McGrath State Beach

Ventura County

McGrath State Beach

Location

Harbor Blvd. exit off
Highway 101
5 miles south of Ventura, CA
Flooding has caused park closure recently. For information call (805) 968-1033

Admission

Day use per vehicle: $10
Park Hours: Dawn to dusk
Main gate closes at 10:00 PM

Main Attractions

  • Bird watching
  • Surfing, fishing
  • Camping

Facilities and Features

  • Parking, restrooms
  • 174 campsites with restrooms and showers
  • Group and camp and hike campsites
  • Nature trail
  • Visitor center, information kiosks

Accessibility

  • 12 campsites
  • Parking, restrooms
  • Nature trail
  • Beach wheelchairs: (805) 648-3321 (call 1 day ahead)

Hazards

  • Rip currents
  • Rogue waves

Special Regulations

  • Dogs on leash allowed in campground, but be in enclosed vehicle or tent at night.
  • No dogs on trails or beach.
  • Avoid water contact with Santa Clara River.
  • Do not disturb natural features

Nearby Beaches

  • Oxnard Beach
  • Hollywood Beach
  • Silver Strand Beach
  • Hueneme Beach
  • Mandalay Beach



map of McGrath State Beach, Ventura County, CA

McGrath State Beach

Situated between Ventura and Oxnard, McGrath State Beach is well known for its wide, sandy beach, its streamside woodlands, its marsh and coastal dunes, and for the variety of wildlife found in the area. More than 245 species of birds have been sighted around the state beach. McGrath Beach extends for 2½ miles. Dangerous rip currents make it an unsafe location for wading and swimming.

Flooding Problems at the Campground

The mouth of the Santa Clara River has been designated as the Santa Clara Estuary Natural Preserve, giving it the highest level of protection in the state park system. This degree of protection is good for the wildlife, but it has created problems for the park.

Winter flooding of the campground area is normal, but in 2013 and 2014 the lack of sufficient rain and runoff in the Santa Clara River failed to break through the sand barrier that typically builds up at the mouth of the river over the summer. As a result, river water backed up into the park higher and longer than usual, forcing park officials to close the park to all use on August 10, 2014.
For the current status of this park, please call (805) 968-1033.

Park officials could only sit by and watch, since breaking the barrier and sending water rushing out of the estuary would upset the natural balance of the area and endanger protected species. Compounding the problem are thousands of gallons of treated waste water being discharged into the river from the City of Ventura's wastewater treatment plant.

McGrath State Beach Neighbors

At the southern end of McGrath State Beach a tall stack marks the location of the Mandalay Generating Station owned by Reliant Energy. Also adjacent to the beach is the West Montalvo Oil Field. Wells next to McGrath Lake were angled to reach out to offshore oil fields.

Beach Supplies

Beach Break Surf Shop is located a relaxing 1½ miles up the coast at Ventura Harbor if you walk along the beach. There you can pick up sun tan lotion, shirts and sweatshirts. Other shops and restaurants are found at the harbor too. For grocery stores, Vons is located straight out Gonzales Road and left on Rose. And then Starbucks is right across Rose Avenue from Vons. Another Starbucks is on Ventura, south of Gonzales. For pizza head to Toppers at 111 E. Gonzales.

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