Aprils in Washington can be challenging, and this year was no exception with colder-than-usual temperatures and no wildflowers in sight. So, once again I packed up the pug and a month’s worth of supplies and headed for adventures in sun-drenched California. Our new inTech Magnolia travel trailer was home for 30+ days on the road, with destinations running south-to-north from Santa Barbara to the Washington coast.

I’ve learned a lot about RVing since first winning a travel trailer from Camping World less than two years ago. With two upgrades since, and over 10,000 miles under my belt, my fine-tuning has not just been with the in’s and out’s of RV operations, but I’m getting closer to master-status in both camp cuisine and location selection.

With sunshine on my mind, my first oceanside stop was at a county park just north of Santa Barbara in Jalama Beach. The location itself ticked off my most-important box when it comes to ideal locations: beautiful views. The road down to this county campground is not for the timid. Winding 16 miles down narrow roads with hairpin corners, severe drop-offs, and the occasional oncoming delivery truck, it’s obvious why some folks choose not to make the trek. Once making my way through the rolling hillsides of mustard plants and through heavily-wooded forests, the moment the Pacific Ocean came into view made the white-knuckle drive worth every minute of terror.

The campground itself was one of the most diverse I’ve experienced. From standard tent sites, to rustic beachside spots, to our epic eagle-perch atop the hillside, it’s obvious this park can accommodate every type of traveler. Views were unsurpassed with majestic Pacific ocean front-and-center – and they even queued humpback whales each morning for my personal entertainment and awe.

With two years of camp cuisine under my belt, I’m no slouch when it comes to trailer side dining, however the camp store at Jalama ends up to be a drive-worthy foodie destination in its own right. Rumor has it that McDonald’s secret sauce originated right here on the sandy shores of the Pacific (perhaps liberated by Ray Kroc), thus I knew immediately I’d have to give the legendary Jalama Burger a try. I’ve enjoyed a lot of next-level burgers in my days, and found their burger to stand up to the best-of-the-best. Slathered in their special sauce, heavily-laden with delicious bacon, and nestled between fresh buns with a salad’s-worth of fresh veggies, it was immediately obvious how the Jalama Burger achieved its legendary status. Coupled with a cold beer and crispy fries, it’s no wonder I made my way back a few days later for their ahi burger (this time paired with beer-battered onion rings).

Along with hiking trails, sandy beaches, whale-watching opportunities, and cozy campsites, Jalama Beach is a must-see along California’s central coast whether day-tripping or staying a week. I’d have stayed longer, but the beaches further north were calling out to me.

Written by

Seattle Maven

Former concierge, frequent bruncher, forever pug-lover, animated talker, wandering hiker, enthusiastic traveler, authentic writer and hollandaise fan.
Join me in my travels locally (Seattle & PNW) and throughout the world!