Standard (tent/RV)
RV Sites
Tent Sites
Fires Allowed
Pets Allowed
Drinking Water
About El Capitan State Beach

El Capitán State Beach offers visitors a sandy beach, rocky tidepools, and stands of sycamore and oaks along El Capitán Creek. It’s a perfect setting for swimming, fishing, surfing, picnicking and camping. A stairway provides access from the bluffs to the beach area.

Activities and Facilities Include:

-Picnic Areas

-Exhibits and Programs


-Guided Tours

-Scuba Diving/Snorkeling

-Beach Area



-Family Programs


Reservation Info
Visitors will be able to reserve campsites and lodging six months in advance from the current date. Bookings may extend from the arrival date to the desired departure date – based on availability and the park’s maximum stay rules.
Drive In
Hike In
ADA Accessible
Alcohol Allowed
Drinking Water
Fires Allowed
Firewood Available
Pets Allowed
Phone Service
Picnic Table
Trash Available
Water Hookups
El Capitan State Beach is located in California
34.462 N
-120.022 W
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19 Reviews of El Capitan State Beach
El Capitan

I’ve been going to El Capitan for 30+yrs. Old reliable never disappoints. Whales migrate north during the winter and we could see them from the bluffs. Dry camping, no hook ups, no dump station, quarters for showers, flush toilets, and campground faucets. No glamping here, which I prefer. First come first served from Nov30-Apr1, which is great. No rifraff just lots of young folks and families.

Surf, Sand and Camp

If falling asleep to the sound of waves crashing sounds good to you, then El Capitan State Beach is for you. There are around 120 camp spots to choose from. The bathrooms are clean but the showers are not working. There's also a few RV spots but not many. Make sure you reserve a spot of you plan on visiting over the weekend.

There's a nice campground across the Fwy 101 and a small store and restaurant. There's a few hikes that leave from this campground. A fire recently scored the hills but the campground was untouched.

Very active campground

This campground is huge! There are so many sites, yet can still get booked up! There are some really nice sites, but the best thing about this campground is how many trails there are to walk on. Plenty of people out and about at any time!

Beautiful area

This campground doesn’t feel too much like you’re out in the wilderness, but it is on a cliff above the beach on California’s central coast so who’s to complain? Great amenities (had showers, which are always nice after a sweaty hike). Campsites are not very private. Great place to take kids. The beach was a bit rocky but very beautiful, good place to look for tide pool creatures, and we saw dolphins! 🐬 There is a less rocky beach within a short drive (Refugio). Great hiking in this area! We did the Wind Caves trail (see pictures). I would def go again.

Bluff side camping

This was my second time camping here, the last being in 2017. Got to camp Friday 07/12 and stayed for two nights. Booked site 110 about a month prior by luck, checked daily for any cancellations but only saw a few. Site 110 had absolutely zero shade and very little privacy. To the left was site 109 which we could see into because of a gap between sites, this was a shame because it could see the ocean but also would be staring directly into their site. Towards the back of the site it walked straight into site 106. The whole site was on a slant which made it very annoying to hitch our tent. Driving around the other sites and bluff it seems like little had shade. Sites 99, 101, 103 and 105 all had ocean views and seemed to be the best. Site 107 had the best view but no shade. Our site was also directly across from the group sites which were very noisy at night, especially if you’re trying to sleep at 1am. Also the restrooms were to the right of us which was convenient but also could get very stinky. The grounds were kept clean and restrooms were stocked. The beach was an easy walk from where we were and beautiful. Overall I love this campground but would book your site as soon as the window opens to ensure you get a shaded one, especially if you’re visiting during the summer

Variety of Rv spots

Another go to, but for dry camping only. Beautiful bluff-side camping and awesome views of the ocean.

Beach camping.

This is very close to the Ocean and the train, and the highway. It can be quite noisy. The best thing about this campground Is the wildlife. Hundreds of birds, seals, dolphins, and sometimes whales. There are a very few great sites, with shade and grass, the rest of the sites don't have much shade. No fire pits. This area gets pretty windy so I would recommend a trailer rather than a tent. Bathrooms are clean.

Quick trip

Took my Gf here for her first camping trip was really nice with clean restrooms. Sites are relatively spaced out. Easy walking distance to some beautiful beaches and Bike trails

Wind and Whale Watching

You can expect strong winds which may make setting up a tent almost impossible. Hike and Bike is an parea on a bluff overlooking the ocean. At time you will see whales just off the coast. Water and restrooms are available.

Love it! One of my favs!

I've camped here a handful of times. Our friends camp here regularly. It's convenient, easy drive-up and set up tent camping. The campground and the bathrooms are well taken care of and clean. It's also nice that the beach is nearby. Down at the beach, there is an area where the wind is also pretty decent and great for kite flying. Central California is a wonderful area to camp. Sometimes we stay at the campground and enjoy the beach or chill at our site. Other times we've driven and gone wine tasting nearby for a couple hours. Either way we always have a great time! Just wish it was easier to get a weekend reservation in the summer.