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Channel Coast State Parks

California State Parks on the Ventura & Santa Barbara County coastline, 8 unique parks including 1 State Historic Park & 7 beaches with Channel Islands visible on a clear day.  Click any pic below for more park info.

McGrath State Beach SaveMcGrath/aug-2011-343b.jpg
McGrath State Beach

McGrath State Beach located in Oxnard near the Ventura City line.  Near the big city but surrounded by farmlands (check out the fresh fruit & veggy stands nearby).  Nine unique ecosystems located within this coastal beach park.  Beautiful campgrounds, natural dune beach, river, estuary, nature trails, wildlife and great birdwatching among the features of this park.  See the Caopenspace McGrath SB page and official State Parks webpage for more info.   

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Carpinteria State Beach

Just North of Ventura in the small beach town Carpinteria.  The tidepools are a must see during minus tides.  The park features oceanfront camping, coastal trails, natural tar pits and a creek.  Just outside the park on the South side is a harbor seal sanctuary and on the North side nearby Carpinteria Salt Marsh.  More info on the CAopenspace Carpinteria webpage and also see the official State Parks webpage

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El Capitan State Beach

Located 17 miles West (or North-west) of Santa Barbara.  You will find beautiful beach bluff top campgrounds  shaded by groves of oak and sycamore trees with a creek winding through the park.  Tidepooling, surfing, beach walk or "hikes" are also among the activites.  A paved path (called Aniso Trail) for walking or bicycle riding starts at El Capitan campgrounds, running west up the coast for about 2.5 miles, connecting to Refugio State Beach.  More pics and info on the CAopenspace El Capitan SB webage and also see the official State Parks website

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Refugio State Beach

Located about 3 miles up the coast from El Capitan State Beach and 20 miles up the coast past Santa Barbara.  Camping and fishing among the park activities.  Beautiful rock formations and tidepools can be viewed from the West end of Refugio during low tides.  Hiking down the coast (South or East end of the beach) passes though Corral Beach and then El Capitan State Beach.  More pics and info on CAopenspace Refugio SB webpage, also see the official State Parks webpage

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Gaviota State Beach

Beautiful scenery at Gaviota State Park.  You will find miles of backcountry trails, sweeping from the beach heading inland into the mountains where you will have great coastal views for miles.  While hiking the park's backcounty also check out Gaviota Hot Springs.  Gaviota Creek ends in a small estuary right on the beach.  The campgrounds are only a few steps away from the sand.  Gaviota State Park is one of three located on the scenic Gaviota Coast stretching from Goleta to Gaviota Pass.  Gaviota State Park is about 33 miles North of Santa Barbara.  More pics and info on CAopenspace Gaviota SP webpage and also make sure to see the offical State Parks webpage

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San Buenaventura State Beach

Activities include swimming, surfing and picnics plus a 1700 foot pier and restaurants.  The south side of the beach includes a small woodland habitat and wildflower field.  Beach equipment rentals are available onsite.  A bike trail runs along the coastline, connecting to other nearby beaches and attractions.  More pics & info on CAopenspace San Buenaventura SB page and also see the official State Parks Page

One additional state beach and one state historic park are also found along the channel coast (sorry, no caopenspace pages yet), see the California State Parks webpages linked below:

Emma Wood State Beach
Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park

Also see Friends of Channel Coast State Parks website--the co-operative association with the mission of educational programs & events in all Channel Coast parks.

Looking to hold a special event in one of these parks?  Check out
California State Parks-Ventura Sector Special Events on Facebook

Mandalay State Beach is also on the Channel Coast (operated by County of Ventura)
more info:  http://portal.countyofventura.org/portal/page/portal/GSA/parks_department_-_Directory/Beach_Front_Parks/Mandalay_Beach

When visiting Channel Coast State Parks also try a trip to nearby Channel Islands National Park, daily boat trips available from either Ventura Harbor or Oxnard's Channel Islands Harbor