New Brighton State Beach


Craig HerreraThere is nothing like the sound of a crashing wave, a seagull flying up above and the scent of the ocean air while you are camping with friends, family and fido… or in my case, Sasha and Tess! One of my favorite spots to camp is New Brighton State Beach. New Brighton State Beach is nestled right off the northern end of Monterey Bay, in Capitola just south of Santa Cruz off Highway 1. It’s a relaxing trip for those who just want to get away from the crowded beaches, relax and maybe do a little hiking or biking. You can hike or ride your mountain bike on one of the trails. The picnic sites and campground sit up high from the beach, about 30 feet, and you’ll have to hike down to the beach. They do have steps leading down to the beach from the campground.

When I visit, I like to set up a tent on one of the designated sites, but if you have trailer or RV, you can park and hook up there too. They also have restrooms with showers for those of you who are “roughing” it! Just remember to bring your quarters, you will add quarters to the showers for a few minutes of warm water!

I love it because we can take the dogs on the beach from our campsites. Not all beaches in California are pet friendly, but this one is and it’s a playground for the “furry kids.” In these pictures my little dog, Sasha was pulling the leash because she doesn’t always feel like playing in the water. She will grab the leash with her mouth, dig her paws into the sand and try to pull me away from the water! It’s very funny to see! Meantime the big dog, Tess, will run around in the shallow waves, just enough to wet her paws then run away before the waves crash onto her. She rarely likes to stop and pose for a photo like this when she would rather be playing near the water.

Also remember to bring layers of clothes because it is in a part of Monterey Bay that tends to get the fog as you can see from these pictures. So Santa Cruz may have sunshine, while New Brighton State Beach may be in the fog. But when it is sunny, you can lose the layers and run around in shorts and a short-sleeved t-shirt or just get some sun from your beach blanket. This spot really is a peaceful place even if you just want to enjoy one day at the beach and have a picnic then head back home. It takes about 45 minutes to get there from San Jose, it all depends on the traffic conditions, but it is worth the trip if you want a relaxing getaway to a special place. You can pick up some great food in Capitola to barbecue or for a picnic. Capitola, by the way is another great getaway, and in the summer they tend to have jazz concerts by local musicians.

If you visit and decide you want to spend the night either in a tent or a camper trailer or RV, I’d suggest making reservations ahead of time. Since it is a small beach and campground, they tend to fill up fast. Here is a link to the site where you can find more information:… happy trails!

Craig Herrera
NBC11 WeatherPlus Meteorologist


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