Oceano Dunes SVR Area (Oceano, California)

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OHVs Get Banned At Oceano!

The California Coastal Commission voted to prohibit off-highway vehicle use at Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area by 2024. The agency may choose to phase out use, or prohibit it all at once.

Oceano Dunes SVR Area

Overview of Oceano Dunes

Oceano Dunes Map

Open: Year Round
Latitude / Longitude: 35.110897, -120.631687
Managed by: CA Dept. Of Parks and Recreation
Usage: Very Heavy
Day Use Hours:
Day Use Parking Fee: $5.00 a day
OHV Vehicle Day Use Annual Pass: $50 a year
Camping: Beach Dune Camping + Campground
Location: Mid-Coastal California

Located in Oceano off Hwy 1
Access is on Pier Avenue
Drive 1 mile south on Pier Ave to Post 2
The OHV staging area and camping begins south of Post 2
4-Wheel drive vehicle recommended for the beach

Click here to view:

Oceano Dunes Map – Big View

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Camping At Oceano Dunes

Open Beach / Dispersed Camping

Reservations Required During Busy Season

Fee: $18 a night ($10.00 + $7.99 reservation fee)
ADA Accessible: Beach wheelchairs are available for loan at the Pier and Grand Avenue entrances to the beach

  • 1,000 Vehicles Allowed for Open Dune Camping
  • 10 Vault / Chemical Toilets in Open Camping Area
  • Water Delivery Available
  • Holding Tank Pump-Out Available
  • Dump Station Available
  • Showers: At Pier St. Entrance

Reservations: California State Parks

Make sure to book at “Oceano Dunes SVRA”, this is the only camping available at the OHV area. Do not accidentally book at Oceano Camp or North Beach.

Oceano Camp is NOT Oceano Dunes SVRA

You may be able to get a first come, first serve site, but I don’t recommend it. This is a busy campground and you run the risk of getting turned away. During the busy season and three day holidays, reservations are required.

The sand is very soft, so it’s recommended that you have 4-wheel drive if you intend to camp in this area. If possible, time your arrival at low tide. The packed damp sand makes it a lot easier to drive the dunes while choosing and setting up camp.

Plus, it makes it easier to cross the Arroyo Grande Creek which can block access to the open OHV and camping areas. The river crosses the sand dunes between posts 3 and 4, so it blocks access to virtually all the dune area. Usually this creek is easy to cross, but after storms it may run high and force a closure.

The dune / beach camping open camping area is limited to 1,000 street legal vehicles per day.

Nearby Campgrounds

If you worry about getting stuck in the sand, there are two developed campgrounds close to the dune area. These campgrounds offer paved roads with electric and water hook ups. Showers are also available.

Oceano Camp and North Beach

Cost: $18 ($10.00 + $7.99 reservation fee)
Online Reservation Only
Reservations: California State Parks

Oceano Camp is NOT Oceano Dunes SVRA

You will not be able to ride your ATV from the campground to the dunes, you will need to transport them down to Post 2.

Oceano Camp is less than two miles to the staging area.

North Beach Campground is a bit further, but still pretty convenient. It’s less than a 10 minute drive to the staging area, but you will need to travel on Hwy 1 to get to the access point.

This is a very popular camping area, so it is recommended that you make reservations well in advance. You can book up to 6 months in advance of your arrival and you must book at least 2 days prior to your arrival.

These campgrounds have pads, tables, fire pits, water, electric, toilets dump stations and pay showers. ADA sites and bathrooms are also available.

Reserved sites allow for 8 people and one vehicle per site.

Oceano Sand Dunes

Oceano Dunes SVRA

Oceano is the only oceanfront state park that allows off-roading. With it’s proximity to major population centers, perfect year round riding conditions and ocean-side camping, you can bet it’s popular. These dunes attract 2,000,000 visitors a year making it the largest and busiest campground in the state.

Five miles of beautiful beach for cruising and 1,500 acres of pristine sand dunes for off-roading.

  • Camping reservations are required during peak season and holidays.
  • Day users may be turned away on busy weekends and holidays to ease congestion.
  • To ensure access, reserve a camping spot.
  • All ATV / UTV must be registered and display a red or green sticker. $52 for 2 years
  • Out of state registration is OK and accepted. But, if your home state does not have an ATV / UTV registration process, then you must purchase a California Nonresident OHV Use Permit for $30.

Where Can I Buy A Dune Pass?

Buy An Oceano Sand Dune Pass: CA Parks and Recreation Store

Purchase A Nonresident OHV Permit: Nonresident OHV Permit Vendors

Rules & Regulations

ALCOHOL: Open container and DUI laws apply off-highway just as they do on-highway. Don’t drink and drive.
DOGS: Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times. Please clean up after your dog.
LIGHTS: OHVs operated between sunset and sunrise must display at least one lighted white headlight and one lighted red taillight visible from 200 feet.
NOISE EMISSIONS: The law limits noise emissions from all OHVs. Noise emissions for most OHVs are limited to not more than 96 dBA when measured from a distance of 20 inches using standardized test procedures. For more specific information, go to: http://ohv.parks.ca.gov/noise_emissions.
REACH AND OPERATE ALL CONTROLS: All operators of off-highway vehicles must be able to reach and operate all controls.
REGISTRATION: When operating an OHV you must display either a license plate or an OHV sticker. OHV stickers include “Green Stickers,” “Red Stickers,” California Nonresident OHV Use Permits, and OHV stickers from states that have an OHV program.
SPARK ARRESTERS: All vehicles operating off-highway must be equipped with either a street legal mu_x001D_er or a spark arrestor maintained in effective working order.
SPEED: The speed limit is 15 mph on the beach and in camping and developed areas. Never drive faster than is safe for conditions.
SUSPENDED OR REVOKED LICENSE: Anyone whose driving privileges have been suspended or revoked is prohibited from operating any motor vehicle, on- or off-highway.
VEGETATION: It is never legal to run over vegetation.
WHIP AND FLAG: All off-highway registered vehicles must have a whip and flag to operate at Oceano Dunes SVRA. All highway registered vehicles must have a whip and and to operate in the dunes.

Oceano Dunes off roading

California OHV Laws

OHV Registration Requirements (explains the red/green stickers)

Nonresident OHV Use Permits

California Vehicle Code Division 16.5

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