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Sunset State Beach
Winter Storm Closures
Due to extensive damage sustained during recent winter storms, many state parks in Santa Cruz and San Mateo Counties are fully or partially closed. Staff are currently assessing the condition of the parks for reopening.
Parks that are fully closed include Big Basin Redwoods State Park and Butano State Park.
Parks that are partially closed include Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park (Fall Creek subunit, various trails, and parking lots closed except main parking lot at visitor center), Wilder Ranch State Park (most trails closed; historic complex and Old Cove Landing Trail open), Seacliff State Beach (lower parking lot, picnic areas, and campground closed; visitor center open and pedestrian and bicylist access only at beach level), The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park (closed beyond Winter Gate; Aptos Creek Fire Road inaccessible by vehicle between Margaret's Bridge and old slide), and the Rancho del Oso subunit of Big Basin (East side access to the Nature Center is closed. West side is open from the yellow gate to the horse camp parking lot; Marsh Trail is open from horse camp parking lot to the creek. Waddell beach parking lot is also open.)
A peaceful campground under the pines, picnicking on the beach, and unmatched views of Monterey Bay make Sunset State Beach a favorite year-round destination.
Basic Park Information
CAMPING - Find information about camping rules and regulations on the Camping page.
FEES - There is a $10 vehicle day-use fee. [Regular Sized Auto: $10 (Senior $9, age 62 or older); Bus Parking (10-24 passengers): $50; Bus Parking (25+ passengers): $100]
OCEAN SAFETY - dangerous rip currents, frigid water and deep offshore dropoffs make surfing and swimming hazardous for any but the most experienced surfers.
ALCOHOL is not permitted on the beach or in the day-use area.
DOGS are not permitted on Sunset state beach, except for service animals. Dogs are allowed in the campground on a six-foot maximum leash. Dogs are allowed on leash at nearby Manresa State Beach. For a list of locations you can take your dog in Santa Cruz County, please click here.
HORSES are not permitted on the beach.
FIRES are allowed only in park fire rings.
DRONES are not allowed in the park. To protect wildlife and cultural resources, and for the safety and welfare of visitors and staff, the park is closed to the use of Model Aircraft and Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). Non-motorized gliders are allowed at the designated glider-port located across from the South campground.
WESTERN SNOWY PLOVERS use both Sunset and Manresa state beaches and their foredune areas for nesting, rearing of young, and winter habitat. This bird builds its nest directly on the beach sands. Disturbing a posted plover nesting area is a violation of federal law.
Please click here to arrange an interpretive talk or guided experience for your organized community group (minimum 10 total participants, minimum 2 weeks' lead time). These interpretive services are contingent upon staff availability.