Sunset State Beach RV & Campground Guide


Sunset State Beach is a state park located on the Monterey Bay in California. It's a popular state park due to its location directly on the coast and its closeness to many other attractions. Situated in the town of Watsonville, the park is only 15 minutes from the city of Santa Cruz. There are multiple harbors, natural preserves, museums and more to visit while you are in the area. The seasons are mild, with temperatures rarely dipping below 40 degrees F in the winter or rising above 80 degrees F in the summer.

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Spring 44-71 F
Summer 48-76 F
Fall 44-76 F
Winter 40-63 F
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RV Resorts & Campsites in Sunset State Beach

Visiting California's state parks in an RV is a fantastic way to explore the gorgeous surroundings. Sunset State Beach has multiple RV sites, but you can also opt to visit one of the many other enjoyable RV parks in the area. Traveling in your own RV or a rental motorhome from RVshare gives you the freedom of choice for where you want to stay. 

Each of the following RV campgrounds offers its own brand of outdoor fun, and most are family-friendly and welcoming to pets. 

Santa Cruz / Monterey Bay KOA Holiday

This large, family-friendly KOA RV park is located next to Fort Watsonville on Monterey Bay in California. It is within walking distance of the beach and also conveniently close to popular destinations like the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Fisherman's Wharf, the Santa Cruz Boardwalk and Pebble Beach Golf Links. The resort offers a fully stocked camp store plus a clubhouse and kitchen. 

• Rates: Rates vary; contact the campground for pricing

• Type of hookup: Full hookups

• Electrical Amps: 50

• Wi-Fi: Available

• Pool/Hot Tub: Two pools and a hot tub

• Pet-friendly: Kamp K9 Dog Park

• Showers: Yes

• Other amenities: Propane, firewood, bike rentals, clubhouse with kitchen, outdoor movies, game room, outdoor games, jumping pillow, two playgrounds, train

Santa Cruz Harbor RV Park

Santa Cruz Harbor RV Park is located in downtown Santa Cruz. It is within walking distance of Seabright State Beach and Twin Lakes State Beach, and the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is only 2 miles away. You will appreciate the convenient access to numerous beaches and restaurants, downtown Santa Cruz, Capitola and the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Harbor Beach is 1 mile away, and there is a free water taxi that runs between 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. from Memorial Day through Labor Day. 

• Rates: $52 daily

• Type of hookup: Full hookups

• Electrical Amps: 30 and 50

• Wi-Fi: Not available

• Pool/Hot Tub: Two pools and a hot tub

• Pet-friendly: Pets are allowed on a leash

• Showers: No

• Other amenities: On-site campground host, free water taxi

Marina Dunes RV Resort

This RV park is right next to the town of Mari, CA, and features access to 10 miles of undeveloped beachfront on the Monterey Bay. It's a small park that's packed with perks and amenities. Close to Carmel, Pebble Beach, Big Sur and Santa Cruz, this RV park is also within walking distance of Mari State Beach. 

• Rates: $65-$85 daily

• Type of hookup: Full hookups

• Electrical Amps: 20 - 50

• Wi-Fi: Available

• Pool/Hot Tub: Two pools and a hot tub

• Pet-friendly: Yes

• Showers: Yes

• Other amenities: Gift shop, propane, dump station, clubhouse with TV and pool table, laundry, playground, volleyball, horseshoes, exercise facility

Moss Landing KOA Express

This KOA RV park sits right on the beach and is located in the small city of Moss Landing, near the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. A wildlife preserve with a walking trail is nearby. You can also walk from this campground to several restaurants and other amenities in the immediate vicinity.

• Rates: Rates vary; contact the campground for pricing

• Type of hookup: Full hookups

• Electrical Amps: 30 - 50

• Wi-Fi: Available

• Pool/Hot Tub: Two pools and a hot tub

• Pet-friendly: Yes, but with breed restrictions

• Showers: Yes

• Other amenities: Fishing, located next to a harbor

RV Rentals Near Sunset State Beach

Nearby RV Rentals


What to Do at
Sunset State Beach

Inside Sunset State Beach

Sunset State Beach is a serene oceanside state park. The park offers excellent views of Monterey Bay, and there are many year-round events and activities that include Junior Rangers and campfire programs. Camping sites for RVs and walking trails are in the park. Visitors can surf-fish, with typical catches of perch, sardines, and striped bass. There are picnic tables and two large pavilions that you can reserve as well as a glider port.

Outside Sunset State Beach

When you are ready to leave Sunset State Beach, you'll find plenty of outside opportunities for visiting attractions, eating out and shopping in Watsonville, Santa Cruz and the surrounding areas. 


The Farm House

This farm-to-table restaurant is waiting for you on Green Valley Road in the town of Freedom. The food is locally sourced and has a large variety, with many choices for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Its breakfast offerings include omelets, eggs Benedict and large, ranch-sized specials.

Type: Farm-to-table

Location: Freedom, CA

Zameen at the Hangar

Zameen's is a Mediterranean-style restaurant on Aviation Way in Watsonville that offers items like gyros, wraps, sandwiches and salads. The dishes feature lamb, beef and various types of seafood. It is open for lunch and dinner.

Type: Mediterranian

Location: Watsonville, CA

Kong's Burger Café

Head to this ultimate burger joint on E. Beach Street in Watsonville where it seems that everything and anything is presented as a delicious burger. It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Type: Burgers

Location: Wastonville, CA

Sukhothai Restaurant

This is a popular Thai restaurant on Watsonville's Main Street. Its signature dishes are pad thai, spicy fried rice and satay chicken. Chefs ensure that their vegetarian dishes are truly vegetarian. It's open for lunch and dinner.

Type: Thai

Location: Watsonville, CA

Mike's Hotdogs

Sometimes, you just want an awesome hot dog. Mike's Hotdogs, located on Freedom Boulevard in Watsonville, serves a variety of them in numerous styles and also features different lumpias. It is open for lunch and dinner.

Type: Hotdogs

Location: Watsonville, CA


Pacific Avenue

This street is a downtown shopping district in Santa Cruz that was formerly known as the Pacific Garden Mall. Today, it still has a unique selection of shops and eateries that are sure to please.

Location: Santa Cruz, CA

Santa Cruz Flea Market

This is a large and varied flea market in Santa Cruz, with truly something for everyone.

Location: Santa Cruz, CA

Botanic and Luxe

This is a gift shop with interesting and one-of-a-kind items.

Location: Santa Cruz, CA

Tipsy Gypsy Boutique

This is a trendy store without the trendy prices. They feature women's clothing in boho style.

Location: Tahoe City, CA


Tomboy is a shop that specializes in vintage and gently pre-owned merchandise in a consignment setting. They offer men's and women's clothing.

Location: Santa Cruz, CA


Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

This is a great family destination that won't break the bank. Entrance is free, and you can choose between wristband access or tickets per ride at the oceanside amusement park. The Boardwalk has many historic roller coasters, some of which were built in the 1920s. There are family rides, children's rides, laser tag, bowling, a climbing tower, miniature golf and more.

Location: Santa Cruz, CA

Santa Cruz Wharf

The Santa Cruz Wharf dates back to 1914. Today, it serves as a fishing pier and a great spot for viewing the bay. There are many things to see on the wharf and numerous restaurants and shops on the pier. The pier is home to sea lions, and you'll also see different species of whales and dolphins in season. You can rent fishing equipment, kayaks and boats there.

Location: Santa Cruz, CA

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center

This interesting facility features several interactive exhibits that are educational in nature. These exhibits include the Biodiversity Kelp Forest, an Open-Ocean Mini-Theater and an Intertidal Touchpool.

Location: Monterey Bay, CA

Natural Bridges State Beach

This iconic landmark is a unique sea arch that extends out into the bay from the beach. From April to November, you can watch migrating whales. You may also catch views of sea otters and seals offshore. There are tide pools that hold sea stars, crabs, anemones and other awe-inspiring ocean inhabitants. From October to February, the Monarch Grove natural preserve is host to large groups of monarch butterflies, which visit the eucalyptus trees for food during their migration.

Roaring Camp Railroad

The Roaring Camp Railroad is an old-timey train ride that meanders through scenic Santa Cruz. The station is located in Felton and has two different routes. The train rides are on the weekends in the fall and spring and daily in the summer. Take a ride through the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park into the San Lorenzo River Gorge or go through beautiful redwood groves as you head up Bear Mountain. 

Location: Felton, CA

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How to Get to
Sunset State Beach

Sunset State Beach is in Watsonville, 16 miles south of Santa Cruz. From Highway 1, take the San Andreas Road exit. Continue south to Sunset Beach Road, and then go to the west entrance of the park.

By Car

Entering Sunset State Beach

For exact park hours, Sunset State Beach asks that you call them at (831) 763-7063. If you're camping in the park, checkout time is 12:00 p.m. 

Sunset State Beach Regular sized auto : $10.0

Seniors age 62 or older, $9

Sunset State Beach Bus parking : $50.0

10-24 passengers

Sunset State Beach Bus parking : $100.0

25+ passengers

Sunset State Beach has everything you could want in an oceanside vacation experience. The ocean and sand are relaxing, and there are many natural sites of interest all around. It is also a wonderful place to start your road trip through the state of California. RVshare would love to share your memories when you email them to the site at [email protected] Make sure to tag RVshare on social media, too!

Frequently Asked Questions About Sunset State Beach

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

With stunning views of Monterey Bay, Sunset State Beach is a pleasure to visit any time of the year. However, most visitors feel more comfortable during summer, when temperatures are milder.

What is the climate of Sunset State Beach?

The climate of Sunset Beach State Park is coastal. Expect warmer summers and milder winters. Fog rolls in during the morning and burns off as the sun rises throughout the day.

What kind of wildlife can be found in Sunset State Beach?

The wildlife at this state park is like no other. Visitors can watch sea otters, dolphins, and gray whales play in their natural habitats. There are also plenty of shorebirds, gopher snakes, and red-tail hawks.

Are there designated RV camping spots in Sunset State Beach?

At Sunset State Park, you'll find 90 RV sites that include a combination of back-in and pull-in sites for campers 31 feet or less, although none of the sites at the park have full hookups.

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

You will need a reservation to visit Sunset State Beach, as most available campsites fill up quickly! For specific pricing and campsite options, visit the California Department of Parks and Recreation website to learn more.