Virtual Guidebook to Santa Cruz, Monterey, Big Sur and Central Coast
Vandenburg Air Force Base and Lompoc
Santa Barbara County California


Vandenburg is the west coast equivalent of Cape Canaveral and at one time was to share equally in the civilian space program. But it became entirely military and is closed to the public. It includes Point Conception with its lighthouse and many miles of pristine coastline.

There are just three ways to see this area. One is the lonely road end at Surf with beach access at the mouth of the Santa Ynez River. The second is to take the daily Amtrak Coast Starlight train, which runs right through the complex of launch sites and off-limits coastline. The third is Jalama Beach.



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Estuary and wetlands of the Santa Ynez River near Surf

(April 28, 2008)


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Amtrak station on the long lonely beach at Surf, surrounded by Vandenburg Air Force Base

(April 28, 2008)


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The beach at Surf closed to entry to protect snowy plover nesting habitat

(April 28, 2008)


Next Locality: Jalama Beach