McGrath State Beach is a protected beach park located on the south bank of the mouth of Santa Clara River in the city of Oxnard, California. McGrath State Beach is one of the best bird-watching areas in California, with the lush riverbanks of the Santa Clara River and sand dunes along the shore. A nature trail leads to the Santa Clara Estuary Natural Preserve. Camping sites are available. Two miles of beach provide surfing and fishing opportunities. Just south of the station is the undeveloped Mandalay Beach Park which is about a mile downcoast beach walk from the park or a bike ride along Harbor Blvd. Located south of Ventura on Harbor Boulevard, the beach is on the Pacific Coast Bicycle Route and the California Coastal Trail.Make McGrath State Beach a part of your Oxnard vacation plans using our Oxnard road trip planning site .
The park overlies the productive West Montalvo Oil Field and oil wells are in an enclosure just behind the beach that are operated by Venoco, Inc., and slant-drill into the offshore part of the field. A bit farther downcoast is the Mandalay Generating Station – the stack is easily visible from the beach – owned by Reliant Energy.
The park often closes in winter but a lack of funding to repair the infrastructure, specifically a rusting sewage pipe, closed the park in 2011 until repairs could be made. Flooding has been a continuing problem. The water level in the estuary rises when the winter rains fail to breach the sand bar at the mouth of the river. When campgrounds and necessary facilities flood, the park closes until conditions changes. The beach and McGrath Lake are available during the closures but access is limited to walking from an adjacent area. Surfers Knoll Park on the beach on the north side of Ventura Harbor can be used to access by walking south across the sand bar at the mouth of Santa Clara River.
McGrath State Beach Reviews
Been here 6 days. Sunny, warm and a bit breezy. Campground mostly empty. The park is under water months of the year during the rainy season. A whole section of the park is closed even now. A lot of the vegetation is dead or dying because it's soggy ground. Available campsites are dry and well spread out in a circular pattern with trees or shrubs to give some privacy. Pay showers and free toilets. The ants will find a way into your food. Ground squirrels and seagulls too. Don't feed 'em. Grocery store nearby. Beautiful sunsets. Hear the waves. Ocean edge is about 1/3 mile west. Deserted beach even on weekends. Dump station closed.
We recently camped overnight with my daughter's 4-H group. It was a great spot. We had a great time.
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