El Capitan State Beach


El Capitán State Beach offers van and RV nomads a great place to spend the day or a few days camping on the coast. It offers its visitors a sandy beach, rocky tidepools, and stands of sycamore and oaks trees along El Capitán Creek. It’s a perfect setting for swimming, fishing, surfing, picnicking, and camping.  


El Capitán State Beach is a great place for any van or RV nomad to spend some time on the beach. It a great place to surf, cycle, hike, or lounge on the beach. The state beach is just far enough away from Santa Barbara to make it a great wilderness escape. 

Brochure: El Capitan State Beach Brochure


The campground has more than 100 single-family and multiple group campsites. Campsites include a table, fire ring, and grill and can accept tents, trailers, or motorhomes (up to 42 feet). Campsites can be reserved from April 1 through November 30 and are first-come, first-served the rest of the year.


The Bill Wallace El Capitán Trail and Canyon/Ridgetop Trails start across the 101 FWY.  It’s a 4.5 miles out and back trail that traverses the ridgeline and provides rewarding views and scenery from the hills.  It’s a moderate-level hike that adds a little more adventure to your time on the beach.

Hikers and cyclists can follow the 5-mile Ansio Trail to Refugio State Beach up the road.

El Capital Canyon Resort

The El Capitan Canyon Resort sits across the 101Fwy from El Capitan State Beach. It’s a bunch of cabins, yurts and is a luxury-style resort. There’s also a nice restaurant and country store to visit. It is a good place to grab a cup of coffee in the morning or a nice lunch in the shade. 

El Capitan is well worth a visit in your van or RV so you can enjoy the beach and all it has to offer. 


El Capitán State Beach is less than 30 minutes from Santa Barbara by car. Take Highway 101 north for 20 miles, and then take exit 117 toward El Capitán State Beach and turn left onto El Capitán State Beach Road.

References and Other Adventure:


Malibu Pier

No trip to Southern California is complete without a stopover at the Malibu Pier. The pier is a historic landmark located in the heart of California’s surf culture. The pier has a festive atmosphere of good food and fun. It’s a great place to spend the day.

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Oceano Dunes SVRA

Oceano Dunes Natural Preserve is located 3 miles south of Pismo Beach and is one of the most expansive coastal dunes left in California. The preserve offers the opportunity to camp directly on the beach, go horseback riding and traverse the dunes in a doom buggy. You have the ability to drive your van and camp right on the beach which is a real treat in California.

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