Sunset State Beach, Santa Cruz California

The historic Van Laanan farm provides the backdrop for this large park at the south end of Santa Cruz County. Surrounded by fertile farmland, Sunset State Beach features a wooded campground, picnic area, group campground, and 200-foot high dunes (the largest in the country) built up in front of coastal bluff. The beach itself stretches down to where it meets the mouth of the Pajaro River, giving three miles of unobstructed and spectacular shoreline.

Visitors enjoy broad vistas of the Monterey Bay from two main overlooks. During the summer and autumn, it is possible to see large groups of bottle nosed dolphins. The beach features pine trees, mountainous sand dunes, and ocean side picnic spots. Dogs are not allowed on the beach, but are allowed in campsites, on leash at all times.

Sunset State Beach is a gorgeous, remote stretch of sand lying at the foot of bluffs and 200-foot-tall sand dunes that see toy airplane enthusiasts congregate every weekend. A wooded campground with hot water showers (that takes quarters) and picnic areas, Sunset is a popular gathering place for families and groups seeking a getaway that truly feels far from the madding crowd. From Santa Cruz, follow Highway 1 south toward Watsonville and take the San Andreas exit. Follow San Andreas Road several miles past Manresa State Beach and as it curves to parallel the sea and watch for signs

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