Nothing lasts forever when you’re an unemployed travel blogger, especially not posh places on the beach. I knew that soon my adventures would have to take a hiatus while I looked for work to beef up the coffers. I knew soon that Lola and I would have to find somewhere cheap and decidedly more horrible to live. That’s why I chose to spend three glorious days at the Jalama Beach campground, just south of the air force base in Lompoc, CA.
The beach is difficult to get to from the highway. It’s about 14 grueling, hilly miles on a road with no shoulder and many hairpin turns. I’d recommend making this trip either early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid overheating your rig. As it was, I had to stop Sacajewea to rest and cool down a couple times. The road wasn’t busy, but there was almost no where to pull off, so again, I’d recommend avoiding the heat of the middle of the day if at all possible to avoid stoppages.
It didn’t bother me to take it slow, though, because the scenery was rural and beautiful, with rolling hills and huge oak trees.
And the destination was totally worth it.
Jalama beach is a long, sandy strip of oceanside bliss. The main campground sits right on the beach, with some spaces literally in the sand and the rest on the hill overlooking the waves. Since the drive in is less than desirable, it is sparsely populated and quiet (at least in January). It’s a bit pricey, but not unreasonable since the view is so gorgeous from every single campsite. As an added benefit, most of the visitors are military-fit surfers from the air force base, which in my humble opinion only adds to the view.
The beach itself is easy to walk along, and is backed by small cliffs to the north and south of the campground, making it very remote and untouched. There are beautiful pebbles to pick up, as well as wildlife to look at. I watched a huge school of dolphins play in the waves every evening. There were a ton of water birds, and I saw many people fishing, so I would assume the catch is good.
If you have a camper, and need electricity, I would highly recommend the campsites on the hill. You can literally sit right outside your rig and watch the beach all day, and there is no foot traffic like down by the beach. I mean, just look at my office!
At night it is windy. Okay, it was VERY windy one night, so much so that I had to close the windows and pretend we were in a train car or something as Lola got tossed back and forth in the stiff breeze with me inside. However, as someone who comes from a land where there isn’t much “weather” to speak of (Yes, Hoosiers get a bit of snow and the occasional tornado, but most of the year it’s pretty tame.) wind at night is kind of a nice change when it’s followed by gorgeous breezy days. It’s also quite dark there at night, with a good view of the stars, and very quiet if you don’t count the sound of the crashing waves.
There is zero cell service and zero satellite service in the campground. There is working free wifi instead, which was fine for all my purposes. Monty got extra work done in any case. Besides, who wants phone calls at the beach?
There are pay showers, just like the rest of California, and only electric hookups for RV spots. If the campground were located anywhere else, I’d say it was “meh,” but instead I probably would have paid even more than I did for this particularly blissful spot, and I thought it was wonderful.
I did NOT want to leave. If you can afford it, and you’re like me, wanting some quiet, some beautiful views and some near-perfect weather, plan to stay as long as you can. I planned to stay one night, and I stayed three.