There are ten
places to camp when you're bicycle touring around Santa Barbara county.
Four of them are state parks, two are county parks, one is a city park,
and three are privately owned. Most have separate areas and reduced fees
for bike-in travelers.
One advisory—all campgounds along the coast are near the Union
Pacific Railroad that runs rumbling freight trains in the night.
Phone numbers are area code 805 unless listed otherwise.
Carpinteria State Beach has this secluded area set aside for biking and hiking visitors.
This is the entry road to Refugio Beach. It was part of the only Spanish
land grant in Santa Barbara county, named "Rancho Nuestra Señora
Mountain foothills are behind the Ocean Mesa campground, with trees
and shrubs separating the individual sites.
The tent camp area at Flying Flags is a large grassy field with tables and benches.
The tent camp area at Refugio is in a grassy field facing this beach.
Santa Maria Pines, 2210 Preisker Lane, phone 928-9534.
This is mostly for RVs, but has a tent camping area with a special rate of $20/person-night for those without cars. Water, wi-fi, flush toilets, showers, groceries, playground, coin laundry, and pool.
Flags RV Resort & Campground, 180 Avenue of the Flags, phone
877-783-5247, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is a large campground with many amenities—a heated swimming
pool, spa, laundry facilities, store, Internet workstations, children's
playground and clean restrooms. Cabins and airstream trailers are available.
Fees $22 a night and up (depending on the season) in tent area for up
to six people at one tent site, with nearby rest rooms, a dish-cleaning
sink, and dog-washing stand.
Highway 246 at Sweeny Road, phone 315-7883. This 45-acre park is along
the Santa Ynez River, east of Lompoc. It has a bike-in camping area for
$5 per person. You'll find restrooms, water, campground hosts, walking
trails and sand volleyball courts. There's no campground store; however
there is shopping a mile away in Lompoc.
Beach County Park, 9999 Jalama Road (15 miles off of Highway
1), phone 736-3504.
Camping for individuals is on a first come, first served basis; groups,
however, can reserve campsites in advance. They cost $23 and up,
depending on time of year and location. Previously a Chumash Indian settlement,
the 24-acre park was given to the county in 1943. Unlike other bustling
seaside parks, Jalama offers solitude while the park store and snack
bar have food, groceries, firewood, fishing bait and tackle, ice, drinks—and
don't miss the Jalamaburgers.
Lake Recreation Area, 2225 Highway 154, phone 686-5055. This is
a Santa Barbara county park.
a separate area for bike-in camping, at $5 per person per night, with a
maximum stay of 14 nights. Cabins and yurts can be reserved in
advance. There is a general store, snack bar, gas station, coin laundry,
nature center, swimming pool, video game area, miniature golf course, lake
cruises, and children's playground. Be aware, however, that two miles of
the road to the park from
dangerous for cyclists.
Traffic is heavy, the road shoulders come and go, while hills and
curves hide cyclists from motorists. Highway 154 south of the lake
is even worse.
State Park, exit Highway 101 at Gaviota, phone 968-1033. Special
bike-in area for $10 per person per night. No maximum stay limit. Despite
high winds that sometimes blow down the Gaviota Pass and over the campgrounds,
the area is a popular spot for swimming, picnicking, surf fishing and
camping. Ambitious hikers can climb to Gaviota Peak that offers a spectacular
view of the coast and the Channel Islands. Cycling along this section
of Highway 101 is legal, between Buellton on the north and Goleta to
Refugio State Beach, exit highway 101 at Refugio Road, head toward
the ocean, phone 968-1033. Bike-in area is $10 a night per person, with
a 2-night limit. Refugio State Beach offers fine coastal fishing as well
as trails and picnic sites. Palm trees planted near Refugio Creek give
a distinctive look to the beach and camping area. There is a bike trail
between Refugio and El Capitán
parks, although sometimes sections slip into the ocean.
El Capitán State Beach, exit from Highway 101 at El Capitán,
turn toward the ocean; phone 968-1033. Bike-in camping
area for $10 a night per person. Two night maximum stay, check out before
noon. El Capitán
State Beach has a sandy beach accessible down stairs from the bluff, rocky
tidepools, and stands of sycamore and oaks along Capitan Creek.
Mesa at El Capitan, exit from Highway 101 at El Capitán, turn
toward the mountains, then left on Calle Real, phone 410-5783, email
Excellent camping area overlooking the ocean, separated sites with
tables, benches, fire pits, smoothed tent area for $40 per night for up
to six people at one site. Ocean Mesa is surrounded by Los Padres National
Forest. It has 15 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, a heated
pool and spa, laundry facilities, WiFi, a convenience store, and free beach
cruiser bikes that you can ride to the nearby state beach.
Carpinteria State Beach, phone 968-1033. Bike-in camping
for $10 a night. Sadly, there is a one-night limit, no occupancy before
6:00 PM, and you must break camp by 9:00 AM. The Spanish named the area
"Carpinteria" because the Chumash Indians had a carpenter shop
there to build their large seagoing canoes, using natural surface tar
to caulk the boats.