Sandy beach
Hike-in Required
Snorkeling / SCUBA
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Surf Beach is a strange beach. Essentially a public beach at the site of a ghost town lying within an active Air Force Base, Surf Beach also has the designation of being named as as one of the West Coast's worst beaches in terms of shark attacks.

Located adjacent to an Amtrak station at the end of a dead-end road from the city of Lompoc, the site of Surf came into popularity, albeit a small popularity - with a peak population of about 40 - when the Southern Pacific Railroad constructed a station here to service its Coast Line. The residents of Surf mostly worked for the railroad. A state highway later ran through Surf, however was rerouted several miles away through Lompoc in 1984. Following the closure of the telegraph station at Surf the next year, the site essentially lay abandoned until Amtrak built an unmanned station in 2000. 

Currently, visitors must pass through the train station to enter the beach area. The beach is wide and sandy, lying under the jurisdiction of the nearby Vandenburg Air Force Base.

Sections of the beach are closed each year from March 1st to September 30th for western snowy plover nesting. The Air Force also enforces ordinances throughout the year including as permitting pets on leash and banning pets altogether, depending on the season. There are seasonal rules against flying kites, parasailing, camp fires, and closures of the Dunes Trail, the only trail on the beach through the soft sand.

The beach is closed each evening from 6pm to 8am. 

The parking area has a pay phone, vault toilet and trash cans. Signs on the beach warn of the elevated shark activity present here. 

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



You'll most likely have the entire beach to yourself.


Air Force jurisdiction. Restrictions on many activities.

Pets allowed

Not Allowed


Vault toilet
Family friendly
Bird watching
Sand Dunes


Nearby Adventures

Santa Barbara + Sierra Madre/San Rafael Mountains, California
Santa Barbara + Sierra Madre/San Rafael Mountains, California

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Santa Barbara + Sierra Madre/San Rafael Mountains, California


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