Point Sal State Beach
As State Parks increases access to the State Park System, it is critical that Californians continue to recreate responsibly in the outdoors as the pandemic is far from over.
Please take the time to read the information contained on this webpage to find out what is open and closed, and the COVID-19 guidelines for Point Sal State Beach.
What is open now?
- Trails and the beach – there are no facilities or parking at this park.
What is currently closed at this park and throughout the State Park System?
- Some park units and campground sites continue to be temporarily closed due to the pandemic, impacts from wildfires or other issues. Please visit the webpage of your local outdoor destination to find out if it is open.
- High public-use indoor facilities, including museums and visitor centers.
- Special events and tours continue to be canceled until further notice.
Are there any new visitor guidelines?
State Parks has implemented the following guidelines to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the outdoors:
- Stay Local: Stay close to home during this pandemic period. If you or anyone in your household is feeling sick, please remain at home and plan your trip for another time.
- Plan Ahead:
- The ongoing pandemic response continues to be dynamic and fluid. Prior to leaving home, check the webpage of your outdoor destination you plan to visit to find out if it is open, if parking is available, and what visitor guidelines are in effect.
- Learn what safety precautions you should take when exploring the outdoors at parks.ca.gov/SafetyTips.
- SNO-PARKS: Make sure your vehicle is snow ready. A permit is required for each vehicle parked at a SNO-PARK site. Parking is on a first come, first-serve basis at all SNO-PARK sites. The public is advised that parking lots are filling up early in the day. Illegal parking is prohibited. More information can be found at ohv.parks.ca.gov/SNOPARKS.
- Stay Safer at Six Feet: No matter the recreational activity, maintain a physical distance of six feet or more. Your guests should only include those within your immediate household. This means no guests or friends, and no gatherings or parties. If there are too many people to maintain the required physical distance, please visit us on a different day.
- Boating: Do not raft up to other boaters or pull up onto a beach next to other recreators.
- Off-highway Vehicle Recreation: Do not ride next to others or pull up next to someone else as it could put you in close proximity to others. Stage 10 feet or more from each other during unloading and loading.
- Keep Clean: Be prepared as not all services may be available. Some restrooms will be temporarily closed to keep up with cleaning schedules. Bring soap/hand sanitizer. Please pack out all trash. Park units are experiencing heavy use and you can help alleviate the impact on park facilities.
- Stay Covered: The state requires you to wear a face covering when you cannot maintain a physical distance of six feet or more. Individuals must have a face covering with them at all times.
Although law enforcement entities have the authority to issue citations, the expectation is that the public is responsible for adhering to the advice of public health officials, visitor guidelines and closures.
California State Parks continues to work with local and state officials on a phased and regionally driven approach to increase access to state park units where compliance with state and local public health ordinances can be achieved. However, the situation remains fluid and park operations can change at any time. For information on statewide current closures and available services, please visit parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.
Notice: As of May 2008, pedestrians may access Point Sal State Beach for day use via Brown Road and Point Sal Road. Motor vehicle access, bicycle access, and camping are not permitted. Access is from sunrise to sunset for recreational purposes only. Visitors should allow sufficient time to return to the trailhead on Brown Road by sunset. Vandenberg Air Force Base officials may close or limit access to Point Sal State Beach and clear the area during missile launches or for public safety or base security reasons at any time. To determine the current status of the access road to Point Sal State Beach, please use the link to the right.
Point Sal State Beach (SB) is located in the northwestern part of Santa Barbara County, near the city of Guadalupe. The park consists of approximately 80 acres and includes just over 1 1/2 miles of ocean frontage. Lands above the beach and rocky shoreline have extremely steep slopes, and numerous landslides are evident. Prime examples of coastal sage and chaparral communities occur on these slopes. Giant coreopsis is abundant in the area and dominates wildflower displays in the spring.
Views of the coastline, beach and rugged mountain slopes are exceptional. Lion Rock, located offshore, is an important bird-roosting site and is also used by sea lions and other marine mammals.
Recreational activities at Point Sal SB include fishing, beach combing, hiking, nature study, photography, picnicking and sunbathing. Because of extremely dangerous rip currents, occasional shark sightings, and the absence of Lifeguard service, swimming is not recommended. Persons found camping in the park are subject to citation, arrest, or eviction by Park Rangers. Because of security concerns at adjacent Vandenberg Air Force Base, Air Police also strictly enforce the no camping rule at Point Sal SB. The park has no picnic tables, toilets or other recreational facilities.
Prior to 1998, roadway access to Point Sal SB was from State Highway 1 to Brown Road, then to Pt. Sal Road, which wound over Pt. Sal Ridge to a dirt parking area, a distance of about 7 miles. Pt. Sal Road passed through Vandenberg AFB, and the Air Force would temporarily close the road during missile launching activities.
In 1998, heavy rains destroyed Pt. Sal Road in several places and the road was closed until May 2008, when Air Force and County officials announced they had reached an interim agreement to provide access. They are cooperating to place informational signs, fix fences and repair washed-out sections of the County road. Efforts to develop a long-term access plan to Point Sal SB are continuing.
As a result of this interim agreement, Point Sal SB, a wild and scenic part of the California coast, is once more accessible to the public.