Camping on the California Coastline is one of the most blissful experiences, however, it is not always as accessible as one would hope. Coming from the East Coast, my husband and I independently always dreamed of California. Yes, as cliché as it sounds, California dreamin’ is a real thing! We pictured bonfires in the sand, and falling asleep to the ocean waves.
When we finally packed up and road tripped to the West Coast we quickly discovered that it was not that easy. Finding campgrounds and free BLM land in the middle of the country was a BREEZE, but once we hit populated SoCal, reservations were required months in advance to get a slice of that sweet sea breeze overnight.
“Can’t we just put a tent on the beach?!” I jokingly asked one of the State Park rangers one day. NEGATIVE. And although you’ll discover rows of RVs lining the famous California Highway 1 from Malibu through Ventura, many of these spots aren’t for overnighters, nor does it necessarily feel safe. You are on a busy road after all… and that is not why we camp. We camp to get away, to live, and exist in nature.
Fortunately, we discovered a coastal gem where you can experience nature while waterfront camping. That spot is Emma Wood State Beach in Ventura, California.
Emma Wood State Beach is located on the Santa Barbara Channel on the west side of the Ventura River estuary and south of the railroad tracks. It was named after Emma Grubb Wood who once owned the 8,000-acre Taylor Ranch. The primitive campground has cool historical ties, with remains from World War II artillery emplacements. It is for fully contained recreational vehicles only. This spot is popular for walking, fishing, swimming, and surfing.
We were lucky to get a weekend at Emma Wood last September with our TAXA TigerMoth. With bike paths, and beaches right outside our mobile human habitat, we knew we had found a special spot to chill. The first evening we were there we went for a happy little beach run. The Ventura River Trail, a lovely bike path, follows the train tracks above the park, all the way south through the Ventura promenade, and north to Carpinteria. We opted to meander south, starting in the hard packed sand, the perfect consistency for running on. We ran through sunset back to our TigerMoth, ready to wind down with the waves.
The next day we woke up and took our bikes up to Carpenteria, cruising back with enough time to play in the surf before getting cozy in the TAXA for dinner. Despite being significantly less remote than where we are used to camping, there is a wonderfully wild feeling about camping at Emma Wood. The waves are breaking feet away from you, muting out any sounds around you. With our TigerMoth’s capability, to bring the outside in, you feel very much in the element, in a rejuvenating and meditative way.
Oh! Have I mentioned the dolphins yet?! Talk about feelings of bliss!There is nothing more lovely than watching a family of dolphins dance in the distance while you sip your morning coffee. Pure magic.
Reminiscing on this fine camping memory has us really looking forward to summer adventuring!