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 amazing vistas, like Point Dume. I had been wanting to camp here for a while so we secured a spot at Leo Carrillo Campground about 6 months ago (when they are released) and finally got to actually camp their last weekend. It was a beautiful campground and beach, here is my full review.

Leo Carrillo Beach 5

Details

  • Reservations fill up fast for the summer months and are usually available about 6 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
  • Campground is open till 10PM each night and you can walk right to the beach.
  • Decent sized beach parking lot if you are not camping

History

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 then 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 simply 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 in to 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.

Leo Carrillo Beach 22

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.

Leo Carrillo Beach 11

Leo Carrillo Beach 12

Leo Carrillo Beach 21

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 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. Check out the rest of the pictures and let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Photo Gallery

 

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About JoshMc

Thanks for checking out the blog, I am happy to be sharing my adventures with you! You can get to know me by reading my about me, which includes a video and additional information on the site, myself and my full disclosure. Also, follow along on Twitter here or read all of my posts on this blog here.

  • Ruth Rieckehoff

    Beautiful photos! I want to camp here or on the Point Mugu area since there are many hiking options.

    • Thank you! Yea there are a lot of great hikes!

  • so pretty! i do love beaches in the malibu area. will have to check this one out. i liked how you put one hdr photo in there.. sometimes i do that too just to experiment. haha i still haven’t decided whether i like hdr or not.. i’m still on the fence.

    • haha Ya I feel like people either love or hate them. Some are way to fake looking for me but I figured it was fun to give it a try! Thanks for the comment!

  • Dorothy Bain Raviele

    Josh, We are planning our first trip to the west coast for May of next year. Our first goal is the PCH from LA to SF. Do you think two days is enough? Where would you suggest we stay for the nights on the road? We are in our 60s, pretty fit but not able to do lots of hilly hikes or surfing, but we do want to see all the lovely spots you write about. If you have any suggestions I would love to get your input. Thanks!

    • Thanks for the comment! Two days would be pretty fast to get up the coast, most people recommend three if you want to see a lot of the coast. If you only have two I would consider staying somewhere near Pismo Beach or San Luis Obispo, that way you can wake in the morning and experience the beautiful Big Sur which is one of the best parts of the entire drive. Let me know if you have any other questions!

  • Nice set of pictures. Really awesome!