Emma Wood State Beach RV & Campground Guide


Located near the iconic Highway 101 in the Southern California city of Ventura, Emma Wood State Beach first opened in 1957. The park is named after heiress Emma Wood, who donated the park's 1,200 acres of beachfront land, including 7,600 feet of ocean frontage. Walk along the beach to find the old World War II artillery relics and take a stroll through the Ventura River estuary that borders the beach. When you get hungry, the downtown area of the city of Ventura is just a mile away and offers a wide range of locally roasted coffees, local breweries, and excellent pizza, salads, and steakhouses. A pub and a taco shop can also be found on the nearby fishing pier, located just south of Emma Wood at Ventura Beach. Temperatures in Southern California are warm to moderate year-round, making Emma Wood State Beach the perfect beach getaway any time of year. Nearby Cities • Ventura, CA • Santa Barbara, CA • Oxnard, CA • Los Angeles, CA

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Spring 51-64 F
Summer 61-73 F
Fall 56-73 F
Winter 47-63 F
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RV Resorts & Campsites in Emma Wood State Beach

North Beach Campground • Water hookup: No • Electrical hookup: No • Sewer hookup: No • Wi-Fi: No • Pet-friendly: Yes • Max RV length: 45 feet • Other Amenities: None

Emma Wood State Beach Campground

Emma Wood State Beach offers 90 beachfront primitive campsites for self-contained vehicles. Due to small turnaround areas, the maximum RV length allowed is 40 feet. Imagine waking up on the beach without having to drive anywhere. This the perfect spot if you want to stay close to the ocean, have a self-contained RV unit, and are planning a shorter stay. Prices are $40/day for spots on the North Beach front. 

• Water hookup: No

• Electrical hookup: No 

• Sewer hookup: No

• Wi-Fi: No

• Pet-friendly: Yes, pets on leashes are allowed

• Other amenities: Hiking and biking trails, WWII Coastal Artillery remnants, Mission San Buenaventura

Ventura River Group Campground

If you want to stay in the area for a longer period of time and require extra amenities, then the Ventura River Group Campground is your next best and closest option. The campground is located near the Seaside Wilderness Park, and the Emma Wood River Trail is easily accessible from the campsite. This trail, which goes directly to the beachfront, is great for hiking in the oceanside wilderness. The campground offers access for RVs up to 45 feet in length. Site fees start from $130 per night and go up to $360 per night for a group RV site.

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What to Do at
Emma Wood State Beach

Emma Wood State Beach is popular with local joggers, overnight campers, long-distance cyclists, and families. Along with a refreshing dip in the ocean, the wide sandy beach is perfect for suntanning and making sandcastles. During your visit, you can relax along the sandy shoreline and keep an eye out for dolphins. Spend time frolicking in the Pacific Ocean. Locals come to Emma Wood State Beach to go fishing and surfing as well.

Inside Emma Wood State Beach

With all of the trails, surrounding wilderness areas, and beautiful views, there is no shortage of activities to enjoy at Emma Wood State Beach. If you want to enjoy the water, be sure to bring your swimming trunks and fishing gear. The beachfront biking and walking trails are also fun. This is a popular destination for both visitors from afar and local residents due to its beautiful moderate temperatures and well-preserved wilderness areas. 

Fishing Fishing

While some people fish from the shoreline at Emma Wood State Beach, you'll most likely want to head over to the nearby fishing pier at Ventura Beach to cast a line. Perch, mackerel, striped bass, halibut, surfperch, cabezon, and corbina are the most commonly caught fish species at the beach.

Nature Watching Nature Watching

Seagulls are abundant at the park, and if you're lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of some dolphins in the ocean. Sea lions occasionally hang out on the rocks. The views include various ecosystems, including wide sand dunes, a flood plain, a cobblestone beach, and at the adjacent estuary, wide open grassy wetlands.

Flora and Fauna

More than 300 plant species and 233 bird species can be found at Emma Wood State Beach and the nearby area. You can occasionally spot dolphins offshore. When it comes to flora, wildflowers such as sea bindweed and buttercups dot the shoreline. Fennel is easy to spot thanks to its licorice-like fragrance. The California sagebrush found at Emma Wood State Beach also has a pleasant scent.

Hiking Hiking

A multi-use pathway passes through the park and extends for about a half a mile to the south and several miles to the north. You can walk along the beach, along the pathways in the adjacent estuary, or head up into the hills the other side of the city for an uphill climb.

Swimming Swimming

The waters are a bit chilly and even the locals wear wetsuits during the winter, but Emma Wood State Beach is an excellent swimming beach. Just watch out for all the local surfers. Lifeguards are sometimes present at the beach, depending on the time of year.


The multi-use trail behind the beach is flat and paved, making it perfect for cyclists. It connects to an additional trail that extends uphill to the quaint nearby mountain town of Ojai if you're looking for a longer ride.

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How to Get to
Emma Wood State Beach

If you're coming from the north, such as the Carpinteria or Santa Barbara area, take US Highway 101. Take exit 78 for the US-1 Pacific Coast Highway. Follow the highway for about six miles, and you'll see the entrance road for Emma Wood State Beach, State Beach Access Road, on your right. From the Los Angeles or Ventura area, take Highway 101 to Exit #72. You'll see the State Beach Access Road on your left after less than one mile.

By Car

Entering Emma Wood State Beach

For day-use only, there is a large beachside parking lot with plenty of space available.

Emma Wood State Beach Day Use Parking : $10.0

Frequently Asked Questions About Emma Wood State Beach

What is the best time of year to visit Emma Wood State Beach?

The temperatures are mild year-round, so Emma Wood State Beach is popular with locals and visitors throughout the year. Winters can be chillier and windier than you might expect in Southern California, with temperatures regularly dipping into the 40s overnight, so do be prepared for some chilly evenings if you come during the winter. Note that, if tides are unusually high, the beachside campground may have to close for safety reasons.

What kind of wildlife can be found in Emma Wood State Beach?

Raccoons, squirrels, songbirds, pelicans, and great blue herons can be found at Emma Wood. Lizards and sand crabs are also found in abundance. Both Pacific white-sided dolphins and bottle-nose dolphins make their home in the ocean.

Are there designated RV camping spots in Emma Wood State Beach?

Yes. All of the park's 90 campsites are designed for RV camping even though most of them are not fully level. Amenities and hookups are not available, however, so you need to be self-contained. Note that tent camping is not permitted at Emma Wood State Beach.

Do you have to reserve a camping spot at Emma Wood State Beach and what is the cost?

Reservations are strongly encouraged when camping, as the campground is often at capacity year-round. You can make a reservation online up to six months in advance of your trip. The nightly camping rate is usually $40 per night though this can vary.

Are pets allowed at Emma Wood State Beach?

Pets are allowed in the camping areas, but they are not permitted on the beach. Within the camping areas, your pets must be kept on a leash at all times. If you're looking for a place to exercise your pup, the multi-use pathway behind the park is the perfect spot for a long walk. About one mile away from the beach, nearby Cemetery Park in the city of Ventura is a popular place to let your dog roam free off-leash.