8 Best Santa Barbara Beach Camping Sites, California

If you’re considering going to Santa Barbara Beach Camping, remember that you won’t be ready to pitch your camp on the sand and walk around town.

There is a number of places to camp in Santa Barbara. Some are so near to the ocean that you can fall asleep listening to the waves, but they are miles distant from the beach, marina, restaurants, and retail centers.

You should also be familiar with the distinctive geography of the Santa Barbara coast: As it passes through town, the Pacific coast, which is generally north-south, twists east-west. This results in a “banana belt” environment, which makes camping along the beach all year enjoyable.

This results in a “banana belt” climate, making it enjoyable to camp at the beach throughout the year – except during the winter rains. It’s particularly perplexing when you’re relaxing on the beach at sunset, looking out over the ocean, and the sun is to your left rather than straight ahead.

If you’re planning a beach vacation in Santa Barbara, I advise you to must visit the cities next to Santa Barbara. Continue reading this article to know more about the campgrounds here.

Is it illegal to camp on the beach?

While the United Kingdom has thousands of beautifully organized campsites, many people prefer to explore the genuine, aesthetic surroundings of this often overlooked country.

Cities like England and Wales have a lot to offer, with mountain ranges, woods, rivers, and beautiful beaches. If you want to stay on one of the beautiful British beaches, keep in mind that wild camping is prohibited in England and Wales.

Is it illegal to camp on the beach

That isn’t to say you can’t do anything; in most cases, authorization from the landowner is required, along with a set of regulations and responsibilities.

Many people are unaware that every bit of land in the United Kingdom is possessed by someone. There are no unspoiled nature areas, such as a rugged coastline, available for the taking.

As a result, if you really want to camp on these sites, you’ll need to figure out who owns them and whether or not they’ll be okay with your presence.

If you’re in Scotland, on the other hand, you’ll be thrilled to learn that you can go wild camping just much anywhere you choose. However, camping on farmland or any other type of private property is still prohibited.

There are, however, some rules, just as there are in England and Wales.

These guidelines aren’t set in stone, but they could be considered a code of behavior for wild campers. These restrictions ensure that campers can appreciate the view and splendor of Scotland’s shoreline without detracting from the experience of others.

Santa barbara beach camping

Before we get started on our selection of the top Santa Barbara campgrounds, let’s take a look at the “American Riviera.” Santa Barbara is noted for its clean beaches and wealthy lifestyle. It is located on a gorgeous length of California’s central coast. This world-class resort, often known as the American Riviera, does not lack when it comes to restaurants, wine tasting, shopping, and enjoying nature.

You may go surfing, swimming, fishing, beachcombing, whale watching, hiking, and bicycling if you enjoy the outdoors (to name a few). The Los Padres National Forest also has numerous good camping, both along the coast and inland.

Best campgrounds in Santa barbara

1. Carpinteria State Beach

  • ADDRESS: 205 Palm Ave, Carpinteria, CA 93013, USA
  • PHONE: +1 805-684-2811
  • WEB: Visit the website

Carpinteria State Beach

Carpinteria State Beach is a mile of sandy beach, 12 miles south of Santa Barbara. There are RV and tent camping spots available (which can be difficult to locate their place). Swimming, surfing, and tide pooling are all available at the park. This beach is also close to downtown Carpinteria, making it convenient to acquire supplies and eat out.

2. Gaviota State Park

  • ADDRESS:17620 Gaviota Beach Rd, Gaviota, CA 93117, USA
  • WEB: Visit website

Gaviota State Park

Santa Barbara is roughly 35 kilometers from Gaviota State Park. When trekking to Gaviota Peak, a lofty 2,458-foot peak accessible by a 6-mile hike with spectacular views of the shoreline and the Channel Islands, many campers prefer to stay at Gaviota.

You have to walk under a picturesque train trestle to get to the sand and ocean. All along the stretch of the coast, the wind can get very fierce – in fact, this portion of the coast is known for it.

Camps, trailers up to 25 feet, and RVs up to 27 feet are all welcome at the 41 established campsites. Book campgrounds and hotels six months ahead of the current date. Bookings can be made from the time of arrival to the time of departure.

Depending on availability and the park’s max stay requirements, bookings may be extended from the expected arrival to the desired departure date.

3. Jalama Beach

Jalama Beach - best santa barbara beach camping

Jalama Beach, about an hour north of Santa Barbara, is a great place to fall asleep to the sound of breaking waves. Jalama Beach Campground has 107 campsites, all of which have ocean or beachfront views and may be booked electronically through Santa Barbara County Parks. Each site has a park bench and a grilling area.

A short walk from the campsite is hot showers, bathrooms, and water. All 31 of the campgrounds have electrical hookups, and there are also dump stations.

Fishing, swimming, whale viewing, beach picnics, and elite-level surfing are all available at Jalama Beach. For the kids, there is also a playground. Jalama features a wonderful grocery shop and grill where you can get groceries, souvenirs, and eat.

It’s worth noting that Jalama can be windy and have rough waves. During the summer months, lifeguards are on duty; nevertheless, swimmers and surfers do so at their own risk.

You’ll get tar on your feet, shoes, kayaks, and surfboards no matter which Santa Barbara area coastline you choose for camping, so stop in at the campground store and buy up a bottle of all-natural, non-toxic Oil Slick Beach Tar Remover and have a mess-free vacation.

4. Refugio State Beach

  • ADDRESS: 10 Refugio Beach Rd, Goleta, CA 93117-9717, USA
  • PHONE:+1 805-968-1033
  • WEB: Visit the website

Refugio State Beach

Refugio State Beach, about 25 miles from Santa Barbara, is another great place to camp and explore the coast. It’s 3 miles away from El Capitán State Beach and has many of the same amenities, such as lifeguards, but it’s a little more off the usual road and offers peace and quietness.

From Memorial Day until August, the State Park Lifeguards conduct beginner and intermediate kayak tours. These cruises offer stunning views of the Pacific coastline, and there’s a good chance you’ll see some marine life.

5. El Capitan State Beach

best santa barbara beach camping - El Capitan State Beach

When its predecessor, Capitan Jose Francisco Ortega, departed from the Spanish Army in 1795, El Capitan State Beach was probably not much different. That is unless you count the lovely campground set on a steep mountainside on the central California coast. The area also has a wide range of outdoor activities, including beach activities. Sharks, elephants, sea lions, and migratory whales can all be seen here.

Tents, trailers, and RVs are all welcome at the park, which has 142 spaces. Water, flush toilets, hot showers, laundry, a picnic area, and a dump station are all available at the campground.

There are also Pull-Through sites available, which have level concrete pads that stretch 50 feet. Water, sewage, cable TV, and 30/50 amp power hookups are all available at the sites. There is also a patio table and a BBQ fire pit at these locations.

A swimming pool and spa, Wi-Fi, cable TV, a spacious sauna and comfort stations, local laundry, an immense grass area with horseshoe pits, a playground, and a friendly dog run are just some of the attractions available at the campground.

There’s also a fantastic convenience shop there. There are 15 miles of hiking trails and easy beach access, which offers surfing, kayaking, swimming, and other activities. You may come across tar in the water, as you will on all of the surrounding beaches.

6. Ocean Mesa RV Park & Campground

  • Address: 100 El Capitan Terrace Ln, Goleta, CA 93117, United States
  • Phone: +1 805-879-5751
  • Web: View the website

Ocean Mesa RV Park & Campground

Ocean Mesa RV Resort on California’s Central Coast is the perfect place to take the family for a great camping experience. The Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains provide a breathtaking location and beautiful background for sports and adventure at our great resort in Santa Barbara.

With a variety of large RV and tent sites, you may customize your vacation. A heated pool and the Ocean Mesa Market, which sells camping supplies, souvenirs, local wine, craft beer, and beach gear, are among the enjoyable attractions. On the Market, guests can enjoy seasonal outdoor movie nights. Explore the trails on docent-led walks, bring the kids to our llama and goat farm, and attend events at our sister resort, El Capitan Canyon.

7.  Fermont Campground

  • Address: 2525 Paradise Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93105, United States
  • Phone: +1 805-434-1996
  • Web: View the website

Fermont Campground

Fremont campground is about 20 miles inland from Santa Barbara, in the picturesque Santa Ynez Valley. It’s a terrific place to do mountain biking, horseback riding, or hiking from. The campsites are set out among giant oak trees and are fairly large.

There are around 14 campsites, with a handful being walk-in/tent only. Tap water and a bathroom are available at the campground. The camp host will also sell you some firewood.

8. Del Norte Backcountry

  • Address: Crescent City, CA 95531, United States
  • Phone: +1 707-465-7335
  • Web: View the website 

Del Norte Backcountry

If you’re looking for an island hiking experience on your vacation to the Channel Islands, Del Norte seems to be the only backcountry campground on Santa Cruz Island. Although Prisoners Harbor is just approximately 3.5 miles away, the National Park Service recommends that only experienced travelers camp at this secluded location owing to the harsh winds and nature.

When setting up camp here, make sure you’re familiar with the Leave No Trace guidelines. Camping is severely restricted to the approved places inside this zone, which is set in an oak grove with sea views. The 12-mile trip in from Scorpion is also an option.

To extend your trip and view as much biodiversity as possible, take the 12-mile trek from Scorpion Anchorage.

Can you sleep in your car in Santa Barbara?

Over 500 individuals sleep in their cars every night in Santa Barbara because they can’t afford to live with the front door, roof, and bed. They, in fact, are among thousands and thousands of homeless Californians—men, women, and kids from all across the state who have slipped between the holes in the economic system only to land smack in the middle of the street.

What are Goodwin’s options? Santa Barbara, like many other cities, does not always make life simple for its homeless citizens: city law makes it unlawful to sleep in one’s car, and fines imposed on those who do so might result in the loss of one’s only home. Getting away from the cops and finding a safe location to sleep becomes a daunting task.

Best Santa Barbara Beach Camping site – FAQs

Is camping allowed in Santa Barbara?
Camping and RV sites range from ocean-front state parks to the Los Padres National Forest’s hidden beauties. El Capitan Canyon and Jalama Beach County Park are two campgrounds in Santa Barbara that provide glamping.
Is there BLM land near Santa Barbara?
Point Sal is a 77-acre promontory located near the north end of Vandenberg Air Force Base on the coast in northern Santa Barbara County. It’s a delicate ecosystem, with sandy soil and a diverse range of species. Sea lions, mussels, and deer all live within yards of each other.
Can you use a camping tent at the beach?
Yes, you can use a camping tent on the beach. But make sure you are familiar with the weather conditions otherwise; the winds could make it difficult for you to pitch a tent.



Santa Barbara is the land of unparalleled charm and beauty where you can witness the amazing and fantastic scenes of the universe. It is a place worth visiting once in a lifetime. All the beaches we have mentioned above are splendid and worth visiting. These are definitely the best campgrounds in Santa Barbara.

All the beaches here are public and you can go there without paying much heed to your pockets.

Leave a Comment!