Manresa State Beach
Rewarding visitors with broad views of bluff-backed sand and sea, including the Santa Cruz Mountains to the northwest and the Monterey Peninsula to the southwest visitors can enjoy shoreside activities like walking, flying kites, playing sports or sunbathing just a few miles south of Seacliff State Beach at Manresa State Beach.
During the summer months, this beach provides moderately cool weather and surf — perfect for, surfing, skim boarding and boogie boarding.
During the winter months, gray whales can be seen migrating off shore. Visitors may also catch a glimpse of bottlenose dolphins, sea lions, seals and sea otters. Birdwatchers can enjoy a variety of birds found along the shore and up in the campground, including hummingbirds, sparrows, surf scoters and gulls.
Sunset and Manresa state beaches are approximately one mile apart on Highway 1. Parking is limited, so visit early.
Learn more in the California State Parks brochure.
From Highway 1, south of Aptos, take San Andreas Road southwest and continue for 3 miles to Manresa State Beach.
By Bus: Take Santa Cruz METRO route 91x to 56, 69A to 56, or 68 to 56.
Things to doBeach Area
Surfing, boogie boarding and fishing are popular. Dangerous rip currents, frigid water and deep offshore drop-offs make surfing and swimming hazardous.Nature and Wildlife Viewing
The area supports two major
plant communities and associated wildlife: coastal scrub and coastal strand.
At Manresa State Beach, picnic tables along the top of the bluff offer panoramic ocean views.Accessibility
Beach wheelchairs are available for use. Reservations are recommended. Contact the State Park Special Events Office at SCD.email@example.com or 831-335-8487, Monday to Thursday excluding holidays, between 8:00 am and 4:30 pm. Email is preferred.
Fees and Passes
Parking is $10 and supports the park. Credit card payments are encouraged.
Annual State Parks passes also are available to purchase at the entrance kiosk.
- Outdoor shower
- Ramp to the beach
- Junior Lifeguard program
- Beach wheelchairs are available to borrow for day use. Learn more and make a reservation.
Camping is offered at nearby Manresa Uplands State Beach. View the campground map here.
Manresa State Beach is in the region known by local Indigenous Tribes as Calendaruc. The Tribes that lived in Calendaruc stewarded these lands since time immemorial. Centuries of colonial violence led to the removal and displacement of the Calendaruc people. Today, their descendants continue their stewardship and presence here, in partnership with State Parks.
As private development increased in the area, residents concerned about losing public access to the beach became the driving force behind public ownership of sensitive coastal resources. Manresa State Beach was acquired by the State in 1948.
Manresa State Beach supports two major plant communities and associated wildlife: coastal scrub and coastal strand.
- Dogs are allowed on leashes no longer than 6 feet.
- Alcohol is not allowed on the beach or in day-use areas.
- A fishing license is required.