8am to Sunset
Seacliff State Beach
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 is a covered picnic facility. The park also has an interpretive 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.
We now have classes scheduled for all available dates in the 2017–2018 school year, but have started a waiting list. Please click here to set up your class visit for the 2017–2018 school year. If scheduling multiple visits, fill out the form for each visit for best results. It may take a few days to process your request, as the process does still require attention from actual humans. Class visits will begin on or after 12 October.
Available Activities and Facilities at Seacliff State Beach
RV Sites w/Hookups
Env. Learning/Visitor Center
Exhibits and Programs
Restrooms / Showers
Drinking Water Available