New Brighton State Beach

Central Coast

Heading east of Santa Cruz to Capitola, New Brighton State Beach is a quieter place for a swim, paddle boarding or camping on a forested bluff.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Central Coast attractions

1. Seacliff State Beach

1.22 MILES

Seacliff State Beach harbors a ‘cement boat,’ a quixotic freighter built of concrete that floated OK, but ended up here as a coastal fishing pier. During…

2. Forest of Nisene Marks State Park

1.65 MILES

Just north the Santa Cruz seaside suburb of Aptos, this State park offers ipcnic spots and the opportunity to hike, jog, or bike on 30 miles of trails in…

3. Moran Lake County Park

2.87 MILES

With a good surf break and bathrooms, this pretty all-around sandy spot is further east of 26th Ave off E Cliff Dr.

4. Twin Lakes State Beach

3.69 MILES

Big beach with bonfire pits and a lagoon, good for kids and often fairly empty. It’s off E Cliff Dr.

5. Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History

4.27 MILES

The collections at this pint-sized museum include stuffed-animal mounts, Native Californian cultural artifacts and a touch-friendly tide pool that shows…

6. Mystery Spot

4.65 MILES

A kitschy, old-fashioned tourist trap, Santa Cruz's Mystery Spot has scarcely changed since it opened in 1940. On a steeply sloping hillside, compasses…

7. Main Beach


The scene in Santa Cruz, with a huge sandy stretch, volleyball courts and swarms of people. Park on E Cliff Dr and walk across the Lost Boys trestle to…

8. Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

4.72 MILES

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk has been an Americana classic like few others for over a century. Now as in 1907 when the amusement park first opened, the…