Gaviota State Park


A Southern Pacific railroad trestle which crosses the creek was featured in an article in Readerr's Digest. A Gaviota park ranger wrote about its history as the "ghost bridge" which miraculously has withstood earthquakes and numerous natural disasters during its hundred some odd years of existence.  The park ranger reports that ghosts of the bridge may exist in some form. The Ghost Bridge eerily sits near Highway 101 with a backdrop of the blue Pacific Ocean. It is visible only when the brush is cleared from the southbound lanes.  Another great bridge that holds many tales of the past is located further south at a place designated as a roadside vista.  Turn off the road some time and wander onto the old bridge sandwiched between the railroad track and Highway 101. This forgotten bridge that once served the first Highway traffic has incredible character, much like Ghost Bridge.

The Gaviota Coast in Santa Barbara County, California, lies between Coal Oil Point in  Goleta and Point Sal near Lompoc and includes coastal watersheds from the top of a ridge to the ocean. Comprising only 15% of Southern California's coast, it contains about 50% of its remaining rural coastline. Orchards produce crops such as macadamia nuts and avocados.  Now a sparsely populated coastal region which enjoys abundant marine life, coastal streams, and mild climate, it is believed that Chumash Indians made this one of their most active community and port locations for hundreds of years.  

 

There's something really special about Gaviota. From the Park Ranger who wrote a Reader's Digest article about the Ghost Bridge (see photo below), to this reader who shares remembrances, Gaviota holds special meaning to many who have visited. 

 

The last time I saw  GAVIOTA  was in 1979. It was pretty much as I remembered it as a child. I remember taking walks with my mother hand in hand down the beach south to the drain tunnel that ran under the railroad tracks which drained onto the beach. I remember  Tim the Lifeguard baby sitting me on the beach as my mom would fish on the peer . I was so proud sitting on the lifeguard  stand with my larger than life friend., no one could touch me !   

Making the rounds with Van the ranger, cleaning the bathrooms with him, taking ocean temps, and helping out in the ranger station as I looked into the playground with the one merry-go-round, large and small swing set..Friends that came and gone each year but never forgotten..Oh yes, not to forget Mac who ran the store and seemed to be the keeper of the peer, The rows of trees that separated the trailer camping to my brother signing his and his girlfriends name on one of the tressel supports.I probably know more about that place than most know about there own home town. 

GAVIOTA will always be in my heart no matter what changes have been made.the sounds of the trains passing over head, the waves crashing on the beach echoing thru the canyon will never change..Mark Benavente...

 
Gaviota State Park is a popular spot for swimming, picnicking and surf fishing. This  section of the coast was first called "gaviota" (seagull) by soldiers of the Portola  Expedition in 1769. A pier on the west end of the beach is used by divers and surfers.  A Southern Pacific railroad trestle crosses the creek above the day-use parking lot.  Visitors can explore the upland portions of the park from a trailhead in the parking  area. Gaviota Peak offers a view of the coast and the Channel Islands.  

 

Location/Directions: The park is located 33 miles west of Santa Barbara on U.S. 101.   State Parks Management District: Channel Coast  County: Santa Barbara  Nearest City: Buellton  Telephone: (805) 968-1033  Operating hours: call the park.    Local Reservations...first-come...first-served campgrounds  Please contact the park directly for detailed camping availability information.  Statewide fee schedules information for boating, camping, tours, parking, and passes.  50 developed campsites The park is wheelchair accessible. 

 

The weather

Gaviota State Park is a popular spot for swimming, picnicking and surf fishing. This  section of the coast was first called "gaviota" (seagull) by soldiers of the Portola  Expedition in 1769. A pier on the west end of the beach is used by divers and surfers.  A Southern Pacific railroad trestle crosses the creek above the day-use parking lot.  Visitors can explore the upland portions of the park from a trailhead in the parking  area. Gaviota Peak offers a view of the coast and the Channel Islands.  

Location/Directions: The park is located 33 miles west of Santa Barbara on U.S. 101.   State Parks Management District: Channel Coast  County: Santa Barbara  Nearest City: Buellton  Telephone: (805) 968-1033  Operating hours: call the park.    Local Reservations...first-come...first-served campgrounds  Please contact the park directly for detailed camping availability information. 

 

Statewide fee schedules information for boating, camping, tours, parking, and passes.  50 developed campsites The park is wheelchair accessible.  The weather can be changeable and  layered clothing is recommended. 

-   

Gaviota SB  Open all year round - offers excellent coastal fishing as well as trails and picnic sites. 

Park Kiosk Hours:  Hi Season: 8am-11pm  Lo Season: 8am-4pm  
Camping Information  
Gaviota SB is open Year Round   (note: call to check, or visit www.parks.ca.gov)

Photo ©  Debbie Stock 

 
Photo ©  Debbie Stock  -
805-968-1033
Beach and Campground
10 Refugio Beach Road
Gaviota, California   93117
Santa Barbara County
 

bridges - ghosts - parks - state beaches

 
Photo ©  Debbie Stock 


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