Campground Review: Lake Casitas Recreation Area, Nr Ojai, California
Why we chose here? We knew that getting a beach spot near Ventura would be tricky over the weekend, so we elected to go inland a little. We had tent-camped at Lake Casitas 12 years before and liked the delightful town of Ojai, so decided to make a return visit.
Location: The campground is only a few miles from the lovely town of Ojai. An upscale touristy town filled with expensive spas hotel, but very pretty and nice for a wander around. The coast (Ventura) is only 20 minutes away too, so this is a great location for interesting places to visit.
Sites: There is a broad range of sites ranging from "executive sites" with concrete pads and full hook ups to dirt tent-only sites. We chose a dry site in Grebe campground
because we wanted to have a lake view and not be too close to our neighbors. The sites are large and many are pull through, they have tables (our were a bit dilapidated) and a fire pit.
Facilities: It depends where you are, in our spot there were vault toilets. There are showers in a central location. There are two dump stations, a cafe and park store and boat rentals. There is also trash and full recycling in each campground.
Groceries: Ojai has a natural food supermarket as well as a VONS. Ventura has Trader Joes and lots of other grocery choices.
Reservations: Yes, but this is an immense campground that had plenty of empty spots even through the weekend.
Cell Coverage / WiFi: Good Verizon and AT&T here.
Price Paid: $25 weekday, $30 Friday and Saturday (Fri & Sat must be booked together)
Date of visit: May 2015
Other: Like many other places we have been, this park has been decimated by drought. There is still some water in the lake but it is very low. The lush vegetation we saw in 2003 when we visited has all gone (we compared photos from that trip and the place is unrecognizable). The sites are now dust bowls and a lot of the trees have gone. What a shame.
The other thing I would say is this was easily the noisiest campground we have stayed in. During the week we were pretty much alone, but at the weekend we were swarmed with large family groups who were playing their music very loud. I like to see people out enjoying themselves but this was really pretty obnoxious.
Would we come here again? Maybe, it is very easy to get in here (which is more than you can say for the beach campgrounds) and the location is great. But I don't think it would be my first choice.