8am to Sunset
Seacliff State Beach
Max. Trailer Lengths
Trailer: Up to 36 Feet
Camper/Motorhome: Up to 40 Feet
Driving Directions to Seacliff SBTake the State Park Drive exit from Hwy 1. Proceed west through the neighborhood of Aptos to the 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.
RV Sites w/Hookups
Env. Learning/Visitor Center
Exhibits and Programs
Restrooms / Showers
Drinking Water Available
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.
STORM DAMAGE UPDATE - March. 16, 2023California State Parks today announced a commence work date of March 20, 2023, for the severely damaged pier at Seacliff State Beach following recent historic storms. The demolition is expected to take six weeks and will leave no visible portions of the pier. Attempts will be made to remove items from the pier prior to demolition, including the lifeguard tower and memorial benches.
To learn more, read our press release.
- Feb. 16, 2023 Press Release
- View video and photos of the damaged pier and campground
- View Seacliff State Beach FAQs
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.
This beach is known for its fishing pier and concrete freighter, the SS Palo Alto. The ship is unsafe and closed to the public and half of the pier remains closed until needed repairs can be made. 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.
Why is there a ship at the end of the pier?
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.
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 does not require a license from the pier, but 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 at Seacliff offers RV campers 26 full hookup sites and 37 non-hookup sites. No tent sites are available; the closest tent camping is at neighboring New Brighton State Beach. Visit Seacliff's camping webpage for more information.
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 Explorers Campaign for a chance at additional prizes!
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.