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New Brighton State Beach Camping Reservations

New Brighton State Beach Hiking

New Brighton State Beach Campground, Beach path from day use adjacent to site 90.

If you are interested in hiking, New Brighton sports at least two hiking trails. One of these trails goes from the top of the bluffs at the campground down to the beach.

The other 3-mile trail is across the beach until you reach Seacliff State Beach. If you are interested in fossils, you might be able to see some of the rocks along the way during your walk to Seacliff. Most of them date from the Pliocene area and in geological terms are quite recent only 2.5 5 million years old.

Be sure that you do not take any of the fossils with you, as they are protected by law from being disturbed. Still, its not every day you get a chance to travel millions of years back in time!

If you are interested in the history of more recent vintage, New Brighton Beach was once known as China Beach due to a large number of Chinese fishers that would dock their boats in the bay during the Gold Rush era in California. Unfortunately, the anti-Chinese movement ended the Chinese presence at New Brighton Beach by about 1900.

For birding fans, the various habitats contained in this 93-acre state park present many opportunities to view native birds. If you look closely, you might be rewarded with the sight of Stellars jays or chestnut-backed chickadees, among many other species.

Reservations For Other California State Park Activities

You can also use Reserve California to make reservations for activities in the state parks:

  • Hearst Castletour reservations are available 120 days in advance. Call 800-444-4445 or 916-414-8400 ext. 410. You can also reserve Hearst Castle Tours online at Reserve California.
  • Elephant Seal Viewing at Ano Nuevo requires a guide during the breeding season . Ticket sales usually start in October, and you can reserve your tour by calling 800-444-4445 or 916-638-5883, or online.
  • Crystal Cove Beach Cottages in Orange County follow the same procedures described above.

A Campground Among The Pines Overlooking Monterey Bay

Even with Highway 1 and Capitolas main drag a stones throw away, New Brighton feels blissfully broken loose. The beach here is smaller than many of its neighbors, which form an unbroken chain of wave-kissed sand all the way to Moss Landing. But a span of thick coastal scrub and Monterey pine forest on the bluff above offers an unexpected retreat from the local commotion.

New Brightons a fine spot to spend a day lazing in the oceans lap, or a night at one of the many campsites that honeycomb the upland forest, even with the summertime rush. Set deeply in Soquel Cove, the beach doesnt offer much in the way of waves, a pittance even for a boogie boarder. But at low tide, you can explore shell fossils embedded in the sandstone cliff rising out of the surf to the west and poke around tidal pools below in search of sea stars and anemone. Million-dollar homes curve along the shore to the east, heading towards Seacliff State Beach a quarter-mile away. Dolphin pods swim by on occasion, coursing the cobalt in front of fishermen, families and assorted sun-seekers.

AMENITIESBathrooms at the campground have 25-cent showers and are fairly clean. There are a few fire pits on the beach, and a port-a-potty a short walk away. A gorgeous Civilian Conservation Corps-built picnic pavilion sits on the bluffs overlooking the sea, just waiting to be rented for a party .

Theres also a generously sized bike camping area with four sites its first come, first served, and the fee is $5.

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New Brighton Beach Group Campsites

New Brighton Beach has 3 group campsites. The tent-only campsites can each accommodate from 9 to 25 people and up to 4 vehicles. The group sites are on the west side of the campground.Fee: $185 per night

  • New Brighton is rated as one of the best beach campgrounds in the area.

  • Some sites have full hook-ups available.

  • Premium ocean view sites are worth a couple of extra dollars.

  • New Brighton State Beach Campground

    Relax By the Fire

    Relax By the Fire

    Advice From Previous Campers

    New Brighton State Beach
  • Raccoons may visit your campsite at night looking for food. Be sure food is secure in the locker or in your vehicle.
  • Best campsites : Numbers 1-3, 7, 14, 31, 35, 57, 59, 69, 70 , 91, 92, 96. Sites 67 and 68 make a good 2 family combination.
  • Limited shade sites: 16-19, 23-26, 28, 29, 32, 33, 67, 68. They suggest you bring a shade tent.
  • Quiet Hours: Follow the rules regarding quiet hours.
  • Accessible sites: Donât accidentally reserve an accessible site if you donât have a handicapped placard in your vehicle.
  • Showers: Bring quarters for showers.
  • Search This Site

    Every effort is made to provide accurate and up to date information, but we cannot be responsible for errors or for changes that may have occurred since publication. Always confirm information with the service provider and check for any recent changes that may have been made. Also, check with lifeguards that conditions at the beach are safe for your planned activities. The map displayed above is for illustrative purposes only. Californiaâs Best Beaches website makes no warranties regarding the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of any of its maps. The information provided on this website is done so without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied, including but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose.

    07/04/2020 by DayTrippen

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    California State Park Campground Reservations

    You may be able to find an open spot in a California KOA on short notice. You might even drive into a National Forest campground on Friday afternoon and find a place to put your tent.

    That’s not true for many California state parks. In fact, most campsites must be reserved as much as six months in advance, especially during the busy summer camping season.

    Alternative Ways To Reserve A Campground

    If your first try is unsuccessful, try again several times before you plan to make your trip. Cancellations happen all the time. You might be lucky enough to pick something up, but that requires a lot of persistence and a lot of searching.

    To save time, try using the website Campnab. For a small fee, they will scan the system for up to four months, checking for openings and notifying you if openings appear. They scan every five minutes to an hour, depending on how much you pay for the service.

    You can also head for one of the campgrounds that have a first come, first served policy. However, these are usually primitive campgrounds with pit toilets or hike-in spots.

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    Advice From Previous Campers At New Brighton Beach

  • Raccoons may visit your campsite at night looking for food. Be sure food is secure in the locker or in your vehicle.
  • Best campsites : Numbers 1-3, 7, 14, 31, 35, 57, 59, 69, 70 , 91, 92, 96. Sites 67 and 68 make a good 2 family combination.
  • Limited shade sites: 16-19, 23-26, 28, 29, 32, 33, 67, 68. They suggest you bring a shade tent.
  • Quiet Hours: Follow the rules regarding quiet hours.
  • Accessible sites: Don’t accidentally reserve an accessible site if you don’t have a handicapped placard in your vehicle.
  • Showers: Bring quarters for showers.
  • TOP

    Ocean Safety

    California State Parks and Recreation cautions that “large surf, cold water temperatures, backwash, sudden drop-offs, pounding shorebreak, and dangerous rip currents can turn what seem like safe activities such as playing near the surf line, wading, or climbing on rock outcroppings, deadly.“Learn more about ocean safety at CA State Parks: Ocean Safety

    What You Need To Know Before You Go

    New Brighton premium campsite #76
    • 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.

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    Find The Best Camping In California

    • Nearby Henry Cowell SP, Pinto Lake, and Mt. Madonna
    • Beach camping from San Diego to Humboldt
    • And everywhere else up and down the Golden State

    Complete campground information, including fees, reservations, photos, facilities, and nearby recreation.

    New Brighton Beach Campsite

    Hours: 8 AM to SunsetBeach Admission: $10 per vehicleFacilities: Parking, restrooms, campground, showers, picnic ramada, visitor center, beach portable toiletsDogs are allowed on-leash on the beach.Fires are only allowed in provided fire rings.

    New Brighton Beach Picnic Area

    Beach Chair

    The Best Time To Make Campground Reservations

    This is the tricky part. For those in-demand spots, reservations open six months ahead of time, at exactly 8 a.m. Pacific time. For example, on August 3, you can reserve campsites for dates beginning on February 3 and lasting as many consecutive days as the park allows.

    That is unless it’s a short month. In that case, multiple dates become available on the first of the following month. On February 28, you can reserve through August 28, and August 29-31 become available on March 1.

    The state park reservation website brags about changes to a “rolling” reservation window that replaced the old system of releasing an entire month at a time, but in reality, it makes little difference. You still have to reserve six months ahead, set your alarm and mark your calendar to make them on the date you want.

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    Spacious Rv Camping Site

    Easy access to the beach and plenty of space on the camp site. Beautiful view of the ocean soothing wave sound will help you have a tight sleep.


    You will need to pay to drive to the base of this beach, but you can save the money by parking above and walking down. Either way, this is one of the treasures of the world in that it has a super long beach, allowing you to walk for hours before having to stop. Feels like it is 5 miles long. A terrific beach with nearby camping, and many picnic tables along the beach.

    Located in Capitola, this beach has easy access from the freeway. It is a great place for day users or campers, but if camping or taking an RV, you need a reservation ahead of time during peak spring and summer months. As a day use park, it is quite delightful with a long, smooth, beach.

    Camping At New Brighton State Beach

    New Brighton State Beach

    Did you know that California has over 1,100 miles of coastline with over 450 beaches? Within those beaches there are around 63 designated California State Beaches that are managed by the State Parks system . New Brighton is one such California State Beach located in Capitola in Santa Cruz County and is situated right on the Monterey Bay. There is a day-use area, and many people come for the day to enjoy the beach. This is a popular beach, but the campsites with the ocean views are very highly sought after.

    First of all, to the people that cancelled their reservations for a premium campsite at the New Brighton Beach campground on Easter weekend, Im sorry that you werent able to use your reservations, but we thank you so, so much for giving us the opportunity to experience such a beautiful ocean view campsite. I happened to come across this lucky find through pure dumb luck while I was looking for campgrounds for the future. I happened to notice a tiny spec of green in a sea of red for the coming weekend in 2 days! After the initial shock, I kicked it into high gear, sweating as I clicked the reserve button, and then almost tripped head first while I was running to get my credit card info. Almost, thankfully. I really was expecting the campsite to be taken before I finished the reservation process, but somehow it all worked out and we had a lovely campsite on such short notice. It really does pay to check around because people do cancel reservations .

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    New Brighton State Beach Camping Day Use

    09/21/2022 by DayTrippen

    New Brighton State Beach is located in the Monterey Bay area New Brighton State Beach is a 93-acre park with close to one mile of shoreline, a group picnic area, and a campground on the bluffs overlooking the beach with campsites and parking spots for day use.

    Because the shoreline at New Brighton State Beach is inside a protected cove, the waves are smaller than in other areas of Monterey Bay. The gentle waves are one of the attractions at New Brighton because they are light, New Brighton is a better beach to go kayaking, paddle boarding, swimming, or even surfing, especially for beginners.

    Whether you wish to visit the park for a day or spend a weekend or week camping there, New Brighton Beach State Park is a rewarding destination less than a two-hour drive from the San Francisco Bay Area.

    Depending on the time of year, you may be able to see migrating whales from the beach or the bluff. You may spot bottlenose dolphins, sea lions, or ever-playful sea otters at any time. Only one view of these creatures would be reason enough to make the trip!

    A wintertime treat is the view of migrating monarch butterflies during their great yearly migration. The best time to see the monarchs is from mid-October through February, and the best place in the park to look for them is in clusters of trees, whether Eucalyptus or pine trees.

    About The New Brighton Beach Campground

    The New Brighton Beach Campground, located in Aptos, CA is a Campground that offers temporary outdoor living, including overnight stays in Santa Cruz County. The Campground offers facilities for visitors, campsite amenities, and programs for guests.

    You may contact a Campground for questions about:

    • Aptos Campground facilities
    • Quiet hours 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM
    • Generators 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM
    • Alcohol only allowed in campsite
    • Vehicles must be parked on pavement

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    We Love New Brighton State Beach

    It is VERY difficult to get a reservation but luckily we got a site. It was very peaceful and quite most nights. We liked the new metal cabinets to store our food and things. The raccoons and skunks were out at night but not successful in stealing our food. Safeway is close for shopping maybe 1 1/2 miles away and the Boardwalk is about 6-7 miles. Fun!We saw 2 adult deer and a baby deer in the evening before dark.The beach was not too crowded except for the weekend. We think the park people should/could do something about the seaweed. There is a lot on the beach sand.Saturday night they had music at the camp fire area. We hope to return next summer!


    This time the beach was dirty! I was disappointed! We didnât camp here but was there for a day trip. I hope it was fluke!

    proximity to Capitola and Santa Cruz, nice beach, not crowded and plenty of sand and fun. Nice views of bay and area

    We had a fabulous time camping the last weekend of June! Steps away from the ocean and Only a few exits from the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. My girls 3 and 7 had a blast not letting the waves touch them. The restrooms are well kept and the showers were always warm we were RV camping with friends but the sites are perfect for tent camping as well! We will definitely be back for many years to come.

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    New Brighton State Beach Overview

    New Brighton State Beach, CA

    New Brighton State Beach campground has 111 single family campsites set on a bluff above the beach offering spectacular views of Monterey Bay. The campsites accommodate tents, trailers and RVs up to 36 in length. Each site has a table, fire ring and grate. There are 9 premium campsites with RV hooks. Group and hike/bike campsites are also available.

    Firewood is also available for sale from the camp host . Please do not gather firewood at the park. Beach bonfires are also allowed, but only at certain times of the year and in state-provided fire rings.

    New Brighton State Beach Area Recreation

    New Brighton State Beach Campground has paved roads and parking spurs, an RV dump station and snappy restrooms with flush toilets & hot showers. The popular park also has a group picnic area, day-use parking for 235 cars, and almost one mile of shoreline. Outdoor activities include camping, picnicking, surfing, swimming, beachcomber, sunbathing, surf fishing, hiking, biking and wildlife viewing.

    Seacliff State Beach campground is another option in the area. It is about 3 miles from New Brighton State Beach.

    • Golden Age & Access Passports accepted

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