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Jalama Beach: Off the Beaten Path

Jalama Beach in Lompoc is one of Southern California's hidden gems. Miles of uncrowded pristine coastline. (photo by Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

Jalama Beach in Lompoc is one of Southern California’s hidden gems. Miles of uncrowded pristine coastline. (photo by Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

Nestled in a cove at the southern end of Vandenberg Air Force Base, just above Point Conception, is a gem of a beach and camping site, Jalama Beach!

My boyfriend and I visited Jalama (pronounced ‘huh-LAH-muh’) in an effort to beat a recent early Fall heatwave scorching Southern California. While it was close to 100 degrees in Santa Barbara (seriously!) Jalama Beach was a relatively cooler 81 degrees and, with the breeze and the surf, the weather was perfect.

Feeling ambitious? You can walk to Point Conception from Jalama Beach at low tide (photo Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

Feeling ambitious? You can walk to Point Conception from Jalama Beach at low tide (photo Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

We walked along the shore toward Point Conception for about an hour. The sand is fine and beachcombers can find plenty of treasures, shells and sea rocks tumbled smooth and pristine. Surfers were catching some nice sized waves while a few sun worshippers and families with small children lounged on the beach.

If you’re ambitious, at low tide you can walk all the way to Point Conception. The beach is not crowded at all, so it would be a peaceful stroll.

Getting to Jalama Beach takes some effort (for details click here).  It’s located off Highway 1 near Lompoc, and a 14 mile drive along a single lane winding road. When we turned off of Highway 1 there was a sign that said the parking lot was full.  Since it was early afternoon, we took our chances and got a space ($10 admission to the campground). But beware, there is no parking allowed outside of the park, and fines are steep for violators.

Jalama Beach, Lompoc: Off the Beaten Path

Nestled in a cove between Point Conception and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Jalama Beach is a hidden gem of California's Central Coast (photos by Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

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[img src=]110Jalama Beach Campground (Photo Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
Jalama Beach Campground (Photo Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
[img src=]70Point Conception (photo by Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
Point Conception (photo by Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
[img src=]50Point Conception (photo by Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
Point Conception (photo by Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
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The winding road makes Jalama Beach a great destination for bikers.  It’s the favorite motorcycle run of one of my former colleagues.

Jalama Beach offers overnight camping and there are cabins to rent (probaby with a long waiting list).  The only place nearby to eat is at the store on the campground, which seemed to be serving up plenty of Jalama Burgers when we were there.

I’m not big on camping, but Jalama Beach is one place where I wouldn’t mind roughing it, at least for one night :-)

Traffic411 Insider’s Tip:  Day trippers – arrive early morning or afternoon  in order to get a parking spot.  The only legal parking is inside the park.

Distance from LAX:  159 miles (63 miles from Santa Barbara)


Wine & Art Fans Love Santa Barbara’s “2nd Saturdays”

The Santa Barbara Art Foundry hosted a wine reception during the Funk Zone Art Walk in August. I enjoyed looking at their artwork, including several Erte statues. (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

Looking for a fun one-day getaway on Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner? Check out "The Funk Zone Art Walk" in Santa Barbara. It takes place on the second Saturday of every month in the 'Funk Zone,' a renovated industrial area that's now home to … [Continue reading]

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The architecture of Wayfarers Chapel in Rancho Palos Verdes showcases the church's gorgeous cliffside setting (Photo Traffic411/Ken Pfeiffer)

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Now anyone can be a high roller in Las Vegas. Just hop aboard Sin City's newest tourist attraction, the High Roller.  The High Roller is the world's tallest observation wheel (550 feet tall). It  opened this Spring (2014) near the Flamingo Hilton, … [Continue reading]

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Guests on the Santa Barbara Land Shark tour get to see the city by land and by sea without leaving the amphibious bus. Here's a shot of Stearn's Wharf.

Spending spring break or summer vacation in Santa Barbara? There are some adventurous city tours you wouldn't expect to find in this upscale stretch of Pacific coastline nicknamed the 'American Riviera.' Santa Barbara Land Shark You'll see … [Continue reading]

So Cal Resortist: Live like a Billionaire

Hit the beach at Terranea Resort in Los Angeles.  You don't need to be a guest to explore the grounds at this seaside luxury resort. There are also plenty of trails in the area for hikers to explore (Photo Traffic411/Pfeiffer)

The Terranea Resort and Trump National Golf Course in Rancho Palos Verdes sit atop gorgeous stretch of cliffside coastline. These world-class properties are not far from the bustling Port of Los Angeles but, when you're there, you'll feel like you're … [Continue reading]

Santa Barbara Storm Damage

Big waves sent sailboats crashing onto East Beach in Santa Barbara, Sunday March 2, 2014. (Photo Traffic411)

Southern California got a burst of wintery weather over the weekend.  The biggest storm in years brought heavy rain and thunderstorms, delivering a blow that ripped boats from their moorings, sending them crashing into piers or onto beaches. Two … [Continue reading]

Hollywood Jam

Getting around Hollywood this weekend will be a challenge with preparations underway for the 86th Academy Awards (Photo: Funk Brothers Hollywood Star Ceremony Lisa Osborne/Traffic411)

With preparations underway for Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony, getting around Hollywood is going to be a pain. Hollywood Boulevard between Highland and Orange has been closed all week, as the Dolby Theater (former Kodak Theater) gets ready for … [Continue reading]