Camping near Santa Maria

Add fine wine, tasty barbecue, and sweeping sand dunes to your next camping experience.

97% (6273 reviews)
97% (6273 reviews)

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Camping near Santa Maria guide


The largest city in Santa Barbara County, Santa Maria draws wine enthusiasts looking for a base for exploring area wineries and easy access to the nearby Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes. While wine is the big draw, the city is also known for its style of barbecue, unusual for a West Coast destination. While you won't find public campgrounds in Santa Maria, there are campgrounds in Los Padres National Forest nearby and at Pismo State Beach. Plenty of Hipcamps and a few privately run camping options also sit within a short drive of the city.

Where to go

​California's Central Coast

The stretch of coastline between Ventura County and Monterey Bay offers some of the most fantastic scenery in the state, if not the country. Here you'll find sandy beaches, windswept rocky cliffs, and tons of little beach towns, plus miles of beach-facing and inland hiking trails.

The Santa Ynez Valley

If you're up for a bit of wine tasting, the Santa Ynez Valley won't disappoint. This area—located between the Santa Ynez and San Rafael mountains—is full of vineyards and tasting rooms, with the largest concentrations found in towns such as Santa Ynez, Los Olivos, and Solvang.

Ventura County

South of Santa Maria, Ventura County offers many public beaches—many of which have tent and RV sites. The county also encompasses the Channel Islands, five of which are protected as part of the Channel Islands National Park. Ventura County also features plenty of inland spots to visit, from the new-age town of Ojai to the rugged Simi Valley.

When to go

Santa Maria offers good camping weather year-round, with mild winters and hot summers. Temperatures are highest from June through September, but if you plan to spend much time at nearby beaches during this period, expect some summer crowds. If visiting in winter or early spring, it’s wise to be prepared for rain. Those who like strawberries should come in spring, when the annual berry harvest is celebrated with the Santa Maria Strawberry Festival.

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