Free Camping (day and night) in the
Santa Barbara/Malibu area

A letter from a reader

(Sept., 2000)

Hello All,

For those of you who are going to visit the Malibu-Santa Barbara coastline in Southern California, there are several places to stay free overnight. My first suggestion is, of course, the Walmart which is close to all the fun and activities in this area. WalMart is at the Rose exit off Route 101 near Oxnard/Ventura. There are also other locations close by, and across the freeway as well from this location.

Another location for overnite is down behind the gas station on the cornor of Harbor Blvd, and Seaward, which is near central Ventura. Behind this gas station is a little used area for parking and is adjacent to the west end of a strip mall. The advantage here is it is extremely quiet, dark and close to grocery store and other strip mall type stores.There are numerous others in this area, but a little searching will reveal more.

Now for all day parking: This area is sometimes tricky when you're not from this area, but starting from Malibu and going northward, there are many, many locations to park along the road overseeing the ocean, and in most cases, the water will be your doorstep!

The next good location is going up along Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) to an area called Cabrillo State Park. There is paid overnight camping here, with wonderful shade and quiet atmosphere, but just outside and up along the PCH is daytime parking where you can soak up the sunshine, have a BBQ, and swim in the great Pacific ocean. After all is said and done, there are outside showers there to get off the salt water, and after dark, a full shower is not uncommon.

Traveling north, up along the PCH, we next come to a place just before reaching the naval bases in Oxnard, a vista cutout called Point Mugu Rock, which is popular for viewing stunning sunsets. When traveling north along the coast, it is easily recognizable even in the dark. Parking is permitted until 10 pm.

On the other side of Ventura, is numerous coastal locations where day parking is abundant, as well as paid camping up to Santa Barbara. Emma Woods area is another place where many campers stop and spend the days as well as the evenings.

This stretch along the coast between Malibu and Santa Barbara, is unique, in that the temperatures year around are almost always moderate, even when Los Angeles Is baking, and even in the winter months, is kept at a comfortable level when other areas are un comfortably cool. but don't be fooled, in the summer, just over the mountains, it can jump as much as 25-30 degrees warmer. When its 104 in LA, its most often under 75-80 degrees in Ventura.

Please keep me updated as to any new free sites up and down along the coast, as I do a lot of camping weekly along this area. I can be reached at





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