Surfing Mussel Shoals or Rincon in Ventura County, California doesn't have to be expensive. Instead of trying to figure out how you're going to afford a bunch of hotel fees, camp near the coast at these popular campsites around Ventura County for great surfing on the cheap.
Mussel Shoals is a fun wave to surf just south of its more well-known neighbor at Rincon Point. On busier days at Rincon, you'll find much less of a crowd at Mussel Shoals. It's also a good spot to hit during large winter swells with lower tide.
To get to Mussel Shoals, drive to the Cliff House Inn off Highway 101 and park in the lot on the south end. That's 6602 Old Pacific Coast Hwy, Ventura, CA 93001.
This scenic stretch of roadway known as Rincon Parkway offers great surf (arguably one of the best waves in California) and outstanding views of the Pacific coastline and Channel Islands. Nearby surfable reefs can be good for both beginners and more advanced surfers depending on the swell. Note that tent camping is not allowed per County of Ventura Ordinance. Read more about Rincon Parkway.
Rated the safest beach in the world by local residents, Carpinteria State Beach offers 216 campsites for RV's and tent camping. Campers enjoy the luxury of nearby shopping and restaurants. Carpinteria State Beach is just over 10 miles from Mussel Shoals and requires a reservation months ahead during the summer. Reservations can be made seven months in advance. Read more about Carpinteria State Beach.
Hobson County Beach Park is a great spot for families or groups, tent camping and is just over two miles from Mussel Shoals. Firepits, hot showers, flush toilets, concession stand, fishing, sandy shoreline and a fun reef for exploration at low tides can all be found at Hobson. Read more about Hobson County Beach Park.
Faria County Beach Park is the furthest south of three parks located between Ventura and Carpinteria. The three parks on Highway 101 between Ventura and Santa Barbara are Hobson R.V. park, Rincon R.V. Park and Faria County Beach. Faria County Beach Park is about four miles from Mussel Shoals and is open all year long. It's also a great place for tent camping because they have 38 sites for tents. And fire rings. Not to mention great surf (six to eight feet is not out of the ordinary) and plenty of fish. And fish + fire = dinner sans six-pack.
While not all campsites support tent camping, there are several alternatives for a cheap and fun weekend or vacation, pretty much all year long. Have you been to any of these sites? We'd love surfer comments. Drop us a line in the comments or in our Twitter hashtag #surfgrounds.