Share:

New Brighton State Beach

San Francisco Peninsula + Santa Cruz, California

Start Exploring
New Brighton State Beach

Share:

Advertisement
  • Welcome to New Brighton State Beach.- New Brighton State Beach
  • The history of "China Beach," named for the fishermen who erected a camp and marketplace on the beach.- New Brighton State Beach
  • A view from the parking lot- New Brighton State Beach
  • Access to the beach is down a few stairs.- New Brighton State Beach
  • The sea cliffs at New Brighton State Beach.- New Brighton State Beach
  • Fire pits are available at New Brighton State Beach.- New Brighton State Beach
  • New Brighton State Beach.- New Brighton State Beach
  • Restrooms available along the beach path.- New Brighton State Beach
  • The path to New Brighton State Beach.- New Brighton State Beach
  • A small rocky section along New Brighton State Beach.- New Brighton State Beach
  • Sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus).- New Brighton State Beach
  • Unidentified species (help us identify it by providing feedback).- New Brighton State Beach
  • Unidentified species (help us identify it by providing feedback).- New Brighton State Beach
  • Unidentified species (help us identify it by providing feedback).- New Brighton State Beach
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Well maintained. Short drive. Beautiful landscape.
Cons: 
None.
Advertisement
Region:
San Francisco Peninsula + Santa Cruz, CA
Congestion: 
High
Location type: 
Sandy beach
Parking Pass: 
State Park Fee
Current Local Weather:
Advertisement
Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Contributor

New Brighton State Beach was dubbed "China Beach" for the scores of Chinese fishermen that established a camp and marketplace there in the beginning in 1870s. By the end of the century, hostility toward the Chinese had closed the camp and driven many Chinese from the area; the beach, however, retained the moniker. In 1933, the State of California purchased the 95-acre property and converted it into a state beach and campground.

The high cliffs surrounding this beach are rimmed with eucalyptus trees, and the breeze carries the mix of salt air and eucalyptus. From the parking lot, either the stairs or a gravel path leads down to the beach. Restrooms, a drinking fountain, and a foot wash are located along this path. 

Once on the beach you'll find plenty of space to explore. Relatively few fire pits dot the shoreline, so claim one early if you want one for the evening. A variety of wildflowers and plants, including the beautiful ice plant, cling to the cliff and holding back the inevitable erosion. A variety of sea birds and marine wildlife can be seen here, so bring your binoculars or zoom lens. The SS Palo Alto, located at the adjacent Seacliff State Beach, can also be seen in the distance. 

Note: avoid swimming in the runoff from Borregas Creek.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

Field Guide

Download
Advertisement
Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(19 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(116 within a 30 mile radius)

Adventure Community

Adventure Community

Who Wants To Do It
3 Members
Who's Done It
22 Members
Submission by
Contributor
165 Adventures Explored
142 Adventures Published

Newsletter Signup

Join the Outdoor Project Community

Get access to essential planning materials and information for your next adventure. Take a few seconds to join the community. It’s FREE!

Free Field Guides + Maps

Post Updates, Tips + Comments

Organize + Track Your Adventures

Insider Detailed Info, News + Benefits

Custom Driving Directions

Recommended Campsites, Photos + Reservation Info