Disclaimer: Refugio State Beach is currently closed due to the Alisal Fire. The state beach is within the Santa Barbara County Fire Mandatory Evacuation Area and will be closed until further notice. For additional information on travel to Santa Barbara, please click here.
Located just half an hour west of Santa Barbara, Refugio State Beach offers a unique landscape and calm oasis for families and outdoor enthusiasts. The palm tree-lined cove caters to peaceful picnics, coastal fishing and unforgettable kayaking. Its crystalline waters and secluded setting warrant an entire day of fun and relaxation – and maybe a night of camping, too!
Camping at Refugio State Beach
Spend the night at one of Refugio State Beach’s 66 campsites and wake up to gorgeous views. Each site is equipped with a picnic table and barbecue pit, with hot showers, restrooms and water just a short walk away. It’s recommended that visitors reserve campsites well in advance through California Department of Parks and Recreation. A small general store and snack bar is located at the center of the campground, near the shoreline.
*Please note, there are no RV hookups.
Things to Do at Refugio State Beach
Kayaking is a popular activity at Refugio State Beach thanks to its calm waters and unobstructed views of the Channel Islands. Paddle Sports Center and Santa Barbara Adventure Company both offer guided tours from Refugio State Beach, or you can bring a kayak to explore the picturesque coastline at your own pace. Keep an eye out for sea lions, seals and dolphins!
Fishing enthusiasts will find plenty of good spots to set up and enjoy the beautiful views while waiting for a bite. If you want to log some hiking or biking miles, the Ansio Trail is a paved, 5.2-mile trail that runs between Refugio State Beach and El Capitan State Beach. Whatever activities you choose, don’t forget to pack a picnic for a full day—you won’t want to miss the sunset here.
How to Get to Refugio State Beach
Refugio State Beach is less than 30 minutes from Santa Barbara by car. Take Highway 101 north for 23 miles then take exit 120 toward Refugio Road. Follow Refugio Road .3 miles to the parking lot for Refugio State Beach.