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Refugio State Beach

Refugio Point sunset -- refugio/2-5-11-276
Refugio Point at sunset on 2/5/11

Refugio State Beach lies on the central California coast, one of the many beaches of the Gaviota Coast just North of Santa Barbara.  This page describes a walk North (actually West as this is a South facing beach) toward Gaviota State Beach, usually impassible except at minus tides.  Beautiful rock formations, tidepools, view of the Channel Islands on a clear day and amazing sunsets can be viewed from the West end of Refugio.

This section of the beach is described in California Coastal Trail Section 27 and Santa Barbara Trails Council website.  Hiking down the coast (South or East end of the beach) passes though Corral Beach and then El Capitan State Beach.

The entire Gaviota Coastline is threatened by development.  Currently many of the lands above the beaches are working ranches and as a result the beaches are free from development, very scenic and clean.  This is one of the few places you can see miles of the California Coast in its natural state. 

See the official California State Parks Refugio web page for additional visiting information.

East end of Refugio State Beach -- refugio/2-5-11-118
Looking down the coast toward Corral Beach and El Capitan, East end of the beach

West end of Refugio State Beach -- refugio/2-5-11-120
Looking up the coast toward Gaviota SB or the West end of the beach, our destination around the pt.

The 3 pictures below are just on the other side of the point.  We started out just before the peak of low tide so we would make it back before high tide. (Click pictures to enlarge.)




Not far up the coast begins a string of tidepools and a very rocky coastline view for as far as you can see.  The weather is warm, a little foggy and partly cloudy this day but these conditions usually make a great sunset.  Channel Islands can barely been seen off the coast.




A few West end Refugio sunset pictures.  The tide is on its way back up, time to make a scramble around the point before we have to swim back.  During high tide I would recommend the trail on top of the point for a good sunset view. 





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View from the beach nearby the parking area.

More Calif. State Parks on the Gaviota Coast:
Gaviota State Park (beach & Beach to Backcountry Trail)
Gaviota State Park Hot Springs
El Capitan State Beach
Gaviota Coast

Links (on other websites):

Looking for more beach walks and hikes in the Gaviota Coast area?
Santa Barbara Trails Council's list of beach walks on the Gaviota Coast: