The Santa Barbara area is one of the most popular destinations for beach camping in California and there are a lot of campsites with unparalleled ocean views.
Just twelve miles south of Santa Barbara is Carpenteria State Beach Campground. This is a popular spot for Southern California weekend campers. The one-mile long sandy beach is great for swimming and is patrolled by lifeguards year-round. There are tent campsites, RV and trailer sites as well as group campsites.
Refugio and El Capitan State Beach Campgrounds are among the most popular in the region; reservations are highly recommended in the busy summer months. The El Capitan Beach Trail is a six-mile roundtrip walking path that connects the two state beaches and offers scenic vistas and wildlife viewing.
El Capitan is a favorite camping destination for surfers and is a great beach for walking, swimming and fishing. There is a stairway that provides access from the bluffs to the beach area and there are 133 campsites at El Capitan State Beach Campground including tent, group and RV sites, though the RV dump station is closed.
Refugio is an excellent beach for camping, coastal fishing, and exploring tide pools at the mouth of Refugio Canyon. The state beach has day-use picnic areas and lifeguard-led kayak tours during the summer months. There are 66 tent and group campsites at Refugio State Beach; there are no hook-ups. Sites 34, 35, 36, and 61 are beachfront and offer the best ocean views.
The sandy beachfront campground at Jalama Beach Park might be the best beach camping anywhere. Located just north of Point Conception, near Lompoc, it is a county maintained park and has a store and restaurant area. Jalama is popular with windsurfers, surfers and beachcombers. And Jalama isn't just for humans, Fido loves it here too since he's allowed the beach! To get one of the coveted beachfront sites, 53-64, you'll have to arrive midweek or patiently wait for a site to vacate; only group sites are available by reservation. There are also yurts and cabins for rent and an RV dump station.