The Special Features of San Elijo State Beach
Surfing at San Elijo State Beach
Many people come for surfing, and San Elijo State Beach could be called a surfer's beach, for sure. The waters include a number of breaks, with names coined by locals such as Tippers, Suckouts, Tuttles, and Pipes. Word is that Pipes, at the north end of the park, breaks more consistently throughout the year, offering both a left and a right wave, with the left being the most reliable.
The breaks work well for both longboarders and short boards and include both reefs and sand. Within a 10-minute walk you can access 4 different breaks, so there is always something to choose from. Off-shore kelp beds groom the waves, while the bluffs on shore keep winds against surfers to a minimum.
Camping at San Elijo State Beach
The campground here includes 156 sites, open year-round, with about half the sites having electricity and water hookups. Each site has a picnic table and fire ring, and sites are pet-friendly, and campers have access to showers, restroom and laundry facilities. Some of the facilities close in the off-season, generally from November to March.
The camping sites have good views of the water and are level. Many are close enough that campers can fall asleep to the sound of the surf crashing on the sandy beach. Dogs are allowed in the campground but not on the beach.
If you are looking to camp and the campground is full try looking during the week.
Take a Walk on the Beach
Walking below the beautiful bluffs on long, sandy beaches is a favorite activity of beach goers here. The two-mile stretch of public beach is ideal to stroll up and down the strand and watch the Pacific Ocean waves roll in.
Large boulders adorn parts of the beach, a feature that is missing from other nearby beaches, while the high bluffs provide a strategic vista to gaze upon the setting sun.
Swimming is good here, though everyone should be aware of the possibility for riptides and occasional large waves. A lifeguard sits on a large tower and is on duty from April through October.
Snorkeling & Scuba Diving
Snorkeling and scuba diving are popular activities, as the clear and refreshing waters of the Pacific make for good underwater viewing of the kelp beds and reefs. The beach has its share of wildlife, from the occasional dolphin or whale offshore to seals and a variety of birds.
In the off-season, surf fishing the river mouth yields catches of croakers, guitarfish and small sharks, while the rocky area in front of the life guard tower is also promising. The best fishing typically happens in early spring.