Camping Guide:Ventura Beach

From fishing off of Ventura Pier to surfing its renowned waves, walking the oceanfront promenade to riding the skateparks in town, Ventura, California is perhaps the quintessential California beach experience. Museums, breweries, galleries and restaurants exist in abundance, trails wind through the city’s many parks and the Topatopa Mountains, visible to the east, offer more opportunities to get out and explore nature.

Still, most people head to Ventura for the beach, and the city makes it relatively easy to camp — especially in a Class B RV, such as those we rent here at Trail Mix RV.

Four county parks exist within city limits, three of which rest immediately on the beach. The county parks fill up quickly, especially in the summer and every weekend, so reservations are highly recommended.

Camping at Faria Beach Park, Hobson Beach Park and Rincon Parkway Campground

These three campgrounds all offer immediate access to the beach, with some of the best beach camping in the United States as far as proximity to the water. Count on the sound of the waves crashing to serve as the perfect lullaby and alarm clock, and don’t be surprised to find sea spray finding its way into any open windows.

Faria and Hobson offer full hookups (and dry camping, should you prefer that), flushing toilets, fire rings, a restaurant and coin-operated showers. Cell service blankets the area. The spots are a bit tight, but the entire beach is your backyard. Expect happy campers all weekend long, particularly in the party department.

Rincon Parkway basically connects these two campgrounds, and is dry camping only, basically parking in designated spots along the highway, the ocean still waving hello just out your window. There are only primitive toilets available and not much else to get in your way of watching the sun set over the Pacific.

All of these parks will run you a little over $30.

Camping at Foster Residence Campground

Another RV-friendly campground operated by Ventura Campground, Foster is a little outside of the city and trades immediate beach access for sites near the Ventura River. Otherwise, it’s a rather typical public campground experience, with decently sized spots tucked into trees, birds chirping and hiking trails in the area.

Foster Residence has full hookup and dry camping sites available, as well. There are no showers. This park costs $27.

Camping at California State Parks near Ventura, California

One each on the north and south of town, California’s state parks offer a similar beachfront experience as Ventura County’s do, but for a few dollars extra. Emma Wood State Park (GPS: 34.2953, -119.3412), on the northern side of town and closer to the county parks, is by far the nicer, with camping only steps from the sand, nature trails and trash/recycling service. It’s strictly dry camping.

McGrath State Beach (GPS: 34.2269, -119.257) on the opposite end of town, on the other hand, has seen better days. Still, if none of the parks above are available, it’s not the worst place to spend the night and still have easy access to everything else Ventura has to offer. Just note that you’ll be camping in the trees, not up against the beach.

More Camping Options in Ventura, California

Waypoint Ventura Vintage Trailer Hotel & Campground (GPS: 34.2759, -119.2856), a private park with full hookups, sits immediately in the city, though across Highway 101 from the beach. It operates as a place where you can rent one of their vintage trailers, but they also allow other vintage trailer owners to camp there and no one else — with the sole exception of small camper vans, a category either of our Class B RVs fall within.

Finally, Ventura Beach RV Resort, is a full on private RV park, though it’s proximity to the highway and lack of, ahem, hospitality make it the least desirable place to camp in the area.