Point Sal State Beach
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.