Seacliff State Beach – Last Minute Beachfront Camping

Seacliff State Beach Moonrise

On a whim, Gianna and I decided to try to get a spot at one of our all time favorite, close to home campgrounds, Seacliff State Beach.

Most of the campsites are reserved in advance through Reserve America (typically 6 months in advance and they go quick) but the campground keeps a handful of sites out of the reservation pool just for people to walk up.

The Lottery at Seacliff State Beach

Seacliff SB has an interesting way to hand out the open campsites, they conduct a lottery.  You need to be there with your “fully self-contained RV” and register at the gate house before noon.  At 12:25 everyone shows up at the gate house and the ranger draws chips out of a bag to select who goes first, second, and so on.  This was the weekend before Labor Day and there were eight RVs looking to get in and there were nine spots.  Whoever’s name is called, they get to pick from any of the open spots.  After they sign in, next person is called and they pick from the remaining spots, and so on.  I think we were #6 and we picked spot A9.

Seacliff SB has two types of sites:

  • Full Hookup – All 25 of these can be reserved online so they are rarely available in the lottery.  Each of these sites has a small sand/grass area with a picnic table and a fire ring.  If you pick full hookup site in the lottery, you can only stay for one night.
  • Dry camping – The A, B, and C lots do not have any hookup and you are basically camping in a beachfront parking lot.  You need to bring your own fire ring if you want a campfire.  If you pick dry camping site in the lottery, you can stay up to seven days!
  • Seacliff State Beach Lottery
    RVs waiting for the lottery in the upper parking lot

The Pier and the Palo Alto

Seacliff SB has a nice fishing pier with an old concrete boat, the Palo Alto, parked at the end.  The Palo Alto was built in WW1 as a tanker but it never saw service.  The ship was brought to Seacliff in 1929 and was turned into a dance hall and cafe.

  • Seacliff State Beach - The pier and the Palo Alto
    The pier and the Palo Alto

The Campground Vibe

Seacliff SB is divided into two sections, the day use area and the campground.  The campground beach is not very crowded.  Most people enjoy walking their dogs up and down the promenade in front of the RVs.  This is a great place to relax and do some serious people watching!

Gianna Holle relaxing at Seacliff State Beach

Relaxing at our campsite

  • Seacliff State Beach at sunset
    The sunset and the RVs in the distance

Sergio joined us Friday evening and spent the night at Hotel Holle

Brian Holle, Gianna Holle, and Sergio Rosas at Seacliff State Beach after sunset

Sergio and Gi by the fire

Nightime Fun

The campground is fairly quiet after sunset but several sites are all decked out for parties.  This is a very social and fun place.

  • Seacliff State Beach Party
    The light show at site A3

What we learned

  • Don’t park your car overnight just outside of the front gate.  Sergio found out the hard way with a $71.50 ticket.
  • This is our 8th time here so we didn’t learn many new things.  But sometimes the best places to camp may be just down the street.

Dates visited

  • August 28-30, 2015

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