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Home Travel California's best places for camping on the beach

California’s best places for camping on the beach

Camping on California’s 840 miles of biodiverse shoreline provides the likelihood to have the street journey of your life with out breaking the financial institution. Select your spot – from rugged and untamed in California’s north to reasonable climates, desert flowers and the dreamiest sunsets you’ve ever seen in the south. 

Wherever you land, you’ll pitch up and go to sleep beneath the stars to the sound of crashing waves. However plan your sleepovers properly – camping on California’s coast is not any secret, and places e book up months upfront.

For miles of empty golden sand, head to Silver Strand State Beach in Coronado

Essentially the most southern beach-camping spot in California can also be the warmest spot on this checklist. The abandoned Silver Strand State Beach – with some 10 miles of golden sand to discover and infinite, uncrowded waves to surf – is simply 20 minutes from the Mexican border to the south and a brief drive from central San Diego to the north.

There’s solely a beach and ocean in the direct neighborhood, however all the metropolis’s huge points of interest are inside driving distance. Dine with San Diego’s hoi polloi in close by Coronado, which has has dozens of fantastic eating places.

It’s strictly RVs solely at Silver Strand; no tents allowed. There are greater than 100 campsites accessible, plus restrooms, picnic tables, fireplace rings, potable water, a dump station and electrical hookups on website.

Prime tip: Guide as much as six months upfront by way of the California Division of Parks and Recreation. 

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Panoramic view of San Elijo State Beach, Encinitas CA
Surfers love the tidy campground located on the cliff above San Elijo State Beach © Marcel Fuentes / Shutterstock

Admire hovering views of the Pacific Ocean at San Elijo State Beach Campground

Surfers love this tidy campground located on the high of the cliff above San Elijo State Beach, with stair entry all the way down to the sand. It’s 1 mile south of the well-known Swami’s surf break, which impressed the track “Surfin’ USA” by the Beach Boys, and close by Encinitas is the epitome of a laid-back Southern California surf city, full with meditation gardens, burrito shacks, juice bars and vegan cafes.

Tent and RV camping is allowed on San Elijo State Beach Campground’s giant grime pitches, a lot of that are separated by timber. There are restrooms with flush bathrooms on website, plus piped water, a camp retailer and fireplace rings.

Prime Tip: Reservable as much as six months forward by way of California Parks; canines welcome on leaches. 

Side view of male surfer having drink outside mini van on San Onofre State Beach
San Mateo Campground is a little bit inland from San Onofre State Beach and Trestles, one in all the best surf spots in the world © Cavan Pictures / Getty Pictures

Surf at daybreak after sleeping on the beach at San Mateo Campground

Not strictly on the beach, this secluded campground is a little bit inland from the world well-known San Onofre State Beach and Trestles – thought-about by many to be the best surf spot in the world.  

A 1.5-mile nature path connects campers to the basic level break, with peeling left and right-handers and simple paddle-outs. Together with driving waves, there’s rugged bluff-top strolling trails and wildlife recognizing (look out for pelicans and and migratory waterfowl) and loads of swimming alternatives on the three-mile stretch of beach. 

San Mateo Campground has greater than 150 pitches with fireplace pits, barbecues and picnic tables, plus there’s water, restrooms (with showers and flush bathrooms) and laundry amenities on website. Some websites have electrical hookup factors. A small camp retailer promote necessities and there’s a dump station for waste. Guide upfront by way of California Parks. 

Hike, scuba dive and snorkel at Crystal Cove State Park

Located north of the coastal metropolis of Laguna Beach, excessive up on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, you get the best of park and beach at Crystal Cove State Park Campground, the place there’s an emphasis on lower-impact camping (or fundamental tent camping). 

Plots have easy accessibility to the close by Crystal Cove, an enormous underwater park with glorious scuba diving and snorkeling – look out for the two historic anchors relationship from the 1800s, and components of a Navy aircraft that went down in the 1940s – plus, there are numerous desert crops to discover in the state park’s 2400 acres of undeveloped woodland. 

Services embrace bogs and showers, and a small variety of RV hookups. Campfires usually are not allowed in the space. Seasoned campers could op for the ‘primitive’ campsites (no consuming water or showers) accessible by way of three-mile hike from the car parking zone.

Guide by way of ReserveCalifornia.com; park-entry charges are relevant, and permits are required for in a single day camping.

Households and wildlife fanatics will love Carpinteria State Beach Campground 

Considered one of the hottest household camping spots in Southern California, Carpinteria State Beach Campground has greater than 150 plots dealing with calm waters.  Children can splash round with lifeguards on obligation, go tide-pooling, and spot harbor seals and sea lions bathing on the sand. The Tomol Interpretive Play Space is only some minutes stroll inland. Don’t miss the mile-long bluff-top hike with sweeping ocean views. 

There are flush bathrooms at the campsite, which has a number of hookups accessible, plus sizzling showers, picnic tables and barbecue grills.

Introducing Coastal California

Take pleasure in your solitude at Gaviota State Park Campground 

Located in wild and pristine Gaviota State Park, some 40 pitches sit in the shadow of a formidable previous railroad trestle. Trails lead all the way down to the beach and its adjoining pier (a well-liked fishing spot) and as much as the Gaviota Wind Caves – surreal sandstone formations with peculiar twists, turns and cavities, solely a mile away. 

Campers also can hike up the 1325ft Gaviota Peak for panoramic excessive cliff views of the Pacific Ocean. Be careful for mountain lions in the space.

Pitches include a hearth ring and picnic desk. There are bathrooms on website, plus showers and consuming water. Tents and RVs welcome, however there are not any electrical hookups. 

Carry your canine alongside to Jalama Beach County Park Campground 

Halfway between Santa Barbara and Pismo Beach at the finish of a hilly, twisting street is the secluded Jalama Beach County Park, with extra than 100 campsites for tents, trailers and RVs overlooking the ocean and beach to the west and the mountains to the east. 

Hikes in the space weave alongside towering cliffs – it’s a main place for whale recognizing throughout migration season, whereas kite-boarders get pleasure from the sturdy winds. 

A lot of the tidy pitches are flanked by privateness hedges, and all have a picnic desk and barbecue pit. There are additionally seven cabins for fortunate early bookers, plus electrical hookups, sizzling showers, restrooms and potable water. Canines are welcome. The Jalama Beach Retailer and Grill serves warming clam chowder and selfmade apple pie, and sells most stuff you might need forgotten.

Guide by way of countyofsb.org.

A wide angle view of McWay Falls in late afternoon in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in the Big Sur area of Central California
The camp spots at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park sit above the iconic 80ft-tall McWay Falls © PictureLake / Getty Pictures

Camp subsequent to a non-public waterfall at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park Campground 

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park Campground has solely two camp spots, each of which sit above the iconic 80ft-tall McWay Falls, spilling immediately into the azure Pacific Ocean beneath. This cease is a spotlight on any Large Sur Coast or Rte 1 street journey – however campers get all of it to themselves when the day trippers have gone dwelling.

It’s a half-mile hike via tropical forests and 300ft redwoods to get to the environmental pitches, the place there are fireplace rings, picnic tables and restrooms accessible, however no water or firewood (deliver your individual).

Guide at ReserveCalifornia. 

For a last-minute hook up strive Pillar Level RV Park

Situated 20 miles south of San Francisco, Pillar Level RV Park would not take reservations for its 49 websites, so these with an RV can merely rock up and take a look at their luck.

The principle draw is Mavericks – a monster wave that soars as excessive as an residence constructing. Daredevils practice to journey these shifting mountains for a lifetime, and watching them is simply as thrilling. Camping spots are scarce when Mavericks is “on.”

It is a spot the place browsing legends are made, however it’s an attractive spot to spend time no matter the waves. Actions in the space embrace wine tasting, fishing, a 6-mile strolling and biking path subsequent to the campsite and boating from the next-door marina, the place you may as well purchase the catch of the day.

Services for RV campers embrace electrical energy and water hookups, plus complimentary cable TV and wifi. All RVs need to have their very own totally functioning rest room to park up. There are not any restrooms, showers or laundry amenities.

Shipman Creek campsite is an off-grid camping journey

The wilderness camping spots on California’s Misplaced Coast Path usually are not for the faint of coronary heart – they’re solely reachable on foot by way of a difficult hike alongside wild, tortured seashores, rocks and shoreline. The entire path is 25 miles lengthy, and finishing it means spending round three days in the wild, carrying all of your meals and gear with you.

The adventurous will likely be rewarded with mountain views, wild meadows, old-growth redwood forest and thrilling rivers and tides to navigate. Carry a tide desk so that you don’t get  trapped or swept out to sea, and look out for sea lions and Roosevelt elks en route.

At the beach-side Shipman Creek campsite there are not any amenities, however camping is free with a backcountry allow.

Learn how to get there: The Misplaced Coast Path begins close to the mouth of the Mattole River at Mattole Beach, the place there’s a car parking zone, a automobile campground, potable water and pit bathrooms, and ends at Black Sands Beach. The path begin at Mattole Beach at 3750 Lighthouse Rd, Petrolia. Permits are required. 

Steep Ravine Beach has sizzling springs and cabins

An hour north from central San Francisco at Steep Ravine Beach, a cluster of primitive cabins with no operating water, electrical energy or plumbed-in bathrooms sits overlooking the Pacific Ocean and a small rocky beach.

Come right here to get away from the world and soak your bones in the hidden Steep Ravine Sizzling Springs at low tide. There’s additionally a clothing-optional bathing grotto close by, maintained by locals.

Guide by way of ReserveCalifornia.


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