Seacliff State Beach

UPDATE (July 13, 2020) - California State Parks continues to work with locals 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. Even though the department has increased access across the State Park System, the need for Californians to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the outdoors remains critical.

As such, State Parks continues to ask visitors to plan ahead, avoid road trips and stay close to home, maintain physical distancing, wear a face covering when a physical distance of six feet from others who are not from the immediate household members cannot be maintained, and avoid congregating. This means no gatherings, picnics or parties. Visitors are being asked to leave if there are too many people to allow for the required physical distance. Full details on the guidelines are available at parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.

Below you will find specific information for Seacliff State Beach:

What is open now?
The following is open at this park:
  • Day use facilities including parking and restrooms.
  • Camping is now available at Seacliff State Beach.For more information about camping, visit www.parks.ca.gov/COVID19Camping.  To make a reservation, visit www.ReserveCalifornia.com   or call 800-444-7275. Walk-ins will NOT be allowed.  
  • 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:
  • Some parking facilities remain closed to reduce potential for overcrowding.
  • The visitor center and park store remain closed.
Statewide:
  • Some campgrounds across the state remain closed until further notice. Some campgrounds have started to reopen with modifications. For more information, please visit www.parks.ca.gov/COVID19Camping.
  • Some 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?

Yes, please see below:
  • Stay Local: Although businesses around the state are opening up, Californians should not travel significant distances for pleasure or recreation and should stay close to home. Parking is very limited or closed at park units across the state. Walk or bike to parks in your local neighborhood. Do not travel if you are sick or if someone in your household has had coronavirus in the last two weeks.
  • Stay Safer at 6 Feet: Maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or more. Gatherings, picnics and parties are not allowed. Visitors will be asked to leave if there are too many people at the park, beach or on trails to allow for the required physical distance.
  • Stay Clean: Be prepared. Bring soap/sanitizer and pack out all trash.
  • Stay Covered: The state now requires you to wear a face covering in the outdoors when you cannot stay at least 6 feet away from others who are not your immediate household members. For details, please read California Department of Public Health’s guidance for the use of face coverings here. Visitors should also abide by their local county health orders.

Thank you for your patience and continued support of California State Parks as we work to limit your risk for exposure to COVID-19 in the outdoors. For more information, please visit parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.

Phone Number

(831) 685-6500

Max. Trailer Lengths

Trailer: 36 Feet
Camper/Motorhome: 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.

Agents of Discovery

Agents of Discovery Mission Now Available at Seacliff!

Become an Agent on a Mission with the free Agents of Discovery app at Seacliff State Beach! Join the Bay Area Explorer Campaign to earn badges while learning about nature and history! Download the app for free on the App Store or Google Play Store. Please use these trigger images to access each challenge remotely while our visitor center remains closed due to COVID-19 prevention measures.

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.