This was our first visit in over 20 years. My wife's family loved camping here when she was growing up, so it was a nice return visit. The trees provided nice shade and privacy. However, since this is a state park, it's showing the effects of California's budget crisis. The facilities aren't in very good shape, and the restrooms aren't kept very clean. There was standing water in one of the men's shower stalls. But, it was still a great visit. We only heard the train 3 times in three days, and those were in the middle of the day, never at night. We enjoyed listening to the surf at night, and the beach made for some great surf-side running. We camped here in a Travel Trailer.
We were very disappointed. We heard great things about this park so went out of our way to stay there. Our "pull-through" ocean view reservation was nothing more than a parking lot with about 8 sites marked on the asphalt. Yes, we had a beautiful ocean view until a rig pulled in the site in front of us. And $35 for No Hookups is ridiculous, not to mention a reservation fee too. Now to be fair, there are camping circles with wooded back-in sites, but still no hookups. Yet they were full. People we talked to said they love it there and make their reservations a year in advance. We wouldn't go back. The only advantage was it's relative proximity to Santa Barbara. We camped here in a Motorhome.
El Capitan is an oceanfront State Park about 25 miles west of Santa Barbara. The best aspects to this park are its proximity to SB, as there aren't many campgrounds in the area, the ocean views and beach. It's right off of the 101 freeway, so it's very easy to access and can accommodate big rigs. The campground doesn't have any hookups or a dump station, so plan on dry camping. We paid $43, which included a $8 Reserve America fee, which seems high relative to the $35 price for the camping space and takes this from a reasonable price to a bit expensive. We camped here in a Motorhome.
With a little maintenance on the trees and shrubs this place would be rated higher. One new negative mark is that the county has shut down the dump station in the park. Water is still available but you have to drive into Goleta to dump at a 76 gas station about 8 miles away. I spoke to a ranger about the over grown trees. He said that it took the state 5 years to go through the paperwork process to select a new tree contractor and they have just started to work. In time it should improve. The entrance road can be challenging for taller rigs. Go slow and watch the over hanging branches. The upper lot is basically a parking lot with spaces striped off, but it is the best view of the ocean. There are two rows of parallel spaces, the front row of spaces are best. No hookups at any of the sites so being self contained is recommended. With all that being said the views here are still spectacular. Goleta down the highway has tons of new shopping and places to eat. I will definitely be back here again. We camped here in a Motorhome.
This park is run down and sorely lacking in basic maintenance. The trees and bushes are over grown. The bathroom in the loop we were in was permanently shut down. Our site was described as pull through but it was not. There is a nice view but access to the beach is via a set of run down stairs. It is not handicap accessible at all. There is also a train that goes by up to 3x per night, blowing it's horn while it drives by. Also, there is freeway noise. I recall visiting this park about 25 years ago. It was in much better shape back then. So sad. I am not sure if we will visit this place again. We camped here in a Travel Trailer.
The beach is spectacular, This campground could be so much better. There are a few spots with views of the ocean but most do not. The trees and bushes are so overgrown, they look bad and block the great coast view. The park looks like it has had no maintenance for a long time. Some sites are very unlevel and small. Bike path to Refugio was closed. We camped here in a Motorhome.
We spent Labor Day Weekend there. The campsites are large, lots of trees, very hilly campground. The loops at the top of the campground are quite far from the beach. Bathrooms were stocked daily, great hot showers, busy campground but fun. The beach was very nice, and there is a small general store for supplies. We also rode our bikes up to El Capitan Canyon for lunch at their deli. We camped here in a Motorhome.
We stayed here as we were passing through the area and really enjoyed the location. The campground overlooks the El Capitan State Beach. It's beautiful. I loved the amount of shade trees that were throughout the campground. My only "con" to this place is the amount of restrooms. They were very busy since there are no hookups in the campground. They could definitely used more facilities. We would stay here again. We camped here in a Tent Trailer.
Nice campground although close to the freeway some of the sites can't fit the size trailer or motorhome that they claim to. The restrooms and showers were clean. No dump site is a negative but not a deal breaker. Clean with nice trails to explore. We would return again. We camped here in a Travel Trailer.
This is a nice campground, but because of the California state cutbacks there are a lot of issues. The rangers don't patrol. I only saw one camp host and he was driving through checking tags in the morning. It used to be that the hosts would walk around several times a day talking to people and checking the campground. Several campers had dogs that barked non-stop. Music being played on a car stereo for everyone's enjoyment. The prices are also way up: $35 plus a reservation fee for dry camping. We camped here in a Travel Trailer.
This is a beautiful setting for a southern Calif. ocean side park. It's large but sites we saw are spaced nicely apart. The park was almost empty, which surprised us at this time of year. We were unable to find pull throughs and hookups, as stated at the Calif. State Park website. We dry camped. There were no rangers in attendance and users had to register and deposit the fees self-serve. Clean and handy. We will stay here again. We camped here in a Motorhome.
Rural, dry-camping. Our site 65 was awful, no where near the ocean, across from the old dump station, next to the freeway and not even wide enough for our awning to open. On the plus side, its Reserve America state beach: cheap and woodsy. Just choose your campsite carefully. We may or may not stay here again. We camped here in a Motorhome.
Good over night stop, nice and cool after a long drive from the desert! Great beaches around for shell collectors. A little windy, so watch your hats. Nice place to make a day stop while going north or south. We camped here in a Motorhome.
This is a wonderful campground. It is not an RV park - but there is one across the street - nearly 4xs the price and not as good a location. Few sites have ocean views (and would have a lot of foot traffic passing by), but they are all a short walk. I think the previous reviewer was wrong about the length limit. My site had a 30 ft limit, but other sites are longer. I saw some pretty big RVs. Also, about half the sites were occupied by RVs of some sort. You can book up to six months in advance, and the park is usually full. OTOH, if you keep checking the site, you can get cancellations. That is what we did. We camped here in a Tent Trailer.
Nice park. Mostly for tenters. Only one section accommodates any RV/Trailer longer than 20 feet. The views from some sites is great, most do not look over the ocean. The campground is up high above the beach with trails and stairs down to the water. Overall a nice place to get away for a weekend. We camped here in a Motorhome.
I stayed here overnight while traveling through. The campground is situated in a small bowl, surrounded on the sides by small hills. A sign on the kiosk warns you of potential high winds (and no refunds). When I was there, however, there was no wind. In fact, I was wishing for a small breeze, as it was quite warm. The hills seem to hold in the heat. The way to the beach is under the train trestle. This would by a nice place for families or groups to stay while you visit and do other activities in the area. The restrooms and showers were clean. The showers require quarters and have good, hot water. However, the fee is $45!! I just can not justify paying that price for a mostly basic campsite. While my stay there was adequate, I probably won't be back. We camped here in a Truck Camper.
Small, cozy campground close to the beach. The beach is a short walk under the railroad trestle and about 100 yards wide. Most of the sites are small. The campground was covered in a thin layer of dried mud, like it had been flooded recently. We had to kick someone out of our campsite when we arrived (this is happening all to frequently in CA state parks). The wind blew hard the whole time which is normal for this campground. There is even a sign at the front kiosk warning no refunds because of the wind. We camped here in a Travel Trailer.
This is a beautiful park right on the ocean. It is also near the highway and the train tracks, so as others have stated it can be noisy. Premium sites (by the day use area and at the end of each row near the ocean) are $45/night. Some sites are tight, and others can fit two rigs easily in them. Generator run times are a little strange and for the most part they were observed by all (10am to 8pm only), but some had noisy generators start at off times and were not enforced by the hosts. Making changes to your site or days is a mess as they have no access to the ReserveAmerica site. They tell you to pay to cancel your reservation and book one day at a time (the reason I gave them an 8). Maybe it's just the state, but they seemed really inflexible especially at this time of year. Overall was a great stay, nice beach walking and bike ride to El Capitan (path is washed out 1/2 way, but you can go to the beach). We will be back. We camped here in a Motorhome.
The campground is nice, but the rules aren't enforced. Dogs that barked all day long. Cars parked in places that they shouldn't, like on the grass at the bike and camp area. Showers were clean but no hot water. We will come back again because we enjoy camping here. We camped here in a Travel Trailer.
This state park campground is right by the ocean. Unfortunately it's also right by Highway 101, so the traffic noise and train noise was loud all night (even with ear plugs). The sites have fire pits, picnic tables, grass and trees. Most of them looked level and were large widthwise, but not always lengthwise. A newer bathhouse was cleaner and nicer than an older one, but overall neither was as clean as the one we used at San Simeon (and that was a Saturday night as opposed to a Wednesday, go figure). There were a lot of tent campers. The park only allows generators between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m., which makes preparing breakfast difficult. We camped here in a Motorhome.
The beach here is beautiful. If you are lucky enough to get a spot (they book up 6 months in advance), enjoy the ocean. The sites are nothing exciting, very old pavement, more like gravel and no hookups, dump station, etc. There is a great bike path that goes from Refugio State Park to El Capitan State Park about 2.5 miles away that has beautiful views. We camped here in a Motorhome.