
Sunset Campground Closure
Sunset's campground will be closed from Monday, March 27 at noon through Wednesday, March 29 at 2 pm due to a winter storm forecast. The campground will reopen Wednesday if weather and safety conditions permit.
Looking for your next adventure?
California State Parks Backpacking Adventures offers naturalist-led backpacking trips through the Santa Cruz Mountains each summer. Online registration opens March 1 at 9am.
Artists, we have a special backpacking trip option for you: the Big Basin Artabout! Ten artists will be chosen to particpate in the first backpacking trip in Big Basin since the CZU Lightning Complex Fire on June 3-4, 2023. Artists will recieve a $2500 stipend and will create an artistic piece in the medium of their choice inspired by the trip to be displayed in the park! The deadline to apply is April 28, 2023. For more information, visit the Big Basin Artabout website.
To sign up for guided hikes and other park programs in Santa Cruz-area State Parks, visit www.santacruzstateparks.as.me to see the schedule and make reservations.
A peaceful campground under the pines, picnicking on the beach, and unmatched views of Monterey Bay make Sunset State Beach a favorite year-round destination.
Basic Park Information
CAMPING - Find information about camping rules and regulations on the Camping page.
FEES - There is a $10 vehicle day-use fee. [Regular Sized Auto: $10 (Senior $9, age 62 or older); Bus Parking (10-24 passengers): $50; Bus Parking (25+ passengers): $100]
OCEAN SAFETY - dangerous rip currents, frigid water and deep offshore dropoffs make surfing and swimming hazardous for any but the most experienced surfers.
ALCOHOL is not permitted on the beach or in the day-use area.
DOGS are not permitted on Sunset state beach, except for service animals. Dogs are allowed in the campground on a six-foot maximum leash. Dogs are allowed on leash at nearby Manresa State Beach. For a list of locations you can take your dog in Santa Cruz County, please click here.
HORSES are not permitted on the beach.
FIRES are allowed only in park fire rings.
DRONES are not allowed in the park. To protect wildlife and cultural resources, and for the safety and welfare of visitors and staff, the park is closed to the use of Model Aircraft and Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). Non-motorized gliders are allowed at the designated glider-port located across from the South campground.
WESTERN SNOWY PLOVERS use both Sunset and Manresa state beaches and their foredune areas for nesting, rearing of young, and winter habitat. This bird builds its nest directly on the beach sands. Disturbing a posted plover nesting area is a violation of federal law.
Please click here to arrange an interpretive talk or guided experience for your organized community group (minimum 10 total participants, minimum 2 weeks' lead time). These interpretive services are contingent upon staff availability.