New Brighton State Beach Campground

new brighton state beach california

Pamela Carls/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

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 in 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.​

Camping Facilities

New Brighton has more than 100 campsites 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

  • Learn 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.
  • 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 at 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 worse 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 are 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 There

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.

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