Jalama Beach is tucked away on the coast of northern Santa Barbara county. It is attached to a county campground that has cabins, a playground, and is peacefully secluded. It abuts Vandenberg Space Force Base, and you can see telescope observatories on the hillsides because there is so little light pollution. It is a place for escape.
You drive there along a twisty narrow road in beautiful hills. When you approach the campground and day use area, the vista opens revealing the ocean and beaches. There are some oil platforms in the distance. It costs $10 to park there for the day (as of the writing of this post).
We drove out to the beach while the kids napped to rockhound and tide pool. We got there before a negative afternoon tide and began exploring right away. There had been recent storms and high tides, so the hounding was good!
We collected agates and a couple of marcasites in the wet sand below the mean high tide line, as the Coastal Commission allows collection in that region according to the book Rockhounding California, a Falcon Guide by Gail A. Butler. (I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you if you purchase from this link.)
The agates look like root beer floats. The marcasites we found were not as impressive. However, the tide pools captured the day. Rocko found an octopus! He named it Johnny.
Rocko showed Joy an abalone shell he found.
Also a couple of sea stars and anemones.
The kids found the playground in the campground between rockhounding journeys to the northern tide pools and then the southern tide pools. It was a lot of walking for Joy, who needed to be carried back to the car when it got cold at the end of the December day.
We ended up leaving as night fell and watched a full moon rise over the hills as we drove out.
I thought this was funny: organ meats or beautiful ocean tumbled stones? 😜
Are you looking for adventures nearby? Check out this list!