New Brighton State BeachLeave review
About New Brighton State Beach
Campgrounds in New Brighton
New Brighton State Beach campground is off use to day visitors, so make use of its many splendors and stay the night! The location is...
Drop some New Brighton knowledge on us.
This campground sits right above a great beach for launching a kayak or paddleboard. Some of the sites are kind of wide open and it is popular with the RV crowd. Try to stay closer to the beach, the farther back you stay you will hear noise from Highway 1.
If you have never been to Gayle's Bakery (Bay and Capitola), do yourself a favor and go! Be warned, the place gets very busy on the weekends and opens at 6am. Get the take and bake garlic bread (for cooking back home when you're done camping).
Only an hour from SF!
Pros: HUGE sites (but sizes vary... the map on website is a decent indication). Hot showers and running water. Nice beach with a really well maintained trail to it. Close enough to civilization to grab necessities you forgot.
Cons: inconsistent site facilities (some have working faucet, some have huge bear locker, most don't). $10 charge per car (1 included with res). Slight hwy noise even at sites close to cliff.
We stayed at site 71 with 4 tents and could have fit a couple more. Can't really see the ocean from the non-premium sites, but if you're not fussed about that, don't spend the extra $15.
Second the recommendation for Gayle's Bakery in Capitola. We'll definitely be staying here again!
If you’re an avid state park enthusiast, buy an annual pass and avoid the constant $10 parking fees for one annual pass fee.
Campers - arrive by check in or your campsite could be given away to someone on the waiting list.
During zero or negative tide you can walk along the beach all the way to Capitola Village.
If only going for the day park in a residential neighborhood and walk the short distance to skip the $10 parking fee.
Numerous raccoons hide out at the New Brighton campground, so don’t leave your food out or it will be gone in the morning.
History of New Brighton State Beach
New Brighton, once known as China Beach, was the site of a Chinese fishing village during the 1870s and 1880s. The village inhabitants were invaluable during the building of the California railroad, and provided Santa Cruz with fish and produce among other things.
New settlers took the village over, but commercial fishing slowed after dragnet fishing was outlawed in 1915 and New Brighton became a state beach in 1933. Ohlone Indians, however, proceeded everyone, thriving for thousands of years on the areas natural resources until Spanish colonization. The riches of the oceans, rivers and forests provided plentiful sources of food, from fish, shellfish and game to edible plants and seeds. The Ohlone were creative craftspeople known for ornate shell and feather adornments.
Much as a reef does, the SS Palo Alto attracts an immense variety of marine life within its concrete wreckage, and many of the same animals found on rocky shores live on its concrete sides. Mussels, barnacles, sea stars, sea anemones, ocean worms and rock crabs all cling to the sides and insides of the ship and pier. Anglers catch sole, flounder, mackerel, halibut, lingcod, cabezon, jacksmelt and perch to name just some of the finned bounty.