Thomas Fire Grows Overnight to Become 3rd Largest Wildfire in Modern California History

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The Thomas Fire, at 40% containment as of this morning, has grown to 259,000 acres, making it the third largest wildfire in modern (since 1932) history. The 2nd largest fire in California history was the Rush Fire in Lassen County in 2012, which burned 271,911 acres in that northeastern county of California, plus another 43,666 acres in Nevada.

Today the fire is threatening much of Santa Barbara. Mandatory evacuation orders are currently (as of 11:30 am) in place for all areas east of Highway 154, south of East Camino Cielo, west of Toro Canyon and north of Hightway 101 at Toro Canyon to South Salinas, then north of Alameda Padre Serra and to Highway 192 west to 154.

A total off 746 single family residences have been destroyed in the Thomas Fire and another 185 have been damaged. Another 263 structures, including several multi-family residences, have been destroyed.

Thomas Fire updates in Santa Barbara County at www.countyofsb.org/thomasfire.sbc.

Ventura County Thomas Fire updates at readyventuracounty.org.

Residential Holiday Light Displays in the Conejo Valley and Surrounding Areas

There are an amazing number of spectacular residential holiday light displays throughout the Conejo Valley and Ventura County this 2017 Christmas season! We've compiled this list of displays that are synchronized to music. Click the links below for more detailed information about each display. Since these are residential displays, timing can and will vary and of course be impacted by rain (yes, let's hope we get some rain!) and other factors.

Christmas and Other Holiday Season Events Around Ventura County

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Hop onto the holiday bandwagon and check out some of these dozens of events in and around Ventura County, most of which are FREE! Christmas parades, Santa visits, carnivals, train rides, holiday runs, holiday home tours, boutiques, nativity displays and lots of holiday music and entertainment!

This list will be updated regularly as we move our way through the Thankgiving and Christmas holiday season! Submit additions here.

Do contact event coordinators as things sometimes change! Also, some events require RSVP.

Residential Light Displays:

Past Events:

New Year's Eve Options in Ventura County and Adjacent Areas

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The year 2017 is coming to a close and for the New Year's Eve procrastinators out there, your time is running short. Here is a compilation of New Year's Eve party and activity options in and around the Conejo Valley and Greater Ventura County. To add an activity, contact us!

(For more information about the events highlighted below, click the links. We attempted to link to websites and Facebook pages that will provide you with additional details. Also note that this list is limited to places that have entertainment, a party, midnight toast, etc.)

Ventura Improv Company New Year's Eve Fundraiser and Gala at the Rubicon Theater

New Year's Eve Party at Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks

New Year's Eve Live Comedy at AMC Dine-In Thousand Oaks

New Year's Comedy at Ventura Harbor Comedy Club

Bogie's New Year's Eve: Havana Nights in Westlake Village

New Year's Eve with Comedian Bert Kreischer at Levity Live in Oxnard

New Year's Eve Party at Crowne Plaza Hotel at Ventura Beach

New Year's Eve Dinner Train at Fillmore and Western Railway in Fillmore

New Year's Celebration at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley

New Year's Eve Party at Discovery Ventura

New Year's Eve Show at The Canyon Club in Agoura Hills

Hike to the Danielson Monument in the Boney Mountain Wilderness

One of the more popular and challenging hikes in the local area takes you from the Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa Recreation Area in Newbury Park to the Danielson Monument in the Boney Mountain Wilderness (Point Mugu State Park). 

It is about 5.5 miles round trip and has a net elevation gain of about 600 feet. The Monument is close to 1,500 feet in elevation This is a fairly challenging trail as roughly two thirds of the hike you are going up and down fairly substantial hills. That said, I've seen hundreds of folks on these trails of all fitness levels and ages doing it at their own pace.

Entrance into Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa at Lynn Road and Via Goleta in Newbury Park

Entrance into Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa at Lynn Road and Via Goleta in Newbury Park

Starting at the Satwiwa Native American Culture Center, make your way to the Danielson Road trail by either taking the Big Sycamore Canyon Fire Road (paved) south for roughly .3 mile and then a left on Danielson Road (trail) or take the Satwiwa Loop Trail that runs diagonally southeast until you reach a fork on the trail.

(Note: You can also park at the trailhead at Wendy and Potrero Roads and add another few miles to your trek.)

Sycamore Canyon Road southbound towards Point Mugu State Park from Satwiwa Center

Sycamore Canyon Road southbound towards Point Mugu State Park from Satwiwa Center

Veer right (south) at the juncture of the Danielson Road and Satwiwa Loop trails towards a bench that overlooks Sycamore Canyon. This is called the Upper Sycamore Canyon Overlook.

The bench at the Upper Sycamore Canyon Overlook in Rancho Sierra Vista

The bench at the Upper Sycamore Canyon Overlook in Rancho Sierra Vista

The short, rocky trail eastbound from there (behind the bench) takes you to another fork, where you can either veer left to the Hidden Valley Overlook trail (part of Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa) or right into the Boney Mountain Wilderness. (Note that dogs and bikes are not allowed in the Boney Mountain Wilderness.)

Entering the Boney Mountain Wilderness

Entering the Boney Mountain Wilderness

After a steady descent of about another .4 mile, you'll see another sign. Continue towards the left. On the right is the Upper Sycamore Canyon Trail, kind of a fun, winding trail at the bottom of the canyon. Save that for another day.

In non-drought years, there is often a creek you may need to walk through as you continue on Danielson Road. It has been years since the stream was of any significance but it was back in February 2017 after recent rainstorms. But it is generally easy to get across.

After navigating the narrowest portion of trail, you will see a juncture. The unmarked "Waterfall Trail" is straight ahead (only about 120 steps to the "Waterfall" when there's not a severe drought). You can check it out as it is such a short distance. But to get to the Monument, veer sharply right, continuing up Danielson Road.

Juncture of Waterfall (straight ahead) and Danielson Road (to the right)

Juncture of Waterfall (straight ahead) and Danielson Road (to the right)

This is a long, grinding, uphill trail of about a mile until you get to a juncture where you can make a right-hand turn to the Old Boney Trail. As you make your way up, you'll be treated to great views from Sycamore Canyon to Newbury Park and beyond.

This is a bit of a dried out view from Upper Danielson Road looking down from where we came from in 2015.

This is a bit of a dried out view from Upper Danielson Road looking down from where we came from in 2015.

You're almost there once you see this Old Boney trail sign - just .3 mile to go

You're almost there once you see this Old Boney trail sign - just .3 mile to go

Continue straight on Danielson Road. There are some areas coming up that periodically get overgrown. Watch out for poison oak particularly in these areas, continuing on to the Monument. In .3 mile, you're reached your destination.

The Danielson Monument is a tribute to Richard Ely Danielson, Junior who lived on the 7,800 acre Rancho Sierra Vista after purchasing the land from the estate of Carl H. Beal in 1947 for roughly $500,000. Danielson lived on the ranch for over three decades with his family. He donated 5,585 acres of the ranch to the State of California, which became part of Point Mugu State Park and sold 850 acres, including the horse ranch, to the National Park Service in 1980.  He passed away on December 27, 1988. 

Ranching in the area dates back to the early 1800s, when Spanish soldiers were granted 48,672 acres of land, "Rancho El Conejo," which through the years was subdivided and sold to other landowners. One of these ranchers was Carl Beal, who in 1937 named the area Rancho Sierra Vista "Mountain View Ranch." 

The Monument is in a peaceful setting, surrounded by trees. And it stays fairly green up here. A good place to eat lunch or sit and relax. Adjacent to the Monument is a remnant of Danielson's cabin - the chimney. If you continue up this path to the right, you can get to the top of Boney Mountain.

Remnant of Danielson's cabin adjacent to the monument - a chimney.

Remnant of Danielson's cabin adjacent to the monument - a chimney.

One thing I've never seen in my decades on this particular trail are strollers. I think strollers would be a bit of a challenge for many due to rocky and narrow sections, periodic overgrowth and poison oak on the sides of a small portion of the trail and, when we're not in a drought, a stream crossing. 

COMPILATION OF TRAILS IN AND AROUND VENTURA COUNTY

Thomas Fire Leapfrogs Matilija Fire of 1932 to Become Largest Fire in Ventura County History

View of the smoke plume coming from the Thomas Fire, as seen from the hills of the Conejo Valley today, Sunday, December 10th (Photo Credit: L. David Irete).

View of the smoke plume coming from the Thomas Fire, as seen from the hills of the Conejo Valley today, Sunday, December 10th (Photo Credit: L. David Irete).

Authorities reported tonight that the Thomas Fire has now grown to over 230,000 acres burned, making it the largest ever recorded wildfire in Ventura County history and the 5th largest ever in California. It would appear that within the next day or two, the Thomas Fire will surpass the 2007 Zaca Fire in Santa Barbara County and Rim Fire in Tuolumne County to became the 3rd largest fire in California history.

The fire, which was first reported in Santa Paula last Monday, December 4th, at 6:36PM, actually dropped from 15% to 10% containment today, as it rages into Santa Barbara County.

The fire has destroyed 790 structures and damaged an additional 191 to date. As of Sunday night, December 10th, 18,000 structures are threatened.

For Ventura County Thomas Fire updates, visit readyventuracounty.org. Mandatory evacuation orders have been lifted in a number of areas, but continue in specific locations in Ventura, the entire community of Casitas Springs, Ojai and other areas. The Ready Ventura County site also has information about where to obtain N95 masks in Santa Paula, Ventura, Ojai and Oxnard. What does N95 mean? The respirator will block at least 95% of small particles.

NEW: The Ventura County Recovers website has been established at venturacountyrecovers.org as a resource for those impacted by the fire.

Santa Barbara County is now under greater risk from the fire and mandatory evacuations orders have been issued in areas stretching from the Ventura/Santa Barbara County line to Goleta. Visit www.countyofsb.org/thomasfire.sbc for details.

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/night for canyon sites and $225/night for the group site. Leo Carrillo books up WAY in advance. Visit ReserveAmerica.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 July 2016 are $45/night and $10/night for Hike and Bike spots. Visit ReserveAmerica.com at THIS LINK 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 July 2016 are $35/night. Visit ReserveAmerica.com at THIS LINK 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 July 2016 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.

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. It is available for $150/night (July 2016). 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. It is available for $100/night (as of July 2016). 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 June 2016. There is also a group campground available for 10 to 60 people at $225/night. Reservations at ReserveAmerica.com at THIS LINK.

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 June 2016 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 July 2016 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 is $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. Make reservations by calling (800) 444-7275 or visiting ReserveAmerica.com at THIS LINK. 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 has been closed for all camping and day-use effective Sunday August 10, 2014 until further notice due to flooding, which is impacting all areas of the park.

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 March 2017 is $40/night and $280/week.

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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 spots by visiting ReserveAmerica.com at this link.

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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. Reserve spots by visiting ReserveAmerica.com at this link. Hike and bike campsites are also available. Dogs allowed on leash but not on the beach.

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 spots by visiting ReserveAmerica.com at this link.

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 available by visiting ReserveAmerica.com at this link. Eight camper maximum per campsite. Dogs on leash allowed, but not on the beach.

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 online 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.

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 $31/night (as of July 2016). 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 online 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. Dogs allowed on a 6 foot leash. Individual and group campsites are available online 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 online 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: CLOSED INDEFINITELY due to devastation caused by the Thomas Fire in December 2017. 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. NOTE: This campground was not impacted by the Thomas Fire of 2017.

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. Accomodations include RV camping, horse camping, covered wagons, resort cabins and Tipi camping. Visit www.ranchooso.net.

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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