xHgGrtG-show-poster2x3-aXpIxNN.png

Artbound

Start watching
Tending Nature poster 2021

Tending Nature

Start watching
IYhnPQZ-show-poster2x3-Ytk6YwX.png

Southland Sessions

Start watching
RYQ2PZQ-show-poster2x3-OGargou.jpg

Earth Focus

Start watching
5LQmQJY-show-poster2x3-MRWBpAK.jpg

Reporter Roundup

Start watching
E5VnHdZ-show-poster2x3-PrXshoo.png

City Rising

Start watching
QraE2nW-show-poster2x3-uY3aHve.jpg

Lost LA

Start watching
Member
Your donation supports our high-quality, inspiring and commercial-free programming.
Support Icon
Learn about the many ways to support KCET.
Support Icon
Contact our Leadership, Advancement, Membership and Special Events teams.

4 of Santa Cruz County's Best Campgrounds

redwood santa cruz

This guide is part of KCET's California Coastal Trail series, which looks at the state's massive undertaking to build a trail over 1,000 miles in length along its whole coastline.

Stashed between the imposing Santa Cruz Mountains and the northern coast of Monterey Bay, Santa Cruz County hosts fertile farmlands, redwood forests, and a pristine coastline. From sand dunes to sea bluffs to majestic waterfalls, Santa Cruz offers diverse camping opportunities for those looking for an adventure in northern Monterey Bay.

Below you'll find the following remarkable camping options in Santa Cruz County.

Big Basin Redwoods State Park Campground

Big Basin Redwoods is Californina’s oldest state park. Established in 1902, the park is a haven of monumental trees -- including old growth redwood forest, oaks, and chaparral. Some of the park's ancient coast redwoods are more than 1,000 years old! The park also offers Pacific Ocean views and is dotted with flowing waterfalls. Enjoy this verdant slice of the Santa Cruz Mountains year round. Visit here for reservation information.

Manresa State Beach Campground

A prime camping spot among eucalyptus trees on a bluff overlooking Monterey Bay -- too good to be true? Not at the campground overlooking Manresa State Beach, one of the few in the area that is an all walk-in campground. Many of the 64 sites offer a degree of privacy for those looking for a tranquil stay. Pets are welcome and bathrooms with showers are accessible from every site. Visit here for more information.

Sunset State Beach Campground

One of the most remote beaches in Santa Cruz, Sunset Beach offers the unique opportunity to camp between placid farm fields and the ocean. High dunes adorn parts of Sunset Beach, while 90 campsites are spread around three loops on a bluff above the beach, spaced among a thicket of Monterey cypress and pines. Visit here for reservation information.

New Brighton State Beach Campground

Four miles south of Santa Cruz lies the campground at New Brighton State Beach, a wooded bluff of pine and cypress trees gazing out over the Pacific. 109 family sites offer plentiful views of Monterey Bay from underneath the boughs of this campground's plentiful trees. A well-maintained trail leads guests to the beach below to enjoy kayaking, paddle boarding, and lazing in the sand. Visit here for more information.

Top Image: melfoody/Flickr/Creative Commons License

Support Provided By
Support Provided By
Read More
3/28/1964-Crescent City, CA- Unidentified man (l) stands amid debris-ridden city where martial law was declared after tremendous tidal waves from the Anchorage, Alaska earthquake destroyed 150 businesses and killed at least nine persons. Twelve-foot tidal

How a Deadly Tsunami and Mysterious Boat United Two Cities Oceans Apart

The tragedy at Crescent City, CA not only led to better protective measures, but forged a bond with Rikuzentakata, a Japanese city that was also recovering from the 2011 tsunami disaster. 
Courtesy of Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park

Five of Del Norte County's Best Campgrounds

Del Norte County nurtures excellent camping experiences at the profusely-forested edge of California.
Mill Creek

Five of Del Norte County's Best Hikes

From historic trails through secluded forests to loops that offer vistas of remarkable sea stacks, Del Norte County is a vital destination for hikers seeking a rare California.