The popular Rio Del Mar State Beach is adjacent to Seacliff State Beach and just across the mouth of Aptos Creek. Because of its easy access, free parking, and its proximity to the Seacliff Promenade Trail, Rio Del Mar Beach is a popular spot throughout the year. Rio Del Mar Beach offers a number of fire pits, and restrooms are a short walk from the parking lot. Seagulls and pelicans are in abundance here, drawn to the nearby SS Palo Alto. Dolphins, sea lions, otters are common, and during the migration season you can view the gray whales on their journey north.
Although this beach is maintained regularly, the best efforts fall behind during peak season. The beach is an excellent spot for socialized dogs, and fire pits are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Note that Rio Del Mar Beach is close to residential neighborhoods, and parking can be tricky if the parking lot is full.