Leo Carrillo State Beach: Camping in Malibu

Over the weekend I went on a trip with a few friends to go camping. We didn’t want to go far away, because we were only going camping for a night. We ended up camping at Leo Carrillo. Leo Carrillo is up the California coast in Malibu. Leo Carrillo State Beach is, as you probably guessed, by the beach. Only a short walk from the campsites towards the front of the campground you’ll find the beach. You can explore the tide pools, play in the sand, or climb on the rocks. Or all three! Be warned though, on weekends when families take breaks from school there may be more little kids and babies than usual, a nightmare many campers dread.

If you end up going to the beach, make sure to try to go at low tide. This way, you can fully experience the tide pools and the sea anemones and sea stars (star fish) that reside within them. At high tide you can only really see a few tide pools if you’re lucky. Another point of interest on the beach by the tide pools is the cave. After climbing over some rocks, you can walk by the tide pools and approach a big rocky part of the land. If you climb up the rocks, you’ll see another little area enclosed by the rock walls. This area is also accessible by way of a staircase. However, if you don’t climb the rocks and go around them, where the front of the rock wall should be is a medium-sized cave. You can walk right inside, just as long as you keep your head low and watch the ceiling. Farther back into the cave, you’ll see a ray of sunlight shining through the wall on the right side. This opening is a couple square feet wide, just big enough for most people to fit through and come out into the enclosed beach area mentioned above.

The actual campground at Leo Carrillo State Beach is pretty nice. If you don’t mind the campsites being a little bit open, then this campground will suit you just fine. Because my group was pretty big, we decided to try the group campsite in the back of the campground. When you get there, you have to park in a small lot and then walk a few hundred feet back to the campground. You walk down a slope and then back up the other side. The campground is only a hundred feet or so away then. If there has been a lot of rain recently, the slope that you walk down through might have water running through it. In this case, there are conveniently cement steps to walk across. When you get to the campsite, you’ll find that there is actually a lot of space to set up tents. There is a main area, with a few sites and a group of six tables, but if you walk around the area, you’ll find a lot more sites among the trees. There is a fire pit, for those of you who love s’mores, and a bathroom a short walk down to the end of the fireroad. There is also a barbecue grill and a raised, shallow pit with a suspended rack above it for cooking a chicken or something else that you want to cook over a fire.

Leo Carrillo State Beach has a very nice selection of campsites and if you want to camp by the beach with tide pools nearby, then Leo Carrillo is the way to go. Happy camping!

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