Gaviota State Beach is the last stop on Highway 101 before it turns inland toward Buelton. The Southern Pacific train trestle travels over the canyon which forms the beach. Amtrak and a few freight trains roll over the bridge daily. Other that the occasional train the only noise you will hear is the waves crashing on the beach.
Gaviota pier is very popular for fishing and scuba divers enjoy the surrounding waters. There is a small snack bar with restrooms and the life guard tower is manned during the summer season. Activities including hiking, fishing, swimming, boating and camping.
There are e 41 developed campsites that can accommodate tents, trailers up to 25 feet and Recreation Vehicles up to 27 feet. Between October 1 and March 31, the campground is open Friday through Sunday only. Camping reservations can be made up to seven months in advance through Reserve America. During the summer and holiday weekends camp sites fill up fast so reserve early for best locations.
Gaviota Beach campground is next to the train trestle, the beach is a short walk away. There is a hiking trail near the parking lot where you can head inland and explore Gaviota State Park inland areas.
Gaviota Hot Springs is about a three mile hike from the campgrounds. Gaviota Peak Fire Road trail leads uphill to two small sulfur springs which are open to the public. Nude bathing is discouraged but it still happens at the springs.
Gaviota State Park is located 33 miles west of Santa Barbara, California along U.S. 101. Boating and fishing are popular activities at Gaviota Beach. There is a public fishing pier which is is equipped with an electric boat hoist launching facility.
Check with park staff for rules on the use of the hoist and if the hoist is working. Trails and dirt fire roads and hiking trails lead into more than 2,000 acres of oak woodland and chaparral back country. Check with park rangers before starting your hike, conditions change frequently.
Gaviota State Park is mountain lion country and watch for snakes in summer. Safety tips are available from the rangers. Gaviota State Park offers hiking on both sides of the pass. Eastside trail attractions include a hot springs and connections to Los Padres National Forest footpaths.
On the west side of the pass, the parks trail network winds its way through the back country and offers hikers loops of varying distances.
The campground at Gaviota is on the small size better suited for tents and smaller RV’s (see picture below). The nearest large campground is Refugio State Beach about 11 miles down the coast toward Santa Barbara.
For a nice side trip the Danish Village of Solvang is only a 30 minute drive from the park. In town you will find Danish bakeries, restaurants, antique stores, museums and friendly shop keepers dressed in authentic Danish costumes.
If you head south on Highway 101 from Gaviota SP the town or Goleta is 26 miles. Santa Barbara is another 6 miles to the south. There are plenty of activities to keep you busy at Gaviota State Park but you are never too far away town for shopping and dining.
Adjacent to the Gaviota State Park is a large region of private ranches known as Hollister and Bixby Ranches, which extends for almost the entire distance to Point Conception.
Access to the ranch is closed to the public however California law allows public access to all land below the mean high tide line.
Surfers and fisherman boat in or walk in from Gaviota and Jalama beach to enjoy this secluded section of the coast being careful not to pass the high tide line. The Ranch is home to some spectacular surfing spots including: Razor Blades, Drake’s, St. Augustine, Cojo Point and Perko’s Point.
Famous residents of the Ranch include Singer Jackson Browne owns a ranch adjacent to the park on the west.
You can travel along the Hollister Ranch road for about a mile which gives you access to several secluded beaches. Once you get to the Hollister Ranch gate house its time to turn around unless your an invited guest.
The California Coastal Commission is slowing waging a battle with Hollister Ranch to open up a trail from Gaviota Beach into the ranch and allow coastal access. So far the ranch is winning but one day this beautiful section of California coast will be open to everyone to enjoy.
Each campsite has a fire ring and a picnic table. Tent camping is popular at this campground. A fishing license is not required when fishing from the pier.
The campground is a short walk to the beach. Gaviota State Beach campground is on the small side with only 39 campsites.
Campsites are good for RVs up to 25 feet however due to the small size of the campgound tent camping is popular here.
Reserve a Campsite Gaviota State Park
Gaviota State Park is located 33 miles north of Santa Barbara. About a two hour drive from Los Angeles.