This directory of California State Beaches covers the Southern California coast from Santa Barbara to San Diego, listed by county. Many offer campgrounds in addition to day use facilities.
Many people look for Southern California beaches with fire pits or fire rings, and these include Bolsa Chica, Dockweiler and San Clemente. Each listing gives you the location, any special features, and amenities available.
The thing that's nice about state beaches is that they are usually well maintained, clean and have restrooms. Many also have lifeguards during the summer.
The downside is that there is usually a day use parking fee of $4-14,
depending on the beach and season. However, for many people, a parking
lot by the beach is often preferable to looking for street parking, then
lugging your beach gear on a long trek to the sand. But if you want to
save money, you can walk or bike into the beach at no charge.
Plus, if you pay for a day use at one park, you can reuse the same pass at another state beach or park on that same day if the price is equal to or lower than the first park. Yearly passes are available as well.
For camping at Southern California State beaches, you should try and make reservations well in advance, as the more popular ones fill up 7 months prior to high season dates. Others don't take reservations but are first come, first served.
If you are interested in camping at any of these state beaches, you'll find more details here.
Dogs are generally not allowed on California State Beaches, but Thornhille Broome Beach in Pt. Mugu State Park and a portion of Leo Carillo State Park are exceptions, but they must be on a leash.
Gaviota State Park
Highway 101, 33 miles north of Santa Barbara.
Campsites, fishing pier, boat launch.
Refugio State Beach
Highway 101 at Refugio Road.
Sandy beach, tidepools, campsites, snack stand.
El Capitan State Beach
South of Hwy. 101, twelve miles north of Goleta.
Narrow sandy beach, campsites, hiking trail, grassy picnic area, snack stand.
Carpinteria State Beach
Between Santa Barbara and Ventura. Take the 101 to the Casitas Pass exit. Bathrooms at each end of the beach. Park in the neighborhood. The campground is at the south end. The public beach is sandy and backed by houses and vacation rentals. Tide pools towards the south end.
Emma Wood State Beach
North of West Main St., Ventura
Read more here.
San Buenaventura State Beach
South of Ventura Pier, Ventura
Beach protected by breakwaters, snack bar, beach equipment rentals, bike path, outdoor showers.
McGrath State Beach - (probably closed due to repeated flooding)
Off Harbor Blvd., south of Spinnaker Dr., Ventura.
Bird watching, dunes, sandy beach, marsh, campsites, nature trail. Read more here.
Oxnard State Beach
Off Harbor Blvd., Oxnard.
Dune trails, sandy beach, covered group BBQ area, bike path, many small BBQ picnic areas with grills and windscreens.
Point Mugu State Park
Thornhille Broome Beach - Off Hwy. 1/Pacific Coast Highway.
Rocky and sandy beach, campsites.
Sycamore Cove State Beach - Off Hwy.1/Pacific Coast Highway.
Sandy beach, grassy picnic area.
Point Mugu Beach
Though there are several California State Beaches in Los Angeles County, only one has camping.
Malibu has several state beaches. More details here.
Will Rogers State Beach
Off Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades.
Sandy beach, volleyball, outdoor showers, food, bike trail.
Santa Monica State Beach
Wide sandy beach, pier, playground, showers, beach equipment rentals,volleyball, bike trail, promenade.
Dockweiler State Beach
Pacific Coast Highway at Imperial Highway, west of LAX, Playa del Rey.
Wide sandy beach, bike path, volleyball, snack stand, fire pits, showers.
Manhattan State Beach
Volleyball, playground, showers, beach equipment rentals, snack stand,
pedestrian walkway, bike trail.
Redondo State Beach
West of Esplanade, Redondo Beach
Wide sandy beach, volleyball, pedestrian walkway, bike path, pier, showers.
Royal Palms State Beach
Western Ave. and Paseo del Mar, San Pedro
Rocky beach, tidepools, cliffs, garden terraces.
Two of the six California State Beaches in Orange County allow you to camp.
Bolsa Chica State Beach
Pacific Coast Highway, north of Huntington Pier, Huntington Beach.
Fire pits, grills, food, showers, paved paths, grunion runs.
Huntington State Beach
Off Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach.
Wide sandy beach, picnic areas, volleyball, food, showers, trail, beach equipment rentals.
Corona Del Mar State Beach
Ocean Blvd. and Iris Ave., Corona Del Mar.
Sandy beach, snack stand, volleyball, grassy area on bluff, showers.
Crystal Cove State Park
Pacific Coast Highway, south of Corona Del Mar
Bluffs, trails, sandy coves, tidepools.
Doheny State Beach
Del Obispo and Pacific Coast Highway, Dana Point
Indoor tidepool, aquariums, food, camping.
San Clemente State Beach
Off Avenida Calafia, San Clemente
Campsites on bluff, snack stand, picnic areas, fire pits, visitor center with touch tidepool.
There are four California State Beaches with campgrounds in San Diego County, and six without.
San Onofre State Beach
Off of Interstate 5 near San Onofre Nuclear Generating Plant
Two campgrounds, wide sandy beach, sandstone bluffs.
Carlsbad State Beach
Highway S21 at Tamarack, Carlsbad
Below a bluff, sandy and rocky beach, grassy picnic areas, pedestrian trail.
South Carlsbad State Beach
Off Carlsbad Blvd. at Poinsettia Lane, Carlsbad
Blufftop campsites, beach equipment rentals, dunes, trails.
Leucadia State Beach
Off Leucadia Ave. in Encinitas
San Elijo State Beach
Hwy. 101, one mile south of Cardiff-by-the-Sea
Tide pools, bluff top campsites, tidepool exhibit, native plant garden, rocky beach.
Cardiff State Beach
Hwy 101, west of San Elijo Lagoon, Cardiff-by-the-Sea
Tidepools, sandy beach, popular surfing spot.
Torrey Pines State Beach
Next to Los Penasquitos Lagoon. McGonigle Road off Carmel Valley Road, San Diego.
Silver Strand State Beach
Highway 75, Coronado
Sandy beach, sand dunes, nature trails, campsites
Wide sandy beach, sandstone bluffs, marsh.
If you are interested in more extensive information on the California State Beaches, or are interested in making a camping reservation, you can go to the California Parks website here.
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