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Central Coast Camping

Central Coast Camping Overview

Central Coast

Campgrounds on the Central Coast number in the hundreds. Find Central Coast beach camping from Santa Cruz to Santa Barbara with conveniences like flush toilets and showers, as well as popular and unique campgrounds to help you narrow the choice. These include National Parks, State Parks, State Beaches, National Forests, State Forests, County Parks and privately owned camping resorts. Central Coast camping varies from beach camping in Monterey, Pismo Beach or El Capitan to a campground by the lake at Lake Nacimiento, Lopez Lake or Lake Cachuma. Central Coast campgrounds of notable interest include the campsites situated track side at Laguna Seca Raceway and the canoe-in campsites at Santa Margarita Lake. We've included as much detail as possible so you have a better idea of what to expect and whether camping reservations are required in advance.

PETS: Dogs are allowed at almost all campgrounds but must be kept on a leash, picked up after, and never left unattended. Most beach camping allows dogs in the campground but not on the beach.

pdf CAMPING CHECKLIST - download our checklist of common camping supplies and you won't forget anything at home.

REI - rents camping equipment including tents, sleeping bags, stoves, lanterns and more.

Looking for some late night campsite entertainment? Check out www.seasky.org for their celestial calendar including meteor showers.

Santa Cruz Camping

New Brighton Campground is located off PCH (highway 1 - Pacific Coast Highway) in Capitola. This park features beach camping, picnic areas, swimming, fishing and a nearby forest of Monterey pine and Coastal Live Oak. The camping area is on a bluff overlooking northern Monterey Bay. Campground offers 111 campsites for tent and RV camping. Amenities include a picnic table, fire ring, showers and flush toilets. RV dump station available. Reservations required.

New Brighton State Beach Campground
1500 Park Avenue
Capitola, California 95010
(831) 464-6330
Map  |   Reservations  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Manresa Campground is located off PCH (highway 1 - Pacific Coast Highway) west of Watsonville. This park features beach camping, picnic areas, swimming, fishing and clamming. The camping area is on a bluff overlooking northern Monterey Bay. Campground offers 64 campsites for tent and RV camping. Amenities include a picnic table, fire ring and flush toilets. Reservations required.

Manresa State Beach Campground
Manresa Beach Road
Watsonville, California 95076
(831) 761-1795
Map  |   Reservations  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Sunset Campground is located off PCH (highway 1 - Pacific Coast Highway) in Watsonville. This park features pine trees, sand dunes, beach camping and oceanside picnicking. Bordered by large agricultural fields west of the city of Watsonville, the beach is a year-round destination for locals and tourists alike. Campground offers 89 campsites for tent and RV camping. Amenities include a picnic table, fire ring, showers and flush toilets. RV dump station available. Reservations recommended.

Sunset State Beach
201 Sunset Beach Road
Watsonville, California 95076
Reservations: (800) 444-7275
Map  |   Reservations  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Mt. Madonna Campground is located off Highway 152 west of Gilroy. The park features a visitor center, four campgrounds, hiking trails, equestrian trails and an archery range. Activities include hiking, horseback riding, archery, picnicking and camping. Campground offers 118 campsites for tent and RV camping. Amenities include a picnic table, barbecue pit, food locker, showers and flush toilets. RV dump station available. Several yurts are also available with bunk beds, futons and a wrap-around deck. Reservations recommended.

Mt. Madonna County Park Campground
7850 Pole Line Road
Watsonville, CA 95076
(408) 842-2341
Map  |   Reservations  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Coyote Lake Campground is located off Highway 101 northeast of Gilroy. The park features a visitor center, campground by the lake, hiking trails and a large lake. Activities include hiking, picnicking, camping, fishing, boating and skiing. Campground offers 73 campsites for tent and RV camping. Amenities include a picnic table, fire ring, showers and flush toilets. RV dump station available. Reservations recommended.

Coyote Lake Campground
Harvey Bear Ranch County Park
10840 Coyote Lake Road
Gilroy, CA 95020
(408)355-2201
Map  |   Reservations  |   Website  |   Other Ideas

Monterey Camping

Laguna Seca campground

Laguna Seca Campground is located in between Monterey and Salinas off Highway 68. The campground is part of the Laguna Seca race complex including a golf course and rifle & pistol range. Campground is split into 3 camps offering a total of 177 campsites for tent and RV camping. Amenities include a picnic table, fire ring, showers and flush toilets. Chaparral and Can-Am campgrounds include level blacktop pads with water and electricity hook-ups for RVs. dump station available. The Grand Prix Campground has level dirt pads for tent campers. Many of the north facing campsites have terrific views of the racetrack and the rest of the campsites have panoramic views of coastal rolling hills. Reservations recommended.

TIP: This campground is kept very clean and hot showers are free. Between the racetrack, nearby airport and the outdoor shooting range down the hill from Chaparral Campground, it's not exactly a get-away to nature. But it's great fun to take a moment to watch cars racing on the track from your campsite. Even when there's not an event, the racing school still runs cars on the track. Be ready for the 16% grade to climb up to the campgrounds. It's only about a quarter-mile distance but we saw some motorhomes disconnecting tow vehicles before the ascent.

Laguna Seca Recreation Area
1025 Monterey Salinas Highway 68
Salinas, California 93908
Reservations: (888) 588-2267
Map  |   Call for Reservations  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Arroyo Seco Campground is located in Carmel Valley off Arroya Seco Road and Highway 101, in Greenfield. Activities include camping, hiking, mountain biking, backpacking, hunting, fishing, swimming and horseback riding. A small lake and nearby river provide swimming and fishing opportunities. Arroyo Seco is situated on a hillside with plenty of shade-bearing oak trees. Campground offers 34 modern campsites for tent and RV camping and additional primitive campsites. Amenities include a picnic table, fire ring, barbecues, showers and flush toilets. Reservations required.

Arroyo Seco Campground
47600 Arroyo Seco Road
Greenfield, California 93927
(831) 674-5726
Map  |   Reservations  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Big Sur Camping

Andrew Molera Campground is located off PCH (Highway 1 - Pacific Coast Highway) in Big Sur. Popular activities at Andrew Molera State Park include camping, hiking, fishing and beach combing. The Big Sur River runs through the park where seasonal bridges are installed during the wet season. A primitive walk-in campground offers 24 campsites in this relatively undeveloped park. First-come, first-served.

Andrew Molera State Park Campground
47555 Highway 1
Big Sur, California 93920
(831) 667-2315
Map  |   No Reservations  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Big Sur Campground is located off PCH (Highway 1 - Pacific Coast Highway) in Big Sur. This popular Big Sur resort offers cabins, tent cabins, tent campsites and full-size RV campsites with water and electric hookups. Activities include camping, hiking, fishing, swimming, inner tubing and beach combing. The Big Sur River runs through the resort offering plenty of refreshing entertainment. Also offered are volleyball and basketball courts. Amenities include a general store, laundry facilities, showers and a playground. Reservations recommended.

Big Sur Campground & Cabins
47000 Highway 1
Big Sur, CA 93920
(831) 667-2322
Map  |   Call for Reservations  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Riverside Campground is located off PCH (Highway 1 - Pacific Coast Highway) in Big Sur. This popular Big Sur resort offers cabins, tent campsites and up to 34' RV campsites with water and electric hookups. Activities include camping, hiking, fishing, swimming, inner tubing and beach combing. The Big Sur River runs through the resort offering plenty of refreshing entertainment. Amenities include a general store, laundry facilities and showers. Reservations recommended.

Riverside Campground & Cabins
Highway 1
Big Sur, CA 93920
(831) 667-2414
Map  |   Reservations  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Fernwood Campground is located off PCH (Highway 1 - Pacific Coast Highway) in Big Sur. This popular Big Sur resort offers cabins, tent cabins, 'Glamping' (glamor camping) tents, tent campsites and full-size RV campsites with water and electric hookups. Activities include camping, hiking, fishing, swimming, inner tubing and beach combing. The Big Sur River runs through the resort offering plenty of refreshing entertainment. Amenities include showers, a general store, restaurant & bar and espresso bar. Reservations recommended.

Fernwood Campground
47200 Highway 1
Big Sur, CA 93920
(831) 667-2422
Map  |   Call for Reservations  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Pfeiffer-Big Sur Campground is located off PCH (Highway 1 - Pacific Coast Highway) in Big Sur. This park hugs the ocean at the mouth of the Big Sur River. The Big Sur Lodge and campsites along the river accommodate visitors. Activities include State Park camping, hiking, swimming, picnicking and horseback riding. Campground offers 218 campsites for tent and RV camping. Amenities include a picnic table, fire ring, showers and flush toilets. RV dump station, general store, Nature Center and laundry facilities on-site. Reservations recommended.

Pfeiffer-Big Sur State Park Campground
47555 Highway 1
Big Sur, California 93920
(831) 667-2315
Map  |   Reservations  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Ventana Campground is located off PCH (Highway 1 - Pacific Coast Highway) in Big Sur. Ventana Campground is tucked away in a lush redwood forest in Post Canyon. Campground offers 92 campsites for tent and RV camping situated along Post Creek. Amenities include a picnic table, fire ring, showers and flush toilets. Nearby amenities include several general stores, restaurants, gift shops and bars. Reservations recommended.

Ventana Campground
48123 Highway 1
Big Sur, California 93920
(831) 667-2712
Map  |   Reservations  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


McWay Fall, Big Sur - photo courtesy of L. Thompson

Julia Pfeiffer Burns Campground is located off PCH (Highway 1 - Pacific Coast Highway) in Big Sur. Spectacularly beautiful McWay Fall drops 80-feet onto the sandy beach below. Part of the park is an underwater reserve. Popular activities at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park include camping, hiking, fishing, scuba diving and beach combing. Camping is available at two primitive walk-in campsites.

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park Campground
47555 Highway 1
Big Sur, CA 93920
(831) 667-2315
Map  |   Reservations  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Limekiln Campground is located off PCH (Highway 1 - Pacific Coast Highway), 2 miles south of Lucia, in Big Sur. The park features astounding views of the Big Sur Coast and historic limekilns. Activities include State Park camping, fishing and hiking. Campground offers 24 campsites for tent and small RV camping. Amenities include a picnic table, fire ring, showers and flush toilets. Reservations recommended.

Limekiln State Park Campground
63025 Highway 1
Big Sur, California 93920
(831) 667-2403
Map  |   Reservations  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Kirk Creek Campground is located off PCH (Highway 1 - Pacific Coast Highway), 4 miles south of Lucia, in Big Sur. Popular activities at Kirk Creek Campground include camping, hiking, fishing, swimming, sunbathing and beach combing. Campground offers 33 campsites for tent and RV camping. No RVs longer than 30 feet. Amenities include a picnic table, fire ring, barbecue and flush toilets. Reservations recommended. Kirk Creek Campground is the closet campground to the ocean in the Big Sur region. A short trail offers ocean access.

Kirk Creek Campground
Highway 1
Big Sur, CA 93920
(805) 434-1996 or (805) 434-9199
Map  |   Reservations  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Plaskett Creek Campground is located off PCH (Highway 1 - Pacific Coast Highway) approximately 30 miles north of San Simeon. Plaskett Creek Campground is situated across the highway from Sand Dollar Beach, Big Sur's largest and most popular beach. Activities include camping, hiking, fishing, swimming, sunbathing and beach combing. Campground offers 44 campsites for tent and RV camping. Amenities include a picnic table, fire ring, barbecue and flush toilets. Reservations recommended. A short trail offers ocean access.

Plaskett Creek Campground
Highway 1
Big Sur, CA 93920
(805) 434-1996 or (805) 434-9199
Map  |   Reservations  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Treebones Resort is located off Highway 1 north of San Simeon in the southernmost region of Big Sur. Treebones Resort is comprised of yurts and tent campgrounds. Yurts are detached circular huts with hardwood floors and canvas roof & sides. Each yurt features a small wood deck overlooking the ocean, fireplaces or space heaters, running water sinks, skylights and queen-size beds. They are basically furnished like you would expect from a hotel with linens, tables, chairs and electric lamps, etc. The campground includes oceanview campsites. Some campsites include an already-assembled tent and they even have a 'Human Nest' campsite that's situated in a tree. The property includes a small lodge & store, around 20 yurts, campsites, and a pool & hot tub. This resort is all about nature with multiple state parks located within a short distance and accommodations with panoramic ocean views. Group nature activities such as kayaking and hiking as well as massage therapy can be arranged through the resort. The lodge offers a limited continental breakfast and dinner (dinner is not included with the room rate). This is a true "Glamping" (glamor camping) experience. There are no convenience stores in the area so bring a cooler with food & snack items, drinks, and even a camp stove or barbecue could come in handy.

TIP: We recommend requesting a yurt with a fireplace rather than a space heater. Also, a separate building houses the restrooms and showers.

Treebones Resort
71895 Highway 1
Big Sur, California 93920
(877) 424-4787
Map  |   Reservations  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Camping off Highway 101

Hollister Hills is located approximately 5 miles south of Hollister off Cienega Road. Hollister Hills is an Off-Road Recreation Area featuring over 150 miles of trails over 4100-acres. The recreation area is split into two areas that include picnic areas, campgrounds, dirt tracks and trails. A total of seven campgrounds include flush toilets and three have hot showers. First-come, first-served.

Hollister Hills SVRA
7800 Cienega Road
Hollister CA 95023
(831) 637-3874

Map  |   No Reservations  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


San Lorenzo Campground is located off Highway 101 north of Paso Robles and south of Soledad. An on-site museum features historic farm equipment, blacksmith shop and King City's train depot. Local attractions include wineries and Spanish missions. Campground offers 83 campsites for tent and RV camping. Amenities include a picnic table, fire ring, barbecues, laundry facility, showers and flush toilets. Many campsites include sewer, water and electric hook-ups for RVs. Reservations recommended.

San Lorenzo Park Campground
1160 Broadway
King City, California 93930
Reservations: (888) 588-2267
Map  |   Call for Reservations  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Pinnacles Campground is located east of Soledad off highway 101. The monument resides on the remains of an ancient volcano. Massive monoliths, spires and sheer-walled canyons create a breathtaking landscape of more than 12,000 acres. Pinnacles is renowned for the beauty and variety of its spring wildflowers. Activities include camping, hiking, rock climbing, caving and wildlife viewing. Monument features include two large caves with an active bat population and Tunnel Trail where a bridge meets a tunnel blasted through solid rock. Campground is situated along side a creek and campsites are shaded by oak trees and offers 125 campsites for tent and RV camping. Amenities include a picnic table, fire ring, showers, and flush toilets. Electric hook-ups and nearby dump station for RVs. General store and Visitor Center on-site. Reservations recommended.

Pinnacles National Park
Visitor Center
5000 Highway 146
Paicines, California 95043
(877) 444-6777
Map  |   Reservations  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Paso Robles Camping

Lake San Antonio Campground is located northwest of Paso Robles off Highway 101. This large lake resort offers four campgrounds with hundreds of campsites for tent and RV camping, cabins, boat rentals, a convenience store, lakeside restaurant and more. Activities at Lake San Antonio include boating, fishing, swimming and water-skiing. This campground by the lake offers conveniences like barbecues, flush toilets and showers. First-come first-served.

NOTICE: San Antonio Reservoir has ceased operation until further notice due to the California drought.

Lake San Anotonio Campground
Star Route, Box 2620
Bradley, California 93426
(800) 310-2313
Map  |   Call for Reservations  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Lake Nacimiento Campground is located northwest of Paso Robles off Highway 101. This large lake resort offers several campgrounds with over 300 campsites for tent and RV camping full-hookup campsites, luxury cabins, boat rentals, a convenience store, lakeside restaurant and more. Activities at Lake Nacimiento include boating, fishing, swimming and water-skiing. This campground by the lake offers conveniences like barbecues, flush toilets and showers. Reservations are required in the more popular campgrounds but many are First-come first-served.

Lake Nacimiento Campground
10625 Nacimiento Lake Drive
Paso Robles, California 93446
(800) 323-3839
Map  |   Call for Reservations  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


San Simeon Camping

San Simeon Campground

San Simeon Campground is located off Highway 1 just north of Cambria. The park includes sandy beaches, coastal wetlands, a freshwater creek and coastal bluffs. An interpretive trail follows the creek through the wetlands to picturesque vantage points. Activities include camping, hiking, fishing, surfing, wildlife viewing and more. Campground offers 115 campsites for tent and RV camping. Amenities include a picnic table, fire ring, showers and flush toilets. RV dump station available. Reservations recommended. Additional, primitive campsites are located further into the park at the Washburn Campground.

San Simeon Campground
Van Gordon Creek Road at San Simeon Creek Road
Cambria, California 93428
Reservations: (800) 444-7275
Map  |   Reservations  |   Website  |   Other Ideas

San Luis Obispo Camping

Santa Margarita Lake

Santa Margarita Lake Campground is located off Highways 101 and 58, northeast of San Luis Obispo. No human contact is allowed with the lake, so swimming is not allowed. Fishing boats, canoes and rowboats are allowed. Swimming is available at a community pool. Activities at Santa Margarita Lake include canoing, fishing, hiking, horseback riding and more. Four campgrounds by the lake offer campsites for tent and RV camping. Two campgrounds are primitive boat-in only campsites. Amenities include a picnic table, fire ring, and flush toilets. RV dump station available. Reservations recommended.

TIP: The north side of the lake is only accessible by boat and offers primitive campgrounds and hiking trails. Boats are available for rent at a small marina. The nearby Shangri-La Ranch offers horseback riding on Santa Margarita Lake trails.

Santa Margarita Lake Campgrounds
4695 Santa Margarita Road
Santa Margarita, California 93453
Reservations: (805) 788-2397
Map  |   Call for Reservations  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Santa Margarita Lake KOA is located off Highways 101 and 58, northeast of San Luis Obispo. Situated less than a mile from Santa Margarita Lake, this campground offers activities like canoing, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, swimming and more. Campground offers 74 campsites for tent and RV camping. Amenities at Santa Margarita Lake include a picnic table, fire ring, barbecue grill, showers and flush toilets. Some campsites have full hook-ups for RVs. Also available are 27 yurts, cabins and lodges. Campground amenities include a general store, laundry facilities, RV dump station, swimming pool, playground, volleyball and basketball courts. Select dates include concerts, star gazer parties and outdoor movie nights. Reservations recommended.

TIP: Shangri-La Ranch is located directly across the road from the campground and will bring horses directly to your campsite for a guided trail ride.

Santa Margarita Lake KOA
4765 Santa Margarita Lake Road
Santa Margarita, CA 93453
(805) 438-5618
Map  |   Call for Reservations  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


El Chorro Campground is located off Highway 1 just north of the Highway 101 in San Luis Obispo. Activities include camping, picnicking, hiking, golfing, volleyball, horseshoes, softball and more. Campgrounds are situated along Dairy Creek, which eventually flows into Morro Bay. The park also includes Dairy Creek Golf Course and a botanical garden. Campground offers 62 campsites for tent and RV camping. Amenities include a picnic table, fire ring, showers and flush toilets. Some campsites have full hook-ups of water, electric and sewer for RVs. First-come, first-served unless reserving multiple campsites.

El Chorro Campground
Dairy Creek Road
San Luis Obispo, California 93405
Reservations: (805) 781-5930, option 4
Map  |   Call for Reservations  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Morro Bay Camping

Morro Bay Campground is located off Highway 1 at the southern end of Morro Bay. The park features a lagoon and natural bay. The bay's most prominent landmark is Morro Rock. Activities include beach camping, sailing, kayaking, fishing, hiking, wildlife viewing and more. An on-site museum has exhibits of cultural history, Native American life, geology, and oceanography. The park also has a marina and an 18-hole public golf course. South of the park is an estuary that is popular for bird watching. Campground offers 134 campsites for tent and RV camping. Amenities include a picnic table, fire ring, showers and flush toilets. RV dump station available. Reservations recommended.

Morro Bay Campground
Morro Bay State Park Road
Morro Bay, California 93442
Reservations: (800) 444-7275
Map  |   Reservations  |   Website  |   Other Ideas

Pismo Beach Camping

Lopez Lake Campground is located off Highway 101 northeast of Arroyo Grande. Activities at Lopez Lake include lake camping, fishing, boating, water-skiing, sailing, windsurfing, picnicking, hiking and horseback riding, mountain biking, birdwatching and more. The marina offers a general store, boat rentals, tackle shop, laundry room and bar & grill with TVs, billiards and games. Boat rentals include everything from ski boats and pontoon boats to stand-up paddleboards and paddle boats. Mustang Water Slides is a water park located within the park. Campgrounds by the lake offer 154 campsites for tent and RV camping. Amenities include a picnic table, fire ring, showers and flush toilets. RV dump station available. Reservations recommended.

Lopez Lake Campgrounds
6800 Lopez Drive
Arroyo Grande, California 93420
Reservations: (805) 788-2381
Map  |   Call for Reservations  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Monarch Butterflies

Pismo Beach Campground is located off Highway 1. This beach has so much to offer. To the north is a wide sandy beach, a pier and a thriving beach community. To the south is a wide sandy beach, beach camping, a Monarch Butterfly preserve and off-roading in the Pismo and Oceano Dunes. Popular activities include surfing, fishing, butterfly viewing, off-roading and camping. Campground offers 98 campsites for tent and RV camping. Amenities include a picnic table, fire ring, showers and flush toilets. RV dump station available. Reservations recommended.

Pismo Beach Campground
555 Pier Avenue
Oceano, California 93445
Reservations: (800) 444-7275
Map  |   Reservations  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Oceano Campground is located off Highway 1 just south of Pismo Beach. A Monarch Butterfly preserve and private lagoon are adjacent to the campground. Off-roading is available in the Pismo and Oceano Dunes to the south. Popular activities include surfing, fishing, butterfly viewing, off-roading, horseback riding and beach camping. Campground offers 22 campsites for tent and RV camping. Amenities include a picnic table, fire ring, showers and flush toilets. All campsites have full hook-ups of water, electric and sewer for RVs. Reservations recommended.

Oceano Campground
540 Air Park Drive
Oceano, California 93445
Reservations: (805) 781-4900
Map  |   Call for Reservations  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Santa Barbara Camping

Jalama Beach Campground is located off Highway 1 between Lompoc and Gaviota. Activities include surfing, windsurfing, kite surfing, beach camping, whale watching, birdwatching, nature photography, rock hounding and fishing. Campground offers 117 campsites for tent and small RV camping. A few cabins are available. Amenities include a picnic table, BBQ pit, flush toilets and showers. General store, grill and RV dump station on site. First-come, first-served.

Jalama Beach Campground
9999 Jalama Road
Lompoc, CA 93436
(805) 736-6316
Map  |   Reservations  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Gaviota Campground is located off Highway 101 in Goleta, approximately 30-miles northwest of Santa Barbara. The park is a popular spot for beach camping, hiking, swimming, picnicking and fishing. A pier on the west end of the beach is used by divers and surfers. A Southern Pacific railroad trestle crosses the creek above the day-use parking lot. Hiking trails lead to a natural hot spring and offer views of the coast and Channel Islands. Sage Hill campground offers 36 campsites for tent and small RV camping. Amenities include a picnic table, fire ring, showers and flush toilets. Reservations recommended.

Gaviota State Park Campground
10 Refugio Beach Road
Goleta, California 93117
(805) 968-1033
Map  |   Reservations  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Refugio Campground

Refugio Campground is located 20-miles west of Santa Barbara off Highway 101. This is a popular beach for beach camping, swimming, picnicking, surfing, fishing and horseback riding. Camping is available just behind the beach at sea level. A bike trail connects Refugio to El Capitan State Beach to the east. Campground offers 67 campsites for tent and RV camping. Amenities include a convenience store, picnic table, fire ring, showers and flush toilets. Reservations recommended.

NOTICE: Refugio State Beach suffered an oil spill off the coast May 2015.

Refugio State Beach Campground
10 Refugio Beach Road
Goleta, California 93117
(805) 968-1033
Map  |   Detailed Map  |   Reservations  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


glamor Camping

El Capitan Canyon Campground is located west of Santa Barbara off Highway 101. They offer the new concept of glamor Camping. Dubbed "Glamping", El Capitan Canyon offers tent cabins and cabins with king-size beds, hardwood floors, private bathrooms with whirlpool tubs and room service. Even spa services are available. The property is tucked into a canyon of sycamore trees and a flowing creek at the base of the Los Padres National Forest. Grounds include a heated swimming pool, general store, deli, restrooms, showers and picnic areas. On Saturday nights during the summer they host concerts near the entrance. Vehicles are not allowed to drive anywhere near the cabins, so visitors must park near the entrance station and are shuttled to their cabins. Bicycles are available to guests at no charge and can be used to navigate the resort or head down to El Capitan State Beach for a picnic or other beach fun.

TIP: This place is top notch. Its location is pristine, food at the deli borders on gourmet and service is friendly and helpful. It gets rave reviews from travel publications across the nation and is a must for anyone who doesn't own a tent or care to, but still would like to be closer to nature. It's a great way to enjoy the nature aspect of one of the most beautiful regions of our Central Coast - without getting dirty.

NOTICE: El Capitan State Beach suffered an oil spill off the coast May 2015.

El Capitan Canyon Campground
11560 Calle Real (El Capitan State Park exit)
Santa Barbara, California 93117
(866) 352-2729
Map  |   Call for Reservations  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


El Capitan State Beach

El Capitan Campground is located west of Santa Barbara off Highway 101. This is a very popular park for camping at the beach. Beach camping is offered among sycamore trees and several creeks flowing to the ocean. A day use area includes picnic tables, barbecues and trash cans on a grassy knoll on the beach. The beach is a long stretch of sand with boulders and tide pools at either end. A bike trail connects El Capitan to Refugio State Beach to the west. Campground offers 131 campsites for tent and RV camping. Amenities include a general store, picnic table, fire ring, showers and flush toilets. Reservations required.

TIP: El Capitan Canyon is located within walking distance on the other side of Highway 101. Campers at the State Beach are welcome to some of their amenities including a general store, deli and summer concerts on Saturday nights. Their deli serves anything from oatmeal to gourmet meals. No need to bring any coolers full of food with this place nearby.

El Capitan State Beach Campground
El Capitan State Beach Road
Santa Barbara, California 93117
(805) 968-1033
Map  |   pdf Detailed Map  |   Reservations  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Lake Cachuma Campground is located north of Santa Barbara off Highway 154. This large lake resort offers several campgrounds by the lake with over 400 campsites for tent and RV camping, cabins, yurts, boat rentals, a convenience store, snack bar & grill, swimming pool and more. Activities at Lake Cachuma include boating, fishing, hiking and wildlife viewing. All campsites are modern with a picnic table, fire ring, barbecue, flush toilets and showers. RV dump station available. All campgrounds are First-come first-served.

Lake Cachuma Campground
Highway 154
Santa Barbara, California 93105
(805) 686-5054
Map  |   Reservations  |   Cabin Reservations  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Rancho Oso Guest Ranch is located off Highway 154 southeast of Lake Cachuma. This all-inclusive resort offers cabins, covered wagon tents, RV and tent camping. Amenities include a heated swimming pool, camp store and laundry facilities. Other activities include a pool table, mini-golf course, tennis court, horseshoe pits, volleyball, basketball, game rooms and more. The stables at Rancho Oso offer horseback riding tours from 1 hour to half-day and traverse the Santa Ynez River Valley.

Rancho Oso Guest Ranch & Stables
3750 Paradise Road
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
(805) 683-5110
Map  |   Call for Reservations  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Upper Oso Campground is located north of Santa Barbara off Highway 154. Activities include hiking, fishing, swimming, and mountain biking. The campground has 22 campsites, some with corrals and extra long parking for trailers, a picnic table, barbecue, fire pit and flush toilets. Fishing is available in the nearby Santa Inez River or Lake Cachuma. Reservations required.

Upper Oso Campground
3505 Paradise Road
Santa Barbara, California 93105
(805) 967-8766
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Santa Ynez Campground is located north of Santa Barbara off Highway 154. Activities include hiking, fishing, swimming, and mountain biking. The campground has 8 campsites for tent and RV camping. Amenities include a picnic table, barbecue, fire pit and flush toilets. Fishing is available in the nearby Santa Inez River or Lake Cachuma. First-come, first-served.

Santa Ynez Campground
Paradise Road
Santa Barbara, California 93105
(805) 968-6640
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Fremont Campground is located north of Santa Barbara off Highway 154. Activities include hiking, fishing, swimming, and mountain biking. The campground has 14 campsites for tent and RV camping. Amenities include a picnic table, barbecue, fire ring and flush toilets. Fishing is available in the nearby Santa Inez River or Lake Cachuma. Reservations recommended.

Fremont Campground
3505 Paradise Road
Santa Barbara, California 93105
(805) 967-8766
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Los Prietos Campground is located north of Santa Barbara off Highway 154. Activities include hiking, fishing, swimming, and mountain biking. The campground has 37 campsites for tent and RV camping. Amenities include a picnic table, barbecue, fire ring and flush toilets. Fishing is available in the nearby Santa Inez River or Lake Cachuma. Reservations recommended.

Los Prietos Campground
3505 Paradise Road
Santa Barbara, California 93105
(805) 967-8766
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Paradise Campground is located north of Santa Barbara off Highway 154. Activities include hiking, fishing, swimming, and mountain biking. The campground has 15 campsites for tent and RV camping. Amenities include a picnic table, barbecue, fire ring and flush toilets. Fishing is available in the nearby Santa Inez River or Lake Cachuma. Reservations required.

Paradise Campground
5050 Paradise Road
Santa Barbara, California 93105
(805) 967-8766
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Carpinteria Campground is located south-east of Santa Barbara and offers a long sandy beach and tide pools. Beach camping, swimming, surfing and tide pool exploration are popular activities. Campground offers 216 campsites for tent and RV camping. Amenities include a picnic table, fire ring, laundry, convenience store, Visitor Center, showers and flush toilets. RV dump station available. Reservations recommended.

Carpinteria Campground
5361 6th Street
Carpinteria, California 93013
(805) 968-1033
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Ventura Camping

Lake Casitas Campground is located east of Santa Barbara off Highway 150 and north of Ventura off Highway 33. This large lake resort offers several campgrounds by the lake with over 400 campsites for tent and RV camping, boat rentals, convenience stores, a café and more. Activities at Lake Casitas include boating, fishing, bird watching and biking. All campsites are modern with a picnic table, fire ring, barbecue, flush toilets and showers. RV dump station available. Reservations recommended. Casitas Water Adventure is a water park located within the park.

Lake Casitas Campground
11311 Santa Ana Road
Ventura, California 93001
(805) 649-2233
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Lake Piru Campground is located off east of Ventura off Highway 126 (Telegraph Road). This small lake resort offers a campground by the lake with over 200 campsites for tent and RV camping, boat rentals, a general store and more. Activities at Lake Piru include boating, fishing, water-skiing, lake camping and picnicking. All campsites are modern with a picnic table, fire ring, barbecue, flush toilets and showers. Reservations recommended.

Lake Piru Campground
Piru Canyon Road
Piru, CA 93040
(805) 521-1500
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Dennison Campground is located north of Santa Paula off Highway 150 (Santa Paula/Ojai Road). This small county park features a campground nestled in the shade of oak trees. Campground offers several sites for tent or RV camping. Campsites feature a picnic table, fire ring, barbecue and flush toilets. Reservations recommended.

Dennison Campground
7250 Santa Paula-Ojai Road
Ojai, CA 93023
(805) 654-3951
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Steckel Campground is located north of Santa Paula off Highway 150 (Santa Paula/Ojai Road). This small county park features a campground nestled in the shade of oak trees. Campground offers several sites for tent or RV camping, some with full hookups. Campsites feature a picnic table, fire ring, barbecue and flush toilets. Reservations recommended.

Steckel Campground
8080 Mistletoe Road
Santa Paula, CA 93060
(800) 562-1899
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McGrath Campground is located 5-miles south of Ventura off Highway 101. A nature trail leads from the beach and sand dunes, up the mouth of the Santa Clara River, to an estuary preserve. Beach camping, surfing, fishing and bird watching are popular activities. Campground offers 172 campsites for tent and RV camping. Amenities include a picnic table, fire ring, Visitor Center, showers and flush toilets. RV dump station available. Reservations required.

McGrath Campground
2211 Harbor Boulevard
Oxnard, California 93030
(805) 968-1033
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National Forest Camping

Primitive camping is located throughout the Los Padres National Forest from Monterey in the north, south to Santa Barbara. Most offer a table, fire ring and vault toilets. Many do not have running water.

Los Padres National Forest
6755 Hollister Avenue
Suite 150
Goleta, CA 93117
(805) 968-6640
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California Camping

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