Summer in California is still in full swing. Make the most of the good weather with our California Camping Series featuring campsite reviews from TheDyrt.com – it’s like Yelp for public campgrounds. In Part I , we covered Los Angeles, and here in Part II we’re sharing 5 popular campsites within 60 miles of Santa Barbara. All reviews and photos come from real reviews from real campers. Write your own reviews on the The Dyrt and you could win some great gear through the end of September.
1. Carpinteria State Beach
Distance from Santa Barbara: 12 miles
“This is a truly unique campground that my family has been visiting for decades. You can walk into town and eat at the amazing restaurants that quaint Carpenteria has to offer. Or you can listen to the waves roll in from your campground as you cook something up over the camp fire. A great home base to explore Santa Barbara or Slovang too.” – The Dyrt user Megan B. See more here.
2. Refugio State Beach
Distance from Santa Barbara: 23 miles
“Refugio state beach is a popular spot, but still very enjoyable, right on the ocean. Easy camping with flat pads and bathrooms. It was a great place for us to transition from backpacking to car camping after we had our first child.” -The Dyrt user Warren K. See more here.
3. Wheeler Gorge
Distance from Santa Barbara: 38 miles
“We stayed in Campsite #70 and all the previous reviews said it was going to be terrible…in truth, this was one of the best campsites I had been to in a long time. An awesome creek runs through the middle of the campsite. The reason people didn’t seem to like our site was because of it’s proximity to the highway. Didn’t bother me too much… motorcycles zoom by maybe once an hour during the day. Nothing too crazy. The bathrooms are well kept and YOU CAN BUY FIREWOOD from the camp hosts!! Campsites come with fire rings, a grill, and a picnic table. Enjoy your time in the woods!!” -The Dyrt user Garret M. See more here.
4. Middle Lion Campground
Distance from Santa Barbara: 50.4 miles
“A great, secluded camping spot at the end of an old side road, it gets very little traffic. Two out of the three times I have been there it has been almost deserted. It can become busy on summer weekends. There are 9 sites here, each with a table/benches, freestanding grill and a fire pit. (Depending on the drought conditions though, fires may or may not be allowed). The only other amenity is a vault restroom. There is no potable water here, but there is a creek with water in it year round that runs along the east side of the campground if you feel inclined to filter your own. Most of the sites are well shaded by large deciduous trees, and the surrounding hills do a great job at blocking most of the wind, making it a very pleasant spot for a weekend of car camping. All that is required is a forest adventure pass, which can be bought at any near by outdoors store for $5 for a day and a night, or $30 for a year, and can be used at most any site in the forest.” -The Dyrt user Ryan P. See more here.
5. Leo Carillo
Distance from Santa Barbara: 56.7 miles
“I had spent many summers camping with friends at Leo Carillo State Park. Various campsites with easy access to one of the best beaches in Malibu. Close to everything fun in SoCal – Close to the pier, Malibu, Hollywood, LA and more. Camping under the oak trees and in a small canyon. Lots of local wildlife – deer, coyotes, hawks, snakes, bugs and tidepools on the beach. Camping in tents and RVs. Cold foggy mornings from overcast however it clears up. Cool or cold nights and mild days. Decent wading into the ocean and good surfing all around. Not too bad with rip-currents and is great for younger kids too! The rangers at this park love to entertain the kids and they have lots of Jr Ranger programs through the local surrounding areas! Look for them! One of the best beach camping locations in So Cal HANDS down! It gets crowded quickly so book early!” See more here.
Feature image Hendry’s Beach, from Damian Gadal