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Sunset State Beach

San Francisco Peninsula + Santa Cruz, California

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Sunset State Beach

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  • Welcome to Sunset State Beach.- Sunset State Beach
  • Reservable group picnic area.- Sunset State Beach
  • Cactus and jalapeño's on the grill- Sunset State Beach
  • A protected area in Sunset State Beach.- Sunset State Beach
  • The view of Sunset State Beach from the cliffs above.- Sunset State Beach
  • Access to Sunset State Beach.- Sunset State Beach
  • Ice plants (Carpobrotus edulis) along the cliffs.- Sunset State Beach
  • Sunset State Beach.- Sunset State Beach
  • Sunset State Beach.- Sunset State Beach
  • Ice Plant (Carpobrotus edulis).- Sunset State Beach
  • California poppy (Eschscholzia californica).- Sunset State Beach
  • California's State flower, the California poppy (Eschscholzia californica).- Sunset State Beach
  • Lupine.- Sunset State Beach
  • Nasturtum.- Sunset State Beach
  • Unidentified species (help us identify it by providing feedback).- Sunset State Beach
  • Unidentified species (help us identify it by providing feedback).- Sunset State Beach
  • - Sunset State Beach
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Expansive beach. Beautiful flowers. Great scenery.
Cons: 
Heavy security presence. Dirty bathrooms.
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Region:
San Francisco Peninsula + Santa Cruz, CA
Congestion: 
Moderate
Location type: 
Sandy beach
Parking Pass: 
State Park Fee
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Sponsored Contributor

A short, scenic drive out of Watsonville leads to the pleasant and secluded Sunset State Beach. Located on Monterey Bay, Sunset beach can offer great weather any time of year and plenty of chances to view passing wildlife. This park offers a covered group picnic area as well as a few walk-in sites. Barbecue pits and restrooms are also available. An ADA path leads down to beach level where the expansive beach accommodates all comers, so crowding is rarely an issue.

Ice plants, an invasive species common along the California Coast, cling to the cliff faces, and long-billed curlews dot the shoreline as pelicans fly over the surf. It is not uncommon to see dolphins and gray whales from the beach in spring and early summer. The fog can roll in and out at any given moment, so it's a good idea to check the weather and bring something warm.

Overall, this beach is clean and well-maintained. The private Pajaro Dunes Resort separates Sunset State Beach from Palm Beach State Park, which is another good option if you are looking for a low-use beach in Santa Cruz.

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Field Guide

Field Guide

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(16 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(105 within a 30 mile radius)

Adventure Community

Adventure Community

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3 Members
Who's Done It
15 Members
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165 Adventures Explored
142 Adventures Published

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