Leo Carrillo State Park and Campground

I love the pristine coastline of Malibu. It is a beautiful escape near LA, and even though the first part of the city has a lot of buildings blocking the coastal views, as you travel down PCH it gets more rural and provides lots of incredible vistas, like Point Dume. I had wanted to camp here for a while, so we secured a spot at Leo Carrillo Campground about six months ago (when they are released) and finally got to camp their last weekend (2015). It was a beautiful campground and beach, here is my full review.

Leo Carrillo Beach 5


  • Reservations fill up fast for the summer months and are usually available about six months in advance, so do your research if you want to get a spot.
  • There is a store in the campground where you can buy stuff you forgot
  • The campground is open until 10 PM each night, and you can walk right to the beach.
  • Decent sized beach parking lot if you are not camping


Leo Carrillo Beach 3

Here is the history directly from their site:

The park was named after Leo Carrillo (1880-1961), actor, preservationist and conservationist. Leo Carrillo served on the California Beach and Parks commission for eighteen years and was instrumental in the state’s acquisition of the Hearst property at San Simeon. He was related by blood and marriage to a long line of distinguished original Californians. Leo’s greatest fame came from his portrayal of Pancho, the sidekick to Duncan Renaldo’s Cisco Kid, an early 1950’s TV series. 

The Beach

Leo Carrillo Beach 4

Like you would imagine, this beach is much more wild and beautiful than the many busy and commercial beaches in Southern California. It has many cliffs, sea caves and tide pools that you can explore as well as 1.5 miles of sand to merely soak in the sun.

Leo Carrillo Beach 1

The beach that you get to right under the bridge from the parking lot is pretty rocky so you will need to walk either direction to get to a more sandy area for wading into the water.

Leo Carrillo Beach 2

While others in my party hung out in the sun, I took to exploring. There are so many cool rocks to climb and tide pools in this area that it is a fun place for kids or kids at heart.

Leo Carrillo Beach 10

My favorite area was this small natural rock jetty which had a small arch right in it.

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Since we were staying in the campground, we were able to watch the sunset from the beach as well and I was snapping away at the photos. Here are some of my favorites.

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Leo Carrillo Beach 12

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Here is an HDR that I took from the sunset at the beach if you like that type of photography.

Leo Carrillo Beach 15

The Campground

The campground spaces were good sized. We had enough room for two cars to park right next to our tents, a table, and a fire pit. I would recommend ear plugs as there were some people partying near by that I wish I could have blocked out.

leo carrillo camping (5)

There is also a small store that sells everything from firewood to drinks and bathrooms with showers.

leo carrillo camping (1)

The campground is shaded well by a lot of trees, and the walk from half of the sites to the beach is less then 10 minutes. All in all, I loved my time here and would say it is one of the more beautiful beaches I have visited. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.


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