Gaviota State Park Beach Camping
For road trippers traveling Highway 1, Gaviota is recognized for its rest area where the highway takes a turn away from Santa Barbara and the coast, towards Buellton. Just before reaching the rest area, a left turn off the highway, leads to Gaviota State Park campground and beach.
The beach at Gaviota State Park is small, but ample for a warm, weekend full of beach-goers. The beach on either end is rocky, a hint at more northern coastline, but Gaviota Beach is sandy and waves seem to be gentle.
The Gaviota State Park Campground is the size of a large supermarket parking lot, with few trees. However close to Highway 1 and the train trestle, the campground is not especially noisy, and is about 100 yards from the beach. All of the 39 campsites here require a reservation.
Campground bathrooms have running water, as found at other state beaches in California, and single shower rooms with hot showers that require quarters to operate.
The train trustle runs almost directly above the campground, so the night trains have the potential to disrupt sleep. For us, the train sounds were noticeable, but not intrusive.
In all, Gaviota Campground is small, relatively quiet, and walking distance to the ocean, making this beach camping experience very pleasant and relaxing.
The beach at Gaviota State Park is just large enough for campers and day use beach-goers. I am told it is often windy here, but that was not our experience on this sunny, October weekend. Also, note that the fishing pier was closed, due to storm damage.
This beach can be full of ocean adventure activities, at times. The Sunday we were there, we saw a small boat launch, a sit-on-top ocean kayak, paddle boarders, fishermen/women, and boogie boarders.
A little general store can be found tucked in the building where day use bathrooms are housed. The store sells a range of items for camping: paper plates, sand toys, canned foods, Mexican ponchos, popsicles, and the like.