California Coastal Vacay

San Simeon Kids

Our 2 week long California Coastal Vacay was one for the books! We camped at six state parks and visited sites along the way. We started at Refugio State Beach and went as far north as San Simeon. Our last stop was in Ventura then back home to San Diego. We stayed 2-3 nights at each location and I would do it all over again! I’ve shared about each destination with you in different blog posts but wanted to bring it all together for you here on this post so you can easily check out each spot. I also created a downloadable PDF of our entire trip that we took with us which includes spots to visit, campground information and photos of the area. 

California Coast Vacay
California Coastal Vacay Guidebook

I’m including an image of each page of the California Coastal Vacay Guidebook here. These are the actual pages from the book we used on our trip, so there are some details you can disregard, like our site number and dates. The camp spot photo on each page is of the actual site that we stayed in though, so that may be helpful when making your reservations on Reserve California. If you book a different site number, you can use Camp Photos to check out what the spot looks like. 

Refugio State Beach

Stop 1: Refugio State Beach

Our first and one of our favorite stops was at Refugio State Beach. The Refugio State Beach Campground is an ideal spot for beach campers. The spots are steps away from the beach with no stairs and amazing views. Refugio has the most beautiful palm trees, tons of sea life to explore and a sandy beach, great for walks. 

Read Post: Camping at Refugio State Beach >


Stop 2: Pismo State Beach

Our second stop on our California Coastal Vacay was Pismo State Beach, Oceana Dunes! We stayed at the Oceana campground which is about a mile inland from the beach. There are some beach trails to walk but we drove over to the ocean since you can drive right on the sand at Pismo Beach. The sand dunes are a must see on the coast of California. Currently there are areas where you can drive in the dunes. 

Read Post: Visiting Pismo State Beach, Oceana Dunes >

San Simeon

Stop 3: Hearst San Simeon

Our third stop on our California Coastal Vacay was San Simeon. While we camped at Hearst San Simeon campground, we were able to visit Cambria and Moonstone Beach. On our way to our next stop in Morro Bay, we visited Harmony & Cayucos on the drive back down. This was the busiest part of our trip but we got to see some really awesome places in just a 2 night stay. I recommend at least a stop by each of these cute little towns if you are in the area. They each had their own unique charm and are worth a visit. 

Read Post: San Simeon, Cambria, Moonstone Beach, Harmony & Cayucos >

Morro Bay

Stop 4: Morro Bay

Our fourth stop on our California Coastal Vacay was Morro Bay! I love this beautiful seaside town. We camped at Morro Bay State Park which is on the bay. This was another great campground with trees and space for the kids to ride bikes. Morro Strand State Beach is on the ocean and has much smaller spots. It seemed really breezy there too so we were happy to be camping at Morro Bay State Park on the bayside. The bay is a bike ride away from the camp. There is also a golf course and a museum right next to the campground. We drove in to town to explore all the shops and eateries. 

Read Post: Visiting Morro Bay >


Stop 5: Carpinteria

Our fifth stop was Carpinteria. Ever since our trip to Santa Barbara, we’ve talked about Camping at Carpinteria State Beach. During that trip we visited Carpinteria for an afternoon and loved the area. We stopped by Island Brewing and took the kids to play at the Tomol Interpretive Play Area. It’s right by the train and you can see the ocean views. I found out their state beach is walking distance to this fun little area and knew we had to book it. Our entire California Coastal Vacay was planned around stopping in Carpinteria. Camping at Carpinteria State Beach is a must for anyone who loves to camp on the beach, walk to restaurants and explore a fun coastal town. 

Read Post: Camping at Carpinteria State Beach >


Stop 6: Ventura

Our sixth and final stop on our California Coastal Vacay was beach camping in Ventura, CA! We stayed at Emma Wood State Beach right on the ocean. We couldn’t get any closer to the water if we tried. I’ve never stayed at a campground where we right on the water. Listening to the waves crash all night and opening the door in the morning to the ocean was an awesome experience. Exploring Ventura is also a must. There are tons of things to see in their downtown districts and the Ventura Harbor. 

Read Post: Beach Camping in Ventura >

California Coastal Vacay Quick Links

Refugio State Beach >

Pismo State Beach >

San Simeon, Cambria, Moonstone Beach, Harmony & Cayucos >

Morro Bay >

Carpinteria >

Ventura >

I hope this guidebook and these blog posts help you plan the next big vacay of your dreams! We loved traveling along the California Coast. There is so much to see and so much beauty to enjoy. Drop me any questions below. xo, Bri 

California Coastal Vacay Guidebook

San Simeon Kids


I love sharing about family, food and fun in and around San Diego! Enjoy, Bri

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