New Brighton / Seacliff

Park Brochure

brochure New Brighton / Seacliff - Park Brochure
Seacliff & New Brighton State Beaches Our Mission The mission of California State Parks is to provide for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. Long stretches of bluffbacked sandy beaches invite visitors to play on the beach, watch a glorious sunset, or stroll peacefully along the shore. California State Parks supports equal access. Prior to arrival, visitors with disabilities who need assistance should contact the park at (831) 685-6500. If you need this publication in an alternate format, contact CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS P.O. Box 942896 Sacramento, CA 94296-0001 For information call: (800) 777-0369 (916) 653-6995, outside the U.S. 711, TTY relay service Seacliff State Beach 201 State Park Drive, Aptos, CA 95003 (831) 685-6500 New Brighton State Beach Park Avenue off Hwy. 1, Capitola, CA 95010 (831) 464-6329 © 2002 California State Parks (Rev. 2016) A t Seacliff State Beach, a mile-long expanse of soft sand connects this popular recreation spot with New Brighton State Beach, where wooded bluffs provide unparalleled views of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. AREA HISTORY The Ohlone Indians thrived for thousands of years on the area’s natural resources. The riches of the ocean, rivers, and forests provided plentiful sources of food—from fish, shellfish, and game to edible plants and seeds. Their numbers were severely reduced by illness and cultural changes brought to California by European settlers, yet some Ohlone descendants continue their ancient traditions and crafts today. Spanish colonization led to the establishment of Mission Santa Cruz. After Mexico broke away from Spain in 1821, the land was subdivided into Mexican land grants (ranchos). SEACLIFF STATE BEACH Known by 1833 as Rancho Aptos, Seacliff developed into a bustling shipping port with the building of the Castro-Spreckels wharf. During the mid-1920s, landowners built summer homes on the bluffs above Seacliff and the area to its south, Rio del Mar. On the north side of Seacliff, 1920s tourists enjoyed upscale camping facilities. Seacliff became one of California’s first state beaches in 1931. For more than 80 thwarting future plans for expansion. Today, the stripped, abandoned SS Palo Alto is unsafe and closed to the public, as is part of the pier near the ship. NEW BRIGHTON STATE BEACH In the 1850s, Thomas Fallon SS Palo Alto acquired part of Rancho Soquel years, beachfront camping, picnicking, and turned it into a resort he named New fishing, and interpretive walks have been Brighton, in honor of his favorite English among the park’s most popular activities. seaside retreat. New Brighton became a state beach in 1933. Fishing, camping, THE CEMENT SHIP hiking, and swimming are now favorite family Seacliff’s famous fishing pier extends out to activities at New Brighton State Beach. a unique concrete tanker, the SS Palo Alto. It New Brighton, once known as China was built during World War I, when wartime Beach, was the site of a driftwood Chinese steel shortages created a demand for alternate fishing village during the 1870s and 1880s. shipbuilding materials. However, when the The village inhabitants proved invaluable war ended, so did the need for new ships. in building the California railroads, and The SS Palo Alto never saw wartime service. the village of China Beach provided fish, In 1930 the Seacliff Amusement produce, laundries, chefs, and laborers. Corporation bought the ship and turned it New settlers took the village away from the into an elaborate amusement center. The SS Chinese, and laws were passed to make it Palo Alto was brought to rest in shallow water illegal for the Chinese to fish, so the Chinese near the beach, and a pier was built leading moved south to Watsonville and beyond. to the ship’s main deck. A neon sign at the top of the bluff WILDLIFE HABITATS at Seacliff simply read The Ship. Much as a reef does, the SS Palo Alto Thousands dined at the Fish Palace attracts an immense variety of marine onboard, with its spectacular ocean view life within its concrete wreckage, and on three sides. In the elegant Rainbow many of the same animals found on Ballroom, diners then danced on a new rocky shores live on it. Mussels, white ash floor. Unfortunately, the barnacles, sea stars, sea Seacliff Amusement Corporation anemones, ocean worms, went bankrupt after only two seasons of dining and dancing, Sooty shearwater Photo courtesy of NOAA and rock crabs all cling to the sides and insides of the ship and pier. Harbor seals and sea lions line the deck, while pelicans and cormorants perch on the bow. Pier anglers catch sole, flounder, mackerel, halibut, lingcod, cabezon, bocaccio (tomcod), kingfish, and occasionally salmon and steelhead. During summer and fall, sooty shearwaters (small, dark seabirds) arrive by the tens of thousands from as far south as New Zealand, soaring in masses over the ocean, searching for anchovies. Sea lions, dolphins, sea otters, and migrating whales are often spotted in the water. RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES The Seacliff visitor center features natural and cultural history interpretive exhibits, a tidepool tank, and an aquarium. Beachfront camping at Seacliff is for recreational vehicles (RVs) only. Picnicking, fishing, and guided fossil, history, or beach walks are among the most popular activities. Children’s arts and crafts programs highlight Seacliff’s story. The New Brighton visitor center tells the story of Pacific wildlife migrations and highlights the history and contribution of Chinese immigrants in the area. Campfire and Junior Ranger programs are offered during the summer. More than 100 family, group, bicycle, and RV campsites make this a special vacation spot. Sea lions Fishing from the pier Site-specific camping reservations for both beaches may be made by calling (800) 4447275 or visiting To schedule educational programs at Seacliff, call (831) 685-6444. For New Brighton’s educational programs, call (831) 464-5620. ACCESSIBLE FEATURES Borrow beach wheelchairs from the camp host. Seacliff State Beach — The visitor center and some RV hookup campsites are accessible, as are restrooms and shady picnic sites. New Brighton State Beach has accessible visitor and campfire centers, family, group, and RV campsites, and restrooms. Accessibility is continually improving. For updates, visit NEARBY STATE PARKS • Sunset State Beach 201 Sunset Beach Rd., Watsonville 95076 (831) 763-7063 • Manresa State Beach Sand Dollar Lane, Watsonville 95076 (831) 761-1795 Children learn about fossils from docents. PLEASE REMEMBER • Day-use hours are from 8 a.m. to sunset. • The speed limit is 15 mph. • Climbing the unstable sandstone cliffs is prohibited. • All natural and cultural features in state parks are protected by law and may not be removed or disturbed. • Dogs must always be on a leash no longer than six feet and attended by humans. • Do not feed or leave food out for wildlife. • A license is not required to fish from the pier, but Department of Fish and Wildlife limits apply. See • Consuming alcohol is not allowed on the beach or in the day-use areas — only within registered campsites. • 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. • Vehicles must park on pavement and not on gravel or dirt walkways. ob le 1 to Santa Cruz Kennedy Dr State Beaches ek Legend Freeway Campground: Bike Picnic Area Paved Road Campground: Group Restrooms Trail Campground: RV RV Sanitation Station Campsites Showers Campfire Center Fishing Swimming Campground Parking Accessible Feature Park Entrance see detail map below Visitor Center CAPITOLA Dr Borregas e Seacliff & New Brighton Park Av N uel C re C re e k Soq Gulch Soquel Dr P gor D r NEW BRIGHTON S TAT E BEACH 0 0.25 0 0.5 0.5 Dr ail Tr Visitor Center SEACLIFF S TAT E P BEACH Big Basin Redwoods SP G1 1-43 G2 88-101 Event Ramada Beach Trail Bluffs © 2002 California State Parks (Rev. 2016) San José 101 Henry Cowell Redwoods SP Wilder Ranch SP Henry W Coe SP The Forest of Nisene Marks SP Sunset SB Hollister Manresa SB Zmudowski SB New Brighton SB Moss Landing SB Seacliff SB 500 1,000 Feet M o n t e r e y Ba y 0 0 250 500 Meters 152 Santa CruzManresa SB Salinas River SB 0 Gilroy 0 5 10 Mi 15 Km Castroville 1 Monterey Fremont Peak SP Salinas 101 vd M ar Bl P RIO DEL MAR Rio del Mar Beach 17 1 G3 P Rd SS Palo Alto 280 93-111 57-87 Day Use P Camp Host Site 44-56 nic ek Mo nt io Pic oo s Tr ehe ail ad to Monterey de l M Be ac er ey ee k ci a R Park Entrance Visitor Center len s el A p to Mo s C ose re hea Ap d tos Dr Be Dr ac Spreck h Dr Beachgate Trail NEW BRIGHTON S TAT E B E A C H CAMPGROUND AREA P Va Par k Dr Fishing Pier Oa k 1 te las P Park Entrance 1.5 Kilometers APTOS Sta sO 1 Mile Cr r La This park is supported in part through a nonprofit organization. For more information, contact Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks 144 School Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060 (831) 429-1840 • 0.75 1 D el qu So ve kA Par McGre 111 B h Dr P ay

also available

National Parks
New Mexico
North Carolina
Lake Tahoe - COMING SOON! 🎈