CP Campground Review – Rincon Parkway, Ventura, CA
A no-frills County Park with gorgeous ocean views just north of Ventura in Central CA Coast area. Best for smaller rigs, but some sites OK for larger rigs.
NEW! We’ve added a VIDEO overview (our very first campground video) at the bottom of the post. Check it out!
- Site Quality = 2/5
Note/ When driving to Rincon Parkway, enter from the NORTH (exit 78 on Hwy 101, Skyline) so that you can park with your RV door facing the ocean side. The south entrance faces you the wrong way.
This park used to be entirely first-come-first-serve, but is now on a reservation system (see this link) and although the views are amazing, the sites themselves are very, very basic. The entire Parkway is basically just one long ~1.5 mile stretch of asphalt parking spaces along an ocean sea wall. On the west side you have the sea wall + ocean and on the east side you are directly next to Hwy 1 and the coastal railroad tracks. Sites are parking pads separated by painted white lines, all exactly 45-feet long and the rangers are *very* strict about parking everything you own within those white lines (no overhang allowed anywhere, not even into the bike lane). There are no hookups, no privacy or separation, no dedicated “sitting areas”, no fire pits and you are nose-to-tail with your neighbors. The only real differences between sites are site widths:
- North End Sites: Towards the beginning of the Parkway (northernmost end, sites #5-#17) the sites are located by a high concrete sea-wall and are “double-wide” (~40+ foot wide) meaning you can easily fit a larger rig plus tow next to it. If you are 40-foot or larger I suggest stopping here at the very first open site you see. You can always unhook and scout further down from here if you wish, but this is absolutely the best/easiest area for larger rigs.
- Middle Sites: Towards the middle of the Parkway (sites #18 to #112 or so) the sites are single-wide (~20 feet wide only) and are mostly bounded by a large(r) rocky sea-wall towards the ocean side. This is a fine area for smaller rigs, but it’s very difficult for larger rigs since it’s impossible to fit your rig plus tow side-by-side and still be able to open your RV door (we tried and failed). Not much space to “sit” outside your rig here either and some ocean views are partially blocked by the sea wall.
- South End Sites: Towards the very southern end of the Parkway (sites #112-127) the sea wall is lower and there are small “sitting area” slices of sand between the edge of the parking site and the sea wall. This opens up views a bit, and also means it’s *possible* to fit a bigger rig by placing your rig wheel on the very edge of the asphalt (door opens to slice of sand) with your tow directly next to it. We fit into #119 this way. I personally think these are the nicest sites in the Parkway.
More Big Rig Site Tips: In the middle sites it’s possible for big rigs to get “boxed in” if people park both in front of and behind you. Sites next to trash bins have cleared (no parking allowed) space around them which makes it easier to get your rig in/out. So, if you can’t nab one of the big sites near the north end and/or can’t fit in the sites near the south end, consider taking a site next to a trash can.
- Facilities = 1/5
Nothing much in terms of facilities here. There is on-site trash and 2 porta-porties along the length of the Parkway, but nothing else.
- Location = 4/5
This is an amazing ocean location, except for a few key “gotchas”. You are RIGHT by the ocean with FULL ocean views and the sound of waves crashing right at your RV doorstep. This is really the #1 draw of being here! However you are also right by Hwy 1 and the railroad tracks. So, you get regular car and train traffic on the east side of your rig. The sound of the ocean is very *loud* (very!) so it mostly drowns out any traffic noise. Also trains don’t honk their horns as they travel through here, so while you’re in your rig you don’t notice them too much. But the area is busy and tight and definitely not quiet. On the positive side you are also right by the Hwy1 biking trail and only ~10 mins drive from Ventura which has all the shopping/eating/brews you could want. Plus yeah, the views are amazing (I mentioned that, right?!).
- Pet Friendliness = 5/5
Great area for pooch. Not much space to hang out in camp (very little “sitting area”), but there are free poo bags provided and the beach at the bottom is the sea wall is 100% dog-friendly which is a huge bonus, especially in California. Note that the beach is only accessible at low tide and if you don’t want to scramble over the sea wall (which is very rocky and hard to do w/ doggie) you need to walk to one of the County Parks located at either the very north or south end of the Parkway (Hobson or Faria) that have stairs leading to the sand.
Overall Rating = 3
BONUS ALERT = Camp with full view (and sound!) of ocean waves crashing just next to your RV!
Summary: You come to Rincon Parkway for one reason only -> to park your RV RIGHT by the Pacific Ocean. There is nowhere else that I know of (anywhere) where you can get this close to the ocean without actually driving your rig onto sand, and it really is quite special. You are camped along a high sea-wall and you have completely open ocean views along the entire west side of your rig. Wow! Outside of the views however, the camping is very primitive. Sites are nothing more than asphalt parking spaces along the length of the sea wall. The parking spots are separated by painted white lines and there is nothing “extra” -> no privacy, no hookups, no “sitting area” and your’re parked nose-to-tail with your neighbors. Also sites are exactly 45-foot long and you have to park everything you own within the white lines (there is no overflow parking for tows and you are not allowed any overhang of slides or wheels outside the lines. Rangers are strict on this) so if you have anything larger than ~38-foot and/or you are towing, site choices are limited. A few of the northernmost sites (~#5-#17) are “double-wide” and have more space, but the rest of the sites are narrower and you risk getting “boxed in” if larger rigs park in front of and behind you. We tried 3 different spots before we found one we were able to fit (#119) and even then it was a squeeze. Plus, if the RV behind us hadn’t left on our departure day, we’d still be stuck there! Lastly the area is very busy. The parking spots are located right alongside Hwy 1 and the coastal railroad tracks, so you have pretty constant traffic on the east side of your rig. The bonus is that the ocean is LOUD, so much so that you barely notice anything while you’re inside your rig (seriously, if you don’t like the sound of the ocean, you won’t like it here!). The other bonus is that the beach below the sea wall, although only accessible at low tide, is 100% dog-friendly. Plus you are right next to the Hwy 1 biking trail and only 10 mins drive from Ventura which is a super-cute town with all the shopping/eating/brews you could want. Overall we thoroughly enjoyed our stay here, especially the ocean views (amazing!), biking the coastal trail and walking doggie on the beach at low tide, but after 4 days here we were ready to go and find somewhere with more space & peace. A unique stop that’s worth a few days. We’ll definitely be back!
Note/ Your RV will get lots of ocean spray here (guaranteed) so plan for a good wash to get that salt off once you leave.
Extra Info: Excellent cell signal (5 bars ATT LTE, 5 bars Verizon LTE). 127 sites, reservation online. Sites cost $32/night weekday, $35/night week-end (dogs are extra $1/night). 5 day stay limit in high season (April through October 31), 14 day stay limit in low season (November 1 – March 31). On site garbage, but NO hookups, dump or water.
Video Overview: Want to see & hear it on film? Check out our ~6 minute video overview here: