Leo Carrillo State Park Activities

Los Angeles County

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Leo Carrillo Beach


Surfers gather at Leo Carrillo Beach to play in the exposed reef and point break. The waves are pretty average. Rocks hidden below the surface pose a hazard. Usually summer is the best time at Carrillo, especially with offshore winds blowing from the north. It's considered a good spot for longboards.

The water can get crowded on busy summer weekends. The area is popular with windsurfers too.

Just down the coast from Leo Carrillo Beach at Nicholas Canyon Beach is a surfing spot known as Zeros. The hollow, left and right point break draws more experienced surfers.

Caution: Check with rangers or lifeguards that conditions are safe for your planned activities.

Leo Carrillo Kiteboarding

Because of the crowds at Leo Carrillo Beach during the summer, limits have been placed on the hours and places where kiteboarders can launch. Generally launching is permitted after 5:00 PM, but kiteboarders should check with the lifeguard before setting up. Often kiteboarders must launch from the area north of Leo Carrillo's North Beach at the lifeguard tower on Staircase Beach.

With restrictions in place for kiteboarders on other Malibu beaches, Leo Carrillo has developed into the kiteboarders' destination. Beginners to advanced are allowed there.

The Southern California Kiteboarding Association has complete information about kiteboarding at Leo Carrillo Beach and neighboring areas.

Leo Carrillo Junior Lifeguards

The Junior Lifeguards program develops skills in ocean swimming and in dealing with hazards in the ocean. Participants learn about water safety, surf rescue, surf riding, and first aid. The 5-week program is open to youths ages 9 to 15. Participants meet on Leo Carrillo's North Beach, in front of the day-use parking area.

The Leo Carrillo Junior Lifeguard Program includes a trip to the Channel Islands.

New participants must pass a basic swimming test held April at the Malibu High School pool. Malibu Seawolves Swimming offers memberships greared to training for the Junior Lifeguard swim trails.
Complete Junior Lifeguard Information:
Leo Carrillo Junior Lifeguards

Leo Carrillo Beach Junior Lifeguard Program Schedule

June 26 through July 28, 2017
Monday - Friday, 9:30 AM to 2:00 PM (hours vary on field trip days).
No Junior Lifeguards on July 4

Leo Carrillo Junior Lifeguard Surf Sessions

A one week long Surf Camp is offered for children and youths ages 9-15 at Leo Carrillo's North Beach. The first session runs from April 9 to April 14, 2017 and session two, July 31 - August 4, 2017.

Leo Carrillo State Park Programs

Junior Ranger Program

The Junior Ranger Program is designed for children ages 7 to 12. Participants learn about park animals, plants, and park history. At Leo Carrillo State Park they Junior Rangers meet on Wednesdays, Thursday, and Fridays from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM at the Visitor Center. The program ends on August 31.

Campfire Programs

Regular campfire programs are held at the Campfire Center near the campground in Leo Carrillo State Park. Programs last for one hour and are free to paid park visitors. Topics include Nature of Wildworks, Ranger Program, and Amazing Tidepools.
Information: (310) 457-8185

Visitor Center

Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM

School and Group Field Trips

Leo Carrillo State Park provides ecology and tide pool field trips to school groups and other groups. The tide pool program is for 3rd through 12th grades and is offered in winter and spring months. Reservations are required. (310) 457-8185

Ecology Programs are designed for grade 3 - 12 and cover the watershed, Native American history, kelp forest, sea birds, and marine animals. If tides allow, the outing includes a visit to the sea tunnel.

Surf Fishing at Leo Carrillo Beach

Surf fishermen at Carrillo Beach do well for surfperch, kelp bass, thresher shark, corbina, white sea bass, sheephead, and halibut. Those who prefer to fish from the rocks gather around the middle part of the beach where several points jut out into the ocean. Others move along the shore seeking the right spot before casting out into the waves. Carolina rigs are favored by many.

Diving at Leo Carrillo Beach

A number of good dive spots around found along the Leo Carrillo State Park shoreline. A gigantic kelp forest there provides habitat for a myriad of sea life. Reefs extend outward to depths around 55 feet. Unique rock formations offer interesting places to explore. Visibility is best during the late summer or fall. Carrillo Beach is a popular night diving destination.

Beginning divers do best near lifeguard tower #2 where there is a small cove and plenty of sand. Divers are rewarded with a variety of sea life, everything from leopard sharks to lobsters. Carrillo Beach is known for its large number of octopuses. Divers will likely see bat rays, mantis shrimp, barred sand bass, and cabezon.

Ocean Safety

California State Parks and Recreation cautions that "large surf, cold water temperatures, backwash, sudden drop-offs, pounding shorebreak, and dangerous rip currents can turn what seem like safe activities such as playing near the surf line, wading, or climbing on rock outcroppings, deadly." Learn more about ocean safety at CA State Parks: Ocean Safety

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