Camping near Santa Barbara, California with campfires

With a temperate climate, gorgeous shoreline, and incredible camping, this city earns its "American Riviera" reputation.

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12 top campgrounds near Santa Barbara with campfires


Your New Property

4 sites · Lodging, RVs1 acre · Solvang, Santa Barbara
This is Glamping at its best! We have two cabins that have kitchens with mini frig, microwaves and sinks. Complimentary coffee and tea as well. Very comfortable queen beds. Each cabin has a living room and table area along with gas fireplaces inside and A/C. Outdoor courtyard area with firepit, picnic tables and string lights to enjoy the days or evenings. Each cabin sleeps two but both can be rented to sleep four. Both cabins are historic to the area.  All of this is in the center of the Santa Ynez valley close to Los Olivos , Santa Ynez and Solvang.Wine tasting, bike riding and hiking. Great restaurants and wineries within walking distance.
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Blue Sky Center

31 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents267 acres · New Cuyama, Santa Barbara
1948- On January 1, 1948 a wildcatter named George Hadley, who had been oil prospecting in the valley for 10 years, made the first oil strike in the Cuyama Valley. Richfield Oil Company soon moved in and extracted nearly 300 million barrels of oil in just a few short years. To accommodate an exploding workforce in the early 1950s, the company built the town of New Cuyama, its infrastructure, public buildings, the Cuyama airstrip (L88) and all the industrial structures that are now home to Blue Sky. Richfield Oil Company, later merging with Atlantic Oil Company forming the Atlantic Richfield Oil Company (ARCO), created high-paying jobs, a safe and prosperous community, and developed schools, churches, and recreational areas for the employee-residents.1973- With dwindling production in the area and new discoveries in Alaska, Atlantic-Richfield Oil Company put the town of New Cuyama and its associated infrastructure up for sale. Word of an entire town for sale made its way to entrepreneur, Russell O’Quinn of the Foundation for Airborne Relief (FAR) and Mildred Dotson, a wealthy widow from Tulsa, Oklahoma. The two worked together to acquire the townsite and adjacent land. O’Quinn, an aviator, inventor, and test pilot, aspired to use the New Cuyama airstrip and facilities as a base for humanitarian relief and a non-profit trade school. Though not fully realized, FAR’s primary vision included utilizing converted military aircraft to airlift food and medical supplies to developing countries and global disaster areas. Dotson had loftier goals. Her plans included an 18-hole fly-in golf course, expansion of the Buckhorn Restaurant and Motel, and a 40- to 50-acre lake for amphibious landing and water sports. 1986- Another visionary, Harry Kislevitz, inventor of the popular design tool Colorforms® and founder of Future City/Villages International, sought to develop the site as a “City of Friendship,” an all-electric village of 5,000 earthen homes. The dwellings were to be designed by Nader Khalili, an Iranian-born architect who specialized in earthen structures, worked with NASA on prototypes for lunar homes and received an award from the United Nations for his work towards the development of low cost, sustainable structures for human shelter in impoverished and disaster prone environments. One 628-sq-ft Khalili prototype remains on the property today ("the Cantina"). Khalili went on to form the California Institute for Earth Art and Architecture, Cal-Earth, in Hesperia, CA.1993- Recognizing the transformative potential of clean, solar power and the attractiveness of a rural destination, entrepreneur Mike Nolan worked to develop the Solar Skypark and Big Sky Guest Ranch with Santa Barbara Architect, Barry Berkus. The Sky Park included plans for sixty-five fly-in residences on one-acre lots powered completely from clean, solar energy. The Big Sky Guest Ranch was intended to function as a clubhouse for Skypark residents complete with an equestrian center, a small subsistence farm, pool and plenty of enriching recreational activities. 2012- At the end of 2011, the Zannon Family Foundation made a long-term investment in acquiring the New Cuyama Airport property with the vision of rehabilitating the site to be a low-cost resource for programs and organizations working to advance sustainable living practices and technologies. Plans began soon after towards developing a framework and organization to develop the space and coordinate with prospective programs and institutions. In 2014 Blue Sky Sustainable Living Center ("Blue Sky Center") received 501(c)(3) not-for-profit status, endeavoring to reclaim this property for the public good. Today, Blue Sky Center provides unduplicated services and technical assistance to support small businesses and entrepreneurs as well as the local food system, with core work focused on community research and advocacy led by Cuyamans. Learn more on our website and consider supporting our community work with your donation or by hosting your next special event here!
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Private Beach Farm

4 sites · RVs, Tents50 acres · Goleta, Santa Barbara
This is an incredibly historic site in Santa Barbara history. 2 tribes of Chumash Indians lived here for 10,000 years. This is where Spain landed and began colonizing the area. In the 1950's and 60's, this was the site of the World's largest orchid farm. There is a book called The Royal Rancho, if you are a history buff. We are a farm on the beach just North of Santa Barbara and Goleta, Ca. You will camp in a historic, glass greenhouse with incredible ocean views. Inside is a cob pizza oven that works awesome. (Bring your own firewood),,, a place to pitch tents and tiny artistic structures to explore. You will have a private bath and shower (Primitive, no electricity, but the hot shower has the best view in the world of any shower!) Bring your own toiletries and whatnot.  Private beach access from our property. We have a barnyard with a multitude of farm animals. Limited electricity in greenhouse (A couple of extension chords). The fire ban is ONLY for open campfires. The pizza oven and YOUR bbq or propane flame is fine.   If you are camping during the rain, be advised, it gets wet in the greenhouse. It's an antique after all! 
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Cuyama Badlands

26 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents164 acres · Cuyama, Santa Barbara
If you've ever wondered what it might be like to camp on the moon, this is it. Completely removed from civilization and surrounded by a barren nature that is alive with the subtle presence of the universe. Seasonally, Spring wildflowers burst across the landscape. Cave paintings of Chumash Indians remind us of those who lived before us. This is where the deer and the antelope play. Our Carrizo Camp is surrounded by the Carrizo Plains National Monument. This is truly a get away from it all camping. That's it. You, the coyotes and your own private moon. Our Songdog Camps are sparsely scattered atop a 200 foot mesa that looks west over a valley offering stunning desert sunsets. Our Ranch House and Glampsites are available on occasion. This is our home but we love to share our life in the outback. We believe it will give you a better appreciation of life's simpler side. There are two sites where RVs are welcome. This land was sparsely populated by the Chumash Indian and is evident by the numerous cave painting that remain here in the Caliente mountain. In the era of the California Missions, this land was a part of the Spanish land grants. Currently the property is privately owned and is adjacent to large sections of publicly held lands.
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Freedog Farms @ Cactus Flower Ranch

17 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents43 acres · Buellton, Santa Barbara
When you camp with us it’s a full experience including a tour (upon availability 99% of the time), welcome drink and access to our common area which offers BBQ, wash sink, cold dunk tubs and shady lounge area under our pepper trees (see photos.) That said… Our base site rental fee is $75 for the first person which includes the propane tank and propane fire pit rental. We charge an additional $50 per person after the base site fee. Children under 15 are FREE. We love sharing our property with friends, family, HipCampers and dogs. Our property consists of: 43 rugged/hilly/mountainous acre with numerous flat plateaus and fantastic views. Each plateau has several great spots to car/van/truck camp, pitch a tent or park small trailers and small RVs. Larger RVs/Trailers fit on the front side of our property. SUMMER/FALL: Expect the landscape and views to be golden brown (not green and lush like in a lot of the photos posted which were taken this past winter/spring.) Thank you for your interest in camping with us! We look forward to your potential booking request. We have been doing this for a while now and we absolutely love it. We’ve learned a lot along the way so the following information, I know it’s a lot of info, please read in its entirety so that you get the most out of your stay with us. We chose to offer sites on a PER PERSON PRICING bases rather than a flat rate for each site. This way solo campers have affordable pricing and access to our camp. When you camp with us it’s a full experience including a tour (upon availability 99% of the time), welcome drink and access to our common area which offers BBQ, wash sink, cold dunk tubs and shady lounge area under our pepper trees (see photos.) That said… Our base site rental fee is $75 for the first person which includes the propane tank and propane fire pit rental. We charge an additional $50 per person after the base site fee. Children under 15 are FREE. Our property consists of 43 rugged/hilly/mountainous acres with numerous flat plateaus and fantastic views to pitch a tent or park small trailers and small RVs. Larger RVs/Trailers fit on the front side of our property. SUMMER/FALL: Expect the landscape and views to be golden brown (not green and lush like in a lot of the photos posted which were taken this past winter/spring.) PICKING YOUR CAMPSITE: When we are not sold out we place campers at campsites on a first-come-first-serve basis upon arrival. If we are sold out we will pre-pick your campsite based on where we feel each of our campers will be happiest given their individual camp set up, i.e. Tent, Van, Trailer, RV, and size of the group. All of our sites are spread out with plenty of space for social distancing. DRY CAMPING: All of our sites are DRY camping (no water/electricity.) We provide a picnic table and one umbrella and a propane fire pit with a propane tank. Please bring additional shade structures if you think you’ll need more shade. Our best sites, with little-to-no traffic noise, (and the best views) are on our back property. Best suited for tents, camper vans, trucks, and SMALL trailers or SMALL RVs. There is a semi-steep hill up to our upper property if you're towing a trailer you will need a powerful vehicle to make it up the hill. Sites on our lower property by the common area are easily accessible with views up the hills/mountains but come with some highway noise. We imagine it sounds like waves crashing and call it the "steel river." For your private camp area, please bring your own drinking water, water to wash dishes and if think you'll need: chairs, camp tables, umbrellas or shade structures, trash bags/cans (throw your trash in the dumpster out side our entry gate when you leave. Plan on being fully self-sufficient. Otherwise, feel free to use the common area BBQ, Sink, tables and chairs at the barn until 10 pm. MOST DOGS WELCOMED... WE PROHIBIT UN-neutered aggressive breed dogs. DOGS ARE FREE TO RUN UNLEASHED ALL OVER OUR LAND. The front of our property is all. Fenced. The back property just has barbed wire. ABOUT OUR DOGS: We have one female dog and three male dogs (one of the three is UN-NEUTERED) a 10-year-old yellow lab (Titan-Dan.) A 14-year-old American Dingo (Reno.) 5-year-old Great Pyrenees (Bandit.) And then there is Cannoli a 7-year-old female Great Pyrenees who adopted us we saw her come through the bushes from the neighbors property across the highway… She ran across the highway and jumped the medium and ran up to our gate, she hasn’t left since… COMMON USE AREA: Inside and near the barn include tables, chairs, hammocks, wood fire pit, outdoor propane BBQ and stove, wash sink and outdoor mineral shower, and mineral cold plunge tubs. FIRE SAFETY and PROPANE FIREPITS: We have “very safe” propane firepits and fire extinguishers at every site. Under the right conditions, we will light a real wood fire at the common area by the barn. Feel free to join us in the early evening until 10pm. PORTA-POTTIES: We have porta-potties next to the Barn, the Garden, Running Dog Flats, and the Art Studio. They are pumped clean every Thursday and are generally very lightly used. If you don’t want to use the porta-potties we recommend/encourage you to bring your own camp toilet, bags, and absorbent. WILDLIFE: Our dogs do a great job of fending off the resident bobcat and coyotes on the front portion of our property and by the barn, if they are barking in the night there's a reason. If you end up camping on the front portion of our property and think their barking will affect your sleep, bring earplugs ;-). Drinking-WATER, Dish Washing Water and Shade: All of our sites are dry camping i.e. there is no potable water available. Please bring all your own drinking/dishwashing water. We have a picnic table and 1 umbrella at all the sites. Please bring additional shade i.e. easy up or other shade structures if you think you'll need it. Cold Mineral Dunks and Hot Outdoor Mineral Shower: We have huge aluminum cowboy cold dunk tubs available at what we lovingly/jokingly refer to as our very own “Cactus Flower Beach,” which is not a real beach… It feels like a beach because we’ve decked it out with lounge chairs, a daybed cabana, 150K pounds of sand and tiki-hut umbrellas. It’s fun to hang out there when it’s hot under the shade of the pepper trees. NOTE: The Outdoor Shower screening is a tad see-through. If you are shy, wear a bathing suit. Please limit showers to 3-5 minutes max. Mineral Water Definition: Water from a mineral spring or well (i.e. our well) that contains various minerals, such as salts and sulfur compounds. TRASH: Please pack all your trash out to the large trash bin located at the entrance to our property. Please take your recycling with you. ELECTRICITY and Wi-Fi: We have charging stations in the barn for your computers, phones, etc. Password: HowdyDoody (Accessible in and near the barn common area.) COMMISSARY: We have farm fresh eggs and meats from the pork palace across the street, and other swag i.e Hats for sale in the barn. FEED THE CHICKENS AND GOATS: Please feel free to feed the goats and chickens your vegetable scraps and or bring them a treat they love full heads of cabbage, lettuce, cantaloupe and watermelon. CHILDREN: For safety, children must be always accompanied by an adult! OUR RECOMMENDATIONS for THINGS TO DO WHILE YOU VISIT THE AREA: WINE TASTING We are in the heart of the wine country with a tasting room less than one mile away and/or a few short miles into the bst wine tasting rooms and wineries in Buellton, Solvang, Santa Ynez. Google search some of our favorite: Babcock Winery, Brick Barn, Dierber-Starlane, Folded Hills winery (which is on mile south of us.) BEACHES, HIKING and the brand new ZIP-LINE and ROPES Adventure Course! 15% off Zip-line and Ropes Adventure Course. If your into adventure and not afraid of heights this is a must do while your in our area its a short 5 miles from our camp ground… (If you have a pet with you you can leave your pet in our kennel while you do this adventure.) Google search High Line Adventure in Bulletin and use 15% off code: FREEDOGFARMS15 Book on line open: Thursday - Sunday HIKES: You can hike all over our property (stay within our boundaries i.e. fence lines) , 1. Nojoqui Falls (1.5 miles south of our ranch) 2. Gaviota Wind Caves (6 miles south of our ranch) BEACHES: We are 5-6 minutes from the beach and Gaviota coast line. 1. Gaviota State Beach (6 miles south of our ranch) 2.Tajiguas Beach (15 miles south of our ranch) 3. Jalama Beach County Park (30-minute beautiful windy drive, but well worth it especially if you want to get one of the worlds best burgers at the campground store) RESTAURANTS/DINING: 1. Industrial Eats, Buellton 2. Ramen Kotori, Solvang 3. La Tequila Mexican Restaurant, Buellton (NOTE: They don’t actually serve tequila but the food is GREAT!) 4. Ginos Pizza, Buellton (they will deliver to our gate) 6. Hitching Post, Buellton 7. Trattoria Grappolo, 2 locations: Santa Ynez and Solvang 8. HOOK’d Bar and Grill at Lake Cachuma (20 minutes to the lake) FARM STANDS: 1. Folded Hills Winery and Farm Stand (farm animals to visit as well) (1 mile south of our ranch) 2. The Blueberry Farm (Seasonal Pick your own blueberries stand closes end of September-ish) (1 mile south of our ranch) FUN for KIDS and ADULTS: 1. Ostrich Land USA, Buellton (Feed the Ostriches and Emus) 2. Mendenhall's Museum of Gasoline Pumps & Petroliana, Buelton We look forward to hosting you. Sincerely, Sierra and Darin.
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Arber-Moore's Ranch

6 sites · RVs, Tents22 acres · Oak View, Ventura
Beautiful natural campsites in the Valley of the Moon (Ojai Valley). Our sites are within an eighth of a mile of walking, running, biking, and riding trails from Ojai to the beaches of Ventura. On many days you can experience Ojai’s famous pink moments. You can hike the trails above Ojai, boat, eat, or picnic at Lake Casitas. Travel to nearby Ventura to shop, fish the pier, or take a deep sea fishing charter or Island charter to Whale watch or fish around the Channel Islands. Please note the aerial view of the camping area recently placed by Hipcamp is NOT AT ALL REPRESENTATIVE of the current camping sites and shows a photo that is many years old when the site was merely land. That photo is without any of the existing amenities or improvements. The actual sites are all Larger than Federal Park and Statepark guidelines, with averages of 20'x30' for campsites and 20'x40' for a long RVCampsite. We have planted many young trees and continue to plant trees and native shrubs around and near the sites. We have picnic tables, table coverings, fire pits, and camping rugs/footprints. There is also an outdoor shower, a shower tent with hot water, and an upgraded porta-potty with a sink. Note: During times when high heat is predicted, we strongly recommend that our Hipcampers bring pop-up shade tents or canopies for their sites. The Hipcamp is adjacent to our working ranch, and any photos of old sheds, trucks, a wood lot, or other equipment are NOT on the Hipcamp, but you will drive past that property to get to the separate Hipcamp area. Wineries, Farmer's Markets, Craft Breweries, dispensaries, and more are within 10 to 15 minutes of our site. Our location allows moments when you may see Hawks, Owls, Geese, Swallows, Robins, Bluebirds, and more. We offer both tent and RV camping. The Majority of our Guests love it here: "Vivian and Dave were exceptional hosts! Easy to contact and find our way to their property. Also gave us a plethora of places to go and things to do in the Ojai area. The area was open and spacious, and many trees and upgrades were in the works to make future stays more user-friendly. Big pluses were the shower and toilet facilities—much appreciated !!"
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Ballard Walnut Grove

2 sites · RVs22 acres · Solvang, Santa Barbara
We are a 4-generation family-owned and operated working farm, and have lived here since 1976. We are proud growers for Diamond Walnuts, and also have a busy Farm Stand with walnuts and produce, over 500 Christmas Trees, and a small event venue for rent. We love our farm and are happy to open our walnut grove to you and share the bounty and beauty that we have called home for over four decades. Ballard is 2 miles from Solvang, Los Olivos, and Santa Ynez. Our Walnut Grove is nestled in the village of Ballard and in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley. Walking distance to two Tasting Rooms (Rideau & Lincourt), a Bakery (Bob's Well Bread), and a Fine-Dining Restaurant (Ballard Inn). Note that the trees lose their leaves in the winter and will leaf-out in late May. We offer 2 sites the Grove: one that accommodates larger RV's with up to 6 people (called "Diamond" - which has a larger area with soft solar lighting, picnic table, fire pit, corn hole, cozy bench for two, complimentary bundle of wood and a tasty treat. (This site also accommodates two RV's -just "add on" in Extras for each night of their stay.) The other smaller space (called "Chandler") is designed for a single RV or conversion van. Sprinkled with lighting, we include a picnic table, campfire pit with 3-4 pieces of split wood (you can add-on additional bundle for $10), Weber BBQ, bistro table and romantic bench swing. We include a treat for both our guests and their doggies. The two sites are 200 yards apart (that's two football fields) assuring your privacy. Please note in your request what you will be traveling in (RV, Trailer, Sprinter, etc). (** Please note that because we are a food-producing farm, we are only allowed to accept fully self-contained units (with built-in water and waste water tanks - sorry, no portable toilets ). No tents unless they are accompanying a self contained RV).
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Gracewood Santa Barbara

1 site · RV, Tent54 acres · Goleta, Santa Barbara
This is an historic ranch with buildings dating from the 1880's to the mid 1930's and then some newer and spacious structures. See management for tours, history and accessibility to some structures and areas. This is a working ranch with a fascinating heritage going back three owners to an impressive land grant. There are 6 miles of trails and roads on the ranch shared by vehicles, hikers and equestrians. A map can be provided which will insure that neighboring properties are not trespassed on. All visitors to the ranch must have checked in with the office and management. There is an extra charge of $40.00 per person per day coming onto the ranch whether they are spending the night or just visiting. This charge is beyond and in addition to the charge made for the first four individuals on the reservation for each day. We find that many of our regular clients on the ranch are very friendly and helpful. Only 1 site is exclusively available right now Come stay at our rustic campsite under some large oak trees next to a little open area by an ecological pond on our working ranch! With 54 acres for our horses and avocados, we welcome guests to camp on a somewhat private part of the ranch (on occasion, equestrians may ride by). We can accommodate up to 8 more campers depending on the group type. We love welcoming families to the ranch, but like to approve larger groups ahead of time! At the campsite you'll find picnic tables, a fire pit for small fires, and running water. Minimal 110 Volt electrical outlet is at the campsite. There is a fully functional unique bathroom made out of a converted horse trailer with a toilet and sink a few hundred yards from the site. Walking around the property, you'll see an activity barn and a historic 19th century cottage which houses a private library. Permission may be granted for entry if requested. There is an outdoor shower at the campsite with cold water only. Some firewood may be provided at no cost. Campers, making reservations during months when the otherwise beautiful weather becomes cooler, should be aware that because of the proximity of a wind machine which makes a noise like a helicopter about 300 yards away from the campsite, on a neighboring property, may interrupt an otherwise peaceful and quiet experience. The wind machine comes on automatically when the temperature drops to around 37 degrees so that avocados in the orchard do not suffer from a freezing temperature. Please note the trigger temperature for the machines is taken at individual low points on the adjacent property and may reflect as many as 6 degrees lower than what is found on forecast sites. This machine probably might turn on maybe 7 nights in a year and only during the cold winter months. Headlamps are a great idea, otherwise, flashlights for sure. Minimal 110 V. electricity at campsite. The library and restroom are a little ways away from the campsite have lighting but it is very dark between the campsite and those facilities. We are located only two miles to the ocean beaches and about a mile to a major shopping center. UCSB is just minutes away. Bicycling is very easy as all roads and access are flat. Please return all furniture to the place(s) from which it was moved and thank you for putting out your fire(s) and carrying out your trash to the dumpster.
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Cuyama Oaks Ranch

8 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents82 acres · Santa Barbara
Hello! Our names are Ricky and Nathan. We own and operate an 80 acre ranch that is great for family's, kids, romantic getaways, and LGBTQIA+ safe. We cannot wait to host you and your group! We're excited to share our property with those who appreciate nature and what seclusion in the mountains has to offer. Located deep in the Cuyama Valley, close to wine country, and booming local vineyards (1.25 hrs past Ojai and 45 minutes past Santa Maria) our ranch promises the getaway experience you've been looking for. The Ranch is 80 acres with majestic mountain views and vast canyons for hiking and trail access. During the spring and summer months imagine sitting in your own personal cowboy pooltub looking up at the stars. Smell the sage and wildflowers in the air while you sip wine. Surrounded by the Los Padres Mountains and located deep within the hidden valley of enchantment, this ranch gives the visitor the high-desert glamping/camping experience of their dreams. For the hikers and explorers out there, the ranch offers trails and within 30 min in every direction there are local trails. . There is a designated area for tent camping and for RV's, Trailers, Vans, and tiny homes (no electric yet for RVs). We also offer glamping sites and all inclusive yurts. The ranch is completely private and secluded, off HWY 166. We welcome all animals, big and small. We are farm! We have pigs, goats, ducks, chickens, turkeys and more!
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Camp Dirt

2 sites · RVs, Tents105 acres · Lompoc, Santa Barbara
Welcome to Camp Dirt! We're so excited to welcome you to our corner of the world.We offer an expansive dry mowed field with cottonwood trees and riparian habitat next to seasonal river. Our sites are very private next to working ranch vineyard. Keep in mind our sites do have dirt road access only and can have spotty cell reception. During fire ban propane fire pits are available and are complimentary.We have great amenities including toilets, picnic tables, and trash bins. Pets and generators are also allowed but only vehicles under 30 ft are allowed at our sites.Our guests love us too! "It was really nice to camp in the vineyard. Beautiful views, shade, great firepit with wood, picnic table and grass. Clean bathroom and even a kitchen sink!"
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Sanctuary Cielo

1 site · Tent5 acres · Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara
Find your inner calm. Quiet and beautiful 5 acre, mountain forest retreat with walking paths, seating areas, yoga platforms, swings, caves, boulders and a hammock. Our sanctuary is more like a bed and breakfast, with touches of being in a warm home outdoor living room and kitchen. Easily accessible to cliffside hiking, caves or / rock climbing and the beach. Close to the Lizard's Mouth recreational area that has acres of exquisite cliffside boulders overlooking the ocean. Close to the Playground Recreational hiking area. And close to the Chumash Painted Caves. Multiple places to sleep, including on outdoor bed, a tent, ( we have one if you don't) a treehouse, or open air platforms. Room for a camping van. An indoor bedroom with fridge is available, with outdoor access, in inclement weather. We have a variety of games to choose from for the whole family. Kid friendly. We have 2 friendly kitties. Full outdoor kitchen with grill, outdoor shower, fresh water, fire pit, electricity and wifi. Hot tub is available for a small charge. Spa upgrades such as massage are available.
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Campsite 3 & 4

2 sites · RVs, Tents80 acres · Cuyama, Santa Barbara
Every campsite has its own picnic table, fire pit with grill, a large trash can, and a kitchenette table, a rustic outdoor loo, and gorgeous 360º view. They are semi-secluded and spacious. There are many hiking trails near by, a vast riverbed to explore, and a quail guzzler to check out! The absolute best part is the night sky views of the Milky Way.
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Within one hour of Santa Barbara

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Camping near Santa Barbara with campfires guide

A prime location overlooking the Pacific Ocean makes Santa Barbara one of the most popular resort towns in California. Santa Barbara County is also a camper's dream, offering several beautiful state beaches with incredibly popular campsites—try El Capitán State Beach or palm-tree-lined Refugio State Beach just three miles further. While you're on the coast, Channel Islands National Park is also worth a visit during gray whale season, accessed via a half-day whale watching boat trip out of Santa Barbara Harbor or seen on an overnight backcountry camping trip on Santa Cruz Island. For some cool summer camping, hit Los Padres National Forest, where Paradise Campground features well-sized sites with flush toilets and access to the Santa Ynez River.

Where to Go

Channel Islands National Park

Craving some remote camping? Each of the five Channel Islands has one established campground, while Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa islands offer limited backcountry options. Scorpion Canyon and Del Norte Campgrounds on Santa Cruz are most popular, both accessed by foot, private boat, or kayak.

Los Padres National Forest

Choose from more than 60 campgrounds, including dispersed campsites, in Los Padres. Paradise Campground features spacious sites and plentiful shade from massive oak trees with the Santa Ynez River close by for fishing and swimming. Flush toilets, fire rings, and picnic tables make this campground a comfy piece of tent camping heaven.

Santa Barbara Area State Beaches

El Capitán offers 131 sites for tent and RV camping, all set among sycamore and oak trees, while three miles further, Refugio State Beach caters to angler campers who love this stretch of coastline dotted with hiking trails and picnic tables.

When to Go

Springtime typically draws visitors to Santa Barbara for the annual International Film Festival and the Vintners Festival Weekend, while the warmth of June brings the outdoor California Wine Festival. Summer is, of course, peak season, when beaches are most crowded and campgrounds fill up. Expect mild weather all year, with rainfall usually between December and February. Camping is available year-round on all five islands in Channel Islands National Park. 

Know Before You Go

  • The Channel Islands are only accessible by park concessionaire boats or private boats, and campers must secure advance transportation for any overnight trip.
  • Advanced camping reservations are required for all Channel Islands campgrounds. No public transportation is available on the islands, and bicycles are not permitted.
  • Visitors can reserve campsites at El Capitán State Beach six months in advance.
  • Dogs are allowed in the El Capitán campgrounds and day-use areas, but are not permitted on the beach.
  • Always safely store all food and secure trash in animal- and bird-proof containers.

Nearby Attractions

  • Discover the beauty of coastal camping at Rincon Parkway. Set up camp along the scenic shoreline, indulge in beach activities, and fall asleep to the soothing sound of ocean waves. Embrace the laid-back atmosphere and create lasting memories in this coastal paradise.

  • Experience coastal camping bliss at Faria Beach Park. Set up camp near sandy shores, enjoy beach activities, and relish breathtaking sunsets. Embrace the laid-back beach lifestyle, listen to the soothing ocean waves, and create unforgettable memories in this beachside paradise. 

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