15 Best Campgrounds in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is one of the places in California that you should put in your to-do list. The fact that you can be able to enjoy the scenery, visit some of the historical places as well as enjoy the sandy beaches is just but a top-up to what could be offered.

Camping in this place has been a norm that has gathered momentum over the years. It has some of the best places in the world and also along the ocean. Getting a place that offers you both a field and ground together with some of the outdoor amenities is just amazing if you love adventure.

See Also: 12 Beautiful National Parks in California

Camping should be easy, and that is why this article is the absolute best for you. Get to have a summarized idea of what your choices were when you decided to go to Santa Barbara and be able to make the right decision when choosing which campground to go to.

15 Best Campgrounds in Santa Barbara

1. The Santa Cruz Trail

Santa Cruz Trail
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The trail at this park works through the Los Padres National Forest for over 22 miles. The trail is famous for the hiking adventures it offers the campers, including the amazing scenery that the forest has. You will enjoy the amazing flowers like the Mariposa, California poppies and the lupin in bloom as you get to walk around during your stay.

If you need to start some fires, you will need permits but if you are camping and hiking, you will not require it. It is perfect because you get to spend most of the day hiking and discovering new things and at night, you find a cozy ground, pitch your tent and sleep looking at the stars.

Address: Santa Cruz National Recreation Trail

2. Upper Oso Campground

Upper Oso Campground
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It is a family-friendly place with easy access for cars that gives you the best platform to hike over the streams. You can also enjoy the right amount of fishing and swimming, especially since the park is at the base camp of the Los Padres forest. It is the perfect place to have your daily hiking adventures.

Its location on the lower Santa Ynez recreational area makes it the furthest campground on the canyon. It is also very much known because of the number of backpackers, dirt bikers and also mountain bikers who happen to come to this place. You will enjoy piped water, parking for your trailers while also coral equestrian which is perfect for any adventurous person.

Address: Upper Oso Campground

3. Gaviota State Park

Gaviota State Park
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The park is slightly further than the other campgrounds that are around the area. At 33 miles away from the town, you will be getting more of the central coast environment than the California beaches. One exciting thing about this place is that you get to enjoy seeing where the Pacific Ocean meets with the Santa Barbara Channel. The 2458 summit over the 6-mile trail will be one of the best things you would have ever experienced in your life. The Channel Islands and the coastline are at your disposal.

Address: Gaviota State Park

4. Scorpion Canyon Campground

Scorpion Canyon campground
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The campground is on Channel Island which will require you to start with an effective boat ride to the place. It involves several hiking trails that are covered by a good mixture of trees and shrubs. It, therefore, offers you a great camping ground and away from the heat, especially during the summer.

The campground is located below the mountain peaks which ensures that you have that authentic tourist adventure that you need. You will have to come in with everything you will need and then ensure that you go with them too once you leave the campground. This is more so when it comes to the rubbish that you will be having.

Address: Scorpion Canyon Campground

5. Paradise Campground

Paradise campground
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It is located on the Los Padres Forest which is very effective because of the holes that were available offering an excellent chance for swimming and other recreational activities. The fact that it attracts so many people makes it an effortless place to miss out if you have not booked. However, some places will only offer a first come first serve basis, which, to many people is quite fair.

 The chance to enjoy the scene at the Santa Ynez River or the hiking adventures. There are also flush toilets, water that is clean for drinking and also rings for campfires which have made it an excellent option for families or groups. You can also pitch your tents and enjoy them.

Address: Paradise Campground

6. Del Norte

It also happens to be part of the Channel Island experience that you would enjoy. You should, however, be warned that the conditions there could be quite harsh. That is why there are restrictions on the people who are usually allowed there.

Some designated areas only work with a permit that people are given to access them. There is also a very strict ‘Leave No Trace’ behind that helps to preserve the nature around the campsite. There is also the 12-mile stretch that will expose you to more of the available natural beauty available in that area.

Address: Del Norte Camp

7. El Capitan State Beach

El Capitan state beach
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It is one of the places that has majored in the beauty of the sandy beaches and rocky tide pools that makes the place a fascinating place to stay. The good thing is that it is just 17 miles west of Santa Barbara. It is then a welcomed change from the palm trees that are usually everywhere. You get to have a chance to swim, surf or even fish.

You can park your car or RV here and in case you need a beach wheelchair then it will be provided for you. There are over 130 sites that are aimed to ensure that they maximize the number of people who could need space over the period. It is, therefore not easy for you to miss out on space to place your RV.

Address: El Capitan State Beach Campground

8. Los Prieto’s Campground

This is one of the places you can go and enjoy together with your children and even your pets. You are allowed to pitch your tents and enjoy the amazing outdoor experience. There is enough firewood available, meaning you can create your small bonfire close to your tent.

However, you should be aware that you need to be specific to the area you would like to set up because trees cover most of them. RVs and caravan are therefore not very useful in these campgrounds.

Address: Los Prieto’s Campground

9. Earl Warren Showground’s RV Park

Its location at the heart of Santa Barbara makes it very convenient for most people. The good thing about this park is that you can have your RV parked here without any issue. It also allows you to come along with your pets and children to have a good time.

There is a good supply of water and a working sewage system that assures you of a safe environment. There are also washrooms and restrooms in the vicinity to allow you to freshen yourself quickly.

Address: Earl Warren Showground’s RV Park

10. Carpinteria State Beach

Carpinteria state beach
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The park is 12 miles from the Santa Barbara town, where you get to enjoy a slight drive to the camp and back. You will then be able to enjoy fishing, tide pool exploration, and camping. There is a great outdoor ground where the pets that you bring along can play and have fun.

The beach also has qualified lifeguards who will help protect you and your family while you are having fun on the waters. From December to May, you will be in a great position to see sea lions and seals as they come to bask and also enjoy the sand.

Address: Carpinteria State Beach Campground

11. Santa Barbara Sunrise RV Park

It is quite hard to get an RV park within the city that offers you such services. Therefore, you get to be in a position to access everything that the city has to offer including the beaches, the foods, and the many outdoor activities.

There is an availability of clean water, sewer lines, cable, and even WIFI. You also get picnic tables where you can enjoy your meals comfortably. Because it is a park, pets and small children are very much allowed to come and run around as they have fun. You are also in the perfect position to get help when it comes to medical, service repair for your RV or even basic shopping.

Address: Santa Barbara Sunrise RV Park

12. White Rock Day-use Area

Just beside the Upper Oso campground at the base of the Los Padres forest, you will find a daily set campground with picnic tables, campfire, and a pedestal grill. Here you get to enjoy the fantastic view and could be lucky enough to meet with some of the forest animals and see the flora that is in that area. It is the best place to be real and have fun without straining your body because of the long trek.

Address: White Rock Day-Use Area

13. Santa Barbara Zoo

This is one of those beaches that has been used as a zoo. There are so many animals that are currently residing in the area. Therefore, you will need to be more careful, especially when you are having your camp adventures. Ensure you carry along with you everything you will need, including sleeping bags, flashlights, and foods. Especially since you can’t light a fire in the zoo.

Its location just a few miles away from State Street, which makes it very easy for you to get to it and also be in a position to gladly look over the pacific for the amazing views. It may not be effortless to leave your children out in the wild with the animals but if you love adventure and learning new things, you can get permitted to spend a night in the zoo and have fun with the animals.

Address: Santa Barbara Zoo

14. Cachuma Lake Recreations Area

Cachuma lake recreations area
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It is a camp farm that is just slightly over 10 miles from Santa Barbara. This specific campground has gone to great lengths to ensure that the people who visit this have the best of the available facilities. You will also get tent sites if you are doing under the sky nightlife or cabins with bathrooms and kitchenettes. There are also some very spectacular views of the lake which I know you will enjoy.

There are some booking chances which happens to be six months in advance since there is a whole lot of people who enjoy coming to this specific campground. It happens to be a very prime place to have your holiday or weekend.

Address: Cachuma Lake Recreations Area

15. Rancho Oso RV and Camping Resort

Rancho Oso RV and Camping Resort
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Located on paradise road in Santa Barbara, it is then a very convenient option for many of the people. It is a great treat even for your family in general because you will get some of the best facilities you can ever find. Engage in horseback riding, games fields like volleyball and sand badminton, as well as mini-golf for the people who tend to enjoy it.

You can both park your RV or find a suitable site for you to pitch your tent. You also get to get a chance on the planned hiking groups or even a person adventure trail with your people. There are restrooms and washrooms also available, making it very useful for the whole family.

Address: Rancho Oso RV and Camping Resort

Final word

Choosing an adventure path is something that everyone loves. However, choosing the best place to have that adventure is what could get to be very tricky. Camping is one of the top list activities you should do when you are in Santa Barbara. Get to enjoy the night sky, as well as be in a position to bond with people over the proverbial campfire. Above are some of the best campgrounds that you could opt for while in Santa Barbara. You should also be keen to know; what are the other primary advantages you will get from that campsite, over the others. Take your time and choose wisely. You need to have the best that could be possibly available.


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