the dyrt
Channel Islands National Park, CALIFORNIA
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The mountains✔️The woods ✔️Clean toiletsb✔️But then add The Beach THE BEACH

Small quaint BEAUTIFUL not extremely well known. And The Beach…


It’s the best of all worlds. Camping,hiking,animal watching, fishing, Room enough to throw a frisbee or play catch

We fell in love with it in 1979 and never stop going back



Thieves! I checked in here for an extended stay. It cost me $1800 a month for a spot 100 feet from the freeway. Half way through my first month the park flooded and evacuated. I asked the staff the day before if I should be concerned and was told no. The day of the flood they didn't call me for four hours after they were notified of the evacuation. By the time I got there I was in waist high water. I lost over a $1000 worth of gear and $2500 in damage to my coach. I couldn’t risk more damage so I moved moved out and they wouldn't even refund the rent for the last two weeks. Stay away if you're smart.! I’ll be seeing them in court.

Convenient to Ojai

Stayed in site 1. The closest flush toilets are closed but there are ones near the road that are nice. Spot 15 looks great and if I ever go back I’d try to get that one, but if you do stay there then it’s a honey hut that’s close-by. Didn’t check out the lower campground, but walked the main loop and there’s some great views of the valley and the stars. It was nice having two big tables in our spot and a water spigot was close by. There’s some road noise, but otherwise it was peaceful in the winter. There’s a day use area that I imagine gets more attention in the summer. Cell service was great for ATT (cell tower near-by). Check out The Summit drive in a few miles up the road for a tasty burger :)

Amazing views, no services

Hiked from Scorpion Harbor cross-island to Del Norte Camp, great way to see the island. Camped at site 1, had the most wind but also the best views of the ocean. Food storage locker provided to protect food from sneaky foxes. No water anywhere near the campsite. About 4 miles from Prisoners Harbor ferry landing. Shared the campground with one other group. Only 4 campsites total. Great place to camp for solitude.

Fishing trip

We stayed in the primitive campsite area. Was nice and clean even sites. Had some portable toilets with in walking distance. Rented a boat at the marina and was warm all night in the summer

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

So close to Yosemite

Love this campground! We were the only ones here during our stay. Many spots and group sites available. Toilets only

Best Views

Great campground! Set up your tent right on the sand. I woke up and opened my tent to see dolphins playing in the water. Picnic table and fire pit at each site.

Carpinteria State Beach Campground

Carpinteria State Beach Campground is a one of our frequently visited “staycation” spots. We live in nearby Santa Barbara, but will use Carp State Beach as a midway meeting point when friends from Southern California and Central California meet up.

The campground is pretty large, and caters mostly to RVs and trailers. There are loops within the campground that are essentially just asphalt lots with small dirt spaces for fire pits and picnic benches - these are intended for RV campers, but we have tent camped there in a pinch. Since we are tent campers we do prefer to camp in the grassy tent sites, but they are limited in number and tend fill up quickly. Because of the moderate year-round weather, Carpinteria State Beach Campground stays pretty full all year long!

The campground has full hook ups, clean plumed bathrooms, and coin-operated showers. There are grocery stores and conscience stores within short walking distance for anything you might need. Train tracks run directly behind the campground, so there is some noise pollution from the passing trains.

The campground is at the very end of downtown Carpinteria, right next to the ocean. There are no “ocean front” sites, but the beach is a quick 1-minute walk from essentially anywhere in the campground. Some small sandy dunes separate the campground from the beach, and there is an accessible paved boardwalk running along the length of the dunes. There are beautiful tide pools just south of Carpinteria State Beach Campground that are a must see. Check the tide charts on the internet to visit the tide pools at low to mid tide.

While we really enjoy camp cooking, we tend to opt to walk into town to eat when camping in Carpinteria. Linden Avenue is right next to the campground, and is the main street in downtown Carpinteria. There is a wide variety of restaurants, breweries and coffee shops downtown. Island Brewery CO is a local favorite just on the edge of the campground - while I don’t think they have food available (yet), their beer is GREAT! Their avocado beer is a must try - I know it sounds weird, but it’s delicious (and doesn’t taste like avocados)! Rincon Brewery is a few blocks up from the campground, and also has great beer, and TASTY FOOD!


Fees: $45/night (normal campsite)

Plumbed Toilets: Yes

Drinking Water: Yes

Showers: Yes (coin-operated)

Picnic Table: Yes

Firepit: Yes

Cooking Grate: Yes

Shade: No

Cell Service: Yes

Animal Bins/Food lockers: No

Trash: Yes

Cachuma Lake - in the heart of Los Padres National Forest

I am a native of Santa Barbara, CA, so I grew up going to Cachuma Lake. Cachuma Lake’s main recreational area is on a bluff overlooking the lake. There you can find tent sites, yurts, cabins, and full hookups for RVs. There are also smaller campgrounds at lake level - we prefer to stay in the Mohawk Shores campground, which is at lake level. The Mohawk Shores campsites are in a more densely packed oak grove, offering more shade and more privacy than the upper-level campgrounds. A few years ago they started pricing the “lakeside” sites in Mohawk more expensively than the rest of the sites in the area; ironic though, since the lake has been so empty the last few years due to the drought, and these sites are no longer lakeside.

The campsites each have their own picnic table and firepit with a grate, and water spigots are available in various places around the campground. Mohawk has its own bathroom with flushable toilets and coin-operated showers - the bathrooms and showers are kept clean. I prefer to shower in the showers located in the upper-level campgrounds, as they are in their own individual, lockable stalls, rather than the locker-room type set up in the bathroom in Mohawk. There are multiple dumpsters available for trash AND recycling around all of the campgrounds.

Caution: There is a lot of poison oak around the park!

We have rented a yurt a couple times, and hope to do so again soon. The yurts have bunk beds inside (bring your own bedding!), an overhead light, and a heater. Outside each yurt is a picnic table, charcoal barbeque, a firepit, and a water spigot.

We will often bring an easy-up to use in the day-camp areas in the upper-level of the park. There are oak trees all over the park, but if day use site with a table under a tree gets snagged, it’s nice to have the easy-up for shade - if you have one, I would recommend bringing an easy-up if you are going to camp in the upper level campgrounds, not all of the sites have shade.

A small but well-stocked general store is available, as well a small (expensive) gas station. Cachuma also has a pool (for an additional fee), gameroom, playgrounds/jungle-gyms, and disc golf courses available.

Cachuma Lake is a great place for wildlife viewing and birding. I am a photographer, and love seeing all of the birds that hang out around Cachuma - ducks, coots, Western and Clark’s grebes, loons, osprey, hawks, turkey vultures, turkeys, quail, American white pelicans, cormorants, etc. I have gotten my best birding photos at Cachuma Lake. Deer can often be viewed on the shores of the lake, and we have even seen bobcats and foxes. Pontoon boat tours to view wildlife launch every day from the marina.

Keep in mind that you CANNOT SWIM in Cachuma Lake. Silly, I know, but they justify it because Cachuma lake is Santa Barbara’s drinking water source. You are allowed to boat, kayak, and fish on the lake, but no swimming! Motor boats and pontoon boats are available to rent, and now they even have kayaks to rent hourly! My dad has a small 14 ft fishing boat, and we enjoy taking the boat out on the lake to fish and sightsee.

There are endless trails around Cachuma Lake in Los Padres National Forest. There are some mellow hikes around the perimeter of the lake itself, offering nice views of the lake and the surrounding Santa Ynez and San Rafael mountains.

Figueroa Mountain is near Los Olivos - Grass Mountain and Figueroa Mountain are both beautiful hikes, especially in the spring when the wild flowers are in bloom. Both are strenuous, steep hikes, but the views are totally worth the effort.

Cachuma lake is about a half an hour from the city of Santa Barbara, 15 minutes away from Santa Ynez (if you like to gamble check out the Chumash Casino), 20 minutes away from Solvang, and 20 minutes away from Los Olivos. There is fantastic wine tasting available in any of these small towns, and everywhere in between - you are in the heart of Santa Barbara’s wine country! There are endless tasting rooms available inside the towns, and countless vineyards that you can visit to wine taste. A popular wine trail is on Foxen Canyon Road - it is a lovely drive on a country road with some really beautiful and quality wineries and vineyards.

Solvang is a fun town to visit - it was originally a community full of Danish immigrants, so the Danish theme has stuck. It is very touristy, but even as a native, I still enjoy going to Solvang. There are a lot of shops, antiques, candy stores, restaurants and tasting rooms to visit. We are partial to the Solvang Restaurant, and for more than just their Danish Aebleskivers. If you don’t know what an aebleskiver is - its DELICIOUS. Aebleskivers are round Danish pancakes that are shaped like a ball - they serve them with amazing homemade raspberry jam and powdered sugar. Everything at the Solvang Restaurant is good, from their traditional breakfasts to their Scandinavian offerings to their sandwiches.

More Food Recommendations:

Cold Springs Tavern is a historic site dating back to the 1880s when it was a stagecoach stop. Cold Springs Tavern has a full bar and serves some quality meat selections, including famous Santa Barbara style tri-tip. If you are there on a Sunday, they start serving traditional tri-tip sandwiches around 11am - BEST tri-tip sandwiches around! They cook up the meat on giant barbeques outside, and serve the sandwiches hot off the grill - just tri-tip and fresh garlic bread, YUM. They have homemade salsa and homemade BBQ sauce to dress the sandwich with. Sundays at Cold Springs Tavern is a popular spot for locals to go have a beer or a drink with tri-tip, and there’s always a fun atmosphere.

If you are in the mood for some quality Mexican food, Dos Carlitos in Santa Ynez is a favorite spot.

Los Olivos Grocery has a great deli with delicious sandwiches - both hot and cold - and a good selection tasty deli side dishes. The store also has a good selection of local wines.


Fees: $30/night

**Plumbed Toilets: Yes

**Drinking Water: Yes

**Showers: Yes (coins needed)

**Picnic Table: Yes

**Firepit: Yes

**Cooking Grate: Yes

**Shade: Yes

**Cell Service: Yes - Limited

Animal Bins/Food Lockers: No

Trash: Yes

Beachfront RV sites

Great spot to stop along the coast hwy with ocean front views for the RV. A little tricky to find but just keep heading toward the beach and you’ll find it.

Lovely Campsite

Nice campsite right on the beach with a little point break surf spot just at the end of the cove. Came down here to surf Rincon and ended up surfing this little point for most of the trip.

The site was pretty nice, but boy can it get windy! In the middle of the night our tent got completely blown over with us in it! More funny than anything else, but a little maddening in the middle of the night.

Dont waste your money. Very small. Sites are basically parking lot slots.

Easy beach access, Unique beach with train tracks running above it,.Very smelly due to all the dead sea plants piled on beach. Pier closed and probably will never open since California like to use their money for welfare. All the grass is dead so lots of dust. No site privacy all crammed into a very small park. No hook-ups or dump. Water available. Bathrooms OK. Small store at park. entrance was hard to find. I missed it and had to drive a few miles up highway to turn around. Tent campers literally 5 ft from RV. Weather ok. not much shade.

On the beach, However

Another military RV campground in need of renovation. 10 washing machine and dryers and only 2 worked. Ice Machine broke. Many sites the sewer hook-ups are closed up. right on the beach you cant get any closer. Not much on the base. Just a little NEX. Be warned when the sun goes down the mosquitoes are horrendous. Everybody goes inside to get away from them.

On base, OK with full hook ups.

Basically a big parking lot with a little grass. No trees. Ants everywhere so bring spray. 5-10 min to beach. Word of warning. If you stay and want to come back on return trip it must have been 14 days since you left, Place was 2/3rds empty and they wouldn't let me stay. 1 mile from Exchange. Weather was nice but no shade.

Run Down, No room

Small sites, many are just in a parking lot where you get 2 normal slots. Near beach but no provided access. You have to go under a highway underpass. No access during high tide. Mosquitoes everywhere. No hook-ups yet it cost $40. Overflowing dumpsters. Actually saw a bum digging through them in front of my site. Dirty bathrooms. Needs a total renovation.

Old time Favorite

This a a very nice campground nestled in the hills of Santa Barbara county. The sites for dry camping are the largest that I have every come across in 50 years. The full hookup sites are your standard size that you see at most rv parks. The lake is nice but is at an all time low water level because of the ongoing drought. The Danish town of Solvang is 12 miles away and there must be 50 places that you can go wine tasting in the area if that is your thing.

Windy and high, Chorma Camp is a quick stop

Chorma Camp is the first spot you will encounter on the hike south through Cherry Creek. Situated high on a bluff it gets lots of wind, and with very little shelter around to break it, if you camp here you will get the brunt of it.

There are no amenities at any of the campsites in this area, they are all primitive dispersed camp areas.

Continuing on past Chorma if you can make it to Maple it is better campsite down in the valley.

My All-Time Favorite

You can camp right on the sand and wake up to the sounds of the stones rolling in the waves. Close to LA but feels semi-remote save for the sound of cars on pch. Best ever.

Excellent backpack to a primative campsite

There are 8 walk-in campsites and 1 group site, all sites have a picnic table with bear box attached, and room for 1 tent. No fires are permitted. There is one pit toilet, and therein is the reason for the drop to 3 stars, the pit has not been emptied, it is full to the top.

Each of the sites in and of themselves is great. Very secluded from each other.

The La Jolla trail is currently closed, you must take the Ray Miller trail up to the overlook trail, it adds a few miles to the hike, but well worth the views of the ocean.

great beach camping

Super location. Friendly staff. Beach is close by. Bit of a party scene when we were there so not super quiet, but fellow campers were very friendly. Facilities are a bit dated

close to beach, well shaded, clean bathrooms

Came to camp here just after a major holiday and the place was clean as if it hadn't just been packed. Several bathrooms and showers available as well as a great little store with a good selection of basics and beyond with friendly staff.

5min walk to the beach.

Sweet beach spot

Rv and tent camping along with quarter operating showers. fairly close to the fairgrounds as well.

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.

Road noise

Have used the group camping site.

Pros: Beautiful beach. RVs seem to have a better time here.

Cons: Doesn’t really feel like camping, since you can hear the sound of the freeway and trains. Trash from people living in the reeds by the river.

Close to Ventura

Within walking, biking, and driving distance to Ventura.  The Hike and Bike area was near a homeless camp. Camp host may let you camp in an area away from the homeless.  Grassy area I was in near the entrance had the highway on one side and train tracks on the other. Restrooms and water are available.  A group camping area is also available.

Nice Hike and Bike Area

While the campground was quite busy and loud at times, the hike and bike area was rather quiet.  Camp store for basic items. Squirrels are very aggressive and will eat your food if left unattended.  Lots of shade trees.

Favorite place in the world

Carpinteria state beach has the best beach row sites with full hookups. The town is awesome and a short bike ride away featuring everything from 5 star restaurants to antique stores and more. L

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.

Great place to crash on a surf trip

There are 1 star and 4 star sites at El Cap. Make sure you get one with shade, especially if you’re there in the summer!