My family and I have gone to this campsite quite a few times for overnight camping. For only one night of camping, I generally don’t like to drive 6+ hours to get to a campsite that I’m only staying at for one night. El Capitan works pretty well because it’s just in Santa Barbara, very close to home. The campground is pretty nice and we get easy access to the beach, which is only a short walk from the campground. Pitch the tent, set up the sleeping bags, and go to the beach. Pretty nice for one night camping.
The only down side is the train. No, that wasn’t a spelling mistake. There’s a train that goes by near the campsites in one of the back campground loops. I couldn’t see the train from my tent, but I could sure hear it when it went by! The sound of the train only lasts about a minute or so, but at night when people are “quiet” (partying around the campfire) and you’re in your tent, you can still hear it when it goes by. (If you’re near the back loop, which I was) Not to worry, though. The sound of the train didn’t have a bad effect on my sleeping. Once you hit the sack, all train noises and sounds of life slip into dreams…unless someone’s snoring loudly, in which case you might think at first that the train woke you up.
For my one night camping trip, life’s good, and even some small disturbances from a passing train don’t matter in full view of the trip. I got what I came for, a night of camping and having fun. (and s’mores)