Free Concerts and Live Music All Summer Long Around Ventura County

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Summer 2018 is just about upon us and we're in the midst of another outstanding summer of free live music throughout Ventura County and surrounding areas! Rock, jazz, pops, R&B, reggae, Celtic, classical, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, Classic Rock, Latin, tribute bands, etc. The compilation below has links to more detailed information.

Concerts subject to change. List will be updated regularly as new events are added.

Thousand Oaks/Westlake Village/Newbury Park

Agoura/Oak Park/Calabasas/Woodland Hills

Moorpark/Simi Valley

Camarillo/Oxnard/Port Hueneme

Ventura/Ojai/Santa Barbara

Have something to add to this list? CONTACT US!!

Check the Events Calendar for things going on around town as well as the Local Events and Community Messages sections of Conejo Valley Guide.

Public Beaches In and Around Santa Barbara

We've compiled highlights of public beaches ranging from Malibu to Carpinteria so how about if we stretch the boundaries of that list further west a bit to include some of the popular beaches of Santa Barbara.

The City of Santa Barbara maintains four miles of beaches, including East Beach, West Beach, Leadbetter Beach, Shoreline Park and the Mesa neighborhood. The city offers a number of parking lots along the waterfront. Dogs not allowed on city beaches from East Beach to Leadbetter.

East Beach stretches from Stearns Wharf on the west to roughly across the street from the Santa Barbara Zoo. There are over a dozen volleyball courts, a play area, the full service East Beach Grill and picnic facilities. The Cabrillo Pavilion Bathhouse at 1118 East Cabrillo Boulevard is open M-F from 8am to 5pm and has showers, lockers, a weight room, beach wheelchairs and volleyball rental.

 West side of East Beach looking towards Stearns Wharf.

West side of East Beach looking towards Stearns Wharf.

There's a also a fun bike path stretching from here to West Beach and Leadbetter. Bring your bikes or rent them across the street on Cabrillo Boulevard near State Street. And on Sundays year-round is the Santa Barbara Arts & Crafts Show.

West Beach is located on the west side of Stearns Wharf to the Santa Barbara Harbor. Good for sunbathing, swimming, picnics, kayaking, volleyball and other fun. West Beach is easily accessible and family-friendly, with a wide walkway/bike path. There's also a wading pool, playground and the Los Baños Pool nearby. The beach is adjacent to the Santa Barbara Harbor, where among other things you'll find the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.

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 It definitely doesn't suck to be at the beach next to the Santa Barbara Harbor at sunset!

It definitely doesn't suck to be at the beach next to the Santa Barbara Harbor at sunset!

Leadbetter Beach and park is between the Santa Barbara Harbor and Shoreline Park, across from Santa Barbara City College. The area has reservable picnic and barbecue sites, outdoor showers, restrooms and a grassy lawn. Popular for beginning surfers and sailboats, as well as sunbathers and fitness enthusiasts.

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Shoreline Park is a 14.6-acre coastal bluff park west of Leadbetter Beach that has a playground, restrooms, picnic tables, barbeques, a group picnic area, benches and beach access stairs.  The park has sweeping views of the coastline, city, and Santa Ynez Mountains. The Torii Gate at the center of the park takes you to a staircase down the bluff to the beach below, where you'll find a narrow and rocky beach area.

 View from Shoreline Park looking east towards Leadbetter Beach.

View from Shoreline Park looking east towards Leadbetter Beach.

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The Mesa beach area between Shoreline Park on the west and Arroyo Burro Beach is accessible via the Mesa Lane Steps near the corner of Mesa Lane and Edgewater Way. This is a residential area where primarily locals access the relatively narrow and rocky beach area below. About a mile away on the east is another beach access point at the eastern end of Camino Al Mar.

Arroyo Burro Beach is a beach park managed by the County of Santa Barbara. It is also referred to as Hendry's Beach, as the Boathouse at Hendry's Beach is located here at 2981 Cliff Drive. Decent sized parking lot with restaurant serving up moderately priced meals and drinks indoors/outdoors, seven days a week from 7:30am to 9:30pm. Arroyo Burro Beach is a sandy beach, good for surfing, boogie boarding and fishing, with an adjoining park with grassy areas and picnic tables. Restrooms available. From the 101 take Las Positas Road south to Cliff Drive. Turn right and travel 1/2 mile to the park entrance.

 Arroyo Burro Beach

Arroyo Burro Beach

Goleta Beach Park is a 29 acre Santa Barbara County park known for its 1,500 foot fishing pier and sunbathing beaches. Great destination for bicyclists on the area's paved trail system. There are also BBQ picnic areas, volleyball, horseshoes and children's playgrounds as well as the Beachside Bar Cafe. Find your way to Sandspit Road and you're there. Learn more at www.countyofsb.org/parks/parks02.aspx?id=7682.

For beachside parks in Isla Vista, including beach access points at Camino Pescadero Park, El Embarcadero, Camino Corto, Escondido Pass and Camino Majorca, visit www.ivparks.org/parks/descriptions.

El Capitan State Beach is located in Goleta, 17 miles west of Santa Barbara, Exit 117 off of Highway 101. south and you'll see the entrance to the park. A great place for camping, hiking, surfing, picnicking and beach walking. There are rocky tidepools and fun hikes galore here. There's also a 132 site campground open year-round with easy walking access to the beach. Restrooms and showers are nearby. For those into "glamping" (e.g. luxury camping), nearby El Capitan Canyon offers awesome cabins decked out with bedding, kitchenettes and bathrooms as well as deluxe canvas tents and yurts. Visit www.elcapitancanyon.com for more information. Learn more about El Capitan State Beach at www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=601.

 El Capitan State Beach at sundown.

El Capitan State Beach at sundown.

 Tree lined trails in El Capitan State Beach Park.

Tree lined trails in El Capitan State Beach Park.

Refugio State Beach is located at 10 Refugio Beach Road in Goleta, about 2 1/2 miles west of El Capitan State Beach. Refugio offers great fishing,  trails and picnic sites. Palm trees planted near Refugio Creek give a distinctive look to the beach and camping area. There are 61 campsites available. Visit www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=603 for more information.

Jalama Beach County Park is an hour drive from Santa Barbara and a 45-minute drive from Lompoc at 9999 Jalama Road.  It is maintained by the County of Santa Barbara. Have fun at the beach with surfing, whale watching, fishing, horseshoes, picnic areas and more. There's also a popular camping area with over 100 sites as well as seven cabins available. Visit www.countyofsb.org/parks/parks06.aspx?id=9186 or call 805.736.6316.

Butterfly Beach is on the east side of town in Montecito, accessible off of Channel Drive near, of course, Butterfly Lane, across from the Four Seasons Biltmore. No amenities but nice sand, a few benches and dog access. You'll most likely have to find a parking spot on the street. Mainly geared towards locals. You can catch a beautiful sunset from here.

 Butterfly Beach in Montecito

Butterfly Beach in Montecito

Lookout Park is a County of Santa Barbara managed park located on four acres on the cliffs of Summerland. Take the Summerland exit off Highway 101 and turn south into the park. Dogs are allowed on leash at this park. There access to a decent strip of beach, Summerland Beach. Also a small playground, restrooms, picnic areas, BBQ grills and more. Visit www.countyofsb.org/parks/parks02.aspx?id=7946 for more info.

Carpinteria area beaches, including Carpinteria State Beach, Tar Pits Park, Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve and Rincon Beach Park, are highlighted at this link.

Restaurant Rewards Programs and Birthday Freebies Around Ventura County

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It's nice finding Kids Eat Free deals around Ventura County but there are also dozens of local rewards programs and birthday clubs that give you something for FREE!!!

This list includes programs where you get something for signing up or for being a repeat customer...a free burger, gift card, dessert, etc. Excluded are programs that do not provide an obvious freebie (i.e. only sends you promotional emails).

These deals often change, so click through to the restaurant website to confirm the deal is still good. Let us know of any changes, broken links or additions!!

VENTURA COUNTY AREA DAILY DEALS AND PRINTABLE COUPON WEBSITES!

Domino's

Piece of the Pie Rewards: Order online and earn points towards free pizza.

Locations: All over the place!

El Pollo Loco

My Loco Rewards: Sign up and get a free taco al carbon and free birthday rewards.

Locations: Newbury Park, Thousand Oaks, Camarillo, Moorpark, Agoura Hills, Simi Valley (2), Oxnard (3), Santa Paula, Ventura

The Habit Burger Grill

CharClub: Receive special treat on your birthday. (I received a CharBurger with cheese for my birthday!)

Locations: Many in Ventura County

IHOP

Pancake Revolution: Free meal for signing up, on your birthday and on the 1 year anniversary of signup!

Locations: Newbury Park, Agoura Hills, Camarillo, Ventura, Oxnard, Fillmore, Carpinteria

Islands

Tiki Link: Free gift on your birthday and special promotions.

Locations: Agoura Hills, Newbury Park, Simi Valley

Jamba Juice

Jamba Insider Rewards: Earn points for each purchase by entering your mobile phone number to cash in for $3 discounts. Free birthday smoothie or juice.

Locations: Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, Camarillo, Newbury Park, Moorpark, Simi Valley, Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Ventura

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at The Commons at Calabasas offers a free ice cream on your birthday. Birthday guests can order any single, standard, or trio size ice cream in a cup or cone of their choice, and get their order free of charge.  The birthday special is only applicable on a customer’s day of birth. Adults must show a valid ID, and kids must be accompanied by an adult who can vouch that the day is their real birthday.

Jersey Mike's Subs

Email Club: Sign up and get special promotions. I was pleasantly surprised when I received an email with a coupon for a regular sub and 22 oz drink redeemable on my birthday).

Shore Points Club: Register and earn points for each sandwich purchased. Redeem points for sandwiches. For example, each regular sub earns you 6 points; with 12 purchases you've earned a free regular sub. Effectively this is an 8% discount.

Locations: Over a dozen locations...Ventura, Camarillo, Newbury Park, Ojai, Oxnard, Calabasas, Simi Valley, Moorpark, Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, etc.

Johnny Rockets

Rocket eClub: Sign up and get a free burger (with purchase of entree and a drink...basically a buy one, get one free) at signup and at your birthday.

Locations: Camarillo, Calabasas

Krispy Kreme

Krispy Kreme Rewards App: Register and get a free Original Glazed doughnut. Earn points towards free doughnuts and drinks and get a free gift on your birthday.

Location: 220 Riverpark Road, Oxnard

Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar

Gossip Hound Email List: Sign up and get free birthday and anniversary treats (dessert or appetizer)

Locations: Thousand Oaks and Oxnard

Menchie's Frozen Yogurt

My Smileage Club: Earn a Smile point for each dollar spent. Cash in 50 smiles for $5 towards a future purchase. That's a 10% rebate in my book!

Locations: The Oaks Mall in Thousand Oaks, The Collection at RiverPark in Oxnard, The Commons at Calabasas

Mimi's Cafe

E-Club: Free slice of crepe cake or two-pack of muffins or croissants for joining and free slice of crepe cake on your birthday.

Locations: Thousand Oaks, Ventura (Pacific View Mall)

MOGL is a rewards program where you sign up your credit card(s) and receive a percentage (usually 10%) cash back when you dine at restaurants in the MOGL program. They pay your rebates directly to your credit card.  As of June 2018, some of the local restaurants in the MOGL program include Greco's NY Pizza, Subzero Ice Cream, Zin Bistro, Petra Mediterranean, Karma Indian Cuisine, Tony's NY Pizza and Cupid's Hot Dogs Simi Valley.

Noah's New York Bagels

E-Club: Get a free bagel and shmear w/purchase with you sign up and a free egg sandwich w/purchase on your birthday

Locations: Thousand Oaks, Camarillo, Ventura

Old New York Deli

Deli Dough Loyalty Program: Earn 1 point for every $1 spent. 75 points  =  $5 in Deli Dough.

Locations: Camarillo and Newbury Park

Panera Bread

MyPanera: Sign up and receive a free "surprise" like a free pastry or sweet. Then receive other surprises as you accumulate points.

Locations: Camarillo, Oxnard, Ventura, Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley

Papa John's

PapaRewards: Earn 1 point for every $5 you order ONLINE (including tax and delivery). Accumulate points for food items.

Locations: Thousand Oaks, Moorpark, Simi Valley, Oxnard, Ventura and Camarillo

P.F. Chang's

P.F. Chang's Rewards gets you a free entree when you earn enough points.

Location: Thousand Oaks

Pieology

PieLife eClub: Receive a free pizza on your birthday (with purchase of an entree) and a free cinnamon churro pizza when you sign up.

Locations: Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks

Pizza Man Dan's

Pizza Lover's Club: Free pizza on your birthday and much more.

Locations: Ventura (2), Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Moorpark and Camarillo

PizzaRev

RevRewards App: Use the PizzaRev app and earn one point for each dollar spent. Exchange 100 points for a free pizza or entree salad. Also receive a birthday surprise.

Locations: Camarillo, Thousand Oaks

Poseidon Brewing Company

Free Birthday Pint! Oh yah, a free pint of craft beer on your birthday, with valid ID showing birthdate (and of course assuming you are of legal drinking age.

Location: 5777 Olivas Park Drive, Unit Q, Ventura

RedBrick Pizza

RedBrick Rewards: Earn 10 points for every dollar spent. Receive $10 reward for every 1000 points. Effectively a 10% discount. Receive a small gelato after registering.

Location: Ventura

Red Lobster

My Red Lobster Rewards: Earn points for your purchases and redeem for food items. Receive something on your birthday too.

Location: Oxnard

Red Robin

Red Robin Royalty: Free burger on your birthday and every 10th item free.

Locations: Simi Valley, Ventura, Thousand Oaks

Regency Theatres

Regency Rewards: Earn points on purchases. 10 points for each adult ticket...100 points gets you a free companion ticket.

Locations throughout the area.

Rita's Italian Ice of Newbury Park

Rita's Birthday Club: Sign up and receive free birthday treat.

Location: 2290 Borchard Road, Newbury Park

Rubio's

Beach Club: Receive free food offers, promotions, etc. via email. First email gets you a free fish taco.

Locations: Newbury Park, Oxnard, Simi Valley, Ventura

Sbarro

Sbarro E-Club: Receive free slice of NY style cheese pizza for signing up, plus special promotions.

Locations: Pacific View Mall in Ventura

Subway

Subway MyWay Rewards: Earn 4 tokens for every $1 spent on food and drinks. 200 tokens = $2 reward.

Locations: Everywhere

7 Eleven

7Rewards Loyalty Program: Download app on your smartphone, scan when you purchase coffee, Slurpees and other fountain drinks, and get 7th drink free. Not a bad deal!

Sharky's Woodfired Mexican Grill

Sharky's Rewards: Earn 1 point for every $1 spent. 100 points = $7 good toward future purchases. Effectively a 7% discount.

Locations: Calabasas, Camarillo, Newbury Park, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Ventura, Westlake Village and Woodland Hills.

Sprinkles

Sprinkles Perks: Receive free cupcake on your birthday, free cupcake upon registration, buy 15, get one free and more

Location: The Promenade at Westlake

Starbucks

My Starbucks Rewards: Members receive a free birthday drink or treat. Free refills and other items based on number of Stars collected over designated periods.

Locations: Everywhere (where is there NOT a Starbucks?)

SweetFrog Frozen Yogurt

Sweet Rewards: Sign up and get a free cup of frozen yogurt on your birthday. Visit 10 times and get a free cup.

Location: Camarillo

T.G.I. Friday's

Friday's Rewards Program: Earn points and redeem for food awards. Also receive free appetizer or dessert after joining, free dessert w/purchase of entree on your birthday and more.

Locations: Oxnard, Simi Valley

Tilted Kilt

Kilt Clan: Sign up and receive a free birthday burger, boneless wings on your birthday and more.

Location: Thousand Oaks

Urbane Cafe

Urbane Cafe App: Download the app, use it to pay for your purchases, and receive $5 credit for every $100 you spend; a 5% discount. I was surprised to also receive a $10 birthday credit.

Locations: Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Agoura Hills, Camarillo, Oxnard, Ventura

Veggie Grill

VG Rewards: Sign up via the VG Rewards App and earn points towards free food. Receive $5 off after joining.

Email: Sign up and receive a birthday surprise (don't know what this surprise is yet but I shall find out).

Location: Westlake Village

Wienerschnitzel

Wiener Lovers' Club: Get a free chili cheese dog for signing up and other stuff.

Locations: Simi Valley, Oxnard, Ventura

Which Wich Superior Sandwiches

Vibe Club Rewards: Get a free drink for signing up. Earn points and get free sandwiches.

Location: The Shoppes at Westlake

Wingstop

Email Club: Free fries for signing up and a free birthday gift.

Locations: Oxnard, Camarillo, Ventura

Yogurtland

Real Rewards Program: Earn points for each ounce purchased and exchange points for free yogurt and birthday treats.

Locations: Simi Valley, Westlake Village, Oxnard, Ventura and Camarillo

Arby's

Email Club: Free roast beef classic with purchase of drink after signing up

Locations: Thousand OaksVentura

Auntie Anne's

My Pretzel Perks: Free pretzel after signing up. Accumulate 300 points for a free pretzel. $1 spent equals 10 points.

Location: Pacific View Mall Ventura

Baja Fresh

Club Baja: Free taco for signing up and a "special treat" on your birthday.

Locations: Thousand Oaks, Camarillo (2), Simi Valley (2), Calabasas, Oxnard

Bandits Grill & Bar

Bandits' Roundup Club: Free birthday gift, specials and more.

Locations: Thousand Oaks and Camarillo

Barnes & Noble Kids' Club: Free birthday cupcake and $5 gift certificate for every $100 spent on kids' books, plus 30% off one kids book.

Locations: Thousand Oaks, Calabasas, Ventura, Woodland Hills

Baskins-Robbins

Birthday Club: FREE 2.5 oz scoop on your birthday!

Locations: Newbury Park, Camarillo, Westlake Village, Moorpark, Agoura, Simi Valley (2), Oxnard (2), Thousand Oaks, Santa Paula, Ventura (2)

BJ's Restaurant

BJ's Premier Rewards: Earn 1 point for each $1 spent and redeem for discounts. For example, cash in 350 point for $25 off your meal, effectively about a 7% rebate.

Locations: Westlake Village, Oxnard

BUY 10 (OR 12, or what have you) AND GET 1 FREE PROGRAMS

Quite a number of eateries have rewards cards where you get something for free after purchasing a certain number of items. These are generally not advertised, so we will add to this list as we hear of new programs:

California Pizza Kitchen

CPK Rewards: Free small plate when you register. Earn 1 point for each $1 spent. 75 points equals a $5 reward.

Locations: Thousand Oaks (The Lakes), Simi Valley Town Center, Ventura (Pacific View Mall)

Carrows

E-Club: Free dessert for joining, then another dessert on your birthday.

Location: Ventura

Chili's Grill & Bar

My Chili's Rewards: Get free chips and salsa or non-alcoholic beverage on every visit. Free dessert on your birthday.

Locations: Newbury Park, Simi Valley, Oxnard

Cold Stone Creamery

My Cold Stone Club® Rewards: Earn 1 point for each dollar spent. 50 points can be used as a $5 reward towards purchases of $5 or more. 25 points earned just for registering.

Locations: Thousand Oaks, Camarillo, Oxnard, Ventura, Simi Valley

Dairy Queen

Blizzard Fan Club: Sign up at get a Buy One, Get One free Blizzard® Treat and a special coupon on your birthday.

Locations: Camarillo Premium Outlets, Port Hueneme, Oxnard, Pacific View Mall Ventura, Simi Valley

Daphne's Greek Cafe

Pita Points E-Club Program earn one point for each dollar spent; 100 points = $5 off any purchase. Plus another $5 credit on your birthday.

Locations: Newbury Park, Woodland Hills, Simi Valley

Del Taco

Raving Fan EClub: Get 2 free grilled chicken soft tacos for signing up and a free shake on your birthday.

Locations: Newbury Park, Camarillo, Moorpark, Simi Valley (3), Oxnard (2), Ventura, Santa Paula

Denny's

Denny's Rewards: Sign up and get 20% off your next visit.  Separately, get a free Grand Slam breakfast on your birthday - bring ID!

Locations: Newbury Park, Camarillo, Moorpark, Simi Valley, Oxnard, Ventura, Port Hueneme, Santa Paula

Firehouse Subs

Firehouse Rewards App: Use their app and earn points towards free subs and more. Get free birthday sub too.

Location: Simi Valley Town Center

El Parque de la Paz "The Peace Park" in Thousand Oaks

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El Parque de la Paz "The Peace Park" is located at 2580 Pleasant Way in Thousand Oaks, tucked south of Thousand Oaks Boulevard behind Mouthful Eatery, Allen Motors, Harold's House of Omelettes and other businesses.

This five acre park dotted with oak trees was dedicated in 1990 by Thousand Oaks City Council.  Amenities include a Jungleland themed playground area, horseshoe pits, basketball court, picnic tables and restrooms. Learn more at www.crpd.org/parkfac/parks/lapaz.asp.

 Jungleland themed drinking fountain.

Jungleland themed drinking fountain.

Adjacent to the park is Ventura County Historical Landmark No. 109, the Crowley House.

 Who has horseshoes to use at these horseshoe pits!? Looks fun!

Who has horseshoes to use at these horseshoe pits!? Looks fun!

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Over 40 Things to Do in Malibu

 This "27 Miles of Scenic Beauty" sign was swapped out for "21 Miles of Scenic Beauty" sign in April 2017 in order to correct the actual length of City of Malibu coastline.

This "27 Miles of Scenic Beauty" sign was swapped out for "21 Miles of Scenic Beauty" sign in April 2017 in order to correct the actual length of City of Malibu coastline.

 The new sign updated in 2017.

The new sign updated in 2017.

Malibu was incorporated as a separate city in Los Angeles County on March 28, 1991, with 84% of Malibu voters supporting incorporation in a 1990 election.

The Conejo Valley lies just 8 to 10 miles away from the Malibu beachfront, making Malibu a natural choice to beat the heat and enjoy to its south-facing beaches. Here's a compilation of over 40 things to do in and around Malibu.

Beaches (East to West)

 Surfrider Beach from the Malibu Pier

Surfrider Beach from the Malibu Pier

 Adamson House

Adamson House

Compilation of Public Beaches Spanning From Oxnard to Hueneme to Malibu

In a separate post, we highlighted beaches ranging from Carpinteria down south to the beaches at the Ventura Harbor. This is the 2nd installment of local area beaches that stretch from McGrath State Beach on down to the beaches gracing Malibu. We hope these compilations prove useful in guiding you to all the oceanfront fun Ventura County and adjacent areas have to offer!

Additionally, here's a compilation of beaches in the Santa Barbara area (excluding Carpinteria).

McGrath State Beach has been closed for both day use and camping since August 10, 2014 until further notice due to flooding from the Santa Clara River Estuary. Visit parks.ca.gov/?page_id=607 or call 805.968.1033 for more information.  When open to the public, McGrath has 2 1/2 miles of beach great for walkers, sunbathers and surf fishers. Swimming, surfing, and water sports are discouraged because of rip currents. McGrath also has a campground with 174 sites, restrooms and coin-operated hot showers. Make reservations by calling 800.444.7275. There's a .2 mile nature trail through jungle-like vegetation along the banks of the Santa Clara River. McGrath is 5 miles south of Ventura off the 101 freeway via Harbor Boulevard.  Parking was $10 as of August 2014.

Mandalay Beach Park is 94 acres of undeveloped beachfront land located south of Reliant Energy's Mandalay Generating Station. The natural sand dunes and the wetlands ecosystem are recognized for their important natural value and houses several threatened bird species. This is a passive, natural open space park with no support facilities. The sandy ocean beach and adjacent coastal dunes are available for public day use only. The beach is managed by the County of Ventura on behalf of the California State Parks Department. Located at the corner of Harbor Boulevard and 5th Street in Oxnard. Visit www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=609. No dogs allowed.

Oxnard Beach Park has one of the best kids play areas around town, restrooms, lots of grass, and easy access to miles and miles of beach. The sand dunes are really large in Oxnard. The park is located at 1601 S. Harbor Boulevard. For more information, contact the Oxnard Recreation & Community Services Department at www.oxnardrec.org/17/3/960.

 Oxnard Beach Park looking towards the beach.

Oxnard Beach Park looking towards the beach.

Hollywood Beach is a great spot for swimming, sunning and viewing the Channel Islands offshore. Free public beach volleyball courts, public restrooms on the north end of beach, on-street parking and lifeguards on duty between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Located right next to Channel Islands Harbor off of Harbor Boulevard. Dogs are allowed at Hollywood Beach on leash before 9am and after 5pm.

 Hollywood Beach

Hollywood Beach

Silver Strand Beach is a 1 mile long sandy beach about 150 yards in width. It is capped by the north and south jetties, which both have small parking lots, one next to San Nicholas Avenue (at Ocean Drive), the other next to Sawtelle Avenue. Free parking from sunrise to sunset/ Limited restroom facilities. The coast is a sandy bottom beach break which can sometimes feature rip tides and an undertow. Dogs on leash allowed before 9am and after 5pm. Lifeguards on duty daily during  summer months. Accessed via S. Victoria Avenue. Visit visitoxnard.com/listing/silver-strand-beach for more information.

There's a Kiddie Beach Park off of S. Victoria Avenue at Sunset Drive with available parking, restrooms and benches. It is a small sliver of sand that fronts the south end of Channel Islands Harbor and thus does not face ocean waves.

Hueneme Beach Park is 50 acres with picnic tables, barbecue pits, walking paths, a 24-hour fishing pier, sand volleyball courts, Surfside Seafood snack bar, lifeguards and restrooms. Beach parking lots and Surfside Drive parking available for a fee. No dogs allowed! Visit www.ci.port-hueneme.ca.us/index.aspx?NID=926 for more information. Located at 550 E. Surfside Drive, Port Hueneme

Ormond Beach is 1,500 acres composed of agriculture, industry and wetlands. A two mile long beach extends from Port Hueneme on the north to Naval Base Ventura County on the south. This is one of the few areas in southern California with an intact dune transition zone marsh system, hosting over 200 migratory bird species. The California Coastal Conservancy is restoring these wetlands. A bit off the beaten path, it is probably more geared towards bird watchers and hikers. Get there via Hueneme Road, going south on either Perkins Road on the north and Arnold Road on the south.

Naval Base Ventura County occupies roughly 6 miles of oceanfront space between Ormond Beach on the north and Point Mugu State Park on the south. This space is not accessible by the general public. However, there are periodic opportunities for civilians to catch a glimpse of the Pacific Ocean from NBVC during organized events open to the public.

Mugu Beach is the first publicly accessible beach area south of Naval Base Ventura County off of PCH, located adjacent to the prominent Mugu Rock. For the most part this is the most quickly accessible beach to Camarillo and Conejo Valley residents. There is paid parking ($12 last time I was there) as well as parking available on PCH. Nothing fancy here and only a porta-john is available. Click here for map.

South of Mugu Rock there is also some beach that is accessible with plenty of parking on PCH. No facilities and not a lot of beach, but beautiful views and a quick place to explore.

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Thornhill Broome Campground and Beach is also part of Point Mugu State Park, located a mile or two south of Mugu Beach. This is a campground right on the beach with a capacity for about 60 or so RVs. But of course you can visit for the day for a parking fee. Plenty of parking also available on PCH. Porta-potties available. Dogs are allowed around here as long as they are on a leash (and paleeeze...pick up after them).

Across the street on PCH is a gigantic, steep sand dune that I've always found to be interesting. Learn more about that sand dune here.

 Unusually large sand dune on the east side of PCH across from Thornhill Broome Campground

Unusually large sand dune on the east side of PCH across from Thornhill Broome Campground

Sycamore Cove is at the southernmost beachfront portion of Point Mugu State Park. Point Mugu State Park features 3.6 miles of ocean shoreline (Sycamore Cove to Mugu Beach), with rocky bluffs, beaches, sand dunes, rugged hills and uplands, two major river canyons and wide grassy valleys dotted native trees.

Sycamore Canyon Campground across PCH from Sycamore Cove has 58 campsites. For a challenge, ride or hike down through Sycamore Canyon from Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa in Newbury Park. You'll most likely have to pay to park here (most recently $12 for day use) as there are not many spots on PCH available on the south side...watch out...there are no parking signs all over the place.

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Sycamore Cove Beach has a number of picnic benches shaded by trees and is thus a popular spot on summer weekends for the BBQ crowd as well as with the campers from the campground on the other side of PCH. Located at 9000 Pacific Coast Highway. Visit www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=630.

 Trees shade the picnic tables at Sycamore Cove Beach

Trees shade the picnic tables at Sycamore Cove Beach

In the 3.3 mile stretch of PCH between Sycamore Cove Beach and County Line Beach (below) there are three or four places where you can park on PCH and access the beach.

Enjoyable and beautiful, with some great photo opps. Do watch for speedsters blazing by you as you get out of the car.

County Line Beach is located across the street from the iconic Neptune's Net, 3 miles south of Sycamore Cove at 42505 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu. Lots of surfers and places to explore. Park on PCH. Watch out for bikers...there can be hundreds of them hanging out here on many a weekend. There are outer reefs for scuba diving that have an abundance of sea life. Activities include diving, surfing, and tide pools. No lifeguards on duty. There are a few porta-johns here.

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Leo Carrillo State Park has 1 1/2 miles of beach for swimming, surfing, windsurfing, surf fishing and beach combing; one of our favorites for exploring sea caves, rocks and tidepools. Leo Carrillo is about 1 1/2 miles south of Neptune's Net at 35000 West PCH, Malibu. On the other side of PCH, Leo Carrillo has 135 campsites, with over 2,500 acres of land. Visit www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=616 or call 805.488.1827. Dogs on a leash are allowed in day use areas, campground and north beach (north of lifeguard tower 3). Dogs are not allowed on back country trails or south beach (south of lifeguard tower 3). Park on PCH or in the State lot ($12) and take the tunnel under PCH to the beach. More details on how to get to Leo Carrillo from the 101 freeway at this link.

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Nicholas Canyon County Beach is 1 mile east of Leo Carrillo at 33850 Pacific Coast Highway. Great beach where you can hang out, fish, picnic, surf and more in about 25 acres. About 150 parking spaces available. Generally $10 to park, or park on PCH. More info at beaches.lacounty.gov/nicholas-canyon-beach. Restrooms available.

 A view of Nicholas Canyon County Beach, just a mile east of Leo Carrillo.

A view of Nicholas Canyon County Beach, just a mile east of Leo Carrillo.

Located between Leo Carrillo and Point Dume State Beaches, Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach is made up of a number of cove or cliff-foot strands known as "pocket beaches" along the west end of Malibu, including El Pescador, La Piedra and El Matadorwww.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=633 Dogs are not allowed on state beaches.

El Pescador State Beach is 1.4 miles east of Nicholas Canyon at 32900 Pacific Coast Highway. Steep stairs lead to about 10 acres of narrow, sandy beach. It is just east of Decker Canyon, the curvy, steep road that takes you up to Hidden Valley/Westlake Village. Dogs are not allowed on state beaches. Parking is $8 or park on PCH. Small, secluded beach. Restrooms available. www.lamountains.com/parks.asp?parkid=146

 Sign on PCH east of Decker Canyon Road, prior to El Pescador State Beach to the west of it.

Sign on PCH east of Decker Canyon Road, prior to El Pescador State Beach to the west of it.

La Piedra State Beach is .3 miles east of El Pescador at 32700 Pacific Coast Highway. Stairs lead to 9 acres of narrow, sandy beach. Dogs are not allowed on state beaches. Parking is $8 or park on PCH. Small, secluded beach. Restrooms available. www.lamountains.com/parks.asp?parkid=149

El Matador State Beach is .3 miles east of La Piedra at 32350 Pacific Coast Highway, just east of where Encinal Canyon Road intersects with PCH. A dirt path, then stairs, lead to 18 acres of narrow, sandy beach with beautiful rock formations and caves.

Dogs are not allowed on state beaches.  There is a parking lot with room for 25 or so cars where you can pay $3/hour or $10 for all day (as of July 2017).  You can also park on PCH, but on the north side...for whatever reason parking is prohibited on the south side of PCH. This means you have to cross PCH, which can be a challenge. There are porta-johns available. www.lamountains.com/parks.asp?parkid=145

Lechuza Beach in Malibu, a mile east of El Matador State Beach, is maintained by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority. It is a small, sandy beach with beautiful rock formations and views up the coast. Accessible via the northeast end of Broad Beach Road.  More information and specific access points at www.lamountains.com/parks.asp?parkid=663.

Zuma Beach is located at 30000 Pacific Coast Highway about 3.5 miles east of El Matador. At 4 miles long, Zuma is one of the largest and most popular beaches in Los Angeles County, Zuma is known for its long, wide sands and excellent surf. Plenty of facilities, including several food stands, restrooms, showers, volleyball, etc. Plenty of street parking on PCH and over 2,000 parking spaces (currently $8 weekdays and $10 weekends). Visit beaches.lacounty.gov/zuma-beach for more information. Zuma is known for riptides, so do be careful out there.

NOTE: Fires, including BBQs, are not allowed on any beach in Malibu; the exception is that fires may be allowed in designated spots at some state beaches.

 Zuma Beach

Zuma Beach

Point Dume State Beach is a 63 acre promontory that juts out into the Pacific and features headlands, cliffs, rocky coves and vast beach access for swimming, surfing, scuba diving and fishing. Westward Beach borders Zuma Beach at Zuma's south side. There is plenty of parking on Westward Beach Road, which parallels Westward Beach. To the southeast of Westward Beach is a small 300 foot or so beachfront area called Pirate's Cove Beach (which due to its seclusion was once used as a nude beach).

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At the end of Westward Beach Road (WBR), access to the protected 34-acre Point Dume Natural Preserve begins from the cul-de-sac. A gradual ascending trail leads to an ancient coastal bluff sand dune with spectacular views...we've seen whales, seals and dolphins over here. A stairway from the east side of the bluff-top preserve allows access to a more isolated beach and tidepools (look but don't touch). Location/Directions: Take Kanan south to PCH and turn right. WBR is over the rise, at the foot of the hill. Park free on WBR or pay a fee at Westward Beach lot. No restrooms at the Preserve but some can be found on WBR. Call 310.457.8143 or visit www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=623 for more information.

NOTE: Dogs are not allowed on trails in the Point Dume Natural Preserve or on the beach.

 Looking down on the beach at Point Dume

Looking down on the beach at Point Dume

Paradise Cove Beach is a private beach located at 28128 Pacific Coast Highway, accessed via Paradise Cove Road. It is a small, private beach open 7 days a week, sunrise to sunset. Parking (as of March 2017) is $6 ($8 weekends/holidays) for if you spend 4 hours at the Paradise Cove Beach Cafe (and spend at least $30 there) or $35/$50/day (weekdays/weekends) if you park there for the beach. There are restrooms, cabanas, lounge chairs and chairs for rent, a small pier. Visit www.paradisecovemalibu.com.

Escondido Beach is a short, narrow strip of beach accessible just west of Geoffrey's Malibu via a long stairway at 27420 PCH or near the corner of Escondido Beach Road and Malibu Cove Colony Drive. Look for access signs. No dogs allowed. No facilities.

Dan Blocker Beach is located at 26000 Pacific Coast Highway (between Solstice Canyon and Corral Canyon Roads. A sandy, narrow beach that draws surfers and scuba divers. Limited free roadside parking. Restrooms are available. Corral Canyon (trail map HERE) is located across the street at 25623 PCH. The trailhead is on the north side of PCH next to Malibu Seafood restaurant. The beach can be accessed from via a seasonal trail under PCH. 310.305.9546

On June 14, 2016, a new beach stairway access was completed at 24038 Malibu Road. Very little parking available there and no facilities at the beach. Read more at THIS LINK.

Malibu Beach is a 167 acre beach at 23050 and 23200 Pacific Coast Highway that includes Malibu Lagoon, Malibu Lagoon Museum and the Malibu Pier. Malibu Surfrider Beach next to the pier is quite popular with local surfers. Parking available for a fee, or park on streets surrounding Malibu Country Mart and walk across PCH at the signaled crosswalk at Cross Creek Road.

 Malibu Surfrider Beach viewed from the Malibu Sportfishing Pier

Malibu Surfrider Beach viewed from the Malibu Sportfishing Pier

Perhaps the most expensive strip of beach in the world is Carbon Beach, which stretches about a mile and a half between the Malibu Pier and just east of Carbon Canyon Road. This wide beach is a beautiful strip of sand, but public access points can be challenging to find and parking can be a challenge. Learn specifics at THIS LINK but specifically, the public accessway points are at 22670 PCH, 22466 PCH and 22126 PCH. No restrooms and no dogs allowed at this beach.

Las Tunas Beach is located at 19444 Pacific Coast Highway, about 4 1/2 miles east of the Malibu Pier. It is a narrow beach beneath the bluffs that holds a special attraction to surf casters. Free parking lot. Located between Tuna Canyon and Las Flores Canyon Roads.

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And there's more...the California Coastal Commission Shoreline Public Access Program helps maximize public access to the beach along the California coast. When you see one of those "Coastal Access" signs, that means you can get to the beach. More on the program at www.coastal.ca.gov/access/accndx.html. The L.A. County Dept of Beaches and Harbors has published Malibu beach accessways at file.lacounty.gov/dbh/cms1_151453.jpg, including 11 accessways on PCH, Malibu Road and Broad Beach Road. But if you do check them out, be mindful of those who live there!

Campgrounds and RV Facilities In Ventura County and Adjacent Areas

Looking to "rough it" locally in the vicinity of Ventura County and surrounding areas? Here's a compilation of local camping facilities run by federal, state and private organizations that may help you make that final push to get off of that sofa and start smelling the fresh air! As you can see, there are literally thousands of campsites available in and within a one hour radius of Ventura County.

There are a number of camping options in the local Santa Monica Mountains, including Leo Carrillo, Point Mugu State Park and Malibu Creek State Park. Booking for California State Parks can be done online at reserveamerica.com at least 2 days in advance and as much as 7 months in advance. Or call 800.444.7275.

Leo Carrillo State Park is located at 35000 W. Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu. The Canyon Campground has 135 family sites, each with a table and fire ring. Restrooms, drinking water and coin-operated showers are available. "Hike and Bike" campsites are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. The group campground at the back of the canyon can accommodate up to 50 people. Peak season is March 1 to November 30 and off-peak is the month of December. Campsite is steps away from 1 1/2 miles of beach with tidepools, coastal caves and reefs to explore. Maximum of 8 people per campsite. Fees as of May 2017 are $10/person for Hike and Bike sites, $45 to $60/night for canyon sites and $225/night for the group site. Visit ReserveCalifornia.com at THIS LINK to make reservations.

 Camping at Leo Carrillo State Park is extremely popular.

Camping at Leo Carrillo State Park is extremely popular.

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Point Mugu State Park is located at 9000 W. Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, offering a variety of camping options described below.

The Big Sycamore Canyon Family Camp is north of PCH, offering 58 tent/RV spaces along with drinking water, restrooms, showers and fire rings. There is also 4 tent spaces available for "Hike and Bike" camper. Pets are allowed on leash in the campground. Fees as of Summer 2018 are $45/night and $10/night for Hike and Bike spots. Visit ReserveCalifornia.com to make reservations.

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Thornhill Broome Family Camp offers 68 tent/RV spaces with no hookups, but you're talking literally on the beach camping. No flush toilets; just chemical toilets. Cold outside showers. Sites have picnic tables and fire rings. Pets are allowed on leash in the campground. Fees as of Summer 2018 are $35/night. Visit ReserveCalifornia.com to make reservations.

 Thornhill Broome RV Park as seen from across PCH.

Thornhill Broome RV Park as seen from across PCH.

La Jolla Valley Hike-In camping accommodates up to 3 tent spaces; no water, no fires. $10 per person, per night, payable at the La Jolla Valley/Ray Miller Trail parking area. There is also a group hike-in spot for 10 to 20 people. There is also a reservable La Jolla Valley Group tent camp for 9 to 50 people available that has drinking water, flush toilets, showers and a fireplace. Fees as of August 2018 are $225/night. This is a walk-in group camp for tents only with parking available for up to 12 vehicles, 25 yards from the campground. Located across from Thornhill Broome. Visit www.reservecalifornia.com to reserve the group camp.

 La Jolla Valley Group Camping Area

La Jolla Valley Group Camping Area

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The Danielson Group Multi-Use Area is located in Sycamore Canyon within Pt Mugu State Park and is available for groups of 10 to 50 people. There is drinking water, flush toilets, showers, tent spaces and fireplace. Pets allowed on leash in campground. Contact California State Parks to book the reservation at 805.488.5223 or 805.488.1827.

The Sycamore Group Multi-Use Area accommodates 10 to 25 people and includes drinking water, chemical toilets, tent spaces and fire rings. Pets allowed on leash in campground. Contact California State Parks to book the reservation at 805.488.5223 or 805.488.1827.

Malibu Creek State Park at 1925 Las Virgenes Road, Calabasas offers a family campground with 62 tent/RV spaces, drinking water, restrooms, showers and fire rings. Pets are allowed in the campground (but not in the back country trails). Fees are $45/night as of August 2018. There is also a group campground available for 10 to 60 people at $225/night. Reservations at ReserveCalifornia.com.

The National Park Service maintains the Circle X Ranch Group Campground is located at 12896 Yerba Buena Road, Malibu. There is only one group campsite located here for tent camping only. Pets on leash are allowed. Drinking water and pit toilets available, along with picnic benches and grills. No electricity. Room for 10 to 75 people. Reserve a spot at www.Recreation.gov at THIS LINK. Cost as of Summer 2018 is $35/night for 10-25 people, $75/night for 26-50 and $125/night for 51-75. Open year-round. Enjoy hiking up to Sandstone Peak and the Grotto Trail from Circle X Ranch!

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Tent camping is available year round on all five islands in Channel Islands National Park in National Park Service-managed campgrounds. Some of them have water. All have tables and vault toilets. There are a total of approximately 70 campsites. Campgrounds on each island are as follows:

  • Anacapa Island: Year-round camping. No water. 7 sites. 
  • Santa Cruz Island East - Scorpion Anchorage Campground open year-round about 1/4 mile from the beach. Water is available here. 25 campsites and 6 group sites. 
  • Santa Cruz Island Mid - Del Norte Campground at Prisoners Harbor open year-round. Backcountry camp four miles from the harbor. No water. 4 sites.
  • San Miguel Island - Above Cuyler Harbor is back country camping open May through October. No water. 9 sites.
  • Santa Rosa Island - At Water Canyon March through November. 15 sites. Water available.
  • Santa Barbara Island - Above the Landing Cove April through October. No water. 10 sites.

Advance reservations required by calling 877.444.6777 or through Recreation.gov. Currently $15/night fee as of Summer 2018 for individual campsites. No fires permitted; you can only use enclosed gas stoves.  More information at www.nps.gov/chis/planyourvisit/camping.htm.

 Scorpion Anchorage campground on   Santa Cruz Island   (Channel Islands National Park)

Scorpion Anchorage campground on Santa Cruz Island (Channel Islands National Park)

The 1.75 million acre Los Padres National Forest (LPNF) stretches across almost 220 miles from Monterey County through San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura and Kern Counties. The Ojai Ranger District of LPNF includes the Matilija Wilderness and part of the Sespe Wilderness. There are five campgrounds in the Ojai portion of LPNF, including reservable Wheeler Gorge Campground and first-come, first-served campgrounds, Middle Lion, Pine Mountain, Reyes Peak and Rose Valley.

Wheeler Gorge Campground in Ojai is open year-round with dozens of available spots for tents and RVs. Parking spurs are paved and vary in length, accommodating RVs up to 35 feet. At the top of the campground is the Wheeler Gorge Nature Trail. Rangers at nearby Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center provide informative tours during summer/fall months. The campground is adjacent to Matilija Creek and is bordered by oak and sycamore trees and evergreen shrubbery. Most sites are shaded and summer temperatures reach up to 95 degrees.  Each site is equipped with a table and campfire ring with grill. Accessible vault toilets are provided, but drinking water is not available. Visitors must bring their own water and remove their trash from the campground. Standard rate was $25/night as of March 2017.

Rose Valley Campground in Ojai is located at an elevation of 3,450 feet. It is open year-round. There are nine campsites located in a single loop, each with tables, BBQ grills, and/or fire rings. There is one vault toilet in the campground and another across from the lake. Drinking water is not available, so be sure to bring your own. No reservations taken; first come, first served. Adventure Pass is required to be displayed on car ($5/day or $30/year). Half a mile hike gets you to the Rose Valley Falls. Directions: Take Highway 33 north from Ojai 14.7 miles to mile marker 25.84.  Turn right at the Rose Valley Road turnoff and follow the paved road for 3.1 miles. Turn right again at the Rose Valley sign and drive 0.6 miles into the campground.

 Photo Credit: Tom Alexander

Photo Credit: Tom Alexander

Middle Lion Campground is surrounded by chaparral covered mountains, shaded by cottonwood trees and is next to a peaceful stream. It has eight first-come, first-served campsites located along a single loop. Tables, barbecue grills and/or fire rings are provided at each site. There is a vault toilet. No drinking water on site; you must bring your own. Follow Highway 33 north of Ojai for 14.7 miles to the Rose Valley Road turnoff. Turn right and follow the paved road 4.8 miles. Turn right and go 0.8 miles to the campground. **

Pine Mountain Campground is nestled in a small valley along the top of Pine Mountain and consists of six campsites in a circle with a large open area in the middle. There are tables, BBQ grills and/or fire rings, and one pit toilet at this campground.  Water is not available so be sure to bring your own.  The campground is surrounded by moderate hills and is a quiet place for relaxing. At an elevation of 6,650 feet, it offers cooler temperatures on hot summer days. The campground is closed during winter months, through April. Follow Highway 33 to the turnoff at Pine Mountain Summit (mile marker 42.50).  Turn right and follow partially paved road another 4.7 miles. Campground will be on the right. **

One mile further up from Pine Mountain Campground, at an elevation of 7,000 feet is Reyes Peak Campground. It is situated along the southwest side of a ridge and consists of six campsites, each with a table, BBQ grill and a fire ring. There is one pit toilet located near the first few campsites. No water is available, so be sure to bring your own. Panoramic views! You can see the Cuyama Badlands on one side and the ocean from the other side. **

** This site is managed by the Parks Management for the Forest Service.  $20/night for camping, $10 per vehicle. Day use fee (within the campground) is $10 per vehicle or you can purchase and use the Parks Management Pass for $50 (day use only). Pass can be purchased through the Parks Management Company 805-434-1996 or www.campone.com.

The Lake Casitas Recreation Area located at 11311 Santa Ana Road in Ventura offers over 400 campsites. Sites can accommodate tents, tent trailers, campers and RVs, all with picnic tables and fire rings and some with playgrounds nearby. Book early as campgrounds sell out on weekends from mid-March through September. Casitas Water Adventure is open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. Make reservations at reservations.casitaswater.org, in person or over the phone at 805.649.1122. Sites are limited to six campers. Lake Casitas is a drinking water supply, so swimming is not allowed in it. Dogs are allowed but must be on a leash no longer than six feet long and are not allowed within 50 feet of the lake. Boating on the lake is allowed.

The 60 acre Lake Piru Recreation Area is located on the western shore of Lake Piru, an artificial lake in the Los Padres National Forest. Lake Piru offers 238 tree-shaded campsites, coin-operated hot showers and a store. Each site has a picnic table, fire ring and grill top. The dam is owned and operated by the United Water Conservation District of Santa Paula and a third party operates the campsite; visit campone.com/campsites/lake-piru for more information. Boat rentals and fishing available. Fees vary and are listed on the website. Make reservations by calling 805.521.1500.

Other nearby California State Parks with camping are at McGrath State Beach, Emma Wood State Beach, Carpinteria State Beach, El Capitan State Beach, Gaviota State Park and Refugio State Beach as described below.

The McGrath State Beach Campground has 174 campsites with picnic tables and fire rings, and restrooms with coin-operated hot showers. A group campsite and a hike-and-bike site are also available. Reserve campsites at www.reservecalifornia.com or by calling 800-444-7275. Dogs allowed on leash. The beach is five miles south of Ventura off Highway 101 via Harbor Boulevard. Available March through December. NOTE: McGrath State Beach is currently closed as of August 2018.

Emma Wood State Beach offers camping for self-contained vehicles (e.g. RVs) only (tents not permitted). No water, restrooms, electricity, fire rings, phones or dump stations are available.  There are 90 spaces, with a maximum vehicle length of 40 feet, due to small turnaround areas. Camping at Emma Wood State Beach is reservation only from mid-May through Labor Day. Pricing as of July 2018 is $40/night and $280/week at www.reservecalifornia.com.

Emma Wood

Four developed group campsites with room for 30 campers are available at Ventura River Group Camp, located two miles south of Emma Wood. Reservations required year-round. There is also primitive RV camping for groups up to 50 people and 20 vehicles.  The maximum length for RV is 45 feet. Railroad tracks and Highway 101 are adjacent to the campground and can be noisy. Dogs on leash are allowed on campground but not on the beach. Chemical toilets available, as are cold showers. Reserve campsites at www.reservecalifornia.com.

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Carpinteria State Beach is a mile long beach for swimming, surf fishing, tidepool exploring and camping. Dogs are allowed only at the picnic area. Four campground areas with 216 family campsites and seven group campsites available.  Exit the 101 at Casitas Pass Road, go west to Carpinteria Avenue, make a right at the signal; then turn left on Palm.  The beach is at the end of Palm Avenue near 4th Street. Call 805.968.1033 or visit www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=599. Reserve campsites at www.reservecalifornia.com.

El Capitán State Beach is located off Highway 101, 17 miles west of Santa Barbara at Exit 117. A sandy beach, rocky tidepools, and stands of sycamore and oaks along El Capitán Creek. It’s a perfect setting for swimming, fishing, surfing, picnicking and camping. A 132-site campground is open year-round. A short walk takes you to the beach. Each site has a picnic table and stove or fire ring; restrooms with hot showers are nearby. Several sites are paved for RVs only. Some sites accommodate trailers and RVs up to 42 feet in length. Five group campsites, accommodating 40-100 people, are available. Hike and bike campsites are also available. Dogs allowed on leash but not on the beach. Reserve campsites at www.reservecalifornia.com..

Gaviota State Park is located about 33 miles west of Santa Barbara on Gaviota Beach Road. Gaviota is popular for swimming, picnicking and surf fishing. This section of the coast was first called "gaviota" (seagull) by soldiers of the Portola Expedition in 1769. A pier on the west end of the beach is used by divers and surfers. A six mile trek up to Gaviota Peak offers a view of the coast and the Channel Islands. There are 41 developed, first-come, first-served campsites available at Gaviota that can accomodate tents, trailers up to 25 feet and RVs up to 27 feet. Between October 1 and March 31, the campground is open Friday through Sunday only. Dogs on leash allowed, but not on the beach. Reserve campsites at www.reservecalifornia.com.

Refugio State Beach is located at 10 Refugio Beach Road in Goleta, about 20 miles west of Santa Barbara. Refugio offers coastal fishing, trails, picnic sites. and palm trees. There are over 60 campsites with an eight camper maximum per campsite. Dogs on leash allowed, but not on the beach. Reserve campsites at www.reservecalifornia.com..

The County of Ventura maintains campsites at Camp Comfort and Dennison Park in Ojai, Foster Park in Ventura, Kenney Grove Park in Fillmore, Oak Park in Simi Valley, Steckel Park in Santa Paula, Tapo Canyon, Simi Valley and Toland Park, Santa Paula. To make reservations, visit www.venturaparks.org or call 805.654.3951 for more information. Maximum stay in Ventura County parks is 14 nights per ordinance.

Camp Comfort is located about a mile from Downtown Ojai at 11969 North Creek Road, Ojai. Hwy 33, S.E. on Hermosa Road. San Antonio Creek runs through this tree-lined park. Individual and group campsites are available online at www.venturaparks.org. There are 15 campsites. There are restrooms, drinking water, a playground, picnic tables, BBQs and fire rings. There are also showers, full hook-ups and laundry available. Dogs are allowed on up to 6 foot leach for a $1/night fee (2 dog maximum).

Dennison Park is located at 7250 Santa Paula-Ojai Road in Ojai. On Hwy 150, south of Nordhoff Road. This is a quiet park with views of the Ojai Valley, offering a feeling of seclusion. There are covered family/group barbecue areas near the entrance of the park available by reservation only. Fees are $21 per night plus a $3 reservation fee as of March 2017. There are 31 campsites. RV camping in lower portion of park only with 35 foot maximum length; no hook ups. Dogs allowed on leash for $1/night fee (2 dog maximum). Individual and group campsites are available online at www.venturaparks.org.

Foster Park is located at 438 Casitas Vista Road, Ventura, off of Highway 33. The park is lush with plenty of trees and two separate campgrounds, Residence Campground (14 campsites) and Red Mountain Campground (23 campsites) but as of April 2015, Red Mountain is closed until further notice. The Ojai Valley Trail runs through the park, which is great for cycling, walking and running. Residence $20-$34 per day, per site (1 RV, 1 vehicle, and 1 tent maximum). Maximum of 6 campers per site. Dogs allowed on leash for $1/night fee (2 dog maximum). Individual and group campsites are available at www.venturaparks.org.

Kenney Grove Park at 823 North Oak Avenue, Fillmore is a developed RV campground with over 50 campsites for RVs and tents. It is owned by the county but is leased to a private party that manages the campground. Most sites have water and electrical hookups and some have fire rings and tables. Park use is by reservation only. There is a playground, restrooms, softball field, horseshoe pits, hot showers and other amenities. Dogs allowed on 6 foot leash in campground only ($1/night fee, 2 dog maximum). Ten full hookups available. Fees are $22 and $36 per night. Call 805-524-0750 for information. Make reservations at www.venturaparks.org.

Oak Park Campground in Simi Valley is just off of the 118 freeway at 901 Quimsa Drive. There are approximately 30 campsites in this rustic, 100 acre open space park. Available for both RVs and tents at $32/night (as of Summer 2018). There are two playgrounds, amphitheater area, fire pits, restrooms and more. Maximum of 6 campers per site. Dogs allowed on leash for $1/night fee (2 dog maximum). Individual and group campsites are available at www.venturaparks.org.

There's a county-run 50 site campground at Steckel Park, 8080 Mistletoe Road, Santa Paula. Santa Paula Creek runs through this campground surrounded by rolling hills, mountains and trees. There's a playground, horseshoe pits, picnic tables, restrooms, etc. $23/night as of Summer 2018. Dogs allowed on a 6 foot leash. Individual and group campsites are available at www.venturaparks.org.

Tapo Canyon Regional Park is located in the midst of the rolling hills and canyons of the Santa Susana Mountains north of Simi Valley at 4651 Tapo Canyon Road. Hikers, equestrian riders, and mountain bikers enjoy this rugged and rural park, which features picnic areas, an equestrian arena and a RV campground with 16 full hook ups. Dogs allowed on a 6 foot leash. Individual and group campsites are available at www.venturaparks.org

Rincon Parkway is located between Faria Beach Park and Hobson Beach Park on Highway 1 off the Ventura Freeway. 127 RV use only parking spaces are available on a first come, first served basis. Tent camping is not allowed. All RVs must be fully self-contained, as there are no electrical hook ups, dump stations, shower/bathroom facilities or water onsite, although there are a handful of porta-johns. There is a 5 day parking limit from April 1 to October 31 and a 14 day limit from November 1 to March 31. Dogs allowed on 6 foot leash; pets are $1 per day per pet.

Hobson Beach Park at 5210 W. Pacific Coast Highway in Ventura is north of Faria Beach Park and the Rincon Parkway. Similar to Faria Park, Hobson Park is wedged between the Pacific Ocean and the base of the Santa Ynez mountains along Highway 1 off the Ventura Freeway. There are 31 first come, first served sites available, 10 with hookups and the rest without. The beach is steps away and there are showers and a concession stand. Dogs allowed on a 6 foot leash ($1/night fee; 2 dog maximum). Map of campground available at www.venturaparks.org

Faria Beach Park at 4350 W. Pacific Coast Highway in Ventura is south of Hobson Beach Park. Another popular beachfront spot with 42 spaces available on a first come, first served basis. Tent and RV camping available. There are showers and a concession stand. Dogs allowed on a 6 foot leash ($1/night fee; 2 dog maximum). Map of campground available at www.venturaparks.org.

Mount Pinos in the Los Padres National Forest is the tallest peak in Ventura County, located about 1 hour, 45 minutes away from the heart of Thousand Oaks, adjacent to Kern County.

Directions to Mount Pinos: From I-5, take Frazier Park exit (Frazier Mountain Park Road). Go west approximately 6 miles. The road name changes to Cuddy Valley Road. Continue on it up Mt. Pinos. The road name changes to Mt. Pinos Highway.

The County of Santa Barbara runs two popular camping parks, Cachuma Lake and Jalama Beach. Both accept online reservations, but 40 sites at Cachuma and 20 sites at Jalama are first come, first served for walk-in customers. 

Cachuma Lake Recreation Area is located at 2225 Highway 154, Santa Barbara, midway between the beach and the town of Solvang. Tent sites, hookups, cabins, yurts and group area available. As Cachuma Lake is a domestic water supply, swimming, water skiing, windsurfing, or any other body contact with the water is prohibited. Fishing is allowed. Detailed list of fees at Cachuma at this link.

Jalama Beach County Park is located at 9999 Jalama Road in Lompoc, an hour drive from Santa Barbara. Named after what used to be a Chumash Indian settlement named Halama. ARCO donated 23.5 acres of land to the County of Santa Barbara in 1943. There are 109 campsites, all overlooking the ocean or beachfront, each with a picnic table and BBQ pit, with hot showers, restrooms and water nearby. 31 sites offer electrical hookups and dump stations are available. Detailed list of fees at Jalama at this link

Privately Operated Campgrounds In the Area

NOTE: the Ventura Ranch KOA was devastated by the Thomas Fire in December 2017 but is now open as new cabins and other facilities are re-built.  Limited services, amenities and activities until the rebuilding is completed.


The 76 acre Ventura Ranch KOA campground is located at 5400 Pine Grove Road in Santa Paula, nestled in Heritage Valley at the foot of the Topa Topa mountain range off highway 150 between Santa Paula and Ojai. They have a large variety of camping options, from RV and tent camping to teepees and cabins. Deluxe cabins have TVs, linens, towels, AC/heater and more...my kind of "camping!" The campground also features a campground, zip lining, rock climbing wall and much more. Dogs are allowed on leash. Learn more and make reservations at koa.com/campgrounds/ventura-ranch or call 805.933.3200 for more information.

The Ventura Beach RV Resort is located at 800 W. Main Street in Ventura, just a bike ride away from Ventura County Fairgrounds and Surfers' Point. This nicely maintained, ocean breeze filled location has 144 RV spots all with hookups and 36 tent sites. There's a playground, free WiFi, showers and restrooms, store, pool and Jacuzzi, basketball court, pool table, arcade and more. Tent spots also available. More information at www.vbrvresort.com.

Ventura Oaks RV Park is located at 255 Burnham Road in Oak View, offering 60 full hookup sites just two miles from Lake Casitas. Park-like setting with picnic tables, fully furnished laundry area, picnic tables and WiFi throughout. Long-term rentals available. Visit www.venturaoaks.com for more information.

Santa Barbara RV Park is located at 516 S. Salinas Street. It is adjacent to the highway, so there will be some noise, but it is also located within a couple miles of the beach, the Santa Barbara Zoo and downtown area. There are 30 sites. Site has bathrooms, showers and a laundry room.  Free WiFi. Dogs allowed. Visit www.santabarbararv.com.

Rancho Oso Resort is located at 3750 Paradise Road, Santa Barbara, 8 miles east of Cachuma Lake. Accommodations include RV camping, horse camping, covered wagons, resort cabins and Tipi camping. Visit rvonthego.com/california/rancho-oso-rv-camping-resort.

El Capitan Canyon Resort is located at 11560 Calle Real, Goleta, adjacent to El Capitan State Beach. This is luxury camping, with nicely appointed cedar cabins with beds, kitchens and restrooms (my kind of camping) as well as 26 salari tents that are spacious with bedding and nearby restroom/shower facilities. Of course, there's also picnic tables, fire pits, etc as well as a store with all the stuff you need to "rough it." Activities include a pool, small playground, bike rentals, hiking, of course the nearby beach and much more. Visit www.elcapitancanyon.com.

Next door to El Capitan Canyon Resort is Ocean Mesa RV Resort at El Capitan, at 100 El Capitan Terrace Lane, Goleta. This resort has 20 tent camping sites and 80 RV sites. Amenities include heated pool and spa, WiFi, TV, convenience store, hiking, snack bar, horseback riding and more. Visit www.oceanmesa.com.

 How cool is this...a llama farm is walking distance from El Capitan Canyon Resort.

How cool is this...a llama farm is walking distance from El Capitan Canyon Resort.

Evergreen RV Park at 2135 N. Oxnard Blvd in Oxnard has 94 full hookup RV spaces. Facility includes restrooms, showers, free wifi, laundry room, BBQs, picnic tables and more. Visit www.evergreenrvpark.com.

Malibu Beach RV Park is located at 25801 Pacific Coast Highway, just east of Malibu Seafood. The park has 142 RV spots and up to 35 tent sites, all with a view of the Pacific. Open 365 days a year. Rates range from $40 for an off-season tent spot to $190 for an ocean view premium spot during peak season on weekends. Amenities include store, game room, restrooms with heated showers, laundry and more. Visit www.maliburv.com.

There are no official campgrounds in the Conejo Valley, but the Conejo Valley Recreation and Park District hosts a Family Campout several times a year in Wildwood Park. Bring your tents and camping gear and enjoy an evening of fun with other local families, including hikes, exploring, meals and campfire. Visit www.crpd.org for more info.

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