Santa Margarita KOA

The Best-Kept Secret in Central California!

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Open Year Round for G*R*E*A*T Camping!  Located halfway between Los Angeles & San Francisco, just 10 miles off US101. Santa Margarita KOA is an outdoor lover's dream! Whether you enjoy hiking, fishing, boating, bird watching, horseback riding, cycling, horse shoes, swimming, and many other outdoor activities, you're sure to find an activity in our area you will enjoy! Our giant Jumping Pillow is a favorite of kids of all ages. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, we offer on-site activities on Saturdays & holidays. Our "refreshing" unheated swimming pool is open from May through October. Beat the heat by visiting in the Fall & Spring.    

SANTA MARGARITA KOA is a rustic, rural campground carved into the side of a hill on 70 acres covered in oaks and pines.  Retreat to a nature-lover's paradise in a natural setting with panoramic vistas, rolling terrain, and secluded campsites.  All of our roads and sites are dirt.  Expect steep terrain, hard ground, cool nights and dark skies year round. Come prepared with soft sleeping pads, warm sleeping bags, warm clothes, comfy shoes, flashlights and lanterns.  We sell nice oak firewood for your warming and BBQ'ing pleasure. Our convenience store carries camping essentials like ice, beer, soda, juice, water, candy, chips and s'more stuff.  If you want fresh grub or a hot meal, swing by a grocery store or restaurant in San Luis Obispo or Atascadero before heading our way.

SANTA MARGARITA LAKE is just one-half mile away, where you can enjoy fishing, hiking, biking, boat rentals and horse trails. You can walk or bike in for FREE or pay $10 per vehicle.  Santa Margarita Lake is a "Quiet Lake" that provides drinking water for local residents so you cannot swim in it.  You can, however, rent kayaks, fishing boats and pontoon boats at really reasonable rates  There is excellent fishing for bass, catfish, crappie and blue gill. If you name drop "Santa Margarita KOA," you can ask for a 15-Minute FREE PASS to checkout what the lake has to offer.

DAY TRIPS:  We are located within an hour's drive or less from Hearst Castle, Cambria, Ocean Dunes, Pismo Beach, Morro Bay, local wineries, Pozo National Forest, and many other great local attractions! Monterey and Santa Barbara are also great day trips when visiting California's Central Coast.

STARGAZING: After a day enjoying the outdoors, relax around your campfire and the crickets and frogs will serenade you... along with beautiful birds singing in chorus.  

Tuesday Is Free Local Swim Day!
Want to escape the heat? Locals may swim at Santa Margarita KOA on Tuesdays for FREE!   On Sunday - Thursday, a Summertime Adult Day Pass is $5.00 and a Kid's Pass (7-17 years old) is $3.00.  A Day Pass gives admission to the pool and Jumping Pillow if you are not camping with us. Weekend Day Passes are NOT available from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Registered Guests of Santa Margarita KOA always swim and use the Jumping Pillow for FREE.

Accent Photo

Campground Amenities

  • 50 Max Amp
  • 40' Max Length
  • Wi-Fi
  • Pool (5/1 - 11/1)
  • Propane ($)
  • Firewood ($)
  • Dog Park
More About Amenities

Ways to Stay

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KOA Value Kard Rewards Program

Do more of what you love - camping - and reap the rewards when you join KOA's Value Kard Rewards program! From camping discounts at KOA campgrounds to additional savings offers from our partners, you can quickly see how the $33 pays for itself and more!

Exclusive Benefits:

  • 10%* off your daily registration rate all year long at 500 KOA Campgrounds throughout North America
  • Rewards points that accumulate for cash off future KOA camping stays
  • Free** night of camping during Value Kard Rewards Appreciation Weekend at participating KOAs
  • ...and Much more!

Latest Hot Deal

Weekly Deal

Come enjoy Santa Margarita KOA. We are 30 minutes from the best the Central Coast has to offer: Avila Beach, Morro Bay, Pismo Dunes, Hearst Castle, and local wineries. Pay for any 6 consecutive nights & get your 7th NIGHT FREE!  Weekly Hot Deal not available during COVID-19 Stay-at-Home Order.

Book This Hot Deal

KOA Blog: Latest Stories

  • How to Teach Your Kids Good Camping Etiquette from an Early Age

    From Leave No Trace principles to following campground quiet hours, there’s a lot to learn for young campers. Here are 10 principles to teach your kids good camping etiquette.

  • 10 Camping Hacks to Make Your Trip Run More Smoothly

    Among the countless joys of camping are those little tricks you learn over time that streamline your pre-trip packing or campsite setup, boost your comfort while “roughing it,” or otherwise make operations that much more efficient or enjoyable.

  • Lessons Learned from a First-Time Camper

    A first time camper shares the things she wished she knew before heading out on her first camping adventure. If you’re new to camping, you’ll want to check out these tips from a beginner camper.

Local Area

Hearst Castle

Reservations are strongly recommended for tours of Hearst Castle . Construction began on Hearst Castle in 1919 and continued for 28 years. Hearst Castle is referred to as the "Crown Jewel of San Luis Obispo". Hearst Castle has spectacular views overlooking the ocean and the Santa Lucia Mountains.

The Ticket Office opens at 8:00 am. Tour times vary, but generally the daytime tours begin at 9:00 am
(800) 444-4445
750 Hearst Castle Road, San Simeon, CA 93452


Fishing and Boating at Santa Margarita Lake

Beyond the developed area of the park, Santa Margarita Lake Natural Area represents several thousand acres of designated open space. This section of the park is managed for its natural resource values, passive recreational use, and environmental education opportunities. The area is accessible to hikers, bicyclists and equestrians. Motor vehicles are not permitted in the Natural Area. Santa Margarita Lake Regional Park is a nature lover's retreat. With thousands of acres of unspoiled open space, the park is home to countless species of plants and wildlife making it the perfect location for nature study, boating, and fishing.

Santa Margarita Lake is noted for its excellent fishing and peaceful boating. Cast your line into Santa Margarita Lake and you'll find hungry redear, striped bass, trout, catfish, crappie and bluegill. Fish from shore, use one of the launch ramps, or try your luck from a boat or canoe.

Reservations (805) 788-2397
Pool Rental (805) 781-5930
Marina Store: (805) 438-1522

for more information click here


Sunset Drive-In Movie Theatre

Like a blast from the 1950s, this roadside drive-in is the real thing. Located in a big empty field just off the highway, it's easy to get to and the whole experience is a hoot. The films are typically family fare, with a double feature consisting of two popular current films for a price that's as retro as the theater itself. The sound system is a modern one that allows the film's sound to come through the car stereo. This means you don't have to have your window open to accommodate speakers, a nice touch given that temperatures can drop after dark if the fog comes in. They sell typical movie fare like popcorn, candy and drinks, and a limited menu of snacks such as nachos and hot dogs

Planning Notes
Be prepared for cold night air. Bring lots of blankets, jackets and scarves in case it gets chilly. The fog can come in or the wind can come up in this location close to the coast.
Just the Facts
Hours: Open weekdays and weekends all year. Call for film schedule; typically there are two films, one at 7 or 7:30, the other at 9 or 9:30 p.m.
Fees: Under $10
Address: 255 Elks Ln, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401Phone:(805) 544-4475

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Pismo Beach and Pismo Dunes

This off road area is among the most popular and unique of California State Parks. The 5 1/2 miles of beach open for vehicle use and the sand dunes available for off highway motor vehicle recreation are attractions for visitors from throughout the United States

Oceano Dunes is the only California State Park where vehicles may be driven on the beach. Passenger cars can easily drive on the northern portion of the beach.
Four wheel drive vehicles are recommended for driving to the camping and off highway vehicle use areas in the park.
Beach wheelchairs are available for loan at the Pier and Grand Avenue entrances to the beach.
Surfing, swimming, surf fishing, horseback riding and bird watching are popular activities. 

The recreation area is located in Oceano, three miles south of Pismo Beach off Highway 1.

One mile south of the Pier Avenue beach ramp is Post 2, a post on the beach which marks the beginning of the off-highway vehicle riding and camping area. 

OHV's must be transported to this point before unloading. Any areas on the beach or in the dunes that are fenced or signed are closed to vehicular use because they either contain sensitive plant and animal life or are private property.

(805) 473-7220

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Campground Awards and Programs