Sunset 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:
  • Some parking facilities remain closed to reduce potential for overcrowding.

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) 763-7063

Max. Trailer Lengths

Trailer: Up to 31 Feet
Camper/Motorhome: Up to 31 Feet

Park Hours

Call the beach

Dogs Allowed?

Yes
Dogs not allowed on beach.

Driving Directions to Sunset SB

The beach is 16 miles south of Santa Cruz. From Hwy 1 take the San Andreas Road exit. Proceed south to Sunset Beach Rd; go west to beach 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
Family Campsites
Group Campsites
Hike or Bike Campsites
RV Access
TRAIL USE
Hiking Trails
DAY-USE ACTIVITIES & FACILITIES
Picnic Areas
Exhibits and Programs
Fishing
Beach Area
Windsurfing/Surfing
Family Programs
Geocaching
OTHER FACILITIES & VISITOR INFORMATION
Parking
Restrooms / Showers
Restrooms
Outdoor Showers
Drinking Water Available
Wheelchair Accessible

Sunset SB Instagram

 

Visiting Sunset

Sunset BeachA peaceful campground under the pines, picnicking on the beach, and unmatched views of Monterey Bay make Sunset State Beach a favorite year-round destination.

 

Things to Do

Tent camping at sunset state beach

PARK EVENTS—During the summer season, State Parks offers events and activities including Junior Rangers, nature hikes, and camppfire programs. Please contact the park for more information, (831) 763-7063.

CAMPING—RVs and Tents. Sunset State Beach provides dozens of dune-protected family sites (without hookups) that hold recreational vehicles up to 31 feet in length. Pets must not be left unattended in campsites. Parking for one vehicle is included in camping fees. Additional funds may be collected on site for up to TWO additional vehicles at a nightly rate (this does not apply to tow-in cars or trailers). Due to inclement weather during the Fall/Winter season, this park may infrequently have to close and park visitors be relocated. If this is the case, campers will have the option to receive a full refund from the day of evacuation or be relocated to another park in the Santa Cruz District based upon availability. Visit Reserve California to make campsite reservations.

FISHING—Surf perch, sardines and striped bass may be caught at Sunset State Beach. A sport-fishing license is required.

PICKNICKING—To reserve two large ramadas for special events at Sunset State Beach, call (831) 464-6290. At Manresa State Beach, picnic tables along the top of the bluff offer panoramic ocean views.

GLIDER PORT—Remote-control glider enthusiasts will find a glider port at Sunset State Beach.

 

 

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]

OCEAN SAFETY - dangerous rip currents, frigid water and deep offshore dropoffs make surfing and swimming hazardous for any but the most experienced surfers.

ALCOHOL is not permitted on the beach or in the day-use area.

DOGS are not permitted on Sunset state beach, except for service animals. Dogs are allowed in the campground on a six-foot maximum leash. Dogs are allowed on leash at nearby Manresa State Beach. For a list of locations you can take your dog in Santa Cruz County, please click here.

HORSES are not permitted on the beach.

FIRES are allowed only in park fire rings.

DRONES are not allowed in the park. To protect wildlife and cultural resources, and for the safety and welfare of visitors and staff, the park is closed to the use of Model Aircraft and Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). Non-motorized gliders are allowed at the designated glider-port located across from the South campground.

WESTERN SNOWY PLOVERS use both Sunset and Manresa state beaches and their foredune areas for nesting, rearing of young, and winter habitat. This bird builds its nest directly on the beach sands. Disturbing a posted plover nesting area is a violation of federal law.

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.