Visit This California State Park For Beautiful Beaches And Coastal Fishing

When you think of California beaches, Malibu, Santa Monica, and Long Beach are probably some of the first few that come to mind. They've been featured in hundreds of films over the years and have seen millions of tourists. While it's fun to dip your toes in the ocean and sunbathe on the shores of these iconic locations, they can often be crowded with other visitors trying to do the exact same thing.

California has over 400 public beaches competing for the spot of best beach in the state, and obviously, not all of them are a household name. For those who are less impressed by the beach's fame and more interested in serenity, finding a different, lesser known beach is the wiser option. One beach that's also a state park is Refugio State Beach, located 20 miles outside of Santa Barbara. It offers the sandy shores and sparkling water to those in search for a quiet beach vacation, along with a whole list of other activities, including coastal fishing. If you're asking yourself if a national park or state park is best for you, considering giving this state park a try.

What to expect at Refugio State Beach

Refugio State Beach extends beyond the shoreline into an expanse that harbors picnic tables, palm trees, and a campsite. Some say though that there's very little privacy between camp spots — if you're looking for a secluded spot in nature away from people, this might not be the spot for you. However, if you're not planning on camping, you can still take advantage of the state park's many offerings. These include the trails for hiking and biking. There's a 3-mile one that connects you to neighboring El Capitan State Beach, which has even more trails for you to wander.

If you'd prefer to stay near or in the water, you can find a spot along the 1.5 miles of shore to set your belongings down before heading in or setting up your camp. You might spot some surfers riding waves, or even dolphins or seals peeking out from the water. The park is also an ideal location for fishing, so don't forget to bring your bait. If you'd rather be in the water than on the shore, you can swim, or rent a kayak or paddle board.

Accessibility, rules and fees

The beach is accessible, or at least strives to be. It has free beach wheelchairs ready to use for anyone who needs one — you just have to get there before they run out. The park rangers and seasonal lifeguards on duty are there to help you find and grab one if you need it, as well as assist you with whatever else you may need.

Whether you're planning on staying for an afternoon or a weekend, Refugio State Beach can be just the immersion into nature and sun that you need. Note that the entrance fee varies depending on what you're doing — it's $10 if you're hiking or biking and $45 if you're camping. Another important thing to remember is that, while dogs are allowed on the campground, they are not allowed on the beach. This rule is strictly enforced. Also consider when you want to go — mornings are best if you prefer a secluded space, but if you don't mind others, the afternoon is fine.