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Santa Barbara: Best camping and hiking nearby?

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Cleveland, Ohio
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Santa Barbara: Best camping and hiking nearby?

Hi All,

I am planning a surprise trip to SB for an anniversary and would love to hike and camp for our last night. Can anyone recommend a great camping and hiking location within an hour of SB? We would arrive to the camp ground on saturday mid day and hike most of the day and then camp at night and hike the next day before heading back to LA.

Any tips would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!

So Cal
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1. Re: Santa Barbara: Best camping and hiking nearby?

Haven't stayed there myself, but my sister & her family loved Refugio State Beach; it's about 20miles from Santa Barbara. No idea how easy/difficult it is to get a spot.


Or there's glamping at El Capital Canyon. An aquaintance did this, but for the life of me, I can't remember much of what she said about it (just the name and general idea of the place stuck in my head).


Cleveland, Ohio
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2. Re: Santa Barbara: Best camping and hiking nearby?

Great thanks... these are close to the coast. anyone know of anything more inland, possibly by the redwood patches?

Santa Barbara...
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3. Re: Santa Barbara: Best camping and hiking nearby?

California has giant sequoias in the Sierra Nevadas and the coast redwoods along the northern California coast, in Big Sur and especially north of San Francisco. But these are all more than 1 hour from Santa Barbara. You won't find patches of redwoods in Santa Barbara County, (except at the SB Botanic Garden).



Santa Barbara County barely has any pine forests. Most of Santa Barbara's forests are oak woodlands, and chaparral, the elfin forest. My favorite camping destination in Santa Barbara County is the Channel Islands. Not very many trees on these islands, but the islands offer unique remoteness and great kayaking. To find forests you have to go underwater for kelp forests.


After the islands, in Santa Barbara County, my favorite camping areas are Carpinteria Beach State Park, Refugio Beach State Park, El Capitan and Paradise Rd.




There are many Forest Svc campgrounds along Paradise Rd, east of Lake Cachuma, which is a County campground. Campsites are situated under the oak trees. Some of the campsites overlook the Santa Ynez River. The river flows during winter and spring. Lake Cachuma has boat rentals, but don't know if they are available, now.


I like the front country of the Santa Ynez Mtns for hiking. This is the mountain range behind Santa Barbara. I like Cold Spring Trail. I also like the Red Rock Trail, but this trail is very rugged.


Let us know where you will be traveling and we can offer up more suggestions.

Avila Beach...
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4. Re: Santa Barbara: Best camping and hiking nearby?

You may also want to check out Zaca Lake, outside of Los Olivos, for camping. There are a lot of hiking trails in the area (Sedgewick Ranch would be one possibility - there is also Figueroa Mountain Recreation Area, a short hike to Nojoqui Falls and also a trail to Gaviota Hot Springs off the 101 just north of Gaviota).

5. Re: Santa Barbara: Best camping and hiking nearby?

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