Emma Wood State Beach

900 W Main St

While a popular beachfront campground, Emma Wood opens its beach for day use. The moderate beach temperatures makes for comfortable swimming and surfing. The wind conditions here also make it a favorite among kite surfers. Fish catches include perch, bass, cabezon and corbina.

If you plan to camp, reservations are required at least 7 months in advance for summer. The rest of the year, this is a first-come, first-serve campground, open Fri thru Sun only. This is primitive camping with no water or restroom facilities (not even the chemical kind). No tent camping is allowed and all RVs must be self-contained. The train also passes through frequently with the tracks slightly above the campsites.

Most of the 90 campsites are not level and may contain a mixture of asphalt, dirt, cobble and ocean debris. Gravel and large stones separate the campsites from the sea.

A sandy beach is accessible towards the entrance of the campground and a bit of a walk if your campsite is on the opposite side.

If the tide too is rough, the
campground is sometimes closed until conditions improve.

Over the years, I’ve seen erosion change the look of the campground. Campsites that used to be there have since been washed away with the tide.

Here's a video we took on one of our camping stays here showing how the ocean is constantly pounding away at the sea wall here...

Highlights include the crumbling ruins of a World War II coastal artillery site and the bike trail that leads towards Ventura or up the coast.

East of the campground, the mouth of Ventura River empties into the Pacific creating a scenic natural bird estuary and refuge for wildlife. Dolphins are also a common sight as are the fantastic sunsets on clear days.

Tip: Most sites face perpendicular to the ocean. The best sites face parallel so you can park your RV lengthwise and enjoy the best views. Dogs are allowed in the campground and must remain on a 6-foot leash. Dogs are not allowed onto the state beach.

Cost: Emma Wood Campground: $20.00 per night. $8.00 day use, per vehicle. Ventura River Group Campground: $66 per night. Hike-and-Bike Camping: $5.00 per person. For Reservations: Click Here

Historical Fact: Pre Rincon Highway the road to Santa Barbara was no more than a cow trail along the beach made passable in four places only by low tide on wet sand. The other option to Santa Barbara was over Casitas Pass, an uncomfortable winding narrow mountain road which was impassable during winter months. In 1912, R. Gird Percy paved the first Rincon Highway, a clay road which cost the county $1500. His work earned him the good pay of $5.00 per day.

Getting There: From U.S. 101 North, exit State Beaches, the road leads underneath the 101 freeway and leads you onto old Rincon Hwy. Turn left into the campground at the base of the hill. From the U.S. 101 South, exit Seacliff. Turn right and continue south to Emma Wood Campground.

Return from Emma Wood to Ventura Beaches