Wednesday, April 11, 2007
If you have never visited Jalama Beach Park and the surrounding coastline in northern Santa Barbara County, put it on your 'to visit' list. Isolated and without a reservation system, it can be a pain in the ass getting a campsite on a summer weekend (you won't get a spot unless you arrive by Thursday midday). But the rest of the year is mellow, and if you're lucky the afternoon onshores won't be too strong (although the kiteboarders are fun to watch).
Jalama Beach is a wonderful example of hybrid southern/central California coastal environment relatively untouched by humankind. Aside from the simple campground and store, there are only train tracks a couple hundred feet above the beach, wide open ranch land, and just one road in and out. Otherwise it's all pretty wild and natural with no civilization in sight.
There is beachbreak directly in front of the campground, a few funky reefs to the north and south that sometimes come alive, and the powerful lefts of Tarantulas, about 1/2 mile to the south. I highly recommend walking the 8 or so miles south to Point Conception. The last stretch to the base of the point is only possible at a solid low tide but it's a GREAT walk and you're likely to be all alone, a rarity (at least on the coast) in southern California...