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Ventura Beaches: Best Camping Beaches

By: Annie King

Travel Tips Ventura beaches offer great swimming and surfing, but also great camping. The city is one hour north of Los Angeles on Highway 101, and includes some of the most varied and uncrowded in Southern California. Here's a snapshot of two of Ventura's best camping beaches, if you're looking for a weekend of beach camping or RVing.

Rincon Parkway

For RVers it doesn't get much better than this. Just north of Ventura, along two miles of frontage road next to U.S. Highway 101, stretch 127 RV parking spots, right on the beach. Sure, it's primitive RVing, with only a few porta-potties here and there. But visitors get surfing, beach bonfires and miles of the blue Pacific, just steps from their RV door.

The County of Ventura, which operates Rincon parkway, doesn't take reservations. So hopeful campers must take their chances. But for $25 per night, and with the fancier (and privately run) Ventura RV Park about a mile south, it's hard to go wrong. To get to Rincon Parkway, take Highway 101 to just north of Ventura, and look for the Sea cliff Exit.

Other options nearby include Hobson and Faria Beach County Parks just north of Rincon Parkway. The County of Ventura runs all three parks and has information at (805) 654-3951.

McGrath State Beach

For group or family tent camping and RVers, McGrath is popular for good reason. This state beach sits a healthy walk back from the ocean behind grass-covered dunes, with shady spots for camping. A group camping area fringes a meadow for baseball games and other group activities. McGrath also has some of the nicest restroom facilities of any beach campground, a fact that becomes much-appreciated after a few days of camping.

McGrath's campground sits back from the beach for good reason. The park lies just south of the Santa Clara River estuary. That proximity also makes it a sanctuary for marine birds, so nature trails ring the park for prime bird-watching opportunities. But be sure to respect the fencing and signs to keep away from nesting areas: McGrath is a protected habitat for two endangered species: the California least tern and the snowy plover.

McGrath State Beach is five miles south of the city of Ventura on Harbor Boulevard, a few hundred yards south of the entrance to Ventura Harbor. The city of Oxnard is a few miles farther south. Fee is $25 per night, and reservations are strongly recommended. Visitors can call the park directly at (805) 968-1033.

Annie King writes for http://www.west-coast-beach-vacations.com and hits the beach every chance she gets. Visit the site's Rincon Parkway page at http://www.west-coast-beach-vacations.com/rincon-parkway or its McGrath State Beach page at http://www.west-coast-beach-vacations.com/mcgrath-state-beach Annie can be reached at annie@west-coast-beach-vacations.com
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