New Brighton State Beach

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New Brighton State Beach
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Location Santa Cruz County, California
Nearest city Capitola
Coordinates 36°58′42″N121°56′15″W / 36.97833°N 121.93750°W / 36.97833; -121.93750 Coordinates: 36°58′42″N121°56′15″W / 36.97833°N 121.93750°W / 36.97833; -121.93750
Governing body California Department of Parks and Recreation
Stairs to campgrounds New Brighton State Beach1.jpg
Stairs to campgrounds

New Brighton State Beach is a 95 acre beach park on Monterey Bay in Santa Cruz County, California, consisting of a beach and campgrounds. 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.

Acre Unit of area

The acre is a unit of land area used in the imperial and US customary systems. It is traditionally defined as the area of one chain by one furlong, which is exactly equal to 10 square chains, ​1640 of a square mile, or 43,560 square feet, and approximately 4,047 m2, or about 40% of a hectare. Based upon the International yard and pound agreement of 1959, an acre may be declared as exactly 4,046.8564224 square metres. The acre is a statute measure in the United States and was formerly one in the United Kingdom and almost all countries of the former British Empire, although informal use continues.

Monterey Bay bay of the Pacific Ocean in California, United States

Monterey Bay is a bay of the Pacific Ocean located on the coast of the U.S. state of California. The bay is south of the major cities of San Francisco and San Jose. The county-seat city of Santa Cruz is located at the north end of the bay. The city of Monterey is on the Monterey Peninsula at the south end. The Monterey Bay Area is a local colloquialism sometimes used to describe the whole of the Central Coast communities of Santa Cruz and Monterey counties.

Santa Cruz County, California County in California

Santa Cruz County, California, officially the County of Santa Cruz, is a county on the Pacific coast of the U.S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 262,382. The county seat is Santa Cruz.



This 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.

San Jose, California City in California, United States

San Jose, officially the City of San José, is the economic, cultural and political center of Silicon Valley, and the largest city in Northern California. With an estimated 2017 population of 1,035,317, it is the third-most populous city in California and the tenth-most populous in United States. Located in the center of the Santa Clara Valley, on the southern shore of San Francisco Bay, San Jose covers an area of 179.97 square miles (466.1 km2). San Jose is the county seat of Santa Clara County, the most affluent county in California and one of the most affluent counties in the United States. San Jose is the most populous city in both the San Francisco Bay Area and the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland Combined Statistical Area, which contain 7.7 million and 8.7 million people respectively.

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. [1]


The rocky shores of New Brighton Park are home to many wildlife inhabitants such as mussels, sea stars, barnacles, rock crabs, sea anemones, and ocean worms. Fish populations around the pier include flounder, sole, halibut, mackerel, lingcod, jacksmelt, cabezon, anchovy, perch, kingfish, steelhead, and salmon. Other animals that inhabit the park include pelicans, dolphins, sea otters, sea lions, and migrating whales. In the summer and early fall, a species of seabirds called sooty shearwaters migrate north by the thousands from southern regions as far away as New Zealand. These birds fly over the ocean in figure eights as they hunt for anchovies. [2]

Tall grasses and scrubby vegetation grow along the beach. The park is surrounded by oak trees, Monterey cypress trees, eucalyptus trees, and soaring pine trees. Wild berry vines surround the campsites of the park. [3]


New Brighton Park is located in the coastal region of Santa Cruz County where the annual average high is 69 °F and the annual average low is 45 °F. The average amount of rainfall this region receives in a year is 29.0 inches. [4]


New Brighton Park has a visitor center containing exhibits and educational programs about various wildlife. Other facilities at the park include restrooms, showers, lifeguards, picnic areas, fire pits, and a dump station. The park also contains over one hundred tent and RV campsites. [5]

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  1. Lydon, Sandy. "Why is New Brighton State Beach Not Called China Beach?". Sandy Lydon's Central Coast Secrets. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
  2. "New Brighton State Beach". California Department of Parks and Recreation . Retrieved 7 December 2014.
  3. "New Brighton State Beach". Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
  4. Ostertag, Rhonda & George; Ostertag, Rhonda (2001). California state parks : a complete recreation guide (2nd ed.). Seattle, WA: Mountaineers Books. ISBN   0-89886-762-2.
  5. Puterbaugh, Parke; Bisbort, Alan (1996). California Beaches. San Francisco, CA: Foghorn Press.