McGrath State Beach Campground is a wide open campground that is situated against the mouth of the Santa Clara Rover, just south of Ventura. The beach is actually located about 400 yards away from the campground, and is separated by large sand dunes. Bird watching is popular at McGrath State Beach, due to its proximity to the river estuary, which is populated with trees that go all the way down to the water. The Santa Clara River is one of the last undammed rivers in Southern California, and the estuary is an environmentally protected area. This combination often leads to the campground being flooded out and closed when the water cannot overflow the sandbar that separates the estuary from the ocean.

The campground has 174 campsites which are organized into asterisk-shaped pods that are RV-friendly, however there are no pull-through campsites. There are trees at the campground, but the campsites are largely unshaded and exposed. Each campsite has a picnic table, fire ring, and access to bathrooms with coin-operated showers. Supplies are located nearby in Ventura. Leashed dogs are allowed within the campground, but not on the beach.

McGrath State Beach is often flooded and closed, be sure to check to see if it is open before you go.

McGrath State Beach Campground – Bottom Line

This is an interesting campground, and kind of a mess. As mentioned McGrath often floods out when the river cannot overcome the sandbar and flow into the ocean. According to one of the campground hosts the issue is also further complicated and exasperated by the water reclamation plant that lives on the other side of the river, which discharges the treated and reclaimed water into the river estuary. McGrath has been flooding off and on for the last few years, leaving much of the campground in sad shape and unusable.

Surprisingly we actually enjoyed camping at McGrath State Beach Campground. We camped here on a whim after attempting to camp at Carpinteria State Beach and Hobson County Park, and the campground was partially flooded leaving only a few quiet campsite loops open for camping. There also seemed to be an inordinate amount campground hosts roaming the campground, we counted at least 6 hosts for maybe 30 open campsites.

The bottom line on McGrath State Beach Campground is if you need a last minute campground, you may be able to get one here if the campground is open.

Online Campsite Reservations

McGrath State Beach Campground Features

Campground Type: Organized
Number of Campsites: 174 Campsites
Cost: $45/night, $8 online reservation fee
Use Level: Low
Dogs Allowed: Yes – Not allowed on the beach, campground only
Fire Rings: Yes
Drinking Water: Yes
Toilets: Yes
Showers: Yes – Coin Operated
Trash/Dumpsters: Yes
Hiking Access: None
Beach/Lake Access: Yes
RV/Trailer Length: 35 Feet
RV/Trailer Amenities: None
Cell Phone Service: Yes
Wifi: None
Operating Season: Campground Open Year-round
Other:

Getting There

Address: 2211 Harbor Blvd., Oxnard, CA 93035
Geo Coordinates: 34.228170, -119.259013
Nearest City/Town: Ventura, California
Elevation: 40 Feet
Location: Ventura County, California
Paved Road Access: Yes
Proximity to Stores: A few miles to Ventura
Directions:

McGrath State Beach is located 5 miles south of Ventura. From Jct US-101 & Seaward Ave, head west on Seaward Ave to Harbor Blvd, drive south for 3 miles. The campground will be on your right after passing the river.

Connect

Phone: 805-968-1033 Facebook:
Web: California State Parks Twitter:
Reservations: Reserve America

When To Go

The location could not be found.

Online Campsite Reservations

McGrath State Beach Campground Pictures

 

 Image Credits: Sunset picture Bill Gracey via Flickr, all others Justin Wilson

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Justin is an IT Professional, focused on cloud, mobile, and infrastructure management and security with his consulting business, as well as chief bottle washer for this website. In addition to NextCampsite.com, Justin also runs and writes for the technology infrastructure-focused blog OddJobsInTech.com, and the mobile device-focused blog EnterpriseMobileDevice.com.

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