Jalama Beach is not necessarily a day trip sort of spot. You could hypothetically take the 14.5 mile drive off the Pacific Coast Highway out to Jalama Beach County Park, spend your day swimming, surfing, whale watching, and taking photographs, and then head home after the sun has set, but this sort of place is better taken in over the course of a few days.
Thankfully, there are campgrounds at Jalama Beach. Head out there if you’re looking to experience California as it was for thousands of years before the first settlers came along. What it lacks in proximity to the civilized world, it makes up for tenfold in the quiet, peaceful solitude of undisturbed nature.
9999 Jalama Road in Lompoc
Swimming, sunbathing, surfing, fishing, camping, bonfires, birdwatching, whale watching, kiteboarding, and windsurfing.
Water can be rough and lifeguards are only on duty during summer months. Swim at your own risk.
Dogs are allowed on the beach provided they are leashed and an extra fee is paid.
Restrooms, lifeguard (summer only), picnic tables, campground, general store, restaurant, and fire pits.
Jalama Beach Grill is on the premises of Jalama Beach County Park. They serve a “World Famous Jalama Burger” as well as a selection of local beers and wines.
Parking and campsites are available for a fee. There are also seven cabins, as well as glamping options, available.
Cojo Bay Beach is south of Jalama Beach, though you must take a boat to get there. It’s located on the Cojo-Jalama Ranch, which is owned by the Natural Conservancy. There you’ll find a number of surfing spots, tidepools, and the Point Conception Lighthouse.
North of Jalama Beach is Vandenberg Air Force Base. Vandenberg is used, among other things, as a space launch base and for missile testing. You can visit and tour their Space and Missile Heritage Center, a National Historic Landmark, which seeks to share the evolution of spacelift and missile technology from the Cold War to today.
The nearby Point Conception Lighthouse was built in 1856, making it one of the oldest lighthouses in California. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Because of access restrictions imposed by both Vandenberg Air Force Base and the Jack and Laura Dangermond Preserve, few people are able to see the Point Conception Lighthouse today, save for the few brave souls who have hiked several miles across rugged shorelines during low tide in order to catch a glimpse.