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Top Tent Camping near Channel Islands National Park

Looking for the best Channel Islands National Park tent camping? Find the best information on tent campgrounds near Channel Islands National Park, including sites, reviews, and tips. Whether you're looking for a quiet, dispersed site or an established camgpround with amenities, The Dyrt makes it easy to find the perfect place to pitch your tent.

Best Tent Camping Sites Near Channel Islands National Park, CA (50)

    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
    963 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 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

    4.

    Cachuma Lake Recreation Area

    55 Reviews
    239 Photos
    790 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

    5.

    Lake Casitas Recreation Area

    36 Reviews
    89 Photos
    421 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 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

    6.

    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

    7.

    Sycamore Canyon Campground — Point Mugu State Park

    32 Reviews
    77 Photos
    910 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 Santa Cruz Island - Del Norte Backcountry — Channel Islands National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Santa Cruz Island - Del Norte Backcountry — Channel Islands National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Santa Cruz Island - Del Norte Backcountry — Channel Islands National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Santa Cruz Island - Del Norte Backcountry — Channel Islands National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Santa Cruz Island - Del Norte Backcountry — Channel Islands National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Santa Cruz Island - Del Norte Backcountry — Channel Islands National Park

    8.

    Santa Cruz Island - Del Norte Backcountry — Channel Islands National Park

    3 Reviews
    15 Photos
    133 Saves
    Carpinteria, California

    Overview

    For a truly remote getaway full of backpacking and breathtaking scenery, take a backcountry trip to Santa Cruz Island's Del Norte Campground. Del Norte is currently the only backcountry campground on Santa Cruz Island. The National Park Service opened this backcountry site in recognition of its rare wilderness values. As you explore these wild areas, please take the responsibility to help us protect and preserve these delicate natural resources for future generations. While backcountry camping is an incredible experience, it is not for the inexperienced backpacker. Due to difficult weather, rugged terrain, and off-trail hiking, backcountry camping is an arduous endeavor and should be undertaken only by experienced, well-conditioned backpackers. To reach this backcountry site, visitors will backpack along a historic ranch road/trail through a series of canyons and ridges, to a vista about 700 feet above sea level. This moderate to strenuous 3.5-mile hike from Prisoners Harbor travels through island oak woodlands and coastal sage scrub plant communities.

    Recreation

    From Prisoners Harbor, the shortest route to the Del Norte Campground is 3.5 miles via the Del Norte Trail. Follow the Navy Road out of Prisoners Harbor for 1.5 miles (600-foot elevation gain; strenuous). This gravel road is still used daily by vehicles, so please use caution while hiking along it. During winter and spring, visitors need to be prepared for a wet creek crossing at Canada del Puerto in Prisoner's Harbor.At the signed turn-off for Del Norte Trail, leave the gravel road and continue east (left) along the trail for 1.8 miles. The trail winds up and down two canyons (Ca__ada del Agua and Ca__ada del Muro)) to the signed junction with the Del Norte Road that leads .2 miles to the campground. The longer route (5 miles), which provides views of the south side of the island, follows the Navy Road as it climbs 1,200 feet over 4 miles and eventually reaches the junction with the Del Norte Road. At the signed junction, turn north (left) and descend 1 mile to the campground.From Scorpion Anchorage, Del Norte Campground is approximately 12 miles via the Navy Road.Beach access is at Prisoners Harbor. There is no access to the beach at Del Norte Campground.Recreational activities on Santa Cruz Island include 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

    From Prisoners Harbor, the shortest route to the Del Norte Campground is 3.5 miles via the Del Norte Trail. Follow the Navy Road out of Prisoners Harbor for 1.5 miles (600-foot elevation gain; strenuous). This gravel road is still used daily by vehicles, so please use caution while hiking along it. During winter and spring, visitors need to be prepared for a wet creek crossing at Canada del Puerto in Prisoner's Harbor.At the signed turn-off for Del Norte Trail, leave the gravel road and continue east (left) along the trail for 1.8 miles. The trail winds up and down two canyons (Ca__ada del Agua and Ca__ada del Muro)) to the signed junction with the Del Norte Road that leads .2 miles to the campground. The longer route (5 miles), which provides views of the south side of the island, follows the Navy Road as it climbs 1,200 feet over 4 miles and eventually reaches the junction with the Del Norte Road. At the signed junction, turn north (left) and descend 1 mile to the campground.From Scorpion Anchorage, Del Norte Campground is approximately 12 miles via the Navy Road.Beach access is at Prisoners Harbor. There is no access to the beach at Del Norte Campground.Recreational activities on Santa Cruz Island include 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

    Del Norte is nestled in a shaded oak grove and provides scenic views of the island's pristine coastline. 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.

    • Tents
    • Group
    • Standard (Tent/RV)
    • Picnic Table
    • Toilets
    • Alcohol

    $15 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Santa Rosa Island Campground — Channel Islands National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Santa Rosa Island Campground — Channel Islands National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Santa Rosa Island Campground — Channel Islands National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Santa Rosa Island Campground — Channel Islands National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Santa Rosa Island Campground — Channel Islands National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Santa Rosa Island Campground — Channel Islands National Park

    9.

    Santa Rosa Island Campground — Channel Islands National Park

    5 Reviews
    22 Photos
    60 Saves
    Goleta, California

    Overview

    Tucked away in a canyon to protect visitors from strong northwest winds, Water Canyon Campground offers exceptional island views, access to spectacular hiking opportunities and a nearby white sand beach. Located 40 nautical miles from the Channel Islands National Park visitor center in Ventura, Santa Rosa is the second largest island in California at approximately 53,000 acres in size. The island landforms support a diverse array of plant and animal species including six plant species found nowhere on earth but Santa Rosa Island. The island also hosts over 100 bird and three land mammal species, including the endemic island fox. Remains of an ancient species like the pygmy mammoth have been uncovered on Santa Rosa Island. These miniature mammoths, reaching just four to six feet tall, roamed the island's grasslands and forests during the Pleistocene Age. The island has rich archeological resources as well. It is home to thousands of significant archeological sites of the Chumash Native Americans, who inhabited the island until 1820. Others have come to the island during more recent centuries to exploit its rich resources, sometimes making it their home. In addition to the native Chumash, European explorers, Aleut sea otter hunters, Chinese abalone fishermen, Spanish missionaries, Mexican and American ranchers, and the US military all have left their mark on the Santa Rosa landscape. Visitors can see relics of these occupations in remnants of fishing camps, water troughs and fence lines, the pier where cattle were loaded and unloaded, buildings and equipment of the historic Vail and Vickers ranch at Bechers Bay, and remains of the military installations.

    Recreation

    Several trails and roads traverse the island, providing visitors with spectacular hiking opportunities, including the relatively flat route to Water Canyon Beach to the rugged, mountainous path to Black Mountain. Due to the strong, persistent wind, swimming, snorkeling, diving and kayaking are limited and recommended for the experienced visitor only. Despite the wind, Santa Rosa Island offers exceptional beach walking on white sand beaches. Access to one of the best beaches, Water Canyon Beach, is just over a mile from the pier in Bechers Bay and just down canyon from the campground. Beach access is also available near the pier. No fishing is allowed within the marine reserves located around the island. Fishing is allowed outside of these areas. For more information about recreational activities in the park, visit https://www.nps.gov/chis/planyourvisit/index.htm.

    Facilities

    Several trails and roads traverse the island, providing visitors with spectacular hiking opportunities, including the relatively flat route to Water Canyon Beach to the rugged, mountainous path to Black Mountain. Due to the strong, persistent wind, swimming, snorkeling, diving and kayaking are limited and recommended for the experienced visitor only. Despite the wind, Santa Rosa Island offers exceptional beach walking on white sand beaches. Access to one of the best beaches, Water Canyon Beach, is just over a mile from the pier in Bechers Bay and just down canyon from the campground. Beach access is also available near the pier. No fishing is allowed within the marine reserves located around the island. Fishing is allowed outside of these areas. For more information about recreational activities in the park, visit https://www.nps.gov/chis/planyourvisit/index.htm.

    Natural Features

    Santa Rosa has a landscape of remarkable contrasts. High mountains with deeply cut canyons give way to gently rolling grass-covered hills, extensive beaches and coastal wetlands. The altitude ranges from sea level to 1,589 feet.

    Nearby Attractions

    Good tidepooling spots are located within Bechers Bay, including just east of the pier, the east end of Southeast Anchorage, and near East Point. A short hike from the campground is the Santa Rosa Island Torrey pine grove. This pine is considered one of the rarest pines in the world-the last enduring members of a once widespread Pleistocene forest. Near the pier, visitors can see buildings and equipment of the historic Vail and Vickers ranch. Access to a highly recommended beach, Water Canyon Beach, is just over a mile from the Bechers Bay pier. The sandy beach lies on the northeastern shore of the island. Bechers Bay is a destination in itself, with buildings and equipment at the historic Vail and Vickers ranch.

    • Tents
    • Picnic Table
    • Drinking Water
    • Toilets

    $15 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Refugio State Beach Campground — Refugio State Beach - TEMPORARILY CLOSED
    Camper-submitted photo from Refugio State Beach Campground — Refugio State Beach - TEMPORARILY CLOSED
    Camper-submitted photo from Refugio State Beach Campground — Refugio State Beach - TEMPORARILY CLOSED
    Camper-submitted photo from Refugio State Beach Campground — Refugio State Beach - TEMPORARILY CLOSED
    Camper-submitted photo from Refugio State Beach Campground — Refugio State Beach - TEMPORARILY CLOSED
    Camper-submitted photo from Refugio State Beach Campground — Refugio State Beach - TEMPORARILY CLOSED

    10.

    Refugio State Beach Campground — Refugio State Beach - TEMPORARILY CLOSED

    25 Reviews
    42 Photos
    513 Saves
    Solvang, California

    3/15/2024 - Refugio State Beach is closed until further notice. Due to infrastructure failures including the main entrance and exit road, the park will remain fully closed for repairs. All reservations through May 16th are cancelled and will be contacted accordingly. There is no anticipated date of re-opening at this time.

    The campsite fee covers one vehicle. There are additional fees for extra vehicles. Please note: Fires are allowed in fire rings only - not allowed on the beach.

    OCCUPANCY: Eight people maximum are allowed per campsite (including children). VEHICLE PARKING: Vehicles may only be parked in your assigned campsite. They must remain on the pavement and must not extend into the roadway beyond the campsite number or limit line. Three vehicles maximum are allowed per campsite. Trailers must be backed into the campsite parking space. Motor homes may be pulled forward or backed in.

    A 66-site family campground and three group sites are close to the beach. There are no RV hookups. Observe quiet hours. Reserve campsites well in advance at www.parks.ca.gov or call (800) 444-7275.

    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.

    Refugio State Beach offers excellent coastal fishing as well as trails and picnic sites. Palm trees planted near Refugio Creek give a distinctive look to the beach and camping area. Lifeguards patrol the beach year around while lifeguard towers are only staffed roughly from Memorial day weekend through Labor day weekend. Beach wheelchairs are available for use by the public at no cost. With this specially designed chair, wheelchair users may access the beach at several locations. Contact a ranger or lifeguard for additional information.

    Visitors can get a unique perspective of the coast line by taking the kayak tours offered by State Park Lifeguards. There are tours available for intermediate and beginning kayakers, and are held roughly from Memorial Day weekend through August.

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

    $45 / night

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517 Reviews of 50 Channel Islands National Park Campgrounds