New Brighton State Beach is a 93-acre slice of paradise, with a beautiful beach on one side and lush forest on the other. The campgrounds are located on the forested bluff overlooking the beach, providing you with magnificent views of northern Monterey Bay. This state beach lies along the Californian coast, so the weather is pleasant most of the year. You don't have to worry about cold or snowy winters. The campgrounds also offer potable water, an RV dump station, and several campsites with RV hookups. Located just outside of Santa Cruz, New Brighton South Beach boasts a wide variety of recreation options including surfing, fishing, picnicking, swimming, hiking, and nature watching.
The park is extremely family-friendly with great spots to view some pretty unique wildlife. History buffs will love soaking up the sun in the same place as the historic Chinese fishing village that once occupied the beach during the 1870s and 1880s. The wreckage of the historic SS Palo Alto is located nearby and is sure to be packed with marine life. For all the recreational fishermen out there, fishing is allowed off of the pier, so why not see what you can reel in? Although there is plenty of wildlife and scenery to enjoy, you'll likely see more than a few dogs as well. Dogs are allowed at the park as long as they are on a leash no longer than six feet long. Leave the drones at home, because they aren't allowed. Put a pin in this park for your next RV trip.
RV Rentals in New Brighton State Beach
Transportation in New Brighton State Beach
New Brighton State Beach is only a 12-minute drive south of Santa Cruz and is fairly easy to find, just off Highway 1. The paved roads around the campgrounds are not difficult to maneuver an RV around as there aren't a whole lot of sharp turns or narrow roads. People also love the fact that the campsites themselves have a paved area to park your RV and are all mostly even, not just a patch of dirt.
There are four parking lots dotted around the park, offering easy access to the beach, Visitor Center, and picnic areas. One of the great things about New Brighton State Beach is you don't necessarily have to bring an extra car if you are camping in your RV. Having an extra car might make going into town a little easier, but it is also a great park for bikes. Bikes are, no doubt, easier to take around turns and just more practical while you are staying there.
Campgrounds and parking in New Brighton State Beach
Campsites in New Brighton State Beach
New Brighton State Beach Campgrounds
The campgrounds are located high above the water on a nearby bluff, with nine premium campsites with direct views of the beach. In total, there are 109 family campsites, ten of which have RV hookups for water and electricity. The campsites are divided between the northern and southern ends of the park. All of the RV sites can accommodate RVs and trailers up to 36 feet in length, which should be kept in mind when planning your visit. Visitors have raved about the spacious sites and the privacy it gives you. Although this varies based on what campsite you get, but be rest assured, you won't be shoulder to shoulder with your camping neighbors.
The RV accessible campsites feature picnic tables, grills, food storage lockers, and nearby water and RV sanitation areas. Pay showers are available. Reservations are available up to seven months in advance, but it stays pretty booked, so they recommend reserving your spot as early as possible. Unlike some other parks that set aside some campsites for local sale only, all of the campsites are available for reservations, so first-come, first-served doesn't apply here.
There are no first-come, first-served campgrounds at this state park.
Seasonal activities in New Brighton State Beach
Learning at the Pacific Migrations Visitor Center
During the spring and summer months, the Pacific Migrations Visitor Center is open and is the premier place to learn about the area's rich cultural and natural history. While there, you will learn about the natives that once inhabited the area. Visiting the Pacific Migrations Visitor Center and the nearby store is the perfect way to add a little educational value to your RV vacation and provides a fun escape from the sun on the especially hot days.
Enjoying Aquatic Recreation
The warm Pacific waters of New Brighton Beach provide the perfect setting for everything from swimming to windsurfing. Many visitors venture out on their boogie boards and surf boards to catch some waves, while others prefer to go kayaking. The beach area is the perfect place for a family picnic or beach games. The list goes on, but one thing that's for sure is that you'll never be bored during your RV road trip to California.
Fishing can be a relaxing solo activity or a bonding experience for you and your kids. The waters are rich with marine life and popular catches include flounder, mackerel, and halibut. For the ultimate camping experience, you can catch yourself dinner and cook it in the provided fire rings. You don't have to have a license to fish at New Brighton State Beach, but be sure to check out the California Wildlife fishing regulations to ensure you are following all of the rules.
Anywhere nature and good cell phone service meet is prime real estate for geocaching, which is why New Brighton State Beach is such a popular geocaching destination. Bringing treasure hunting into the real world, geocaching is just as great for families as for couples and soloists. There are also some caches that lead you to the nearby Seacliff State Beach, where there's even more stuff to do. It's a great way to get out of the camper and explore the lesser known areas of the park.
With so many things to do on the beach, many people forget to explore the hiking trail. Don't make the mistake of staying on the beach every time you go, because the hiking trails throw you right in the middle of nature, giving you unparalleled views of the wildlife that inhabits the area. Whatever you do, just make sure you don't litter or take anything from the trails since there's plenty of things to buy in the park store.
During the winter months thousands of monarch butterflies flock to Southern California for warmth, and many flock specifically to New Brighton Beach. A popular place for them to hang out is among the eucalyptus and pine trees, where you can see them in clusters. If you are a butterfly lover, it is definitely worth the trip to catch these amazing creatures in the middle of their great migration. The monarchs are usually visible around mid-October until mid-February.