Camping at Manresa State Beach

Peter and I went to Manresa State Beach on Friday night with Dan and Colleen, who was visiting from Seattle. Unfortunately I don’t have many photos as my camera battery died. πŸ™

Just for Jennie, since she was such an awesome wing in our game last night, here’s my review. πŸ˜‰

The beach is pretty easy to get to from anywhere in the Bay Area; you take Hwy 1 south out of Santa Cruz and take the San Andreas exit (there’s a sign at the exit for Sunset and Manresa beaches). Turn right at Sand Dollar Road (about 4 miles later) and follow the signs to the campground.

Manresa camping is “hike-in” only — you drive past the main area to park in a 20-minute-only parking lot near the campsites. One slight criticism I have of the campground is that there are multiple paths from the 20-minute lot in to various camping areas and there are no signs as to which path leads to which numbered sites. I wound up carrying a lot of gear around via the “wrong” path until I found my campsite.

Once you get your gear out of the car (or off your motorcycle, in my case), you’ve got to drive back to the overnight parking area. Once again, there are no signs, but it’s easy to get back to the campgrounds from that parking lot.

The campgrounds themselves are situated on top of a bluff a little ways back from the ocean, so you’re not actually camping on the beach (nor do any of the sites have an ocean view, as far as I can tell). That’s OK, though, the campsites are still nice: pretty big, with multiple flat spots, a fire barrel, a picnic table, and lockers.

We could see a nearby house from our site (and hear their leafblower in the early evening, grrr), but I don’t really expect complete solitude from campgrounds within the Bay Area.


You can see the house in the background in that pic.


The campsites are pretty spacious — it fit one three-person and one five-person tent with tons of room to spare (yeah, yeah, we brought the huge tent; my hubby couldn’t find our three-person πŸ˜‰ ).

The sites are pretty visually isolated with lots of scrub and slight hillsides. We couldn’t see any other camps from our site. Noise does carry, though, and it being Santa Cruz and all, there were a lot of surfers and families camping. The surfers were up pretty late singing and drinking, but that’s what earplugs are for! πŸ˜‰

The campsites are close to a walking path down to the beach. The path is a little steep, but we saw both an old lady in a wheelchair and a guy on crutches on the trail without problems. πŸ˜‰


We had the campsite the farthest from the bathroom (#38) and it still wasn’t all that far. There are three showers and 5 individual locking toilets, all unisex. The bathroom also had a laundry tub.

I think that’s about it. Again, sorry for not having many photos; I’m hoping Colleen and Dan have some more that I can link to later tonight.

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