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El Capitan State Beach Rv Camping

About El Capitan State Beach

Your best low-key beach trip: RV camping at El Capitan State Beach

Santa Barbara is one of Californias most beautiful communities, and this fantastic beach area is a half-hours drive away. Head outside the city on Highway 101 for a surfside escape, and youll find an incredible range of natural attractions. Its one of three different state parks in the rural area called the Gaviota Coast.

El Capitan means the captain in Spanish, of course. The term also describes cliffs such as the one here that offers a commanding view of the Pacific Ocean.

There are more than 100 campsites right there on the bluff. Theyre highly coveted because of the shady hardwood trees and proximity to the beach. If the sound of crashing surf helps you relax at night, you could easily fall into a deep slumber here.

Part of the appeal of camping at El Capitan is that it doesnt feel overcrowded or overdeveloped. There are businesses nearby, but it still feels primarily wild rather than commercial. If we had to sum it up with just one word, wed describe El Capitan State Beach as peaceful.

But for those with a more active lifestyle, theres no shortage of things to do. After all, the California coast is minutes from a mountain forest adventure too.

Silver Strand State Beach

Get the best of the Pacific Ocean and the San Diego Bay via pedestrian tunnels. Find traditional beach fun, with a wide beach and lots of space for kites. Silver Strand State Beach offers ranger programs, a seasonal café, an interpretive area, and restrooms.

The Coronado Surfing Academy hosts surfing lessons. Or head to the Crown Cove Beach Aquatic Center with kayak rental.

Silver Strand State Beach offers RV beach camping only. And the campground is basically a paved parking lot and electricity and water hook-ups. The beachfront sites are $65 and the inland sites are $50. The RV length limit is 40 feet.

Located at 5000 Highway 75, about 4.5 miles south of downtown Coronado.

Nearby: Coronado Beach and Hotel del Coronado

Santa Barbara + Sierra Madre/san Rafael Mountains California

El Capitan State Beach Campground is nestled along the the picturesque stretch of coastline lying between Goleta and Point Conception known as the Gaviota Coast. When driving west from Santa Barbara, El Capitan, or El Cap, is the first of three state park campgrounds. The state park is open for both day use and overnight camping.

With 132 campsites available year-round, a camp store, and restroom and shower facilities, El Cap is a popular destination. Online reservations for weekends and holidays are recommended at least two weeks before you plan to stay. Campers share the state beach with day users. Campsite zones are split into four loops, each containing roughly 30 sites. Five additional group camping sites are peppered throughout the campground, and 9 RV-only sites are also available. Please note that El Capitan State Beach no longer has an RV dump station.

Campsites are mostly shaded and situated under coast live oaks, western sycamores and eucalyptus. Sites 1-28 are located near El Capitan Creek and provide more privacy. Sites 29-124 are slightly elevated on the coastal bluff. are less private, and they offer better access to ocean views. Some are shaded others are not. Potable water faucets are located throughout the campground, as are restrooms and showers.

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Santa Barbara Beach Camping

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If you’re thinking about going beach camping around Santa Barbara, this is the first thing you need to know: You won’t find a single place where you can pitch your tent on the sand and walk to town.

There are some excellent places around Santa Barbara for beach camping. In fact, some of them are so close to the ocean that you can go to sleep listening to the waves but they are miles away from the pier, marina, restaurants and shopping areas.

You also need to know about the Santa Barbara coast’s unique geography: The normally north-south Pacific coast turns east-west as it passes the town. That creates a “banana belt” climate that makes it a pleasant place to camp at the beach all year except during winter rains. It can also be confusing when you’re sitting on the beach at sunset looking over the ocean and notice that the sun is on your left and not straight ahead.

If you’re planning a Santa Barbara beach getaway that includes spending time in town, you can find out more about what you can do while you’re there.

Things To Do At El Capitn State Beach

Camping at El Capitan State Beach

El Capitán State Beach has activities for outdoor enthusiasts and beachgoers alike. Hikers and cyclists can follow Ansio Trail an easy 5-mile trail for all fitness levels to Refugio State Beach. For a more strenuous workout, try Bill Wallace El Capitán Trail and Canyon and Ridgetop Trails, which reward elevation gain with expansive views. After exploring the trails, cool off in a kayak and see the shoreline from a different perspective.

Visitors can also fish off the beach for rockfish, calicos and halibut or try surf fishing fishing while on a surfboard! Bird feeders around the campground make El Capitán a good spot for birdwatching, too, with hairy woodpeckers, American kestrels and red-tailed hawks making regular appearances. And of course, the blissful sandy shore beckons beachgoers with shaded picnic areas nearby.

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El Capitan State Beach Camping

02/28/2022 by DayTrippen

El Capitan State Beach offers day use and overnight camping. The beach is located 30 minutes north of Santa Barbara. Camping reservations can be made six months in advance.

Most Campsites offer lots of shady areas. Oak and sycamore trees are throughout the park. Several campsites offer beautiful views from cliff-top locations.

The beach at El Capitan is mostly sand with tide pools at the north and south ends. Popular activities include swimming, fishing, surfing, picnicking, and camping. A stairway provides access from the bluffs to the beach area. A bike trail connects the park with Refugio State Beach, 2.5 miles away.

Beach, bluff, and bike trails link El Capitan and Refugio state beaches. Depending on the tide, you can usually travel up-coast along El Capitan Beach as far as Coral Canyon Beach. Then you can join the bluff trails or the bike path, which is also open to hikers, for the balance of the trip to Refugio Beach.

El Capitan Beach is perfect for families looking for a beach camping adventure or to escape from the city for the day. Sandy beach, rocky tidepools, and sycamore stands and oaks along El Capitan Creek. Its a perfect setting for swimming, fishing, surfing, picnicking, and camping. A stairway provides access from the bluffs to the beach area.

Beach Camping Southern California:

Bolsa Chica State Beach Camping

With mellow surf, perfect for beginner and intermediate surfers, Bolsa Chica State Beach is one of California’s most popular beaches.

The campsite sits just between Huntington Beach to the south and Newport beach to the North.

You can enjoy camping right next to the beach, and with 60 campsites to choose from, all with hook-ups for electricity and water, you have plenty of options. Note that tent camping is not allowed at this beach, as it is for RVs and trailers only.

The majority of the campsites are beachfront , and amenities include showers, flush toilets, and a dump station for RVs.

San Onofre State Beach Camping

Between Oceanside and San Clemente lies San Onofre’s State Park, known as Bluffs Beach, where you’ll find some of the best beach campgrounds in So-Cal. You can reach the campsites by descending from the parking lot on one of six trails. You’ll find plenty of restrooms and tons of RV camping spots in this State Park, so no worries if you don’t want to go au natural for the weekend.

This area is also an excellent place for surfing, as you’ll find Trestles, which has three access points, and Surf Beach.

Carlsbad State Beach Camping

You won’t find more beach campsites at any other State Beach than at Carlsbad State Beach, with more than 223 single-family campsites on the bluff.

So whether you’re looking to fish, surf, swim or take jogs along the sandy beach, it’s a beautiful place to stay.

San Elijo State Beach Camping

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Camping El Capitan State Beach In California

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Camping at El Capitan State Beach

The El Capitan State Beach campground is the perfect spot for a family vacation. The campground is surrounded by trees, faces the Pacific Ocean, and is adjacent to the Santa Barbara Beach as well. It is a rather large campground with over 142 sites for tents and/or motor homes . The campground is open all year round, though guests are advised to make reservations well in advance.

Amenities at El Capitan State Beach

Facilities available to campers in the El Capitan State Beach campground include drinking water, flush toilets, picnic tables, coin operates showers, a Laundromat, and fire grills. During the summer, lifeguard service is also available. During the summer months, there is also a small convenience store open near the campgrounds.

Things to do at El Capitan State Beach

El Capitan State Beach

El Capitan State Beach Beach Camping

El Capitan State Beach Campground, CA

The campground has 133 campsites. 118 standard, 9 RV only, 3 group standard, and 3 group tent. Even though they are relatively close together, most of the campsites have plenty of trees and offer some privacy. The most sought-after sites are near the beach are 99 109, 85 -82, and 29 44. Camps at the back of the park will get freeway noise plus the occasional sound of a train.

Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times. Quiet hours are from 10 pm to 6 am. Check-out time is noon. Each campsite can have up to eight people. All the camps have fire pits and tables. Campground Reservations should be made in advance for weekends and holidays.

On the other side of Highway 101 is another option for camping, El Capitan Canyon Resort. Glamping is offered at the resort and RV camping.

El Capitan State Beach is located on Highway 101, 24 miles northwest of Santa Barbara. El Capitan State Beach10 Refugio Beach Rd. Goleta, California.

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Bring A Surfboard Or Boogie Board

In the fall and winter, locals keep watch for a West swell that calls forth a set of waves coveted by surfers in the know. Unless youre a seasoned surfer, dont bother attending this beach party. However, most of the time the ocean waves on the Santa Barbara Coast are calm, and my boys love to ride whatever swells happen to catch their boards long enough to take them to shore.

Why Youll Love Santa Barbara Sunrise Rv Park

Santa Barbara Sunrise RV Park prides itself in its hospitality, providing a comforting at-home atmosphere when staying here. Not only is this park within walking and biking distance to miles of pristine beaches, numerous wineries, breweries, restaurants, art and history museums, and loads of other outdoor activities, it is also just across the highway from the Santa Barbara Zoo! The numerous amenities at this park and its proximity to nearby attractions will make you want to keep coming back again and again.

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El Capitan State Beach Campground

El Capitan State Beach Campground is located off Highway 101, 17 miles west of Santa Barbara. The campsites at El Capitan Beach are well spaced out among the trees on bluffs overlooking the beach. These beautiful campsites are among the nicest along the California coast. A bike trail leads west along the coast connecting El Capitan with Refugio Beach. Campers at El Capitan enjoy beach combing, fishing, surfing, picnicking, swimming, and sun bathing.

El Capitan State Beach Campground has 119 standard campsites which can accommodate RVs, trailers, and tents. Nine other campsites are limited to RVs or trailers only. El Capitan State Beach also has 5 Group Camps.

El Capitan State Beach Campground Basics
Location: Highway 101, 17 miles west of Santa Barbara
Camping Season:
Fees cover 1 vehicle and 1 legal tow, fee per night for additional vehicles
El Capitan State Beach Information: 968-1033
Reservations at El Capitan State Beach Campground
Reservations available Reservations are available year-round up to 6 months in advance of your arrival date.
Maximum Vehicle Length:
#8, 9, 20, 26, 33, 38, 39, 40, 80
Fees: Peak season – $45 Premium sites peak season – $55Hike & Bike site $10
or call 444-PARK between 8 AM and 6 PM
Check-in, Check-out:

El Capitan State Beach

What People Are Saying About Santa Barbara Sunrise Rv Park

RV Crazy?: El Capitan State Beach

The best park I’ve stayed at. Friendly and helpful staff, blazing fast internet, walking distance to the beach and some great restaurants, and the spaces aren’t too cramped like some other parks. The bathrooms and laundry room are extremely clean as well. Ian, Google Review


  • Free strong Wi-Fi and Cable TV

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Campground Fees And Reservations

: $35Hike & Bike: $10de Anza Group Site: $235Portola Group Site: $285or call 444-PARK between 8 AM and 6 PM

Suggestions and Comments from Previous Campers at El Capitan State Beach

  • Cross the highway and have a meal at El Capitan Canyon, a private resort and campground.
  • Watch out for poison oak.
  • Passing trains are not really a problem.
  • Watch out for tar on the beach.
  • Most campsites have some shade, #59 has lots of shade.
  • Watch out for skunks and raccoons. Store your food in a secure place.
  • Don’t accidentally book an accessible site unless you have a disabled placard to display
  • Great ocean view sites are #84, 85, 105, 107, and 108.
  • Bring quarters for the showers.
  • Supplies are somewhat more expensive at the campground store than in town.
  • Hours: 8:00 AM to sunsetEntry Fee: $15Facilities: Parking, restrooms, showers, Bill Wallace Trail, picnic areas, camp storeDogs not allowed on beach or trailsAccessibility: Parking, restrooms, picnic area, nature trail

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    Flying Flags Rv Resort & Campground

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    Flying Flags RV Resort & amp Campground is a large RV park located to the northwest of Santa Barbara. There is a local winery within walking distance, and the town of Solvang is about five minutes away. Other local attractions include Lake Cachuma and Los Padres National Forest.

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    El Capitan State Beach Campground Overview

    El Capitan State Beach is located between the scenic central cost towns of Gaviota and Santa Barbara. This is a very popular state beach with a beautiful campground on the bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The campground has 133 single-family campsites set among large oak and sycamore trees.. Group camping is also available. Each campsite has a table, fire ring and grill.

    The campground has flush toilets, hot showers, a convenience store and picnic area.

    There is plenty to do at El Capitan State Beach including swimming, surfing, fishing, picnicking, hiking, beach-combing, tide pooling, and wildlife viewing.

    • Biking, fishing, hiking, sandy beach, surfing, swimming and tide pools.
    • Other:

    Santa Barbara Sunrise Rv Park

    Camping at El Capitan State Beach

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    If you have dreamt of being able to hike the Santa Ynez Mountains to watch the sunrise or venture down a sandy beach to watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean, then Santa Barbara is the place you want to go. The experience can be amplified if you are traveling in your home on wheels and decide to stay at Santa Barabara Sunrise RV Park!

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    Rv Camping At El Capitan

    Well, The view was nice, we got a camp spot in the reserve portion on the asphalt… No hookups and overcrowded from group sites. I was a little disappointed as my neighbors also we’re being on asphalt. May have just camped at Walmart! No fire ring or spot, you can se where people lite fires on the asphalt, Don’t do this as very bad to get in lungs when the smoke hits. Hiking is pleasant with some nice overlooks that are un-protected so use caution. There is a small store to buy snacks,very expensive. No stores in immediate area and Santa Barbra is 20 miles away!So , they do have nice spots if you call way ahead and plan and bring everything as they have nothing there.


    We have camped here over the weekend with a large group. Very nice place. Good place with family. bathrooms are reasonably clean. Showers are good. There is a small shop at the entrance to buy the basic things .

    El Capitan State Beach Overview

    El Capitan State Beach campground is a relatively large campground and has 142 single-family campsites located next to a spectacular beach on the central California coastline. Campsites can be reserved from April 1 through November 30. The rest of the year sites are first come, first served.

    Campsites can accommodate tents, trailers and motorhomes . Sites 124-132 are for RVs and trailers only. There are no hookups in the campground. ADA Campsites are 8, 9, 20, 26, 33, 38, 39, 40, 80, and 83. Each campsite also has a table, fire ring and grill. Quiet hours are from 10 PM to 6 AM. Three vehicles and 8 people maximum are allowed per campsite. However, your reservation fee will pay for one vehicle and one towed vehicle.

    Five group camping areas are also available and overlook the ocean. They can accommodate 40-60 people . Paved parking is available at the group sites. There are also a few hike-in and bike-in campsites north of the group camping area. Overflow parking is available.

    Facilities at the campground include flush toilets, drinking water, coin operated showers, a laundromat, a day use/picnic area and campfire center. Firewood is also available for sale from the campground host.

    El Capitan campground has lots of shady areas with many oak and sycamore trees throughout the park. Some of the campsites also offer beautiful views from the cliff-top. There is also a sandy beach with tide pools and many hiking trails.

    El Capitan State Beach Area Recreation

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