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Right along the coast, tucked between L.A. and Santa Barbara, is a gorgeous stretch of prime coastal camping in Ventura, California. If you are on the highway, you will catch a quick glimpse of RV’s lining the Rincon Parkway. It is not until you exit and cruise down PCH, that you realize how sweet this town is for RV camping.

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When we first started RVing, we had no idea how blessed we were to live ten minutes from this. I just assumed that we could find this amazing coastal camping experience, all along the California seashore. Let me tell you, seaside camping….can be a challenge to find…and to orchestrate. Thankfully this little slice of California paradise, is the answer you have been searching for!

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Site 3 at Faria Beach Park in Ventura, CA

Through our travels around the country, we have met many travelers…and we are always getting questions on beach camping in SoCal. In fact, many times I have written lengthy responses to requests on various forums. Since we are back in town and sampling the parks again…I thought it would be the perfect timing to dish out a few facts for my fellow travelers.

Ventura Camping Options

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Ocean view from an RV site on the Rincon Parkway in Ventura, CA

There are five RV parks in the city of Ventura:

  • Emma Wood State Beach
  • Faria Beach Park
  • Rincon Parkway
  • Hobson Beach Park
  • Ventura Beach RV Park

Here is the low-down on each park. I understand how hard it can be to get a feel for a county park. I found it laborious to find information on some of these parks while living in this town…so I assume it is hard to get the scoop when out of the area as well. And honestly…there is a learning curve. We still learn something new every time we visit.

Emma Wood State Beach

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Seaside RV Parking at Emma Wood State Beach in Ventura, CA
  • Location:  Off of Pacific Coast Highway, right near the State Beaches exit #72
  • Park Type:  State Park
  • The Main Draw:  Beach Front Camping, off of the main highway. It is within walking distance to downtown Ventura and the Pier.
  • Reservations:   From mid-May through Labor Day – No reservations/1st-come-1st-serve park; Reservations required in peak season; mid-week you can occasionally come as a walk-in in the busy season for a limited stay. You can make online reservations HERE and find more park info HERE.
  • Cost:  $40 per night + $7.99 processing fee for online reservations
  • Terrain:  This park sites between the ocean and the railroad tracks. It is also directly next to the 101 freeway, however the ocean waves drown out most of the noise.
  • Amenities: Zero. NO restrooms. NO water. No picnic tables. Free-form rock fire pits have been constructed at most sites. There is a bike path you can take into downtown Ventura
  • # Of Campsites:  90
  • Maximum Stay:  unknown
  • Caveat:  Only self-contained RV’s are permitted, tents are not permitted. High tides can cause the campground to close at any time.
  • RV Hookup Notes:  Sites are not level and are a mix of sand, gravel and broken asphalt. Almost every site length and width differs. Descriptions are given online when reserving.
  • Dog Facts:  Must be kept on a 6 foot leash
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Emma Wood State Beach Campground in Ventura, CA

Faria Beach Park

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Faria Beach Park in Ventura, CA

  • Location:  4350 W. Pacific Coast Highway, Ventura
  • Park Type:  County Park; RV’s and tents permitted
  • The Main Draw:  Beach Front Campground
  • Reservations:  No reservations. This is a 1st-come-1st-serve park
  • To Acquire A Spot:  Pull into an empty spot. You must have a car, an RV or a tent in the spot at all times. Once in the spot, you have 30 minutes to pay for the site.
  • Cost: $36 for non-hook-ups sites ($34 for the dry sites where wood fires are not allowed); $48 for hook-ups sites; $53 for premium hook-up sites
  • Payment Options:  In front of the Snack Shack is a post with pink envelopes and information. Fill out an envelope with your site and vehicle information. Either deposit cash/check into the envelope or pay online at the designated address, and then write the payment confirmation number on the pink envelope. Tear off the payment stub and attach to your RV or tent, then deposit the envelope in the opening on the post.
  • Terrain:  This is waterfront camping on the rocks. You can not access the beach from most sites, however it is a short walk. All standard sites are in the dirt. Your site on the rocks will come with a spectacular sunset over the water on most nights though. There are 4 premium sites in the back of the park and a handful of sites on the south end of the park that do not allow wood-burning fires.
  • Amenities:  Beach Access, Snack Shack, Restroom, Showers (require quarters), WiFi, Limited Guest Parking, Community Sink (water filling for tent campers), picnic table at each site, fire pits at the sites that permit wood fires
  • # Of Campsites:  42
  • Maximum Stay:  14 consecutive days
  • Caveat:  Once you are in the park and leave, you must be out of the Ventura County park system for 7 days. You may not move from one county park to another. As of January 2018, there is a new policy for Faria that only allows you to spend 30 nights in Faria Beach Park in the peak season, and now in the off-season as well. This means if you frequent the area, you may only stay here 60 nights per year.
  • RV Hookup Notes:  Most sites are very narrow. The premium hookup sites have a bit more room and are on concrete pads, however these back up to the road and are not on the water. If you have multiple vehicles or a dually truck, you will most likely be unable to park in the standard hookup sites that are along the water. You can find info and a map of the park HERE.
  • Dry Camping/Tent Site Notes:  Generator use is permitted during the non-quiet hours.
  • Dog Facts:  There is a small, unfenced, shady and grassy dog-walking area in the back of this park near the premium sites. Dogs are charged $1 each per day; must be on a 6 foot max leash
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Faria Beach Park in Ventura, CA
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Faria Beach Park:  one of the non-hook-up sites

Rincon Parkway

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RV parking on the Rincon Parkway in Ventura, CA
  • Location:  Old Pacific Coast Highway (aka Highway 1) between the State Beaches exit (exit #72) and Seacliff exit (exit #78); the best way to identify the Rincon is to look for the “long line of parallel parked RV’s”, between Hobson Beach Park and Faria Beach Park, which are lined up along the water.
  • Park Type:  County Park
  • Reservations:  No reservations. This is a 1st-come-1st-serve park
  • To Acquire A Spot:  Look for an empty site and pull in. Note that the nightly fee is good for 24 hours, so people can leave at any time. This means that if you arrive at 4:00 pm and pay for one night, you do not need to vacate your spot until 4:00 pm the next day.
  • Cost:  $30 per night
  • Payment Options:  There are wooden signs with information scattered along the highway between the RV sites. You will find envelopes and a post to deposit your payment. Fill out an envelope with your site and vehicle information. Either deposit cash/check into the envelope or pay online at the designated address, and then write the payment confirmation number on the pink envelope. Tear off the payment stub and attach to your RV or tent, then deposit the envelope in the opening on the post.
  • Terrain:  This is waterfront camping on the rocks.  Every sits sandwiched between PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) and the rocks, which separate your RV from the Pacific Ocean. There will be a usable beach at low tide.
  • Amenities: NO hook-ups. NO water. No picnic tables. No fire pits. Porta-potties sprinkled down the highway
  • # Of Campsites:  127
  • Maximum Stay: April – October 31 is a 5 day maximum; November  – March 31 is a 14 day maximum
  • Caveat:  RV camping only, no tents
  • RV Hookup Notes:  RV’s parallel park directly on PCH (Pacific Coast Highway). The sites vary in width and range from 40 to 60 feet wide. Your RV and pull/tow vehicle must both fit in this space as there is NO other place to park a vehicle. Generators  must be off from 9 pm to 7 am. Please note that you want to keep all generators, bikes and valuables locked up when parked here. It is not uncommon to have your items stolen if left out and unlocked. We suggest keeping some good cable locks on hand. You can find info on the park HERE.
  • Dog Facts:  charged $1 each per day; must be on a 6 foot max leash
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RV’s looking for a spot on Ventura’s infamous Rincon Parkway in CA
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The Rincon Parkway in Ventura, CA

Hobson Beach Park

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Hobson Beach Park at low tide
  • Location:  5210 W. Pacific Coast Highway, Ventura
  • Park Type:  County Park
  • The Main Draw:  Beach Front Campground
  • Reservations:  No reservations. This is a 1st-come-1st-serve park. Some reservations can be made in the winter months.
  • Cost:  $36 for Non-hook-up sites, $48 for full-hook-up sites
  • Amenities:  Beach Access, Snack Shack, Restroom, Showers (require quarters), WiFi, Limited Guest Parking, Community Sink (water filling for tent campers)
  • # Of Campsites:
  • Maximum Stay:  14 consecutive days
  • RV Hookup Notes:  Most sites are very narrow and all sites are in the dirt.  Generators  must be off from 9 pm to 7 am. You can find info and a map of the park HERE.
  • Dog Facts:  charged $1 each per day; must be on a 6 foot max leash
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Campers taking in the sunset at Hobson Beach Park, Ventura

Ventura Beach RV Park

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  • Location:  800 W Main Street, Ventura
  • Park Type:  Private RV park and campground
  • The Main Draw:  Campground with full spectrum of amenities that is in walking distance to the beach and downtown Ventura. It is a fun and popular place to camp with multiple families, especially in the summer.
  • Reservations:  Contact the park at 805.643.9137 or visit them online
  • Cost:  $55-$105 per night, plus tax; special rates apply during holidays
  • Terrain:  Situated north of downtown Ventura, this park is cradled between the 101 freeway and the Santa Clara Riverbed. It is a well maintained, albeit pricey park, as it is the only private campground in the city of Ventura.
  • Amenities:  restrooms, showers, pool, hot-tub, laundry facility, weekend shuttle service to downtown, bike and surrey rentals, free tractor rides on the weekends, rec room with pool tables, general store, small playground, basketball court, propane-fill service, park events and activity schedules
  • # Of Campsites: 180+
  • Maximum Stay:  discounts offered on weekly and extended stays
  • Caveat:  This park sits directly next to the 101 freeway.  You will hear constant freeway traffic. Rates are for up to 4 people, there is an additional nightly fee of $10 for each person over four people in one site. Children 3 and under are free.
  • Dog Facts:  Dogs are charged $5 extra per day, plus tax; certain breeds are not permitted; maximum of 4 dogs per campsite
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Around the corner from Ventura Beach RV Resort, is this beauty

Well there it is.

This is the scoop on camping in Ventura. You might wonder about how the parks faired after the horrific Thomas Fire in December of 2017. We arrived the week after and all parks were open. Faria Beach park was teased by the fire. Thankfully, the only damage it suffered was a partially scorched tree and some singed palms.

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Thomas Fire of 2017 singed some of the perimeter trees at Faria Beach Park

Ventura camping is a treat for anyone that is blessed to experience it. Wether you stop for a night as you pass through, schedule a vacation around your visit, take a quick weekend camping trip or settle down for two weeks as a snowbird in the area…Ventura is a spot to pause and enjoy the gorgeous coastal landscape.

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Insider Tip:

There is a company that will come and empty your tanks and/or fill up your fresh water. They come out to the county parks three times a week. You can contact them for details:

J.W. Enterprises:  805.658.2449

We have used them several times and they are convenient to work with. They charge $40 to dump and $20 for water. This is especially helpful for those parked on the Rincon.


 

Have you stayed in one of these parks and enjoyed what Ventura has to offer? This is my hometown, the place where I raised my babies…I would love to hear about your experience! Please reply and tell me about it…

 

3 Comments

    1. They do get busier, but not nearly as crazy as the summer. Definitely go during the week and avoid weekend crowds! If you venture over…try the fish and shrimp tacos on the pier and some of the great Mexican food!

      Liked by 1 person

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