Fringed by soft sand, rolling waves, and rocky cliffs, El Capitan State Beach showcases the natural beauty of the Golden State. There are plenty of opportunities to enjoy this picturesque corner of Southern California, whether you're sunbathing, surfing, or enjoying a picnic under the shade of a mature oak. Throw in gorgeous weather, and camping at El Capitan State Beach is a fantastic destination for weekend getaways and cross-country road trips alike.
At just 115 miles from the City of Angels, El Capitan State Beach offers a unique chance to camp in an RV near Los Angeles. You're also a stone's throw from Santa Barbara, a.k.a the American Riviera. Planning a getaway to Southern California? Book an RV in Santa Barbara County and you can camp at El Capitan or switch it up at other nearby state beaches like Refugio, Gaviota, and Goleta.
Golden sand and crystalline water make El Capitan State Beach a great place to cool off in the Pacific Ocean. A stairway leads down from the bluffs to the sand and gives the beach a secluded feel. Spend the day soaking up the sun, building sandcastles, and building driftwood forts. At low tide, a stroll along the beach reveals rocky tide pools filled with colorful sea creatures.
When the swell is up, a right hand break at the eastern tip of the point lures surfers from across Santa Barbara County. Lined with oaks and sycamore, the banks of El Capitan Creek are a great place to enjoy a sun-dappled picnic. The grassy blufftop is also dotted with tables and treats picnickers to lunch with a view.
Across Highway 101, the Bill Wallace Trail winds up to a scenic viewpoint and treats you to sweeping views over the Pacific. For more stunning seascapes, hike the El Capitan Beach Trail to Refugio State Beach. The Santa Barbara Channel is one of the best places in California for whale watching, so keep your eyes open for grays, humpbacks, fins, and minkes splashing offshore.
Camping at El Capitan State Beach
The El Capitan State Beach campground enjoys a stunning location on a low bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean — you'll love falling asleep to the sound of crashing waves and waking up to a fresh ocean breeze. Like most state park RV campgrounds in California, El Capitan treats guests to modern facilities including flush toilets and pay-to-use hot showers. There's also a potable water station and a campground general store selling firewood, marshmallows, and other motorhome camping essentials.
Choose from more than 130 standard sites, all with picnic tables and fire rings for enjoying your meals outdoors. Most sites can accommodate RV rentals of up to 35 feet in length, though some of the more spacious sites can host larger rigs of up to 42 feet. Generally, sites can accommodate groups of eight or less. El Capitan also offers three group sites if you're traveling with a larger group. The El Capitan State Beach campground is open throughout the year though is most popular during the summer. Crowds soar from Memorial Day to Labor Day, so it's best to make a reservation in advance.
Exploring the Area
Camping at El Capitan State Beach puts you in the heart of Santa Barbara County, a captivating corner of Southern California known for its Spanish-Colonial architecture, laid-back lifestyle, and idyllic weather. Nutrient-rich soil and a sunny climate make Santa Barbara County a seventh heaven for winemakers. If you love wine, spend the day sipping your way through boutique vineyards of Santa Maria Valley Wine Country, most specializing in chardonnay, pinot noir, syrah, and sauvignon blanc.
Easily accessible by car or the El Capitan Beach Trail, Refugio Beach State Park lures sunseekers with soft sand, scenic picnic spots, and swaying palm trees that give the beach a tropical aesthetic. Gaviota State Park is another local favorite, with scenic hiking trails and a bubbling hot spring. For a change of scene, explore the scenic trails that wind through Los Padres National Forest. Experience Southern California from a different perspective aboard Amtrak trains like the Pacific Surfliner and Coast Starlight. Snag a seat in the panoramic-view observation car and spend a few hours watching the sparkling Pacific coast roll by.
Drive 20 miles west and you'll hit Santa Barbara, a great place to stock up on gas, groceries and other basic supplies. You'll also find a burgeoning bar and restaurant scene, as well as attractions like Old Mission Santa Barbara, a 19th-century hilltop sanctuary inspired by the chapels of ancient Rome. Families will love kid-friendly attractions like the MOXI science museum, Santa Barbara Zoo and Sea Center. Ventura, a historic town 50 minutes down the coast, is another popular place to rent a camper near El Capitan State Beach.
El Capitan State Beach, CA is the perfect spot to start your next road trip.
There are many popular rentals in El Capitan State Beach. Outdoorsy's El Capitan State Beach RV rental marketplace allows renters to choose from rental options from professional RV rental agencies as well as RVs for rent by owner.