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New Brighton State Beach, Capitola
(3.9/5 based on 120+ reviews on the web)
New Brighton State Beach is a 95 acre park consisting of a beach and camping grounds. The park is located east of Santa Cruz in Capitola, on Park Avenue off of Highway 1. The park is adjacent to Seacliff State Beach, which is known for its fishing pier and sunk concrete freighter, The Palo Alto. The beach overlooks Soquel Cove and Monterey Bay.HistoryThis cove was originally called China Beach after the Chinese fishermen that settled the region in the 1850s. These residents were vital to the construction of the California railroad and provided labor and food to the Santa Cruz region. By the 1870s, fisherman of other ethnicities began to enter the region, forcing out many of the Chinese residents. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 contributed to the demise of the village and by 1900, the village no longer existed and few remnants of its existence remained. During the late 1870s, Thomas Fallon began development of a small resort east of China Beach. Fallon was an immigrant from Ireland and the ex-mayor of San Jose (1859-1863). He named his campground Camp San Jose in the hopes of attracting tourists from San Jose. However, the name did not do as he had hoped and in 1882 Fallon renamed the campground New Brighton. In 1933, the state of California purchased the land where China Beach had previously been with the intention of converting the land into a state park. After its purchase, the land remained unnamed for many years, but was eventually named New Brighton State Park by the Director of State Parks.
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  • This is a fairly large campground close to a wonderful beach and beautiful Capitola. It is relatively close to the 101 so depending on where your site is located a freeway hum is almost unavoidable. W...  more »
  • This is a lovely beach and, during good weather, very popular so be prepared for lots of people. There is a day use fee ($10.00 ??) and sometimes there aren't enough parking places. We didn't camp, bu...  more »
  • Great Location, easy access to town, freeway and so very beautifull!....Great for families, pets, and Showers are incredible..Easy walk to beach and hiking trails... 
  • One of the best Hiker/Biker setups in the State Park system. Just beware that all State campgrounds are over loved and used to the limits of their capacities. Good job here of extending a welcome to the international bike touring community. California residents please vote to maintain and improve our aging park infrastructure. Thank you.
  • This beach is like a private beach. Was not very crowded, there was a lot of space to set up on the sand for our family. The walk from the car to the sand was not far at all, but there were some stairs to go down. We were able to bring down an ice chest, folding chairs and blankets. It helps to have helpers with you. There are restrooms, although we didn't use them (we brought the potty chair for our littles). There are a few fire pits set up so you can build a fire (bring your own wood) which was nice. Over all, I would recommend visiting this beach.
  • The cliffs add an exotic feel to New Brighton. Camping spots are flat and visible to all other campers, but still a great time. You won't regret hearing the sound of the waves at night.
  • You can't beat falling asleep to the sound of the crashing waves. Enjoyed our day at the beach, lots of people on a sunny day but plenty of space for more. The trail from the campground to the beach parking lot is easy for most people. The other trail from the campground directly to the beach is a little more difficult with many stairs but still easy for most people. The view from the cliff is one of the reasons we keep coming back.
  • Great state park. They posted a sign that no showers, flushed toilets and water to be turned off for three days. But it lasted one day so that was good news. Like the campground, accessible to the beach. Walked to Capitola.