North of Santa Barbara there's a beautiful state park called El Capitan. When I was in my twenties I hung out there a lot. Once I had a family, we made frequent trips to El Capitan for camping. The central coast of California is spectacularly beautiful and much less crowded than many other areas of the state.
Last Sunday I cruised into El Capitan.
The park was deserted and I was the only person on the entire beach.
The campgrounds at El Capitan are up on a bluff overlooking the ocean. Can you imagine having your tent set up right here and waking up every morning to this view?
It's my favorite camping spot in California.
One of the many things I love about El Capitan is the fact you can be hiking through wilderness one minute, round a corner in the path, and see breathtaking ocean views.
This path leads to this beach:
There's even a creek that runs through the campground and out to the ocean.
I've had many picnics at El Capitan over the years. My favorite picnic spot is right here.
The views are spectacular in both directions. It's an amazing little spot. Also, there are great tide pools about five feet away. I can amuse myself with tide pools for hours.
Dolphins love this stretch of coastline. You can spot them playing offshore almost every morning and again in the late afternoon/early evening. In the summer, they seem to delight in having you swim along with them. I always get the feeling they're laughing at me. (I'm sure they are!)
On Sunday, I sat alone on the beach just taking in the beauty around me. I could not have asked for a nicer day. All of a sudden a whale breached right in front of me! I'm used to being by the ocean, but even so, it took my breath away. I'm not a whale expert, but I believe it was a gray whale. It surfaced a few times to blow water from its spout. I tried to get a photo, but all I got was his back retreating. (Look closely, it's the dark spot on the sea.)
Gray whales feed close to shore. They are generally about 50 feet in length. If I'd been swimming and one approached me, I'm quite sure I'd have had heart failure on the spot. Seeing one from a safe distance, however, is majestic.
Right across from the sand is a meadow leading to the forest.
Did I mention how beautiful it is at El Capitan?
Do you have a favorite state park or camping spot?
© Twenty Four At Heart