Thursday, September 17, 2009

Jalama’s Beach Camping

Located about an hour north of Santa Barbara (just south of Lompoc,) Jalama Beach is one of the coolest campgrounds that I’ve been to in years. The combination of the great beach, on-site store/café, individual and group sites and its remote location make this a one of a kind camping experience.

Upon heading up the 1 freeway from the 101 (north of Goleta), we quickly realized that we were in the middle of nowhere. It was nice to be completely surrounded by nothing but trees and pastures. Once we got to the turn of for the campground, we spent another 30 minutes driving along the windy country road all the way out to the coast.

Upon arrival we checked in with the ranger and found that there were only 2 sites available for the weekend (99 and 100.) These sites are located up on the hill above the check in booth and would not have been our first choice of spots, but we did have a spectacular view of the beach and ocean as well as a full view of the entire campground.

Jalama is one of the remaining few campgrounds that is still first-come-first-serve so it is recommended that for any stay, during busy times, try to arrive on a Tuesday or Wednesday for your chance to get one of the 12 “on the beach” sites (53-64.) Sites 1-9 and 17-26 are also pretty cool if you are into socializing with your neighbors. They are all lined up next to one another in a grassy area in the middle of the campground. All of the sites that I have mentioned do have enough space for a family to be comfortable, but make sure to bring an EZ-UP or umbrellas for shade as there are not too many trees on site.

The beach is great! There was a huge assortment of people enjoying the water. Everything from surfing, kite-surfing, swimming, body boarding and searching the tide pools for cool rocks and sea creatures. We had a blast at the beach. Running around with our trusty camping dog “Amy” and collecting rocks, seashells, driftwood and fossils of all kinds kept us busy most of the afternoon. One thing that I love about the beach is that the south half is soft sand and the northern section is rock formations and tide pools. No matter what you like to do at the beach….you can do it there. We spent an afternoon just sitting there on the beach letting our dog run wild, watching the schools of dolphins dancing in the surf and taking pictures of the crazy kite-surfers speeding through the water. The crowd at Jalama is a nice change. There were a perfect mix of people – from elderly RVers and parents (with their kids) to college and high school students.

After taking all of the hot sun that we could, we took refuge in the shade at the café. Jalama’s store/café has some of the best burgers that you could ever want. Depending on the time of day, you could end up waiting (as we did) for nearly an hour for the burgers to be done. They get BUSY!!! I would suggest ordering your food and then going back to your site for a cool drink and rid the sand and saltwater from your hair and body. By the time you get back, your food should be ready. The store also offers; groceries, personal care sundries, firewood, fishing bait and tackle, ice, beer and wine and much more.

The campground has a cool grassy picnic area on the north side and an incredible group camping area “C” in the southwest corner. Plus a children’s play area

Basic Info:
There are 98 campsites, all overlooking the ocean or beachfront. Each site has a picnic table and BBQ pit, with hot showers, restrooms and water nearby. 29 sites offer electrical hookups, and dump stations are available. 5 bathrooms and 1 shower building. Campsites are assigned on a first come, first served basis -- one site to one vehicle. Only group areas may be reserved in advance. Keep in mind that summer is their busiest time, and that campsites fill fast. Check-out is 2:00 pm. Campers under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

Jalama Beach County ParkStar Route, Jalama Road Lompoc, CA 93436Recorded Information (805) 736-6316Group Camping Reservations (805) 934-6211Park Office (805) 736-3504


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Anonymous said...

Jamala Beach is an amazing place for a family trip. We spent there last weekends and had so much fun. We lived a bit far from civilization, so needed some beach stuff to take with. I'd advice to bring beach canopy like for a comfortable stay.


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