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Places to Camp near Channel Islands National Park

A camping trip to California should include a visit to Channel Islands National Park. Near Ventura, CA, the park is made up of five islands and offers some of the best camping experiences. On Santa Cruz Island you can visit the Painted Cave — one of many sea caves in the area. Camp underneath the rare pines on Santa Rosa Island. On Anacapa Island you can wander the trails to Inspiration Point and camp by the 1932 lighthouse. Santa Barbara Island is known for nesting birds and San Miguel Island draws seals. RV campsites not available on the islands but can be found near Channel Islands National Park in the Ventura area.

Best Camping Sites Near Channel Islands National Park, CA (67)

    Camper-submitted photo from Carpinteria State Beach
    Camper-submitted photo from Carpinteria State Beach
    Camper-submitted photo from Carpinteria State Beach
    Camper-submitted photo from Carpinteria State Beach
    Camper-submitted photo from Carpinteria State Beach
    Camper-submitted photo from Carpinteria State Beach

    1.

    Carpinteria State Beach

    49 Reviews
    106 Photos
    885 Saves
    Carpinteria, California

    Twelve miles south of Santa Barbara, Carpinteria camping offers a mile of beach for swimming, surf fishing, tidepool exploring and camping. Although dogs are not allowed on beach, we have a great picnic area where they are allowed to enjoy the outdoors as well. Lifeguards patrol the beach year round and lifeguard towers are staffed roughly from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. The Spanish named the area Carpinteria because the Chumash tribe, which lived in the area, had a large seagoing canoe-building enterprise, or "carpentry shop" here. This was because of naturally-occurring surface tar, which was used to waterproof the canoes.

    Seals and sea lions can be seen in the area December through May, as well as an occasional gray whale. Tidepools contain starfish, sea anemones, crabs, snails, octopi and sea urchins.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access

    $45 - $180 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Santa Cruz Island Scorpion Canyon Campground — Channel Islands National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Santa Cruz Island Scorpion Canyon Campground — Channel Islands National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Santa Cruz Island Scorpion Canyon Campground — Channel Islands National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Santa Cruz Island Scorpion Canyon Campground — Channel Islands National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Santa Cruz Island Scorpion Canyon Campground — Channel Islands National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Santa Cruz Island Scorpion Canyon Campground — Channel Islands National Park

    2.

    Santa Cruz Island Scorpion Canyon Campground — Channel Islands National Park

    17 Reviews
    93 Photos
    264 Saves
    Oxnard, California

    Overview

    Fantastic ocean views and relaxing beach time is practically guaranteed at Scorpion Canyon Campground, the most family-friendly campsite on Santa Cruz Island. Set on the eastern part of the island, the campground is a short hike from the pier and is sheltered from harsh ocean winds. The largest of California's Channel Islands, Santa Cruz Island is one of the five islands that make up the Channel Islands National Park. The island is rich in cultural history, magnificent landscapes, and unique flora and fauna. Native American Indians inhabited the island for over 10,000 years and Europeans explored and ranched on the island for over 150 years. Over 600 plant species, 140 land birds, 11 land mammals and a handful of amphibians and reptiles call the island their home. The island fox and island scrub-jay are exciting finds, as they're unique to the island, found nowhere else in the world. For more information about Santa Cruz Island visit: https://www.nps.gov/chis/planyourvisit/santa-cruz-island.htm .

    Recreation

    With its easy beach access and generally good weather, this area offers the most recreational activities in the park, including hiking, swimming, snorkeling, diving, kayaking and wildlife/wildflower viewing. There are no services on the island, so all gear has to be brought to the island. Guided kayak trips and kayak rentals must be arranged before arriving on the island. For more information about recreational activities in the park, visit https://www.nps.gov/chis/planyourvisit/index.htm.

    Facilities

    With its easy beach access and generally good weather, this area offers the most recreational activities in the park, including hiking, swimming, snorkeling, diving, kayaking and wildlife/wildflower viewing. There are no services on the island, so all gear has to be brought to the island. Guided kayak trips and kayak rentals must be arranged before arriving on the island. For more information about recreational activities in the park, visit https://www.nps.gov/chis/planyourvisit/index.htm.

    Natural Features

    The beach near the campground is a mix of sand and rocks, and faces the Santa Barbara Channel. The campground is located in a valley with a mixture of trees and shrubs. Rugged mountain peaks rise above the campground to 1,808 feet.

    Nearby Attractions

    Hiking options are unlimited and offer spectacular coastal views. Try the 2 mile round-trip Cavern Point Loop hike for views of the island's mountain peaks, and the southern California coastline. This popular hike takes you past antique ranching equipment and historic buildings for a taste of island ranch history. For more advanced hikers, tackle the 7.5-mile round-trip hike from the campground to Smugglers Cove.

    • Phone Service
    • Tents
    • Group
    • Drinking Water
    • Toilets
    • Alcohol

    $40 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from El Capitán State Beach
    Camper-submitted photo from El Capitán State Beach
    Camper-submitted photo from El Capitán State Beach
    Camper-submitted photo from El Capitán State Beach
    Camper-submitted photo from El Capitán State Beach
    Camper-submitted photo from El Capitán State Beach

    3.

    El Capitán State Beach

    44 Reviews
    107 Photos
    965 Saves
    Goleta, California

    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

    -Fishing

    -Guided Tours

    -Scuba Diving/Snorkeling

    -Beach Area

    -Swimming

    -Windsurfing/Surfing

    -Family Programs

    -Geocaching

    Beach wheelchairs are available for use by the public with no cost. With this specially designed chair, wheelchair users may access the beach at several locations. Contact a ranger or lifeguard for additional information.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access

    $45 - $320 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Emma Wood State Beach
    Camper-submitted photo from Emma Wood State Beach
    Camper-submitted photo from Emma Wood State Beach
    Camper-submitted photo from Emma Wood State Beach
    Camper-submitted photo from Emma Wood State Beach
    Camper-submitted photo from Emma Wood State Beach

    4.

    Emma Wood State Beach

    26 Reviews
    58 Photos
    355 Saves
    Ventura, California

    North Beach is closed until further notice. Due to major damaged to the entrance road, the park will remain fully closed for repairs. All reservations through June 24th, 2024, will be cancelled and affected parties will be contacted accordingly. There is no anticipated date of reopening at this time. Emma Wood State Beach - Group Camp is open.

    Moderate temperatures help make Emma Wood State Beach popular for swimming, surfing and fishing. Catches include perch, bass, cabezon and corbina. The Ventura River estuary is at the mouth of the Ventura River at the southeast end of the park. It attracts a variety of wildlife including raccoons, songbirds and great blue herons. Dolphins are occasionally seen just offshore. The park also features the crumbling ruins of a World War II coastal artillery site. The offshore Channel Islands can be seen from the beach.

    Emma Wood State Beach offers family camping for self-contained vehicles only and group camping is available at Ventura River Group Camp.

    Emma Wood State Beach offers primitive camping for fully self-contained vehicles ONLY. Tents are not permitted. No water, restrooms, electricity, fire rings, or phones or dump station are available. There are 90 campsites, which are not level and may contain a mixture of asphalt, dirt, cobble and ocean debris. Maximum vehicle length is 40 feet, due to small turnaround areas.

    High tides may close the campground at any time. Railroad tracks and Highway 101 are adjacent to the campground which can be noisy. Leashed dogs are permitted in the campground only, and are prohibited on the beach.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Phone Service
    • ADA Access
    • RVs
    • Trash

    $40 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Cachuma Lake Recreation Area
    Camper-submitted photo from Cachuma Lake Recreation Area
    Camper-submitted photo from Cachuma Lake Recreation Area
    Camper-submitted photo from Cachuma Lake Recreation Area
    Camper-submitted photo from Cachuma Lake Recreation Area
    Camper-submitted photo from Cachuma Lake Recreation Area

    5.

    Cachuma Lake Recreation Area

    55 Reviews
    239 Photos
    791 Saves
    Santa Ynez, California

    Set amidst acres of wilderness flanked by the picturesque Santa Ynez and San Rafael Mountains, lies glimmering Cachuma Lake. Here you will find practically everything you need for a relaxing getaway in the great outdoors. Mild temperatures, typically sunny skies, and celebrated fishing conditions make camping here during winter months exceptionally rewarding. The County entered into a long-term lease with the Federal Bureau of Reclamation in 1953 to manage the 9,000 acre Cachuma Lake Recreation Area. Cachuma Lake was formed by the construction of Bradbury Dam in that same year. Located off scenic Highway 154 in the Santa Ynez Valley, Cachuma Lake is midway between the beaches and bustle of Santa Barbara and the Danish Community of Solvang. At any age... in any season... you'll find that the Cachuma Lake Recreation Area offers a fun and relaxing getaway.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access
    Camper-submitted photo from Lake Casitas Recreation Area
    Camper-submitted photo from Lake Casitas Recreation Area
    Camper-submitted photo from Lake Casitas Recreation Area
    Camper-submitted photo from Lake Casitas Recreation Area
    Camper-submitted photo from Lake Casitas Recreation Area
    Camper-submitted photo from Lake Casitas Recreation Area

    6.

    Lake Casitas Recreation Area

    36 Reviews
    89 Photos
    423 Saves
    Oak View, California

    Lake Casitas camping offers over 400 sites, so you can choose the camping experience that suits you best. Some sites are lakeside, close enough to hear the lapping water, others are nestled among the trees, and still more are located on hillsides offering splendid views of the sparkling lake.

    We have sites to accommodate tents, tent trailers, campers and RVs, all with picnic tables and fire rings, and some with children's playgrounds close by. Shower houses with bathrooms are located at the front gate and towards the back of the park. We also have a convenient, fenced, dry storage facility for recreational vehicles, boats, canoes & kayaks

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access
    Camper-submitted photo from Leo Carrillo State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Leo Carrillo State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Leo Carrillo State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Leo Carrillo State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Leo Carrillo State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Leo Carrillo State Park Campground

    7.

    Leo Carrillo State Park Campground

    50 Reviews
    160 Photos
    1073 Saves
    Lake Sherwood, California

    Leo Carrillo State Park's Campground is fully opened. Vehicular access to North Beach remains closed at this time.

    Camping Information: **Max trailer height is 13'6" **

    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.

    Firewood Policy: Burning firewood, Duraflame, and charcoal briquettes is allowed in the fire rings only when fire level permits. Check the sign near the entrance kiosk for the day's fire level.

    Showers: The park has only token-operated showers. The token machines accept ONLY one-dollar bills. Change for larger bills is not available at this time.

    Dogs allowed in day-use areas, campground and North Beach (north of Lifeguard Tower 3). Dogs not allowed on backcountry trails or South Beach (south of Lifeguard Tower 3).

    • Reservable
    • ADA Access
    • RVs
    • Standard (Tent/RV)
    • Market
    • Trash

    $45 - $60 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Thornhill Broome Beach — Point Mugu State Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Thornhill Broome Beach — Point Mugu State Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Thornhill Broome Beach — Point Mugu State Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Thornhill Broome Beach — Point Mugu State Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Thornhill Broome Beach — Point Mugu State Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Thornhill Broome Beach — Point Mugu State Park

    8.

    Thornhill Broome Beach — Point Mugu State Park

    34 Reviews
    146 Photos
    1112 Saves
    Lake Sherwood, California

    Firewood Policy: Burning firewood, Duraflame, and charcoal briquettes in the fire rings is allowed when fire level permits (determined on a day by day basis). Check the sign near the entrance to the park for the day's fire levels.

    Showers: The park's showers are token-operated. The token machines accept ONLY dollar bills. Change for larger bills is not available at this time.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access

    $35 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Sycamore Canyon Campground — Point Mugu State Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Sycamore Canyon Campground — Point Mugu State Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Sycamore Canyon Campground — Point Mugu State Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Sycamore Canyon Campground — Point Mugu State Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Sycamore Canyon Campground — Point Mugu State Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Sycamore Canyon Campground — Point Mugu State Park

    9.

    Sycamore Canyon Campground — Point Mugu State Park

    32 Reviews
    77 Photos
    911 Saves
    Lake Sherwood, California

    Point Mugu State Park, located in the Santa Monica Mountains, features five miles of ocean shoreline with rocky bluffs, sandy beaches, sand dunes, rugged hills and uplands, two major river canyons and wide grassy valleys dotted with sycamores, oaks and a few native walnuts. There are more than 70 miles of hiking trails. The beach also features swimming, body surfing and surf fishing. The park includes the jagged pinnacles of the Boney Mountains State Wilderness Area.

    Point Mugu camping included La Jolla Group, Sycamore Campground and Thornhill Broome Campground.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access

    $45 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Rincon Parkway RV Overnight
    Camper-submitted photo from Rincon Parkway RV Overnight
    Camper-submitted photo from Rincon Parkway RV Overnight
    Camper-submitted photo from Rincon Parkway RV Overnight
    Camper-submitted photo from Rincon Parkway RV Overnight
    Camper-submitted photo from Rincon Parkway RV Overnight

    10.

    Rincon Parkway RV Overnight

    15 Reviews
    68 Photos
    217 Saves
    Oak View, California

    This scenic stretch of roadway offers outstanding views of the Pacific coastline and the Channel Islands. The Parkway is located between Faria Beach Park and Hobson Beach Park on Highway 1 off the Ventura Freeway.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access
    • RVs

    $39 - $43 / night

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644 Reviews of 67 Channel Islands National Park Campgrounds