Renowned for its dramatic cliffs and location at the mouth of Tunitas Creek, Tunitas Creek Beach will soon assume its rightful position as a jewel of the California coast to be enjoyed by all. Protected by POST in 2017 and transferred to San Mateo County Parks (SMCP) in 2019, the 58-acre property is on its way to becoming the first new SMCP park since 2014.
The beach has a long and rich history going back to when Indigenous communities tended this bountiful coastline. For many years, it was a destination for locals, fishermen, surfers and other responsible users. But beginning in the mid-2010s, large-scale campouts and parties created mountains of trash and a public safety hazard, prompting a community-led effort to protect the beach.
To preserve the beauty and rich natural resources of the beach and its surroundings, development will be limited. Plans include a 1.5-mile loop trail heading down to the beach and back, as well as a mid-bluff recreation area with facilities, informational kiosks, a picnic area and tiered seating for informal gatherings and educational programs. The beach will remain largely untouched, with previous unofficial hillside trails removed for safety and the landscape restored. Off Highway 1, there will be a paved parking lot with a drop-off zone and overflow capacity.
Top left: Safe parking with space to take in the view, as well as access to a future portion of the California Coastal Trail and a loop trail along the hillside, down to the beach and back. Top right: A bird’s eye view of the mid-bluff recreation area. Middle left: The ADA-accessible mid-bluff recreation area will have gorgeous views, a picnic area, event space, restrooms and beach access. Middle Right: Plenty of space to enjoy the expansive beach while snowy plover habitat is preserved. Bottom Left: A loop trail along the hillside leads down to the beach while providing recreation and stunning views. Bottom Right: A closer look at the mid-bluff recreation area. Renderings provided by WRT.
The community and project partners have all provided input on the features of the new park. Last fall, the general public was engaged through surveys and open meetings offered in English and Spanish. The resulting designs were informed by the community’s desire for a welcoming, accessible park, as well as environmental needs like maintaining habitat for the endangered snowy plover on the beach, addressing invasive plants and soil erosion concerns, and adding to the California Coastal Trail, which will eventually pass through this area.
The park’s conceptual design was approved by the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, and progressive designs and permits are underway. Final plans are expected to be completed by the end of 2021. We look forward to welcoming you, our donors who helped make this project possible, when the park opens to the public by the spring of 2023.
Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) protects open space on the Peninsula and in the South Bay for the benefit of all. Since its founding in 1977, POST has been responsible for saving more than 80,000 acres as permanently protected land in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. Learn more