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Places to Camp near Santa Barbara, CA

Santa Barbara, California, is one of the Golden State’s quintessential beach towns. With pristine beaches and immaculate ocean views, you’ll want to stop and smell the roses (and the ocean air).

The best camping near Santa Barbara is just up US Route 101 at El Capitan State Beach. If you’re looking for mountains or free camping, your next best choice is the nearby Dick Smith Wilderness. With an RV resort nearby and tent campsite options available, you should have no problem finding a place to sleep. No matter whether you prefer the beach or the mountains, you’ll find campgrounds to suit you near Santa Barbara, CA.

Best Camping Sites Near Santa Barbara, CA (113)

    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

    1.

    Cachuma Lake Recreation Area

    55 Reviews
    239 Photos
    785 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 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

    2.

    Carpinteria State Beach

    49 Reviews
    106 Photos
    884 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 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

    43 Reviews
    104 Photos
    961 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 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

    4.

    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 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

    5.

    Refugio State Beach Campground — Refugio State Beach - TEMPORARILY CLOSED

    25 Reviews
    42 Photos
    512 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

    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

    6.

    Emma Wood State Beach

    26 Reviews
    58 Photos
    353 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

    • No image available

      7.

      Wheeler Gorge Campground

      29 Reviews
      3 Saves
      Ojai, California

      Overview

      Wheeler Gorge Campground is a great place for families to explore the Los Padres National Forest all year long. Informative tours of the area are led by forest rangers at the nearby visitor center. The campground provides scenic views of a nearby stream, as well as vast mountain vistas.

      Recreation

      The Wheeler Gorge Nature Trail begins at the upper end of the campground. It is a relatively short loop that leads through thick vegetation along the creek banks and to a hillside view of the area. Wildflowers often bloom along the path. The creek flows near some of the campsites and a small swimming hole is frequented near the side of the highway. Fishing is rough in the area and may produce a catch of trout, but the stream is not stocked. Kayaking or canoeing in the creek is not recommended. Educational programs, including ranger-led hikes, are offered year-round.

      Facilities

      The Wheeler Gorge Nature Trail begins at the upper end of the campground. It is a relatively short loop that leads through thick vegetation along the creek banks and to a hillside view of the area. Wildflowers often bloom along the path. The creek flows near some of the campsites and a small swimming hole is frequented near the side of the highway. Fishing is rough in the area and may produce a catch of trout, but the stream is not stocked. Kayaking or canoeing in the creek is not recommended. Educational programs, including ranger-led hikes, are offered year-round.

      Natural Features

      The campground is adjacent to Matilija Creek, and is bordered by a mixed forest of oak and sycamore trees and evergreen shrubbery. Most sites are shaded and summer temperatures reach up to 95 degrees. The campground was originally built by Boy Scouts nearly a century ago, as well as a historical stone home that is also on-site.

      Nearby Attractions

      Ventura and the Pacific Ocean are about 20 miles south of the campground.

      • Pets
      • RVs
      • Tents
      • Standard (Tent/RV)
      • Toilets

      $34 / night

      Camper-submitted photo from Sun Outdoors Santa Barbara
      Camper-submitted photo from Sun Outdoors Santa Barbara
      Camper-submitted photo from Sun Outdoors Santa Barbara
      Camper-submitted photo from Sun Outdoors Santa Barbara
      Camper-submitted photo from Sun Outdoors Santa Barbara
      Camper-submitted photo from Sun Outdoors Santa Barbara

      8.

      Sun Outdoors Santa Barbara

      15 Reviews
      81 Photos
      424 Saves
      Goleta, California

      Treat the family to memorable camping on California's Central Coast at Sun Outdoors Santa Barbara, formerly Ocean Mesa RV Resort. Our fantastic resort is situated in Santa Barbara, where the Pacific Ocean and Ynez Mountains offer a spectacular setting and stunning backdrop for activities and adventure.

      Choose your experience with a selection of spacious RV and tent sites. Enjoy fun amenities like a heated swimming pool and our amazing market that features camping gear, souvenirs, local wine, craft beer, and beach gear. Gather for seasonal outdoor movie nights on the market lawn. Or explore trails on docent-led hikes, take the kids to our llama and goat farm, and check out the events hosted at the El Capitan Canyon Market, located at El Capitan Canyon, our sister resort.

      • Pets
      • Fires
      • Electric Hookups
      • Phone Service
      • Reservable
      • ADA Access
      Camper-submitted photo from Santa Barbara Sunrise RV Park
      Camper-submitted photo from Santa Barbara Sunrise RV Park
      Camper-submitted photo from Santa Barbara Sunrise RV Park
      Camper-submitted photo from Santa Barbara Sunrise RV Park
      Camper-submitted photo from Santa Barbara Sunrise RV Park
      Camper-submitted photo from Santa Barbara Sunrise RV Park

      9.

      Santa Barbara Sunrise RV Park

      12 Reviews
      8 Photos
      210 Saves
      Summerland, California

      The only RV park located in the city of Santa Barbara. We offer convenient, comfortable RV sites and friendly, dependable service. Enjoy the hospitality of our small, family owned urban RV park while you explore Santa Barbara’s countless treasures and oodles of activities. Whether you call it an RV or a caravan, a vacation or a holiday, a park or a campground, we welcome you!

      • Pets
      • Electric Hookups
      • Phone Service
      • Reservable
      • ADA Access
      • RVs
      Camper-submitted photo from Los Prietos
      Camper-submitted photo from Los Prietos
      Camper-submitted photo from Los Prietos
      Camper-submitted photo from Los Prietos
      Camper-submitted photo from Los Prietos
      Camper-submitted photo from Los Prietos

      10.

      Los Prietos

      12 Reviews
      27 Photos
      226 Saves
      Goleta, California

      Overview

      Los Prietos Campground is situated in the Los Padres National Forest and provides access to a variety of outdoor adventures, including water-related recreation and hiking. The family-friendly campground is green and lush and is a great place to camp in the mountains of western California.

      Recreation

      The Santa Ynez River is popular for a variety of water-related recreation. The river can be accessed at White Rock Day Use Area, less than a half-mile from the campground. Cachuma Lake Recreation Area is no-body-contact reservoir about 10 miles northwest of the campground. It offers boating, fishing and kayaking. Anglers will find an abundance of annually stocked trout. Carp and bass are also common catches. Visitors enjoy a variety of hiking, biking and horseback riding trails. The Aliso National Recreation Trail is a popular, 2.5-mile loop that begins near the campground. Also nearby is the 18-mile Santa Cruz Trail, which provides access to a variety of other trails in the area. The Camuesa OHV Route and its connecting trails are available within 10 miles of the campground.

      Facilities

      The campground offers dozens of single-family sites for tent or RV camping. No utility hookups are available at the campground. Each site is equipped with a table, campfire ring with grill and a pedestal grill. Flush toilets and drinking water are provided. Trash collection bins are available throughout the campground.

      Natural Features

      The campground is nestled on the side of the Santa Ynez Mountains. Beautiful, mature oak trees provide ample shade, and abundant vegetation blankets the ground. The sites are roomy and allow for some privacy and separation.

      Nearby Attractions

      The campground is located 19 miles from Santa Barbara and the Pacific Ocean.

      • Pets
      • Electric Hookups
      • Phone Service
      • RVs
      • Tents
      • Standard (Tent/RV)

      $40 - $44 / night

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