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Sandy beach
Yes
Hike-in Required
No
Surfing
Yes
Snorkeling / SCUBA
No
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Nestled between New Brighton State Beach and Rio Del Mar State Beach, the popular Seacliff State Beach offers RV parking, a beach front promenade and semi-sheltered picnic tables with barbeque pits. A promenade leads to the wharf and the iconic ruins of the SS Palo Alto. Originally a tanker built near the end of World War I, the SS Palo Alto was later converted into an amusement attraction that hosted dancing, dining, and swimming. Later, after a business bankruptcy, the ship's hull cracked and the business was abandoned; though it was usable as a fishing platform for some time, the ship is now unsafe and completely inaccessible.

From the wharf you can glimpse the passing wildlife: aside from the birds that congregate on the SS Palo Alto, dolphins, sea lions, and sea otters frequent this area, and the area is a great bet for sighting migrating gray whales during the spring and early summer. Fishing is permitted here, and the wharf hosts fish cleaning stations and rod holders. While the beach is dog friendly, alcohol and fires are not permitted. Also, avoid swimming in the stream runoff.

Logistics + Planning

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

Short drive. Picturesque beach. Historic landmark. Well maintained.

Cons

Decaying fish near the warf.

Address

Seacliff Dr
201
Aptos, CA 95003
United States

Features

ADA accessible
Fishing
Picnic tables
Covered picnic areas
Surfing
Whale watching
Wildlife
Wildlife
Bird watching

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

San Francisco Peninsula + Santa Cruz, California
San Francisco Peninsula + Santa Cruz, California

Comments

01/25/2016
Wolf Moon over the SS Palo Alto. The first full moon of 2016 setting with a classic California sunrise.
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