8am to Sunset
Seacliff State Beach
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Campground ClosureSeacliff State Beach Campground is currently closed due to extensive storm damage that was caused in early January 2023. State Parks is currently in the planning process for rebuilding the campground. You can help with Seacliff's recovery by making a donation to the Seacliff State Beach Recovery fund. The closest state campground is New Brighton State Beach. To make camping reservations at New Brighton or other state parks in the area, please visit www.ReserveCalifornia.com.
STORM RECOVERY UPDATE - September 8, 2023
Seacliff and New Brighton State Beaches suffered tremendous damage in the historic winter storms in early 2023. For a time, public access was restricted due to the hazards the damage created. State Park staff, contractors, and volunteers worked diligently to clean up debris, remove the damaged pier, and repair the promenade to increase access to Seacliff.
California State Parks has now begun the Recovery and Resilience at Seacliff and New Brighton State Beaches Study. This study will focus on understanding the impacts of predicted sea level rise and the hazards presented, develop alternatives to adapt to the hazards, and recommend actions to build resilience over time.
To learn more, please view the Recovery and Resilience at Seacliff and New Brighton State Beaches fact sheet:
Fact Sheet - English | Fact Sheet - Español
View our guided hikes and other public programs schedule and make a reservation by visiting our Parks Events page!
This beach is known for its concrete freighter, the SS Palo Alto. The ship is unsafe and closed to the public. The beach is a popular swimming spot. There is a long stretch of sand backed by bluffs. There are covered picnic facilities and a visitor center.
Is that a ship?
In 1910 a Norwegian civil engineer named Fougner thought of using concrete to build ships. It wasn't until 1917, when wartime steel shortages required the use of cement for construction that Fougner's idea was used. Three concrete ships were built. Two, the Peralta and the Palo Alto, were built at the U.S. Naval Shipyard in Oakland, California while the third, the Faith, was built in a shipyard in Redwood City, California. The Peralta and the Palo Alto were built for wartime use as tankers, however World War One ended before ship construction was finished -- so they were never used.
The Palo Alto remained docked in Oakland until 1929, when the Cal-Nevada Company bought the ship with the idea of making her into an amusement and fishing ship. Her maiden voyage was made under tow to Seacliff State Beach. Once positioned at the beach, the sea cocks were opened and the Palo Alto settled to the ocean bottom. By the summer of 1930 a pier had been built leading to the ship, the ship was remodeled. A dance floor on the main deck was added, also a cafe in the superstructure was built, as was a fifty-four foot heated swimming pool, and a series of carnival type concessions were placed on the afterdeck. The Cal-Nevada Company went broke after two seasons -- then the Palo Alto was stripped, leaving the ship and the pier to be used only for fishing.
During the storms in early 2023, over half of the pier was destroyed. Damage is extensive, with the remaining pier section in a state of imminent collapse. Given this analysis, the pier was deemed to be beyond repair and in need of removal. The removal began on March 20, 2023 and was completed May 2023.
Basic Park Information
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]
DOGS must always be on a leash no longer than six feet and attended by humans. For a list of locations you can take your dog in Santa Cruz County, please click here.
DRONES are only allowed above the field on the southern end of the primary day use parking lot.
FISHING from the beach requires a license and Department of Fish and Wildlife limits apply. See www.wildlife.ca.gov.
ALCOHOL is not allowed on the beach or in the day-use areas.
FIRES are not allowed on Seacliff’s main beach. At New Brighton and Rio del Mar, fires must be confined to fire rings provided and attended at all times.
CAMPING - The campground is closed for the remainder of 2023 due to winter storm damage. State parks is currently in the planning process for rebuildling the campground. You can help with Seacliff's recovery by making a donation to the Seacliff State Beach Recovery Fund. The closest tent camping is at neighboring New Brighton State Beach.
Agents of Discovery
Become an Agent on a Mission with the free Agents of Discovery app at Seacliff State Beach! You can earn badges while learning about nature and history! Download the app for free on the App Store or Google Play Store. For a limited time, participate in the Bay Area Explorer Campaign!
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.