If you are looking for a new place to enjoy the beach in southwestern California in your motorhome, Point Mugu State Park is a fantastic spot. Whether you have the whole family or even if it is just you, this park has a lot to do whether you are a water fan, hiking fan, or just need a vacation. Inside the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, the beauty in this park is second to none. And with the Santa Monica Mountains in the background of every view, you can take some excellent selfies to share with your friends on your favorite social media sites.
California’s diverse ecology is one thing that makes the Golden State so special. There are not many other places where mountains, forests, deserts, and beaches come together. The weather in this part of California is always mild with highs in the 70s in the summer and lows in the upper 50s in the winter. There is really no bad season to visit the park. However, if you want to swim, summer is the best time because the ocean is mighty cold in the winter. But you can enjoy the 70 miles of hiking, biking, and bridle trails throughout the park at any time of the year.
Wildlife in the park includes coyotes, raccoons, skunks, and even bears. You’ll also see a plethora of birds, reptiles, and fish. If you are lucky, you can even spot some whales and dolphins off the coast. The Boney Mountains State Wilderness Area is also a part of Point Mugu State Park where you can climb Boney Mountain and see the fossils along Fossil Trail. And with two campgrounds that have over 100 campsites, you can stay the night so you can do it all over again the next day.
You can easily get to Point Mugu State Park if you keep driving southwest on the Pacific Coast Highway (CA-1), no matter where you are coming from. Just 15 miles from Oxnard, 25 miles from Thousand Oaks, and 33 miles from Santa Monica, the drive along the coast to the park is stunning. Make sure your passengers have their phones or cameras ready to take some pics.
Being inside the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, you can find a plethora of short side trips to take, like La Piedra State Beach and Leo Carrillo State Park, which are just a 10-minute drive down the coastline. Escondido Falls is another fun spot to see on your way to the park. Bring your camera so you can get some pictures of the 300-foot three-tiered waterfall.
Although getting to the park is easy with most of it being the Pacific Coast Highway, inside Point Mugu you may have a hard time trying to find a spot to park. Make sure you reserve a spot in advance because although they have 15 first-come, first-served spots, they fill up fast. Once you park your rig, walking or biking is the way to go. However, if you want to visit nearby places in and around town, bring another vehicle to get around.
Along over four miles of oceanfront shoreline, the Sycamore Canyon Campground in Point Mugu State Park is a beautiful place to park your RV for the night or the week. You will enjoy the backdrop of the Santa Monica Mountains and sandy beach as you camp with your family of up to eight people. You can even bring Fido, but he must be kept on a leash or in a carrier at all times. You do need reservations to stay here, which can be made online or by phone. Make sure you check the length limits when setting your reservation. Rigs up to 31 feet can be accommodated, but some site pads are shorter than that.
Although there are no utilities here, all 58 campsites have access to potable water, restrooms, and showers in three different sections of the campground. There are also fire rings and picnic tables for your convenience. You are only a short walk from the beach and the nature center. Also, there is a trail that leads from the back of the campground to the Sycamore Cove Day Use Area. The beach here has several lifeguards on duty to help keep you safe while swimming.
If you want a beachside campground, this is the one for you. There is not much between you and the ocean when you stay here, and with 46 spots to choose from, you should be able to get the site you want if you book it early. Actually, all the sites are good ones since they are all right on the beach. Thornhill Broome is more of a rugged type of camping with chemical toilets and potable water spigots instead of flushing toilets and showers. But you get to be so close to the water, most people would rather stay here.
Each site has a fire pit and a picnic table so you can cook and eat on the beach. There are also lifeguards all along the beach so you can feel more at ease letting the kids swim. However, you still need to watch them carefully since there are usually quite a few people for the lifeguards to watch. Reservations can be made up to six months in advance, and pets are allowed as long as you keep them contained.
Just past the main campsites of Thornhill Broome Campground, there are 15 more sites that are available on a first-come, first-served basis. These sites have all of the same amenities as the others do such as a picnic table and fire ring with a grill for cooking. You’ll also have access to the toilets and potable water spigots. The lifeguards are on duty along this stretch of the Pacific as well, so you don’t have to worry. Dogs are welcome here as well, but the same rules apply.
For large groups or families of up to 50 people, Point Mugu State Park has a gorgeous and huge campsite for you to enjoy. With five picnic tables, room for 16 vehicles, and a large ramada for shade, this campground in the mountains is an amazing place to relax and unwind after a long day of exploring. If you want to do some hiking, there are over 70 miles of trails in this park and a few of them start right nearby.
Spend a day surfing, swimming, and fishing before heading back to your campsite where you can cook for the whole crew with two barbecue pits. And with two campfire rings, you can also roast marshmallows or make s’mores afterward. There are no utilities here, but you’ll find two showers with hot water and three restrooms with flushable toilets. And your furbabies can join the group too. Reservations are needed and can be made up to six months in advance.
You cannot go to Point Mugu State Park without doing some swimming. After all, you will be right on the beach. And during the summer months, you will see that there are lifeguards stationed along the beach to help keep everyone safe. Pack your sunscreen, bathing suit, and towels in the RV before heading to the park so you can hang out on the beach building sandcastles, playing volleyball or frisbee, or just soaking up the California sunshine.
Point Mugu is one of the more popular spots in Ventura County to do some surfing. The beach break has a reliable surf that you can use any time of the year. While the water here can get crowded at times, there is plenty of room for everyone. The groundswells have an ideal swell angle from the southwest at most times of the year, and the waves come in from both the right and left. They even hold surfing contests at this beach in August when the deep channel swell is at its best. However, those are the times that the beach can fill up with more than 5,000 people.
This beach is perfect for a picnic or barbecue with lots of outdoor grills and picnic tables. The surf is gentle and rolling, making the beach ideal for swimming, surfing, and relaxing in the water. Restrooms and rinse showers are available as well. The beach is at the mouth of Sycamore Canyon, and this canyon serves as a very nice backdrop. During the summer months, lifeguards are on duty. Beach bonfires aren’t allowed here, but visitors can build bonfires in the canyon overlooking the beach, and that’s the next best thing. Fire pits are available.
You can enjoy over 70 miles of hiking trails in this park. The Old Boney Trail is one of the best. One look at the jagged Boney Mountain Wilderness Area, and you’ll understand how this mountain range got its name. The 6.5-mile Old Boney Trail is a great way to explore this area. The trail is not crazy long, incredibly difficult, or extremely remote. It runs from the eastern park boundary to the centrally located Serrano Canyon Trail. Right around the Fossil Trail, there’s an unmarked trail that leads a little higher up. These cliffs are a good place to take a break and have a bite to eat.
The 3.5-mile Chamberlain Trail connects the Boney Mountain Wilderness Area with the Circle X Ranch. So, it’s a nice combination of a backcountry adventure and a not-far-from-civilization trail. Excellent sweeping views of Sycamore Canyon, Serrano Valley, and La Jolla Valley await. The Sin Nombre Trail is one of the newest hiking/biking trails in Point Mugu State Park. It runs 0.9 miles from Big Sycamore Canyon Trail to Ranch Center Road. The trail basically goes through a valley in one of the hilliest areas of the park, so the trail is easy to navigate, and the California scenery is quite pretty.
Why not look around you for some wildlife while at the park? There’s a pretty steep drop-off not too far from the shoreline, and many of the beaches are rather rocky, so they are good places to see whales, seals, dolphins, and sea lions. Lots of brown pelicans, cormorants, least terns, and other shore birds abound as well. Further inland, especially in the hilly areas of the park, visitors can see woodpeckers, deer, warblers, foxes, and thrashers. It’s also not unusual to see a mountain lion, bear, or coyote or two in the canyons.