McGrath State Beach

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McGrath State Beach
The Santa Clara River estuary - McGrath State Beach - 2018.jpg
Santa Clara River estuary at McGrath State Beach
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Location Ventura County, California, United States
Nearest city Oxnard, California
Coordinates 34°13′30″N119°15′30″W / 34.22500°N 119.25833°W / 34.22500; -119.25833 Coordinates: 34°13′30″N119°15′30″W / 34.22500°N 119.25833°W / 34.22500; -119.25833
Area312 acres (126 ha) [1]
Established1948;73 years ago (1948) [1]
Governing body California Department of Parks and Recreation

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. [2] 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. [3] A nature trail leads to the Santa Clara Estuary Natural Preserve. [4] Camping sites are available. [5] Two miles of beach provide surfing and fishing opportunities. [6] 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. [7]


The park overlies the productive West Montalvo Oil Field and oil wells are in an enclosure just behind the beach, and slant-drill into the offshore part of the field. [8] [9] A bit farther downcoast is the Mandalay Generating Station – the stack is easily visible from the beach – owned by Reliant Energy. [10]

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. [11] [12] The beach and McGrath Lake are available during the closures but access is limited to walking from an adjacent area. [13] Surfers Knoll Park [14] 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. [15]

A study in 2015 outlined the benefits to moving the campground within the park to higher ground. [16]

See also

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  1. 1 2 "California State Park System Statistical Report: Fiscal Year 2009/10" (PDF). California State Parks: 18. Retrieved 2016-02-02.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: McGrath State Beach
  3. "McGrath State Beach - Site # 134" California Watchable Wildlife. Retrieved 5 November 2013
  4. U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Santa Clara Estuary Natural Preserve
  5. "Your guide to Ventura County beaches". Ventura County Star . August 9, 2018. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  6. Plascencia, Anthony (August 9, 2018). "Your guide to Ventura County beaches". Ventura County Star . Archived from the original on 2019-07-18. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  7. Coastwalk. "California Coastal Trail Section Data" . Retrieved 2010-07-18.
  8. "Record of Survey: McGrath Beach State Park." 26 RS 85. Ventura County Recorder 15 February 1963. Retrieved January 27, 2014 from CountyView GIS.
  9. Lohan, Tara (November 24, 2014) "An 85-Year-Old Takes On Big Oil and the Company Burying the Industry’s Dangerous Waste" Earth Island Journal
  10. Reliant Energy Retail Holdings, LLC (2010). "Reliant Energy - Electric Power Generation within the United States". Archived from the original on 2008-01-12. Retrieved 2010-07-18.
  11. Carlson, Cheri (September 11, 2014) "Agencies continue talks to find solution for flooding at McGrath campground" Ventura County Star
  12. Johnson, Brett (December 15, 2014) "McGrath State Beach campground, estuary issues under study" Ventura County Star
  13. "McGrath Beach Trail" California State Parks. Retrieved 5 November 2013
  14. Coastwalk "Surfers Knoll" California Coastal 2003. Retrieved 28 December 2013
  15. Zach Behrens (31 October 2013) "McGrath State Beach Campground Closed Indefinitely" KCET blog:Living: Travel: SoCal Wanderer: State Park. Retrieved 31 October 2013
  16. "Study says moving McGrath campground could help native wildlife". Ventura County Star . November 11, 2015. (subscription may be required for this article)

Further reading