At New Brighton State Beach, the camping area is on a bluff overlooking northern Monterey Bay. It's not quite beachfront camping, but it's close enough to walk.
New Brighton also offers the most ocean view campsites in the Santa Cruz area. Most people like camping here, but the sites are a bit small, so hope for friendly, quiet neighbors. If you want a little more personal space, this may not be the place for you.
Things to do at New Brighton are the usual: beach play, swimming, and fishing. Locals love to visit New Brighton Beach to play in the waves, run with the dogs or go fishing. At night, it feels like you're in the middle of nowhere, but during the day it bustles with visitors.
New Brighton is only one of the places you can go camping near Santa Cruz. You can find more places to camp near the beach, more places to camp near town and some campgrounds in the nearby mountains if you use this Guide to Camping at Santa Cruz.
Camping Facilities at New Brighton State Beach
New Brighton has more than 100 camp sites for RVs and trailers up to 36 feet long, some with hookups. Tent camping is also allowed.
Campsites 1-34 and 67-90 have trees for shade and ocean views. Site #73 sits on the edge of the bluff, with great views and is a bit more isolated than others nearby. Sites 73, 75, 76, 78, 79, 82, 87, 88, and 90 are "premium" sites and cost more than the rest.
Other sites are in sunny, open areas.
The campground has restrooms and pay showers. Some sites have hookups (for an extra fee). A dump station is available.
All sites have picnic tables, food storage lockers, and fire rings, and fires are allowed only in the rings. Firewood can be purchased from the campground host.
When you're tired of roasting marshmallows and building sandcastles, go to town. You're within a mile of Capitola, where you can do a little shopping, watch the surfers or have a nice meal out.
What You Need to Know Before You Go Camping at New Brighton State Beach
- Learn about how to make California state park reservations.
- Get ready to reserve by checking the campground map. When choosing a site, think smart. Check whether it might become an informal route for people walking from other sites toward the restrooms. Make reservations online here.
- You should also know that the premium sites are on the bottom of the map in the reservation system.
- Fees include park entry for one vehicle and one legally towed vehicle/trailer. Additional vehicles pay an extra vehicle fee.
- Up to 8 people can stay in one campsite.
- Bring quarters if you plan to use the pay showers.
- Most of the year, New Brighton is a nice beach, but sometimes Mother Nature has an impact on that. Visitors sometimes complain about dead vegetation on the beach and the flies that are attracted to it, a problem that is worst in summer.
- Some online reviewers comment: "Kids can party pretty loud at night here."
- Quiet hours prohibit the use of generators at night.
- The premium campsites can be sunny. You might want to bring a portable canopy.
- Poison oak grows around New Brighton. If you're allergic, you probably know how to recognize it. If you don't, ask a ranger to show you.
- Dogs allowed on a leash no longer than six feet and under human control at all times. They must be confined to a vehicle or tent at night.
How to Get to New Brighton State Beach Campground
New Brighton State Beach Campground
Santa Cruz, CA
New Brighton State Beach Website
New Brighton is south of Santa Cruz. Exit CA Hwy 1 at Exit #436 - Park Avenue near Capitola (4 miles south of Santa Cruz) and follow the signs.