Equinox for Everyone! Come any time, leave any time. Take note of the turn of the seasons at a Seacliff State Beach (southeast of Santa Cruz) with your new friends. This beach stays open until 10pm, and 90% of the fun is staying at the beach into the night to watch the fire. Seacliff has lovely, rustic barbecue thingies (not fire rings), semi-covered picnic tables, restrooms, drinkable water, and a wonderful Visitor Center right there.
Directions: From Highway 1 take the State Park Drive exit (NOT Park Ave.) and drive toward the ocean. The park entrance is at the end of State Park Drive.
Parking options: 1. $10 to park closest to the picnic site. The money supports the park’s expenses. 2. Park out in the neighborhood above the beach for free. 3. Free parking is also available about 200 yards south at Rio del Mar State Beach, at the end of Rio Del Mar Boulevard, Aptos. Google the driving directions for that.
Picnic Area: Covered picnic tables with raised barbecues are available on a first-come basis. Alcohol is prohibited.
Visitor Center: open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday – Sunday. Exhibits include the natural and cultural history of the area, including Seacliff’s cement ship, marine fossil beds, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. It also has an aquarium and viewing tank with ocean creatures to see up close. Kids are fascinated with these!
Our first order of business is to snag a spot for the evening’s beach event, which features a not-quite-bonfire in a nice avant-garde aerial barbecue. Getting the desired table(s) may require an obscenely early start—like before 6 a.m., depending on how many people in Northern California decide to picnic at the beach that day. Sunrise in Santa Cruz on Saturday, Sept. 23, is at a little before 7:00, by which time all tables and barbecues could be already claimed. We can’t let that happen! (On the other hand, maybe all of those 15 million people will sleep late that day.)
Bring a hot beverage if you can; otherwise, we’ll make a run to Marianne’s Ice Cream & Cafe when they open at 6:30.
What you can bring:
Food to share
Warm clothing (dress in layers)
We’re going to be there enjoying each other’s company for awhile, so maybe bring a sleeping bag to accommodate a morning nap?
Parking, restrooms, and a water fountain are nearby, and a couple of restaurants are pretty close, too. The world-famous Scarlet Letter flag will fly at the chosen site so your buddies can find us.
(This is a Member Suggested Meetup (MSM). Read ACSJ’s MSM policy. )