Explore Seacliff State Beach

Located in the heart of the Monterey Bay, visitors are attracted to Seacliff State Beach for the wide sandy beach as well as the S.S. Palo Alto, a concrete ship that was constructed to be used during World War I. As you look closely at the rocks on the beach, you may discover a 5 million year old secret: fossils.

When standing atop the cliffs, visitors have expansive views of Monterey Bay. Look closely and you might see seals, dolphins, and even the occasional whale. Birds also call this beach home and you may see brown pelicans, marbled godwits, cormorants, and red tail hawks.

We highly recommend scheduling both virtual and in-person field trips as means to create a more deep and meaningful connection for you and your students. Seacliff offers two in-person field trips and four virtual field trips. Keep reading to discover more about our in-person and virtual programs at Seacliff State Beach.

In-Person Programs

Register for an In-Person Field Trip!

Program Options: 

Spectacular Seacliff: From 5 Million Years Ago to Today: Explore Seacliff State Beach and discover a secret that is 2.5 to 5 million years old. During this two-hour long program, students (grades 2-4) will have the opportunity to practice their paleontological skills by brushing for fossils…an activity that can only be done on a field trip! Students will then dive into how a ship made of concrete can float and what animals call this ship home. Lastly, students will have the opportunity to see firsthand the impacts of the January 2023 storms and share their ideas for how to best rebuild the park. The maximum number of students for this trip is 30.

Marine Sanctuary Exploration: Seacliff State Beach is located in the heart of Monterey Bay. This bay is a very special place as it is part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. During this one hour program, K-1 students will design a marine sanctuary and then travel down to the beach to look for evidence of plants, animals, and people. The maximum number of students fo this trip is 30.

Please note: For both programs, chaperones are responsible for supervising the student's behavior and keeping the group together and focused on the program. Please discuss these expectations with chaperones before the field trip. We require a ratio of 1:7, adults to children.

Virtual Programs

Register for a Virtual Field Trip!

Program Options:

Seafloor to Seashore: How did fossils from the seafloor end up in the cliffs at Seacliff State Beach? During this 45-minute virtual program, students (grades 2-4) will become paleontologists and investigate how fossils are made and how the beach has changed in the last 5 million years.

Float a Concrete Ship?: The S.S. Palo Alto attracts visitors from all over the world. This unique ship is made out of something that’s surprising to many people…concrete! How can a concrete ship float and why is a broken ship still at the end of the pier at Seacliff State Beach? During this 45-minute program, students (grades 2-4) will explore the physical forces that determine what floats and what sinks. We will also discuss which animals call the ship home.

Avian Adaptations: Birds are a common sight at Seacliff State Beach. During this 45-minute program, students (grades 2-4) will learn how adaptations, specifically beaks and feet, of birds allow them to make themselves at home in almost any habitat, including some surprising places at Seacliff.

Marine Sanctuary Exploration: Explore the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary during a 30-minute program. Students (K-1) will help build an ocean sanctuary by taking a look at what does and does not belong in safe places for marine life. There will also be discussions about the different habitats that are found within the sanctuary.


This is a Kids2Parks Participating Park! 

Kids2Park LogoKids2Parks is an innovative park-equity program to bring students from Title 1 schools to State Park field trips. The program, a partnership between California State Parks and Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks, increases the number of students who have visited a state park or beach by reducing barriers to access. The program offers transportation funding for field trips to select Title 1 schools in Santa Cruz, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties. For more information, and to apply, please visit www.thatsmypark.org/visit/k2p.