Seacliff State Beach
To learn about events in the parks and at the beaches, check out the Calendar Page.
This long stretch of sand and bluffs has great accessible facilities including picnic areas, an interpretive center and RV camping. This beach is known for its fishing pier and fossils of extinct marine creatures in the bluffs. The beach is also a popular swimming spot.
One of the most unusual attractions in the Santa Cruz area rests at the end of the fishing pier. The USS Palo Alto, one of only three cement ships built during World War I, has been a popular attraction for visitors since it was put in place in 1929. The plan was to turn the ship and the pier into an amusement and fishing ship. The Cal-Nevada Company quickly constructed a dance floor on the main deck, a cafe in the superstructure of the ship, a 4-foot heated swimming pool and a series of carnival type concessions on the aft-deck. Unfortunately, the Cal-Nevada Company went bankrupt after only two seasons. The ship was then stripped — leaving the pier and the ship to be used only for fishing and as a nature preserve.
From Highway 1 take the State Park Drive exit into the town of Aptos.
Seacliff State Beach has a ParkStore and small visitors center (open Wednesday through Sunday) featuring exhibits that interpret the natural and cultural history of the area including Seacliff’s “Cement Ship,” marine fossil beds, and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
The visitor center is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Picnic areas
- Lifeguards on duty (summer only)
- Food, lodging and supplies nearby
- A sand wheelchair is available — learn more in the Hilltromper Beach Accessibility Guide
- Docent-led educational programs
- Family programs
Only RV camping is allowed at Seacliff State Beach. There are 26 sites, including premium, full hook-up ($65 per night), including one with disabled access, and self-contained ($55 per night). Call 800-444-7275 for reservations.
Juveniles under 18 years of age not camping with a parent or legal guardian must have WRITTEN permission to camp in the park. Permission letters must include the name of the park, the name of the juvenile, the dates they may stay and the name, address, phone number and signature of the person’s parent or legal guardian. The parent must be reachable at all times during the juvenile’s visit. Children 14 years of age and under may not camp without a parent present during the stay.
The weather ranges from cool and foggy to hot and sunny. Layered clothing is recommended.