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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=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/jalama-beach-lompoc-off-the-beaten-path/thumbs/thumbs_jalama_campground_traffic411_pfeiffer.jpg]70Jalama Beach Campground (Photo Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
Jalama Beach Campground (Photo Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/jalama-beach-lompoc-off-the-beaten-path/thumbs/thumbs_jalama_point-conception_traffic411_pfeiffer.jpg]30Point Conception (photo by Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
Point Conception (photo by Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
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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)

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