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El Capitan State Beach Campground (California)

Make a Reservation
10 Refugio Beach Rd.
Goleta, California 93117
805 968-1033
34.462063, -120.028307
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El Capitan State Beach campground is a relatively large campground and has 142 sites for tents trailers and motorhomes (up to 42 feet).  The campground also has group camping and hike/bike campsites. Campsites 125-132 are for RVs and trailers only. There are no hookups in the campground.

Each campsite has a table, fire ring and grill. Quiet hours are from 10 PM to 6 AM. Three vehicles and 8 people maximum are allowed per campsite. However, your reservation fee will pay for one vehicle and one towed vehicle. Facilities at the campground include flush toilets, drinking water, coin operated showers, a laundromat, RV dump station, a day use/picnic area and campfire center. Firewood is also available for sale from the campground host.

El Capitan campground has lots of shady areas with many oak and sycamore trees throughout the park. Some of the campsites also offer beautiful views from the cliff-top. There is also a sandy beach with tide pools and many hiking trails.

The coastline in this area boasts high cliffs, sandy beaches, rocky tide pools and lots of surf. Keep your eyes peeled and you may be lucky enough to spot majestic dolphins, elephant seals, and sea lions in the water! You also have a good chance of seeing some whales during their migration to/from Mexico.

Outdoor recreation includes swimming, surf-fishing, surfing, ocean kayaking, hiking, biking, sunbathing, beach combing, picnicking and wildlife viewing.

Three other campgrounds in the area include Gaviota State Park (39 campsites),  Carpinteria State Beach (216 campsites) and Refugio State Beach (66 campsites).

Make a Reservation for El Capitan State Beach

El Capitan State Beach Comments & Reviews

Visted El Capitan State Beach Campground lately? We'd love to hear about your adventure. Did you find us useful? Did we forget something? Anything our community should know before heading out to El Capitan State Beach?

17 Replies to “El Capitan State Beach”

  1. Cecilia Muniz says:

    Many years ago we camped at El Capitan in a pop up trailer. It was wonderful! We drove by there last weekend and it seems campers can no longer camp under the trees! There are now cement pads to park your RV or trailer on! Has anyone camped there recently? I’m not happy about the change.

  2. Julieann Collier says:

    Cecilia,
    At El Capitan State beach the sites in Loop One nearest the beach are still primitive sites, Loop 2 as well…i think you may be refereing to loop three and four which are the loops you see from the road, those are the group sties and have been reconstructed and revamped. THE TREES are missing in LOOP 3 and 4 Because of a large fire years ago.

  3. Julieann Collier says:

    Cecilia,
    At El Capitan State beach the sites in Loop One nearest the beach are still primitive sites, Loop 2 as well…i think you may be refereing to loop three and four which are the loops you see from the road, those are the group sties and have been reconstructed and revamped. THE TREES are missing in LOOP 3 and 4 Because of a large fire years ago.

  4. Pat Kramer says:

    This is a very nice camping place although we had an access road passing by the back of our site and just a bit further over, a train track with a train passing by in the night. If, however, you are lucky enough to get a group site, you can actually sit by the cliff over the beach and really enjoy the awesome views! I think it’s a very nice place, overall.

  5. Ginger Baker says:

    Kids went camping there a few days ago. Apparently the place has been wiped out due to a tsunami. So sad!!

    1. Camp Ranger says:

      Hi Ginger,
      Rest assured that El Capitan State Beach is safe and sound. There has been no tsunami to hit California since March 11, 2011 as a result of the 9.0 magnitude earthquake off of Japan. The resulting 2011 tsunami in California was very small resulting in minor damage mostly in the Crescent City area of California. El Capitan State Beach had no damage and is open.

  6. Mayse says:

    Can anyone please tell me what is the best website I can use to make reservations to tent camp here at El Capitan State Beach? Thank you!

    1. Camp Ranger says:

      Hi Mayse,

      During summer and weekends, it is difficult to get a reservation at El Capitan State Beach. ReserveCalifornia.com is the agency that handles reservations. The reservations work on a 6 month rolling window. So, for example, if your arrival date is July 1, then the first day you can try and make a reservation for a July 1 arrival is on January 1 at 8AM PST.

      There is also a ‘bot’ site that is grabbing reservations with its speeding computers/connections and then reselling the campsites for an additional $39 per night. ReserveCalifornia.com and the State of California Parks department are aware, but don’t seem to care. You can read more about in the comments HERE.

      1. Jim Grooters says:

        Why can’t anyone do anything about the “bot” sites and why does’nt the SOCParks department not care? How can one get in touch with them and ask about this situation? Can you give me info on who to call?

      2. Camp Ranger says:

        Hi Jim,
        Yes, it is a bad situation with the “bot” sites snagging reservations. We ran a poll on our Facebook page earlier in the year to gauge the satisfaction with ReserveCalifornia and the response was overwhelmingly negative. There have been several comments on our ‘Tips to Reserve A Campsite‘ blog post where you’ll see what some people have done (to complain). CampsitePhotos has contacted both ReserveCalifornia and California State Parks about the situation. They have indicated they are “aware of the situation”, but so far no progress.

  7. Mike says:

    Are there any campfire restrictions in place at this time?

    1. Camp Ranger says:

      Hi Mike,
      There are no fire restrictions at El Capitan State Beach campground at this time.

      1. Mike says:

        Thanks so much!

  8. Jay D says:

    Hi there, was invited to El Capitan this weekend (first time) and very excited. I’ve tried to confirm that in fact a small pop-up trailer is allowed, regardless of what site we have reserved (Loop1,2,3 or 4)… I am not sure of our exact campsite but I’m certain it is not a group site…. we would have two vehicels total and one of those would be towing the pop-up which is 15ft long and 6ft wide… so is the info I copied from above in fact correct? —“Three vehicles and 8 people maximum are allowed per campsite. However, your reservation fee will pay for one vehicle and one towed vehicle.”

    1. Camp Ranger says:

      Hi Jay,
      That’s correct – at El Capitan State Beach campground you can have up to 3 vehicles (including the towed vehicle), but the third vehicle will cost extra (per night).

  9. Jim Grooters says:

    Am inquiring about whether or not you have hookups ( EWS). If not do you have availability of potable water and dump station? Which sites could I park a 30′- 5th wheel in? Thanks

    1. Camp Ranger says:

      Hi Jim,
      CampsitePhotos.com is not affiliated with the campgrounds listed on our site. We provide the photos of each campsite, camp info and link to make reservations. With that said, there are no hookups at El Capitan State Beach. Campsites 125-132 are large (RV and trailer) sites only and your rig will fit in one of those. Many sites throughout the campground will accommodate rigs up to 42 feet. It would be best to click on the “Make A Reservation” button to check with ReserveCalifornia on sizes of all campsites.

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Directions:

To reach El Capitan State Beach Campground drive from Santa Barbara 17 miles northwest on U.S 101 to the El Capitan State Beach exit and turn west.

Amenities
  • Amphitheater
  • BBQ Grills
  • Camp Store
  • Campfire Center
  • Campground Host
  • Campsite Tables
  • Drinking Water
  • Dump Station
  • Fire Pit
  • Fire Rings
  • Firewood Available
  • Grills
  • Group Camping
  • Hike/Bike Campsites
  • Ice
  • Iron Ranger
  • Laundromat
  • Pets OK
  • Picnic Tables
  • Ranger Station
  • Restrooms (Flush Toilets)
  • Showers
Activities
  • Beach
  • Beach Access
  • Beach Combing
  • Biking
  • Bird Watching
  • Boating (non motorized)
  • Body Surfing
  • Creek
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Mountain Biking
  • Nature Trails
  • Ocean
  • Photography
  • Picnicking
  • Scuba Diving
  • Skin Diving
  • Snorkeling
  • Stargazing
  • Surf Fish
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Walking Trails
  • Whale Watching
  • Wildlife Viewing
Regions
  • Beach
  • California Beaches
  • California State Beach
  • Central California
  • Ocean
  • West
Campsite Types
  • RV
  • Tent
  • Trailer
Best Campsites:

30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 70,71, 72, 73, 92, 93, 94, 96, 97, 99, 101, 116, 118, 120, 121

Campground Map:

Campground Map

Season:

Year Round

Elevation:

100

# of Campsites:

142