Cachuma Campground is closed permanently.
Beautiful lakes and fishing was awesome. Will be back for sure.
I'm not much for car camping but if you want to get a big group together and sleep outside Cachuma has a ton of nice group spots. There are picnic tables, fire pits, bbq pit and even electricity to charge your phone.
There is a general store, a disc golf course, and a mountain biking trail. You can't swim in the lake (which is dumb, they say it's because it's drinking water but you can put a boat in and fish and I'm sure boats and fish have as many germs as people) but there is a pool. You can also rent kayaks and other water related toys.
The main draw back is that you're all over every neighboring campsite and the bathrooms were soooo, so, so disgusting. There was used toilet paper all over the floor, one broken sink, backed up toilets, ect ect. They cleaned them pretty often but blink and they were gross again. I would have much preferred to pee on the ground but since there's no bushes between sites that option wasn't available. My husband ended up hopping on his bike and riding to a porta potty that was more out of the way and way less gross.
This would be the most epic campground ever for a huge family reunion! There is something for everyone here- RV sites, tent sites, cabins, yurts, even big group sites. There are tent sites overlooking Lake Cachuma, and tent sites in the shady grass, and almost everything in between. There's a dog park, and playgrounds, and a pool (since you can't swim in the lake because it's drinking water… which was strange to us as Utahns when all reservoirs are drinking water and we still swim in them), and a general store! There are close to 200 sites here, which is mind-boggling to me. It was an awesome campground, and we were cooking up plans for a someday party (be it friends or family) there.
The restrooms are plentiful and clean, the quiet hours are well observed (though that may have had more to do with the fact that the campground was pretty empty while we were there), and the facilities are reasonably easy to navigate. Every employee we interacted with was helpful and professional. We rented kayaks for several hours while we were there and it was a blast! This place is a perfect little getaway a super reasonable distance from Santa Barbara and the surrounding areas.
My only complaints were mostly about the tent sites. Some of them are a little too smashed together with unclear boundaries, and the footing consisted of kind of icky weeds. I know, it's me being absurdly nitpicky. But I can't give EVERY campground 5 stars… right..?
As Rangers for The Dyrt, we get products to test from time to time, and at Lake Cachuma we tested out some Optic Nerve sunglasses. We used them throughout our trip, but they came in especially handy while kayaking! The morning started out a little cloudy so we were worried that we wouldn't get a real opportunity to use them, but the sun eventually came out and the sunglasses were PERFECT. The pairs we got were polarized, which was great for cutting glare from the water (as well as driving throughout our whole road trip. The sunglasses were comfortable and seemed high quality, which was great considering they're nowhere near as spendy as some of the high-end brands of sunglasses. I'll admit I was too much of a wuss to see if they'd float in the lake, but they were awesome for keeping our eyes safe and protected (from the sun and from splashes)! If I had to have any gripe it would be that the wood grain print on the sunglasses I got (which I love) is pretty pixelated up close- completely a non-issue that only affects aesthetics, but might look better with a higher resolution for future printings.
Pro Tip for Hungry Adventurers: DO NOT MISS Cold Spring Tavern just up the highway from Lake Cachuma. Delicious food, atmosphere that is simply out of this world, and a gorgeous setting. Seriously. Don't miss it. And if you live in Santa Barbara and you've never been… GO. NOW. You won't regret it.