Jalama ... the perfect place to surf, sunbathe or simply explore. Miles of sandy beach for amazing beach walking (probably the best in the county), waves breaking on the shore, and little sign of civilization. Yet this Santa Barbara County Park is fully equipped to to serve the needs of year-round campers and day-trippers. Camping might be considered the most popular activity at Jalama Beach but there are many other things to do. Activities include surfing, windsurfing, fishing (perch, cabezon, kelp, bass, or halibut), bird watching or just enjoying a day at the beach. Just remember all plants, animals and archaeological resources are protected by law and cannot be collected or disturbed. Migrating California Grey whales can be seen from February through April and again from September through November. Jalama Beach is located just south of Vandenberg Air Force Base. If you happen to be at Jalama when a satellite is being launched from Vandenberg you will be treated to a spectacular view as the rocket roars into space.
- Amenities: Beach Walking, Benches, Campground, Grass Park, Kids Play Area, Lifeguard, Picnic Tables, Restaurant, Restrooms, Showers, Store
- Activities: Fishing, Kiteboarding, Surfing, Whale Watching, Windsurfing
- Dog Policy: Dogs allowed on leash, extra fee for dogs
Store and Grill
The Jalama Beach Store has all you need to enjoy the day or the week. The store is well-stocked with groceries, camping accessories, personal care items, firewood, fishing bait and tackle, fishing licenses, ice, beer, wine, souvenir items, clothing and toys. The store is so well-equipped that if you showed up at Jalama Beach with nothing other than your car you could probably find everything you need to camp for a week. The grill, which is home to the famous "Jalama Burger," also has a full menu to satisfy all tastes. The store and grill are open daily. Hours vary with season. Summer store hours typically are 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. Summer grill hours are typically 8 a.m. - 6:45 p.m. For more information visit the Jalama Beach Store & Grill web site at jalamabeachstore.com.
Wind is a chronic problem at Jalama Beach County Park. It is not always windy but when it is, the wind storm can last days at a time and make going outdoors quite unpleasant. If you are choosing (and paying extra for) a premium campsite right on the sand, consider not doing that if you have only a tent. The beach spots are the windiest (no protection) and nosiest (waves) and if you are sleeping in a tent in a beach spot it can feel like you are experiencing a Category 5 hurricane all night even if the wind isn't bad by Jalama standards. If the wind is particularly bad the whole campground will be unpleasant for tents.
Reservations can be made online for tent sites, hookups, cabins and group areas. Reserve a 1 or 2-bedroom cabin with full bathrooms and kitchenettes with spectacular views of the ocean and beach. We also offer GROUP areas for your next group get-together. All sites may be reserved up to 6 months in advance of the check-in date. A non-refundable reservation fee will be charged for each site/option reserved. There is a 2-night minimum stay for weekend reservations (Friday and Saturday), and a 3-night minimum stay for holiday weekends.
- Campsites: There are 98 campsites, all overlooking the ocean or beachfront. Each site has a picnic table and BBQ pit, with hot showers, restrooms and water nearby. Two vehicles are allowed in each campsite. Premium on-the-beach campsites cost more than basic campsites. If you plan to exceed the number of days requested when you first arrived you must renew your reservation before 11 a.m. You may hold your campsite for up to 14 days. A primary camper may request to move to a vacant campsite at anytime (see Park Rules below for details).
- Trailers: 29 of the campsites offer electrical hookups for trailers. There are two sewage dump stations available in the park.
- Group Camping Areas: Only group areas and cabins may be reserved in advance. Abalone Point (Area C) - Max: 20 People / 8 Vehicles, Starfish Cove (Area D) - Max: 40 People / 8 Vehicles. For reservations call (805) 934-6211.
- Cabins: Only group areas and cabins may be reserved in advance. Albatross - Sleeps 6, Plover - Sleeps 6, Sandpiper - Sleeps 6, Pelican - Sleeps 5, Seagull - Sleeps 5, Tern - Sleeps 5, Cormorant - Sleeps 4 (ADA). Check In: 3:00 p.m. Check Out: 11:00 a.m. For reservations call (805) 934-6211.
- Picnic areas: Day-use picnic areas provide tables and raised fire boxes.
- Playground: There is a children's playground with climbing and swings, a large sandbox and a lawn.
- Restrooms: There are 5 separate restroom facilities located around the park. They can be easily identified by their turquoise cylindrical-shaped walls. Each restroom has a sink with soap, paper towels and electrical outlet.
- Showers: There are 10 showers attached to a single building located near the front entrance of the park. Each shower is completely private with its own outside entrance and a locking door. Inside there is a changing area with a small bench, two coat hangers on the wall and a shower stall. There is no shower curtain so things you put in the changing area may get wet. The water is coin-activated and costs 25 cents for 1 minute of water (quarters only). Don't load the coin slot up with quarters (it jams) but instead put in a new quarter each time the water turns off. You might consider putting in a coin to see if the coin slot is jammed before you undress. When all 10 showers are in use at the same time the water can be cool-to-warm instead of hot. To avoid waiting in line don't use the showers in the late afternoon / early evening. The showers are cleaned and sanitized every evening.
- Store: There is a fully-stocked store with groceries, camping accessories, firewood, fishing bait and tackle, personal care items, clothing and more.
- Grill: There is a grill with full menu and a dining area with a spectacular view. The menu is on display on the outside of the building so be sure to read it before you go inside. You order food at a window inside the store and they will give you a numbered ticket. You must present your ticket to get your food. If you lose your ticket before you pick up your food plan on purchasing your meal again.
- Dogs: Your dogs are welcome but must be on leash (6 ft or less) at ALL times including while on the beach. When at your campsite they can be on a leash or in a cage. There is a small daily fee per dog. You must have proof of rabies vaccination (tag on neck or paperwork is acceptable proof) upon entrance into the park. Owners must pickup after their pets.
- Phones & Internet: There are two payphones near the front gate at Jalama Beach. There is no cell phone reception and no Wi-Fi Internet access. Where Jalama Road goes over a hilltop, approximately 9 miles (17 minutes) from Jalama Beach, you can receive a steady 3 to 5 bars of cell phone reception and data. When you get to this special "check my texts and email" spot there is a large dirt area to pull off the road and a small white sign labeled "Jalachichi."
A portion of the park near Jalama Creek was a Chumash Indian settlement for centuries until the villagers were taken to La Purisima Mission (during the rule of the Spanish in California). As the surrounding area became more populated, local residents began to use Jalama for leisurely outings. In 1943 the Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) donated 23.5 acres to the County of Santa Barbara. Jalama is surrounded by private property, so please respect the neighbors.
From downtown Santa Barbara, take the 101 freeway north and drive 35 miles until you reach the Highway 1/Lompoc/Vandenberg exit. Turn left and drive 14 miles until you reach the Jalama Road exit. Turn left on Jalama Road and drive a very curvy 14 miles until you reach Jalama Beach. The total drive from Santa Barbara to Jalama Beach is 63 miles and takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes