Campground Review: El Capitan State Beach, California
Why we chose here: It was time to leave the LA area behind and start heading up to the central coast. We have visited Santa Barbar before but never camped in one of the most popular campground along the Central California Coast. Unfortunately our stay was cut short, when a major winter storm threatened the campground with flash flooding and debris flow. The rangers made the decision to evacuate, so we only had two wonderfully sunny days here. It really was the calm before the storm.
Location: The campground is about 25 minutes away from Santa Barbara and a little more from most of the Santa Ynez wineries. It is located on a bluff above the beach, but the walk is short and not too steep.
Sites: The sites are mixed quality. Most are well spaced from each other, some are pretty small and not level. All have picnic tables and fire rings. A few of the sites have great views. We were lucky to get in site 32 one of the best in the park. I think only 107 is better, but that was occupied when we got there.
Facilities: We didn't try the showers but they looked pretty grim. In fact the park looks a bit weather beaten and could do with some love. All the sites here are dry, there are water spigots, but the park no longer has a dump station.
Groceries: Santa Barbara has all the usual suspects, but Goleta is nearer and has a Sprouts.
Reservations: In winter this is a First Come First Served Campground - Can I get a Hell Yeah! In the summer if you want to be here at the weekend you better have thought about it 7 months before. Competition for spots is fierce.
Cell coverage / WiFi: We had good coverage with Verizon and Project Fi (T-Mobile & Sprint).
Price paid: $35 a night for a dry site at the non-peak rate. It goes up to $45 for the summer. Pretty good for an ocean view.
Date of visit: Feb 2017
Would we visit again? Yes, I really like this park and it was a shame that we didn't get to stay longer.