Live it Up With Lake Cachuma Camping


One of the Keys 2 the Coast favorite places to camp is Lake Cachuma. Flanked by the gorgeous Santa Ynez and San Rafael Mountains, Lake Cachuma is one of Santa Barbara County’s most popular recreation areas. Here, you’ll find everything you need for a relaxing and refreshing experience. Glimmering lake waters, mild temperatures, generally sunny skies, and celebrated fishing conditions are a recipe for an incredible and memorable vacation. 

The campground is open year-round. Any time is a great time to visit. However, weekends during the summer and fall tend to be the busiest, so you’ll need to plan ahead if you want to visit during this time of year. Lake Cachuma has several hundred basic and lake-view campsites. Whether you prefer a site nestled among the oak trees, or a more open site with stunning views of the water, Lake Cachuma delivers. Camping connoisseurs and nature newbies alike, know that Lake Cachuma is one of central California’s most beloved camping sites.

Accommodations at Lake Cachuma

Yurt at Lake Cachuma

At Lake Cachuma, if you can park it, you can camp it. Lake Cachuma doesn’t discriminate and there are several varieties. Each is as unique as the people who will call the site home for the night. If you like to be tucked back in the trees, there are many sites nestled among the majestic oaks. Maybe star gazing is your thing and you prefer a site where you can just lie in your tent and take in unimpeded views of the night sky. No matter your preferences, you’ll find a spot that’s perfect for you at Lake Cachuma.

There are several hundred campsites at this popular recreation area. More than 100 of the sites have electrical, water, and sewer service. About 30 of the sites have partial hookups, with water and electricity. Each campsite is outfitted with a picnic table and a fire pit. For your convenience, there is a dump station at the campground.

For the safety and comfort of all campers, only eight people are allowed to be at a single campsite at any time. There is a two-car maximum, per site, as well as a four-tent maximum per site. If you plan on doing some Lake Cachuma camping with a larger group of people, there are also group areas that can be reserved for your next group get-together. Quiet hours at the Lake Cachuma campground are from 10 PM until 7 AM. During this time, all generators, radios, and vehicle motors must be turned off.

If sleeping in a tent or RV really isn’t your style, don’t despair. You can reserve a one or two-bedroom cabin with full bathrooms and kitchenettes. There are also yurts, which can be described as the love child of a permanent tend and a tepee. Yurts sleep between three and six people on a platform bed. They feature a lockable door, inside lighting and heating, and screened windows in the fabric and wooden siding. All the yurts are situated on the bluff with access to the lakeshore, meaning you’ll have spectacular views if you choose to stay in one. Whether you want a tent site, a site with hookups, a group area, a cabin, or a yurt, keep in mind there is a minimum two-night stay for weekend reservations and a three-night minimum for holiday weekends.

What to Expect When Camping at Lake Cachuma

Bench at Lake Cachuma

Some people are okay with backcountry camping. They can go for days on end, without a shower or bathroom. To others, this sounds like a horrific nightmare. If you’re part of the second crew, take heart. Lake Cachuma camping is primitive enough to please those rustic folk, yet modern enough to entice those who appreciate running water and a place to plug in their iPhone at night.

When you camp at Lake Cachuma, you’ll have access to coin-operated, hot showers and restrooms with flushing toilets. These comfort stations are strategically located throughout the park for easy walking convenience. Port-a-potties are also spread throughout the campground. At the campground, you’ll find several shared potable water spigots, so you will always have fresh drinking water.

In addition to these campground amenities, Lake Cachuma camping means you’ll have access to a fully stocked general store and a gas station. The marina is open year-round and sells fishing licenses, fuel for your boat, bait, and tackle. If you don’t have your own boat, you can rent one from the marina or hop on one of the guided lake cruises. The campground has hiking trails, a nature center, playgrounds for children, and fishing piers.

If you have a pet, feel free to bring them, when camping at Lake Cachuma. There is a dog park in the recreation area, to take advantage of when camping. Just keep in mind that they are required to be on a six-foot or shorter leash at all times. You can also bring your dogs on boats. Just make sure that they don’t have any contact with the lake water at any time. Remember to bring a current copy of your dogs’ proof of rabies vaccinations.

Lake Cachuma is an incredible place, any time of the year. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or someone who is going for the first time, you are bound to enjoy your experience at this popular recreation spot in Santa Barbara County. Bring your tent or motorhome or reserve one of the campground’s cabins or yurts. Whatever you do, don’t forget your camera.  The scenery is spectacular. No matter what you decide, camping at Lake Cachuma is an experience you won’t soon forget. Get out there and explore!