Emma Wood State Beach


Emma Wood State Beach is an iconic beach camping area along the Pacific Coast Highway that any van or RV lifer must visit. There will be plenty of RVs and campervans camping along the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) enjoying the ocean views. It’s a good area to surf, hike, and enjoy walking on the beach. I recommend any van lifer to spend at least one night staying here are they explore southern California. 


If you want a true bare-bones comping adventure adjacent to the beach, then Emma Woods State Park is perfect for you. The camp spots are actually located on Pacific Coast Highway in between the beach and State Route 1. It’s also located only a few yards from the railroad tracks so don’t come here if you are looking for peace and quiet.


Emma Wood State Beach offers primitive camping for fully self-contained vehicles ONLY.  Tents are not permitted.  No water, restrooms, electricity, fire rings, phones or dump station are available.  There are 90 campsites, which are not level and may contain a mixture of asphalt, dirt, cobble, and ocean debris.  The maximum vehicle length is 40 feet, due to small turnaround areas.

There is also a Group Camping area closer to Ventura River Group Camp. There are a few van life camping events held here throughout the year including BuenaVantura.  This group campground is separated by 2 freeway miles from Emma Wood State Beach.  The group sites offer developed tent camping for groups of up to 30 people and primitive RV camping for groups up to 50 people and 20 vehicles.  


The beach located here isn’t known for its surf but on occasions, it will have rideable waves that are good for beginners. You come here mostly for the views and walks on the beach. However, it’s in close proximity to a few great surf breaks including Rincon Point. 

It’s a privilege to have Emma Wood State Beach for our enjoyment, so please practice Leave No Trace principles.


The beach is two miles west of Ventura. North Beach is reached via Highway 101. The group camp’s entrance is at the west end of Main Street in Ventura.

References and Links:


Rincon Point State Beach

Rincon Point State Beach is a must-stop destination for any van lifer who’s a surfer and traveling up or down the Southern California coast. Rincon is actually a separate unit of Carpinteria State Beach located at Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties’ border. It’s a public beach right next to the private gated community of Rincon Point.

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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.

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