Seacliff State Beach

Update (Feb. 5, 2021) With the Regional Stay at Home Order lifted, State Parks is reopening campground sites for existing reservation holders. The department will be using a phased approach to reopen other campground sites for new reservations, starting January 28. The public is advised that not all campground sites are open to the public due to the pandemic, wildfire impacts and other issues. Additionally, group campsites remain closed. Day use outdoor areas of park units currently open to the public remain open.

As State Parks increases access to the State Park System, it is critical that Californians continue to recreate responsibly in the outdoors as the pandemic is far from over.

Please take the time to read the information contained on this webpage to find out what is open and closed, and the COVID-19 guidelines for this park unit.

What is open now?
  • Parking
  • Restrooms
  • First come, first served campsites
  • Campsites by reservation starting Feb. 11
  • Masks must be worn at the kiosk when paying day use fees or checking into the campground.

What is currently closed at this park and throughout the State Park System?
At this park:
  • Visitor Center and Park Store

Statewide:
  • Some park units and campground sites continue to be temporarily closed due to the pandemic, impacts from wildfires or other issues. Please visit the webpage of your local outdoor destination to find out if it is open.
  • High public-use indoor facilities, including museums and visitor centers.
  • Special events and tours continue to be canceled until further notice.

Are there any new visitor guidelines?
State Parks has implemented the following guidelines to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the outdoors:

  • Stay Local: Stay close to home during this pandemic period. If you or anyone in your household is feeling sick, please remain at home and plan your trip for another time. 
  • Plan Ahead
    • The ongoing pandemic response continues to be dynamic and fluid. Prior to leaving home, check the webpage of your outdoor destination you plan to visit to find out if it is open, if parking is available, and what visitor guidelines are in effect.
    • Learn what safety precautions you should take when exploring the outdoors at parks.ca.gov/SafetyTips.
    • SNO-PARKS: Make sure your vehicle is snow ready. A permit is required for each vehicle parked at a SNO-PARK site. Parking is on a first come, first-serve basis at all SNO-PARK sites. The public is advised that parking lots are filling up early in the day. Illegal parking is prohibited. More information can be found at ohv.parks.ca.gov/SNOPARKS.
  • Stay Safer at Six Feet: No matter the recreational activity, maintain a physical distance of six feet or more. Your guests should only include those within your immediate household. This means no guests or friends, and no gatherings or parties. If there are too many people to maintain the required physical distance, please visit us on a different day. 
    • Boating: Do not raft up to other boaters or pull up onto a beach next to other recreators.
    • Off-highway Vehicle Recreation: Do not ride next to others or pull up next to someone else as it could put you in close proximity to others. Stage 10 feet or more from each other during unloading and loading.
  • Keep Clean: Be prepared as not all services may be available. Some restrooms will be temporarily closed to keep up with cleaning schedules. Bring soap/hand sanitizer. Please pack out all trash. Park units are experiencing heavy use and you can help alleviate the impact on park facilities.
  • Stay Covered: The state requires you to wear a face covering when you cannot maintain a physical distance of six feet or more. Individuals must have a face covering with them at all times.

Although law enforcement entities have the authority to issue citations, the expectation is that the public is responsible for adhering to the advice of public health officials, visitor guidelines and closures.

California State Parks continues to work with local and state officials on a phased and regionally driven approach to increase access to state park units where compliance with state and local public health ordinances can be achieved. However, the situation remains fluid and park operations can change at any time. For information on statewide current closures and available services, please visit parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.

Phone Number

(831) 685-6500

Max. Trailer Lengths

Trailer: Up to 36 Feet
Camper/Motorhome: Up to 40 Feet

Park Hours

8am to Sunset

Dogs Allowed?

Yes

Driving Directions to Seacliff SB

Take the State Park Drive exit from Hwy 1. Proceed west through the neighborhood of Aptos to the entrance.

Camping and Lodging

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.

OVERNIGHT FACILITIES
RV Sites w/Hookups
RV Access
TRAIL USE
Bike Trails
Hiking Trails
DAY-USE ACTIVITIES & FACILITIES
Picnic Areas
Env. Learning/Visitor Center
Exhibits and Programs
Fishing
Interpretive Exhibits
Beach Area
Windsurfing/Surfing
Family Programs
Geocaching
OTHER FACILITIES & VISITOR INFORMATION
Parking
Restrooms / Showers
Restrooms
Outdoor Showers
Drinking Water Available
Wheelchair Accessible

Visiting Seacliff

Stairs to BeachThis 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?

Palo Alto Cement ShipIn 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.  

Teachers

View all Santa Cruz area State Parks school programs at a glance here!

Seacliff Educational Experience

Seacliff State Beach offers a variety of educational experiences, including formal one- to two-hour programs for elementary school students. Slots have filled for our Thursday and Friday offerings of Fossils, Floating, and Fauna for 2nd to 4th grade students; some slots remain on Wednesdays in spring for our Marine Sanctuary Walks for kindergarten and 1st grade students. Please click here to request a visit for your class in the 2019–2020 academic year. We will maintain a wait list for class visits, but we tend to get very few cancellations.

 

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/.

 

Community Groups

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.