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Capitola Beach

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Located in Capitola Village along the Esplanade. Enjoy a stroll along the beach, walk through the town and shop one of the dozens of unique stores, or enjoy a meal at one of the restaurants right on the beach. 

Address: The Esplanade

Cowell's Beach

Santa Cruz
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Volleyball, swimming, surfing and strolling on this sandy beach in the heart of Santa Cruz. Cowell's is known locally as the best place for beginning surfers!

Address: Beach Street

Davenport Landing Beach Access

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This protected cove is the original site of Davenport, a once thriving whaling town.  Wheelchair accessible restrooms.

Address: Davenport Landing

East Cliff Coastal Access Points

Live Oak
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All of the points offer beach access from various locations along East Cliff Drive.

Address: 12th Avenue to 41st Avenue

Greyhound Rock Beach

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North of Davenport, this park offers coastal access, fishing, tidal pools, nature trails and family picnic areas.

Address: Hwy 1

Main Beach

Santa Cruz
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    Main Beach attracts the most tourists owing to its location in front of the Boardwalk.  The beach is nice for families as it has easy waves and a long, shallow sandy bottom.  If you're an early morning walker you may find whole sand dollars on this beach! Play volley ball or watch the pros!

    Lifeguard service is provided Spring Break, Spring weekends, daily in Summer months and Fall weekends. Service area is from Cowell Beach to the San Lorenzo River. Service hours may vary depending on the weather conditions.

No dogs on this beach

Address: Beach Street

Manresa Uplands State Park

La Selva Beach,

Manresa Uplands Campground provides dramatic views of the ocean from the bluffs above the beach. This beautiful expanse of sea and sand offers surf fishing, surfing and other beach recreation.


Highway 1
San Andreas Road southwest, for four miles
Right on Sand Dollar Road
Veer left to Manresa Uplands Campground


64 sites with walk-in tent only camping, $25 per night
Restrooms, Showers

The weather varies from cool and foggy to windy to bright and sunny. Layered clothing is advised.

Dogs are allowed on the beach on leash.


Address: 205 Manresa Road 831-761-1795

Natural Bridges State Beach

Santa Cruz
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Named Natural Bridges because of its recognizable, ocean carved natural bridge just off the coast, the park is an excellent site for viewing shore and ocean birds, migrating whales and seals and sea otters playing offshore. Tide pools offer a glimpse of life beneath the sea, with low tides revealing sea stars, crabs, sea anemones and other colorful ocean .

Natural Bridges State Beach is world-renowned for its yearly migration of Monarch butterflies. Visitors can see many thousands of Monarchs during the butterflies' peak season, which typically runs mid-October to late January. These migrating butterflies come to the Natural Bridges Monarch grove for protection from rain and wind, for they prefer the warm, moist air within .5 mile of the ocean.

Natural Bridges State Beach encompasses a variety of habitats: Coastal Scrub, which is adorned with native wildflowers in the spring; Salt / Brackish and freshwater wetlands created by Moore creek; Ocean dunes; tide pools; Monarch preserve; and freshwater pond all add to a tremendous diversity of wildlife here throughout the seasons.

Address: 2531 West Cliff Drive

New Brighton State Beach

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New Brighton State Beach is one of the most popular and most visited state beaches in California. This 93-acre park along the beautiful coast of Santa Cruz offers spectacular views of the Monterey Bay. It is famous for its family-oriented campground which sits on the towering bluffs high above the Pacific Ocean. Beautiful, lush vegetation of towering pine trees, Monterey Cypress, oak, eucalyptus trees, and wild berry vines surround campers with a peaceful tranquility. Once the site of a Chinese fishing village, it now offers locals and visitors a haven from the hectic pace of city life.

Hwy 1 to New Brighton/Park Avenue exit off Hwy 1,

Right at bottom of ramp,

Left at 1st stop sign. 


The visitor center is open Tuesdays through Sundays, 10-4. See, explore and experience the stories of people, settlers and cultures that are a part of this region’s rich history. The Pacific Migrations Visitor Center explores the many Pacific Rim migrations, both by people and by creatures of the air and sea. For more information, please call (831) 464-5620.

Camping Information &
Reservations 800-444-7275, December through February off reservation: first come first serve only

Camping fees:
-Regular (72 sites, up to 36') $25/day
-Premium (4 sites) $35/day (best ocean views)
-Hookup (6 sites) $35.00/day
-Bicycle sites (4) $3.00/person/day
-Group Site (3 sites) $125.00/day
-Senior (62+) Discount $2.00 off/day
-Disabled Discount 1/2 off/day with state pass

Address: 1500 Park Avenue

Palm State Beach

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Palm State Beach is a popular day use area located in Southern Santa Cruz County. The wide beach is perfect for a long walk or a day in the sun. Fishing and swimming are popular activities at Palm Beach. Picnic tables are available in the day use area. Dogs are allowed on the beach, on leash.


Picnic tables, Barbecues, Restrooms, Outdoor Showers, Food, lodging and supplies are available nearby

Address: End of West Beach Street

Pleasure Point Beach

Santa Cruz
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Popular surf spot at the end of 41st Avenue.

Address: East Cliff Drive & Pleasure Point Drive

Rancho Del Oso State Park

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     The Center occupies a ranch-style house and grounds which were once the home of Hulda Hoover McLean. It now consists of an intimate, protected courtyard surrounded by a main meeting room, exhibit rooms, gift shop, and a large deck overlooking Waddell Valley and the Pacific Ocean.

     Waddell Beach, located across Highway 1 from the park entrance, is known worldwide as one of the best spots for windsurfing. The steady strong northwest winds and good surf provide ideal conditions for this demanding sport. For those interested in birding, botany, intertidal marine life and riparian habitat, the Waddell Beach and the many Rancho del Oso trails offer superb recreation for the amateur or professional naturalist. Regular surfers, boogie boarders, and surf fishermen also find it an ideal spot to pursue their activities.

North from Santa Cruz on Hwy 1 for 17 miles to the Waddell Creek Bridge.

Just before crossing the bridge, turn right at the sign and continue on the dirt road.

Visitor Center: Weekends Noon - 4pm, or by advance appointment to groups

Horse trail camps for reservations call 831-425-1218
Trail camps for reservations call 831-338-8861


Address: 3600 Highway 1

Red, White & Blue Beach

Santa Cruz

Clothing optional beach. Day use & summer camping.

Address: 5021 Coast Road

Rio Del Mar Beach

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A wide strip of clean sand and a jetty with nearby shopping and restaurants. Dogs okay on leashes. This beach is good for beginning boogie boarders and small children.

Address: Rio Del Mar Blvd.

Santa Cruz Harbor Beach

Santa Cruz
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Next to the Santa Cruz Harbor and Twin Lakes State Beach. Restaurants & Shops, swimming, fishing & fire pits.

Address: 5th Avenue & East Cliff Drive

Save Our Shores

(831) 462-5660
Santa Cruz

Save Our Shores is a non-profit marine conservation organization in Santa Cruz, California.

Our mission is caring for the marine environment through ocean awareness, advocacy, and citizen action.


Save Our Shores is the Central Coast leader in caring for the marine environment through ocean awareness, advocacy and citizen action. Our core initiatives are Clean Boating, Marine Debris and Ocean Awareness. Over the last 30 years SOS has been locally responsible for key accomplishments such as helping to establish the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, preventing offshore oil drilling and cruise ship pollution and bringing together diverse stakeholders to find common solutions to ocean issues. Today we focus on educating youth about our local watersheds, tackling marine debris on our beaches and rivers, supporting habitat conservation efforts, implementing our nationally renowned DockWalker program and providing our community with educated and inspired Sanctuary Stewards! We are always accepting volunteers, learn more at our volunteer site.

Address: 345 Lake Avenue, Suite A

Seabright Beach

Santa Cruz
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Located between the Boardwalk and the Santa Cruz Harbor, Seabright is a long sandy beach within walking distance of restaurants and a great place for an evening of marshmallow roasting in the fire rings. Lifeguards in the summer, water for rinsing and bathrooms available.

Address: East Cliff Drive & Seabright Avenue

Seacliff State Beach

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     Long stretch of sandy beach great for walks or strolls on the bay. Picnic areas, interpretive center and RV camping. Summer Camping Reservations 800.444.7275.  Access is from various points along East Cliff Dr.

     Looking onto the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Seacliff State Beach was established as a state park in 1931, after the first successful state bond issue in 1930 to support state parks. The avidly used shore walkway connects New Brighton State Beach and Rio del Mar Beach. Veins of extinct marine fossils layer the coastal bluffs.
     Seacliff history includes Ohlone Indian lives and burial grounds, Spanish land grants to the Castro family, redwood timber shipments, Claus Spreckles, King Kamehameha, how surfing came to California, and the USS Palo Alto, the concrete ship in the waters off Seacliff Pier, that has attracted visitors since it was placed here in 1929. One of only three "cement" ships built during World War I, the original owners' plan for the ship and the pier was short-lived. Today the recently refurbished Seacliff fishing pier overlooks the picturesque concrete ship, which provides protected marine habitat.


*Tour the Visitor Center cultural and natural history exhibits, and talk to our knowledgeable docents and interpreters

*Come to Festival of the Cement Ship in June (first Saturday) and the Migration Festival in February (second Saturday)

*Join us for free, docent-led, guided tours of the fossil beds and guided history walks


RV camping only, 26 sites:-$44 premium, $39 inland. Full Hook-up (Incl. 1-Disabled)
Reservations: 800-444-7275

Address: State Park Drive

Sunset State Beach

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     Day Use open daily 6am-sunsetThe historic Van Laanan farm provides the backdrop for this large park at the south end of Santa Cruz County. Surrounded by fertile farmland, Sunset State Beach features a wooded campground, picnic area, group campground, and 200-foot high dunes (the largest in the country) built up in front of coastal bluff. The beach itself stretches down to where it meets the mouth of the Pajaro River, giving three miles of unobstructed and spectacular shoreline.

     Visitors enjoy broad vistas of the Monterey Bay from two main overlooks. During the summer and autumn, it is possible to see large groups of bottle nosed dolphins. The beach features pine trees, mountainous sand dunes, and ocean side picnic spots. Dogs are not allowed on the beach, but are allowed in campsites, on leash at all times.


16 miles south of Santa Cruz
Hwy 1, exit on San Andreas Road
Follow signs south.


Camping, Year round campground and picnic area on the beach, Reservations 800.444.7275

91 camping sites, $25.00 per night, 1 bicycle site, $3/person/night; maximum 8 people, 1 group site, $224/night.

Picnic tables


Address: 201 Sunset Beach Road

Twin Lakes State Beach

Santa Cruz
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The beach has a mile of sandy shoreline and is popular for swimming and picnicking. The park's adjacent Schwann Lake is a good location for bird watching. It is one of the area's warmest beaches.

Address: East Cliff Drive & 7th Avenue

Waddell Creek-Rancho del Oso State Beach

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Waddell Beach, located across Highway 1 from the park entrance, is known worldwide as one of the best spots for windsurfing. The steady strong northwest winds and good surf provide ideal conditions for this demanding sport. For those interested in birding, botany, intertidal marine life and riparian habitat, the Waddell Beach and the many Rancho del Oso trails offer superb recreation for the amateur or professional naturalist. Regular surfers, boogie boarders, and surf fishermen also find it an ideal spot to pursue their activities.

Address: 303 Big Trees Park Road & Highway 1

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