El Capitán State Beach

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About El Capitán State Beach

So, let’s be real: getting to camp on the beach is pretty freaking awesome. And that’s exactly what you get to do at El Capitan, where the Pacific stretches out sparkling blue and inviting, sandy shores tempt you with an afternoon of sunbathing and sandcastles, and lush coastal woods beg to be explored. Hike one of the many trails that lead through along the beaches, explore along the coast and stumble on an enchanted tidepool, bring your paddle of choice and hit the water, or just take a long walk and enjoy the truly stunning scenery where the mountains meet the sea.

Campgrounds in El Capitán

El Capitán Campground

1. El Capitán Campground

88% Recommend (16 Campers)

The lovely thing about all of the campgrounds in El Capitan is that they all have easy access to the beach. In addition to the 123...

Allison: The raccoons are bold here! Put away and safely store your food immediately before you leave your site.
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23 Reviews

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Drop some El Capitán knowledge on us.
Hipcamper Allison

The raccoons are bold here! Put away and safely store your food immediately before you leave your site.

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Hipcamper Bryn

If you're looking for a group-friendly campground with an ocean view, you've found it. Just bring layers because it can get pretty cold at night.

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Hipcamper Shirtless host Steve

Report from your shirtless host @ El Capitan S.B.
Wild life @ this camp is so much fun to watch.
El Cap. Has a beer drinking, Egg stealing, Ham setting family of racoons.
Let me tell you about the beer drinking racoons. 2 racoons was seen on the table and one of them knocked over a beer and started licking it up as fast as it could. A 3rd. One show up and all 3 were drinking the beer now. The camper Jim & Dee Dee and 2 kids just sat by the fire and watched.
The Larger one hopped off the table and headed for the ice chest. He took a ham and the other 2 got off the table and took a carton of eggs an left.
Jim and his family said that it was just to funny to stop.
So keep your ice chest locked and hide the beer.

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Hipcamper A

Sites in the low 80s are the best, we like 84 & 85.

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Hipcamper A

Do keep an eye on the tides when you are out exploring: the water can come in and trap you along the bluffs.

Hipcamper A

If you are a light sleeper, consider bringing ear plugs: the campground is near a train tracks, which, while pretty cool, might give you railroad-themed dreams (not that that’s a bad thing!)

Hipcamper A

Keep your eyes peeled for migrating gray whales (!), which often come within yards of the shoreline

Hipcamper karim

Great location by the beach and close-ish to Santa Barbara for picking up bbq supplies. Great swimming beach (but occasional tar spots) and plenty of hiking across the road or up at Gaviota.

Hipcamper Shirtless host Steve

Report from your shirtless host @ El Capitan S.B.
Camping is a life time of joy.
This is about Marji & Lee Venden. They have been married now 38 years. Back in 1977 on new years Eve's Lee asked Marji to marry him. The next day they used the pay phone ( yes there was a pay phone back then ) to call there parents. Now there back at El Capitan 38 years later. They might have been here before but I just meet them.
The Venden are from Walla Walla Wash. Marji is a teacher and Lee is a paster. They have 2 kids and a grandchild on the way ( Aug. )
El Capitan is a great place to camp and a majestic backdrop to asdk someone to marry you. So go camping you might ended up married.
Shirtless host Steve

Hipcamper Shirtless host Steve

Report by you shirtless host on a Bluebird @ El Capitan S.B.
El Cap. Has a RV spot @ the top of the hill. This is the # 1 spot for large R Vs.
One of them is a 1983 Bluebrid ( yes the school bus CO. They made RVs. At one time ) Wanderlodge.
Doug bought the RV. In 2010. Wierenga family Stephanie & Doug W/Ella flew back to Nebraska on a 1 way ticket. Drove it back 1700 miles home. Broke down 2 times but there love of camping kept them going. This was est.
$300000. RV in 83. And still looks top of the line. They redid the in side. Give them a big har-Ra . thank you for keeping this on the road
So bring your large and small RVs tents campers to EL Capitan for a fun filled camping trip.
Shirtless host Steve.

Hipcamper Shirtless host Steve

Report from your shirtless host @ El Capitan
The camp is on reservations now it well be harder to get a site @ times. ( but you must try)
El Capapitan is a spectacular park to be camping @. If you get lucky to get a site.
The park can accommodate large groups. So bring you family and friends and let's go camping. For large RVs. They have the upper parking lot. We have shady and sunny site and the kids have lots of places to play.
No dump station but has water station. The showers bathrooms are large very clean.
Hiking,strolling,biking and brid & whale watching in a peaceful Surroundings. This is a relaxing atmosphere for camping. The beach is Sandy and rocky but a great place for a day of fun.
Shirtless host Steve

Hipcamper Shirtless host Steve

Report from your shirtless host @ El Capitan S.B. on a serro-Scotty ( 1962 )
This is about a 1962 Scotty. One thing I love to see is a classic on the Rd.
In 62 the Kostechko family classic was build. What a joy to see this Scotty being used. This classic was in great shape. It was bought from a family friend. This the 1st. Trip in the trailer, they came to El Cap. For Milo's B.D. from there home town of Santa Barbara.
Camping with there kids Milo & Knox and other family members and friends gives Jaime & Nick alot of joy. Now they have a classic to go camping in. ( So Thanks ) for keeping the classic on the Rd.
Drop them a E-Mail if you have a Scotty.
Bring your Scotty to El Cap.
Shirtlesshost Steve

Hipcamper Shirtless host Steve

Report from your shirtless host @ El Capitan S.B.
This is for all you Beach lovers and campers. The beaches at Refugio & El Cap. are made for family fun. Whale witching and just fun on the beach. Don't for about the jr.. Rangers it well be starting up soon. This is great for the kids it well teach the little Rangers all about the State Parks. El Cap. Has a large day use area so we can handle large groups. Remember that safety is always paramount.
This pristine environment has alot to offer. Endangered species, seasonal Wildflower's & native plants & animals are all here for you to see and enjoy.
So bring your family and friends and go camping or just a day on the beach.
Shirtless host Steve

Hipcamper Shirtless host Steve

Report from your shirtless host on 3 day friend life time of memory
This is for campers that well met new friends @ camp.
Some camper are now meeting and camping with campers they met at a camp site. So this is for the rest of you.
Remember that you go camping to get away ( enjoy family and met new friends ) so relaxes and get out and enjoy the wildlife. Say hi to each camper, you never know it could be your hi school friend, ( this happened to Brenley & Mira ) @ El Cap. This year. The camper you talk to is just like you-out to enjoy family and life like you. So wave they well wave back. The 1 you say hi to might be the you go camping with next year or next week. Enjoy camping.
Your shirtless host

Hipcamper Shirtless host Steve

Report from your shirtless host on El Capitan S.B.
El Cap. Well be opening soon.
The camp has Ben closed way to long. The last I heard is that the camp well be opens on the 29 th. Of July. I can't hardly wait for it to reopen. I miss all you camper and I hope to see you all soon. I fell bad for all the campers out on camping here the last 45 days. I know that family outings are important and fun for the friends and familys. So pack up and get ready for a fun time at the beach, camping and getting outdoors.
As a camper I know how much I would miss it if I miss out going after planing all year.
I know that the camp host and staff is looking forward to see everyone back again.
As your shirtless host, I can't wait.
Shirtless Ste

Hipcamper Shirtless host Steve

Report from your shirtless host on a 74 Shasta @ El Capitan S.B.
We have another classic on the Rd. This one is a 1974 Shasta (compact). This is a little jewel & it's back on the Rd. Dick said that he bought it on Gregs-list about 2 yrs. Ago. What a find, he hit gold with this classic. Alameda lost and Santa Rosa's gain.
This is the 1st. time to El Cap. W/ family and friends. Here with his daughter (Anne) and his grandkids (Hazel) (Penny) & (Raleigh) and alot of good friends. I know that he wishes that his loving Barbara of 54 yrs. could be with him.
So if you this classic in Santa Rosa Hook! To thank Dick Lucore for putting this RV back on the road. Thanks Dick with out good guys like you, classic would die.
Shirtlesshost Steve

Hipcamper Shirtless host Steve

Report from your shirtless host on group camping @ El Capitan S..B.

El Cap. has some of the best group camping I have seen.
All 5 group sites are just enough different to make each 1 right for every type of group camping. If you have a group an like to get away ( DRAKE ) & ( CABRILLO ) both hold up to 60 people each. This sites are for tent camping only. They are large flat sites W/ Ocean view.
The group site ( ORTEGA ) holds up to 50 people and tent camping only also. This is also flat W/ ocean view.
But if you have a group W/ trailers and tents El Cap. has ( ANZA ) 32 people max. and in the
C- Loop. ( PORTOLA ) is in the D-Loop 40 people max. Also holds tents and trailers.
Go group camping & have fun
Shirtlesshost. Steve

Hipcamper Shirtless host Steve

Report from your shirtless host on a fire ball at El Capitan
The fire ball came from San Diego.
This classic is one Iam glad I got to see it is a 1964 8' fire ball classic trailer. The 1st one I have seen & it is as cute as a bug and no bigger then a bug. They got it from Bret & Cindy who bought it 30+ years ago. They used it alot taking the kids to Halloween cove ? all the time.
By the time Quinn & Tracy got it back in 2004 it was ready for the recycling shop. The 1st. few years they used it for a party house. Now they have brought it back from ruin. Now restore to almost it's full glory. This classic is ready to be seen and enjoyed by all. Thanks you Quinn & Tracy Becker from all of us who loves to see classic R V on the Rd.

Hipcamper Shirtless host Steve

Report from your shirtless host on a 59 Lakewood @ El Capitan S.B.
The Cory family showed up today with a classic. A 1959 Lakewood trailer. David said they got it last March. The person who had it was restoring this classic. Unfortunately he had to sale it to move to Canada, ( lucky for the Cory family). David is planing to finish it with help of Holly and there two kids. ( Jude & Gus ) I hope that they enjoy this classic & have a life time of camping together.
This was another great find on Gregs-list.
Plan on painting it Teal-White and putting the original stickers back on.
This South Pasadena family is part of a large group that wants to bring back the classic.
shirtless Steve

Hipcamper Gary

Stayed 2-13 to 2-16. Due to recent rain area A & C closed. Stayed in area D at Site "I" in Portola group area. Nice site with ocean view & close to restroom. Showers are $0.25 for 2 mins. We heard timers were water savings device to keep from looong showers. 4 mins. Worked out well for us. Nice bike/walking trails but watch out for poison oak. Beaches are very rocky, check with Ranger about tides so you don't get stranded at high tide. Rocks are slippery as well. I fell trying to get to tide pools and hurt my shoulder. Abundant wildlife around. Raccoons are VERY smart and aggressive. Got into food bin we thought was animal proof. Put water and cast iron cookery on bins and coolers and seemed to work OK. Had a great time. Will be back.

Hipcamper Sully

For better views, try to grab a site on closest to the cliff edge.

History of El Capitán State Beach

Chumash Indians lived here in the village of Ahwin as long as 3,200 years ago. They built their dome-shaped houses along the creek that had scoured out the canyon. Skilled hunters and gatherers, the Chumash are known for their exquisite basketry and for building seaworthy plank canoes (tomol) that allowed them to travel to the offshore islands. Some of their beautiful cave paintings can be seen at nearby Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park.
Spanish explorer Juan Cabrillo “discovered” this area in 1542, claiming it for Spain. In 1782, the Spanish built the Santa Barbara Royal Presidio—the last Spanish fortress constructed in Alta California—to protect the nearby missions and settlers from foreign invasion and attacks by the native people. For the Chumash, Spanish colonization meant the end of their traditional way of life. Exposed to European diseases against which they had little immunity, their population quickly plummeted. After Mexico gained its independence from Spain, most surviving Chumash became ranch hands and servants on the new ranchos. Today, a growing number of their descendants are rediscovering their traditional heritage.

The first commander of the Santa Barbara Presidio was José Francisco Ortega, who had been chief scout for the Portolá expedition when they discovered San Francisco Bay. When Ortega retired as a brevet captain after 40 years of military service, the Spanish Crown granted him 26,500 acres of land west of what is now El Capitán State Beach, which takes its name from this early Californian.

Ortega’s grandson, José Dolores Ortega, obtained another 8,800 acres of land, including the site of the future state beach, from the Mexican government in 1841. He and his family lived on Rancho Cañada del Corral, raising cattle and farming until they were forced to sell it in 1866, following years of ruinous droughts.

In 1953, the State of California purchased 111 acres of the former rancho to create
El Capitán State Beach, and in 1967, the Legislature approved purchase of an additional 21 acres. Growing threats of development to the lands across the highway from the park led to a public- private fund-raising effort in 2002 that raised $500,000 in seven weeks to purchase 2,500 acres of land known as El Capitán Ranch.

This property was added to El Capitán State Beach, and today the park offers high- quality coastal recreation while preserving an important part of California’s environment and history.