If camping near the beach sounds like paradise to you, then you’ll find your heaven at Refugio State Beach. The beach and campsites are located about 30 minutes north of Santa Barbara county along a relatively isolated stretch of central coast. Pristine beaches and several major hiking trails make this area a fun place to visit for a weekend or overnight stay.
The beach itself is a slightly protected bay, and during the summer season, a lifeguard is posted during daytime hours. Towering over the waters are several bluffs that you can hike with your dog, and the views can be pretty incredible. Palm trees are dotted along the coastline, and they offer shade to hikers and dog walkers. Unfurtunately, dogs are not allowed on the beach itself, so if you've got your pup in tow, be sure to stick to the campgrounds and trail areas.
Most of the campsites are simple plots of grass or dirt where you can pitch a tent, each equipped with a fire pit, charcoal barbecue grill, and picnic bench. Fresh water spouts are abundant, and there are two sets of accessible restrooms with showers located on the premises. There is even a playground and small park located directly across from the beach. At night, the campsite also requires that dogs be kept in tents or in vehicles.
Refugio State Beach is managed by California State Parks, and as with most other state parks, there are fees for parking and reserving campsites. A daily vehicle fee of $10 is charged for parking, and various annual passes are also available. While dogs are allowed in the campsites and on the Aniso Trail along the beach, they are not allowed in buildings, and they must be on a 6-foot leash at all times. Bring your own clean-up bags, and always pick up whatever your dog leaves behind.
If you and your dog want to fall asleep and wake up to the sounds of crashing waves, or hike a trail or two, head to the furtastic Refugio State Beach!