A unique pier in Aptos isn't just a pier...it also contains part of a
cement ship that once floated offshore as an entertainment vessel for
dining, dancing and fun. Seacliff State Beach.
Leashed pets are permitted at Rio del Mar & Seacliff State Beach, subject to
Cement Ship at Seacliff Beach
extends into the Pacific Ocean, joined to the Seacliff Beach pier. Known as The Palo Alto
cement ship, you'll find the scenic ship located south of Santa Cruz off
Highway 1, at Seacliff State Beach. This two mile, sandy beach at the foot
of sandstone cliffs offers day parking, camping, swimming, fishing, bicycling
and roller blading for starters. The pier is easily viewed from the air as
you fly out of destinations such as Monterey that sometimes take a loop
north over the ocean to turn around and head south to Los Angeles area.
(see aerial photo)
Docked at the foot of a pier, Palo Alto has gone to the
birds, so to speak. It was built at the Oakland shipyard in 1918 as a supply
ship for the World War I effort. The war ended before she ever saw service
and with time on her hands, she was sold to the Seacliff Amusement Company
of Nevada, and towed in 1929 to what would later become Seacliff State
Beach. A casino and dance hall, arcades and entertainment were featured
on this monster party boat until its owners went belly when the Great Depression
rocked the world in the early 1930's.
Today, the Palo Alto lays in pieces on the floor of the Monterey
Bay, tenuously connected to a fragile pier which was damaged in recent
storms. One of the most photographed landmarks of the region, birds have
discovered a haven not accessible to humans. Take a pair of binoculars
to watch the hundreds of birds that sit on the ship. Beach facilities where
you can enjoy watching birds include a beautiful stretch of sandy beach,
covered picnic areas with barbecues public restrooms, trailer campsites
and an interpretive center which has natural and local cultural history
For more information, call (831) 685-6444 or 685-6500.
Seacliff State Beach 201 State Park Drive Aptos,
CA 95003 (831) 685-6444 An expansive white sand beach
offers picnic facilities for day use, and RV camping. Call for RV reservations.
Parking fee charged. Open sunrise to sunset.
Seacliff State Beach Visitor Center State Park Drive Aptos,
CA 95003 (831) 685-6444 Extensive exhibits about "The Palo Alto Cement
Ship" along with natural history, marine and plant life exhibits. Books
on marine and plant life, history, etc. Call for hours.