New Brighton State Beach RV & Campground Guide


Situated just outside the city of Capitola in California's Santa Cruz County, New Brighton State Beach is a 95-acre coastal preserve that was once the site of a Chinese fishing village. Even earlier, the indigenous Ohlone people thrived on the area's abundant natural resources for thousands of years. Today, this stunning state park offers visitors the chance to enjoy swimming, fishing, camping, hiking, and more. The swimming area is one of the few California beaches that allows bonfires right on the sand. Just be sure to use the provided fire rings when building a fire. During your visit to the area, you may want to take time to visit the iconic Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk nearby in Santa Cruz.

Nearby Cities

  • Santa Cruz, CA

  • Aptos, CA

  • Capitola, CA

  • Monterey, CA

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Spring 45-68 F
Summer 53-74 F
Fall 51-73 F
Winter 40-60 F
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RV Resorts & Campsites in New Brighton State Beach

Campground Accommodations

New Brighton State Beach Campground

  • Water hookup: No

  • Electrical hookup: Yes

  • Sewer hookup: No

  • Wi-Fi: No

  • Pet-friendly: Yes

  • Max RV length: 36 feet

  • Other amenities: Picnic tables, fire pits, grills, restrooms, showers, water, dump station

Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay KOA Holiday

The Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay KOA Holiday is located next to Fort Watsonville, which is 9 miles south of Capitola. It's a large RV park that's within walking distance of the beach. This campground has all the typical KOA amenities and then some, and the managers host many events for everyone in the family to enjoy. This is not a quiet camp, but your kids will love it. There are multiple playgrounds, a camp store and a kitchen that's on-site for your use.

Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay KOA Holiday

• Number of sites: Call for information

• Rates: Call for rates

• Type of hookup: Full hookups

• Electrical Amps: 50

• Pool: Yes, and a hot tub

• Wi-Fi: Yes

• Pet-friendly: Yes

• Showers: Yes

• Other amenities: Dog park, propane, firewood, bike rentals, large playground, outdoor cinema, outside games, game room, outdoor jumping pillow

Santa Cruz Harbor RV Park

Santa Cruz Harbor RV Park is located in downtown Santa Cruz near all the action in the city. It's within walking distance of Seabright State Beach and Twin Lakes State Beach. The Santa Cruz Boardwalk is only 2 miles away. This is a small, quiet park that offers ocean views, including the harbor with all the boats and views of Walton Lighthouse. There's also a walking trail that traverses the harbor.

Santa Cruz Harbor RV Park

• Number of sites: 12 RV sites

• Rates: $52 daily

• Type of hookup: Full hookups

• Electrical Amps: 30/50

• Water: Yes

• Sewer: Yes

• Pet-friendly: Yes

• Showers: No

• Other amenities: A free water taxi between the north harbor and the beach is available between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Santa Vida RV Park

The Santa Vida RV Park is located just minutes from the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. It's a 23-acre park that's set inside a forest of redwoods, madrone and oak trees. There are multiple walking trails throughout the park.

Santa Vida RV Park

• Number of sites: 45

• Rates: Call for rates

• Type of hookup: 40 Full hookups

• Electrical Amps: 30

• Pet-friendly: Yes

• Showers: Yes

• Other amenities: Playfield, a creek that runs through the park

Santa Cruz Redwoods RV Resort

This pristine RV resort is ideally situated in the redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains on the San Lorenzo River. Henry Cowell State Park is next door, and there are plenty of trails and waterfalls all around the resort. Activities like horseback riding and mountain biking are available nearby. An additional perk is the spacious clubhouse with seating for 75. It's completely equipped for events and gatherings and has a pool table, flat-screen TV, piano, Wi-Fi and kitchen.

Santa Cruz Redwoods RV Resort

• Number of sites: Call for information

• Rates: Call for rates

• Type of hookup: Full hookups

• Electrical Amps: 30/50

• Wi-Fi: Yes

• Pet-friendly: Yes

• Showers: Yes

• Other amenities: River swimming, fishing, three-level wooden treehouse/fort for children ages 3 - 11

RV Rentals Near New Brighton State Beach

Nearby RV Rentals


What to Do at
New Brighton State Beach

During your visit, make sure to take time to stop by the park's Pacific Migrations Visitor Center. There, you can learn about the history of the people and the animals that have called the area home across generations. Pick up a souvenir at the park's store while you're there. Kids can join in the park's free Junior Ranger program during the summer, and if you're staying at the park overnight, you'll want to join in on the seasonal ranger-led campfire programs as well. The park's sandy beach stretches along the coastline for about a mile, offering panoramic ocean views from along the bluffs and the shoreline. Take a hike, play a game of volleyball, or just relax and work on your tan while visiting this stunning California state park.

Visitors flock to New Brighton State Beach year-round to enjoy the gorgeous ocean views and to enjoy a dip in the water when the weather is warm. Winter is the best time for surfing, so bring a wetsuit if you want to enjoy the swells during cooler weather.

Inside New Brighton State Beach

New Brighton State Park is conveniently located near the beaches of Monterey Bay and the Santa Cruz Mountains. Inside the park, the Pacific Migrations Visitor Center offers a historical interpretation of the human and natural history of the area. It also features a park store. Visitors can participate in swimming, hiking, boogie boarding, paddle boarding and winter surfing. There is a large picnic area available for reservation, and the park features Campfire and Junior Ranger programs during the summer months.

Fishing Fishing

The sandy shoreline of New Brighton State Beach is perfect for fishing. Bait your line for California halibut, or try surf fishing with gulp worms to see what you can catch. Anglers report catching perch, jacksmelt, and striped bass.

Geocaching Geocaching

The park actively encourages geocaching, and there's usually at least one cache hidden within the park. Follow the clues to find the treasure, and be sure to bring a pen with you when you go exploring so that you can sign the logbook in the container when you find it.

Nature Watching Nature Watching

Thousands and thousands of bright orange monarch butterflies visit the area in the wintertime in order to stay warm. Head to the eucalyptus and pine groves along the cliffs and look up to see if you can view them clustering together or flittering about.

Flora and Fauna

Along the shoreline, you can find rocky outcrops and tidepools that provide a home to wildlife, such as sea stars, barnacles, sea anemones, mussels, rock crabs, and ocean worms. Gaze at the ocean long enough, and you may spot a dolphin or two. When it comes to flora, the park is dotted with canopies of Monterey cypress trees, eucalyptus trees, pine trees, and shady mature oak trees. Wild-growing berry vines can also be found near the campground.

Hiking Hiking

The park has one 0.9-mile out-and-back trail that offers some scenic views as it winds along the clifftop bluffs. It can get a bit windy along the cliffs, so be sure to dress in layers. There's also a paved and flat multi-use pathway leading from New Brighton State Beach along the coast for about three miles to Seacliff Beach. If you're looking for a longer uphill jaunt, head out to the nearby Carmichael Trailhead or the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park, where you'll find plenty of longer excursions.

Swimming Swimming

Swimming is one of the reasons that people love visiting this park. The waters are protected by a nearby cove, making them relatively calm compared to other nearby options. In addition, there are usually lifeguards on duty during the summer months, making this a great swimming beach for those with younger children.


Because the waters are relatively calm, New Brighton State Beach is popular with ocean kayakers. Guided sport fishing and whale-watching tours are available nearby.


Cyclists can enjoy an oceanside ride along a 3-mile trail that leads from New Brighton State Beach to the nearby Seacliff Beach.

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How to Get to
New Brighton State Beach

From Santa Cruz, head south to the town of Capitola and get on State Highway 1, also known as Pacific Coast Highway. From there, take the New Brighton/Park Avenue exit and then take an immediate right. Then, take a left at the first stop sign. This road will take you right to the beach.

By Car

Entering New Brighton State Beach

Parking in the day-use areas costs $10 per vehicle or $9 for seniors. However, if you walk or cycle into the park, there is no entrance fee.

New Brighton State Beach Per Day : $10.0

New Brighton State Beach for Seniors : $9.0

Taking a road trip in an RV is always fun. You get to visit all the places you've been wanting to see, and many times you see interesting places you never knew existed. Of course, you'll be taking many pictures of your fun times on the road, and RVshare would love to see your fondest moments. Send your photos to their memories link at [email protected] so they can share your good times.

Frequently Asked Questions About New Brighton State Beach

What is the best time of year to visit New Brighton State Beach?

The park is popular with locals and tourists alike all year round. The campground is always open, though you'll need to plan in advance as it often reaches capacity during the summer months. Surfers will want to visit during the winter when the swells are at their finest.

What kind of wildlife can be found in New Brighton State Beach?

Shorebirds such as sooty shearwaters fly in from New Zealand during their migrations. In addition, birders may be able to add a variety of raptors and songbirds to their journals. While exploring, you may spot sea lions, sea otters, or dolphins. Several species of butterflies and whales also pass through the area on their annual migration.

Are there designated RV camping spots in New Brighton State Beach?

There are over 100 campsites to choose from when staying overnight. Of those, only nine are reserved for hikers and bikers with tents only, and the rest are suitable for RV camping. You should note, however, that only a few of these sites offer hookups.

Do you have to reserve a camping spot at New Brighton State Beach and what is the cost?

The State of California's online and telephone system charges $7.99 to make a camping reservation at all state parks and beaches. The camping fees at New Brighton State Beach start at $35 per night for a basic site. Campsites with electrical hookups cost $50 per night.

Are pets allowed at New Brighton State Beach?

Yes, your pets are allowed to join you at the campground and in the picnic areas. However, your pets are not allowed on the beach. In addition, your pets must be leashed, and you are expected to clean up after them.