12 Parks near Los Padres National Forest, California
Sep 2010 - $10.00
Rate is based on Golden Age Passport. We arrived about noon on a Sunday. Most all campers had departed though the remnants still there seemed to have been a noisy group. By nightfall, all weekend campers had left and the campground contained only three campers, all arrived during the afternoon and all departed by early morning. Gang symbol XIV noted scrawled on a fixture in a lavatory. Lavatories and showers are tiled but by end of day not very clean. Well laid out campground with paved interior road. Rather tight with boulders on side of road but sites are angled in a way that backing in with a motorhome is easy. Might be more difficult with a 5th wheel. Great place for hiking. The major problem is gnats and flies that makes it difficult to stay outside. - artiemeek
May 2010 - $25.00
Great campground with a couple of wonderful camp hosts. They treated us like family. The sites were large and lots of shade. Great place to bring your family. The hosts helped us set up our fifthwheel and told us about the places to hike. Will return here again. - rosetammy48
Jun 2009 - $40.00
Recreation.gov site said this campground was great for all size RVs. Don't believe it. We had a 37' fifth wheel and it was very difficult getting out of the campground. The campground is a pleasant 40 minute drive on a curved road from the 101. If you go through Greenfield, like we did (following GPS) you'll go across a one lane bridge which we could barely make the corner onto to. When we arrived we found that the campsite we reserved was double booked, but there was another one we could use that was easy to get into. Turns out we never could have backed into the site we had reserved (site # 1, advertised for a 50' unit). They gave us site #3. Most all the sites, including #3) are laid out backwards. The picnic table, fire ring and flat spot are on the wrong side of the unit. Our door opens to a wooden post. We will not come here again. - R&S
Sep 2008 - $20.00
Nice, old campground located in the southern end of the Los Padres National Forest. What is nice is that you are camping under some very large and old California oaks. Shady and with a “playable” stream right down the center. The downsides: Nats. Tons and tons of them! Also, some yellow jackets. We had a screen tent and that was a help, but there really was quite a few to battle with. Also, due to fire restrictions, there are NO campfires allowed, and NO BBQ's with charcoal and lighter fluid. NONE. Not much of a problem if you plan for it. Of course, a fire would have been nice to smoke the nats away. This was a totally dry campground. No water to drink and no dump station. We brought an extra 6 gal of water along with the 13 gal or so that the Tardis holds and we had plenty. Of course, we did not shower and just sort of washed up, but that was more a concern of our gray water tank than of running out of fresh water. All and all, a good place to visit in the fall, but it looks like it would be unpleasant during the summer. Also, there was word that during the summer, the locals come up and party in large numbers. So, if you go..bring water, and a screen tent. - BBlast
Jan 2006 - $14.00
We camped here over the MLK weekend and practically had the place to ourselves. We parked overlooking a lovely waterfall and meandering creek. The lack of electricity provided us with a wonderful opportunity to view the night sky and enjoy the quiet around us. The park host was very helpful in finding the best site for our rear view lounge and came back later to make sure we were settled. The abundance of rocks to pitch into the creek should keep children busy for some time. The creek is shallow and would invite wading in a warmer season. I felt this park was the best value in our eight weeks of travel. - Ksprague
Apr 2015 - $40.00
Los Prietos is a beautiful National Forest Campground. Tucked in the hillside and under wonderful oak trees. The campground itself is decently maintained and the camp hosts are always going around checking the bathrooms etc. the roadway asphalt is a bit worn but still useable. Our hosts warned us about the site size vs my 34 foot rv but I got in with minimal effort. The spots are large enough to feel apart from the other campers but still close enough to know you are in a campground. The turkeys are a nice extra.
We stayed in camp all weekend playing and adventuring the grounds themselves and never got bored. - Dirtrider1974
Oct 2013 - $20.00
Dry camped over night. Self serve, put our money in an envelope. Water taps can be found. Bathrooms were crude and loaded with gnats & flies. Isolated campsite but it was tranquil walking around. Unlevel sites but lots of trees. Good on the budget and within about 12 miles from Santa Barbara. - zzzya
Jun 2009 - $15.00
We loved this little place and will definitely go back. The sites were huge and shaded by beautiful oak trees. We had two side-by-side sites and had more than enough room between us to put up a tent for another family. The bathrooms were clean and the camp hosts were awesome - they run a tight ship and it shows. - Charlalee
Mar 2016 - $10.00
Beautiful location in the Los Padres National Forest. It was an original land grant and sold by the original grant holder to 1000 Trails. Nicely maintained and lots of things to do right in the park or close by. On weekends they serve various meals. We were only here on week days.
We were on the hillside and though we had room for our 33 ft. 5th wheel, the back, past the levelers, was hanging off the hill! We felt safe enough but couldn't walk around the back of the rig.
Only two negatives. The first is the scary last mile into the park. It is a private road and often times is only one lane. It is narrow and twisty!
State Highway 154 is doable by RVs. A few steep grades but just keep the speed down and you are fine. The 2nd negative for us (others may be happy to be unplugged) was the complete lack of a Verizon cell and data signal. We were able to get a Direct TV sat signal. We would definitely come back! - Rick & Karen
Feb 2016 - $1.00
The park is very nice, there are good facilities, and good amount of things to do.
However, the road in is challenging. Even though we had called the ranger station before starting the 1.25 mile narrow entry road, and were assured that no one was on their way out, a pickup and horse trailer met us just as we came around the last curve on the way down into the campground. It became obvious that the person driving the pickup towing the horse trailer was not comfortable backing it up, and since we had our toad attached (and an additional pickup with 5th wheel and two other vehicles behind us), it took quite a while to get it resolved. Eventually (after there were an additional 4 vehicles stuck behind the horse trailer), two of the campground rangers came up, a driver of one of the vehicles behind the horse trailer managed to maneuver it backwards and towards the side of the road, and we all got through.
The other negative for us was that internet and cellphone service, even with Verizon and a cellular booster, is marginal at best. We were about midway up the hill; it may have been better if we had parked on the top row. In the Adult Lodge, it is better, but still not wonderful.
Be aware that the Garmin RV GPS may route you to avoid route 154 (it has a truck warning for trucks more than 30' from kingpin to rear axle). The alternatives that the Garmin suggests look to be much worse (the Garmin indicates "RV Accessibility Unknown" on the routes it recommends, instead of routing you on 154 which it thinks could be a problem). The campground information recommended that we use 154, and we are glad we did (there were no problems for our 43' bus on 154 - the problems occurred on the narrow entry road to the campground).
Rate reflects Thousand Trails membership. - pattic777
Jan 2016 - $15.00
This is a great place to stay when visiting Santa Barbara or as a destination for some much needed R&R. I stayed in one of the full hook up sites on the hill. Plenty of room. The space is a rustic ranch style setting with lots to do and see. Amenities include 2 pools, in ground spa, adult lodge, family lodge, a small store and even optional horse back riding. Beware the road leading down to the park is a narrow winding one lane (at times) road (approx 1 mile) and it may be difficult to maneuver if you had to pass someone else while entering or leaving the park. - Tony T
Jun 2012 - $35.00
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. - John Sims
Aug 2011 - $35.00
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. - bambilynn
Aug 2011 - $43.00
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. - User2146
Aug 2016 - $125.00
Check in was at 2 pm. We arrived and were given site 884 which is a back in. The site was hard to get into with my 40 motor home. There was a cement pad to park on, and relatively flat, there was a picnic table and fire pit but we couldn't use the fire pit because it was too close to the motor home. Lots of dirt, so sites are dusty. Nice pool and hot tub but here again more kid in the pool than space same as hot tub. Should have adult pool time in the afternoon. The hot tub said for adults only but this wasn't enforced. This park has tent camping and spaces just for tent camping which is down the road from the RV park. But right in the brochure it says no tents in the RV park area, but here again this was not enforced as we walked around the RV park we saw tents right next to RV. All in all I think $125 for this park is a little steep. I was looking forward to a very upscale park for that price and that was not the case. - Crbus
May 2016 - $94.00
This is a sister park to El Capitan Canyon, an adjacent "glamping" facility with common ownership. Ocean Mesa is on the north side of the 101 about 20 miles due west of downtown Santa Barbara. The park is set on a hillside above El Capitan State Beach. It is a half mile walk to the state beach. Free admission if you walk in.
The park is maintained to a high standard with a nice pool and the staff is very friendly. The power was consistent at 50 amps and the water pressure was adequate. This is an expensive park to visit but you get open space with a short walk to the beach. This is the only RV park that I know of that has an on-site massage therapist, with 3 hours notice.
El Capitan Canyon has a Saturday night summer concert series which we missed by a few weeks. Summer weekends have a 3 night minimum. We will return. - Gaucho Mac
Apr 2016 - $104.00
Have stayed several times and this is a very nice park, but they recently raised their rates. We paid the winter rate of $103.50 with Good Sam. Staff is friendly, but not RV'ers. Close to the freeway so if you are looking for peace and quiet, this is not the best choice.
However, that said, the location is close to Santa Barbara (actually north of Goleta), so there are few choices. In the future, we will drive a little further north to Buellton. Lot spacing is nearby with a sunny/open exposure. Site surface was a concrete pad featuring a fire ring and picnic table. - OwenTen
May 2016 - $55.00
Very spacious sites, but showing signs of lack of funding/maintenance. Staff friendly and helpful, doing a good job with what they have. Could not level the rig at the first site, was able to change to a pretty level 30A site instead. Utilities fine. Problem with first site was typical of many others: site have concrete pads, and concrete is cracked and has settled in those spots- if one or more tires are down in one of those areas, a struggle to level the rig. Many sites which still have concrete pads in good condition have significant back-to-front slopes: would be fine for a TT or 5th wheel, but more of a problem for MH. There are also trees at many of the site entrances, many of which block the entry/exit of the site.
This is an attractive area for camping, with a pool and many other activities for families. More crowded and somewhat noisy over the weekends. If you have a dog, the dangerous foxtail grass is abundant and almost unavoidable.
Fairly expensive to stay here (price above includes a $10/night extra fee for toad) for what you get, but then there are not many options in the general area. - SW Rick
Oct 2015 - $55.00
Stayed here a few days while visiting Santa Barbara. Rate includes an extra $10 per day for toad (!). Half-hour drive from Santa Barbara, but looks like best bet to have hookups and a decent environment near SB.. 30A electric was fine, water pressure around 28psi. Good spacing around sites, the one we had (119) has a concrete pad and was level; a difficult entry backing in because of way the entrance access was sited and the trees on both sides at entry. A good number of the other sites looked like they had a good slope to their pads. Lake was very low due to drought, but overall environment was scenic. Considering the alternatives, we will likely return. - SW Rick
Feb 2015 - $44.00
Nice place to stay!! We stayed in our RV for 4 nights, space #160. There was a huge tree overhead and a large space which accommodated our tow vehicle in front of the RV. Clean, quiet, tranquil, lots of nature, close to attractions. We really enjoyed our stay! - jazander
Mar 2015 - $70.00
This is an over-priced, no-frills, small campground. Tight, gravel, well-groomed spaces. No amenities. Parking our 40' was tricky but do-able. Entry and egress to/from campground challenging. Really big rigs be warned. Friendly staff. Clean restrooms. Next to freeway with sound barrier. When you exit the freeway, be prepared to take an immediate left into the campground, not the second "alley". - StephenK
Jul 2013 - $60.00
Our stay was for one night and were we ever glad!! No one was in the office when we arrived on Sunday afternoon and their note said they would be back on Wednesday. Took a site that was on an envelope taped to the front door and then backed our rig in. We had 50 amp until we turned on one AC then we lost it. Went down to 30 amp until we turned the AC back on. Then we had NO electric all night.... just ran our inverter. The only time we reached someone was when I left a message stating we didn't know the rate and to please let us know, and we'd send them a check. The manager was at our site within 10 minutes. Dirty place and bathrooms were filthy. We would never stay there again. - travelfool
May 2013 - $66.00
I was hesitant to stay here because of the negative reviews but it's the only show in town. It was worse that I had anticipated. I almost had to detach my toad while pulling in, cleared the wall by an inch while cars where honking getting off the freeway. To get to our spot we had to drive thru the park, which is not easy, exit the park and then re enter thru another exit. You had better be an experienced driver to stay here. I watch a guy in a 36ft motorhome take about 30 min to jockey into his spot. Only a wall separates this park from the freeway. You will be within 10ft from the freeway in some spots. Noise is constant. There is no room to walk around for exercise and the neighborhood is a bit sketchy. All this for a mere $66 a night. We have been on the road for 7 months, staying at about 35 campgrounds, this is BY FAR the worst. I'm not telling you not to stay here, it is the only location in SB, but be prepared. The women who lives here running the park is very sweet. - Jones714
Oct 2015 - $55.00
We love going to Refugio SB, clean and quiet park especially after school in back in. We always stay in site #27, which has a good view of the beach and ocean. This park is nice because the park is level with the beach no cliffs in the way or stairs needed to get to the beach. Park is well maintained and clean. Didn't use restrooms or showers, from looking in they appear to be clean. This year they replaced all the picnic tables with new wooden ones. Like watching the surfers surfing at the point and local school kids learning how to kayak. There is a lot of areas to hike and bike. When we were here last spring we seen several whales migrating north close to shore. We were in a 35-footer. - National RV Dolphin
May 2015 - $55.00
Refugio is a beautiful beach quite and clean. Lots of places to walk you pets. Our site 27 has a good view of the ocean and can watch the surfers at the point from our site. There were several empty site the week we stayed. There is a camp store but never have seen it open, wasn't open the week we stayed last October either. Probably just open on weekends. We were in a 35 ft RV so there's only a few sites that will fit us. We will be back in the fall. - National RV Dolphin
Jul 2014 - $47.00
We spent two nights here. Maybe because there are no hookups, I would estimate that this park was 90% tent campers. They did not appear to be enforcing the 8 campers per site rule when we were there. The beach is rocky and the water was a murky brown color. It was not inviting for a swim or even to sit and look at. Campfires and BBQs were going most of the time. Both AT&T & Verizon connections were spotty. We will not stay here again especially at the current state park rates. - WinnebagoTraveler
Sep 2014 - $40.00
Nice park on the beach. Good facilities, not crowded mid-week at this time of year. Lots to see and do in area. Town easy walk distance for shopping and supplies. In process of fixing up park due to heavy use. Trains run all day and night so be aware but everybody sleeps right through the noise. Beach is great for kids. Sites are blacktop, sand, or grass. - socalretiree
Aug 2014 - $67.00
This park has a great location and is right on the beach, which is perfect if you have a ocean front space, the rest of the sites are in rows that are extremely close together. The spaces are not angled which can be problematic for fifth wheels trying to back in. If you're traveling with a family, kids, bikes, etc. and don't mind being within a few feet of your fellow campers, you'll probably be fine, but if you want a little privacy or seclusion this beach will not suit you. It is a nice beach and the proximity to town is quite close and walkable but $67 for a small and crowded parking space seems a bit much. - Cinzia
Mar 2014 - $75.00
We stayed in beach row site #133. Sites 132-134 have a tree and bushes blocking the beach view from your table and fire pit. Minor inconvenience with the breaking waves less than 75 feet away. Our area sites were not angled so make sure you know how to back up really well. The only down side for me was the sites are really close together. With my awning out, it was only 5 feet from the neighboring RV. All and all, a great experience. - desertcamper05