Skip to Content

Where Can You Go Beach Camping in California? Your Top 10 Options

Where Can You Go Beach Camping in California? Your Top 10 Options

If you need a break from the norm, why not try beach camping? California offers some of the best beach camping spots around. With miles of beach, captivating sunsets, and favorable weather, the California coast is a must-see. We’ve done the work for you and have chosen some of the best beach camping California has to offer. We can’t wait to share what we’ve found.

Let’s get started!

Are You Allowed to Camp On Beaches?

Not all beaches allow camping. You should always check to make sure tents and overnight camping is permitted on beaches before planning your weekend getaway. Beaches prohibiting camping will usually have signs posted throughout the park as well as information posted on their website.

For those beaches that do allow it, there are some general beach camping rules you’ll want to abide by to stay out of trouble with law enforcement or park management and make sure you have a successful trip. These include knowing and following fire bans, observing quiet hours, knowing the tides, and leaving no trace. Additionally, good beach camping etiquette will ensure beach camping stays are available for you and others in the future.

You’ve Got to Try Beach Camping in California

Camping on the beach allows you a front-row seat to sealife, sunsets, and surfing. If you haven’t yet, you have to schedule a time to try beach camping in California. Little compares to the beauty of the ocean surrounding you.

There are many beaches in California that allow camping on them or are very nearby some great campgrounds. From Laguna Beach to Big Sur and Malibu, the California coast is sure to satisfy your wanderlust.

Paradise By The Sea Beach RV Resort in Oceanside CA - Southern California RV Park Recommendation

The 10 Best Places to Beach Camp in California

Here are our top picks for beaching camping in California, no matter where you choose to vacation along the coast!

1. Kirk Creek Campground, Big Sur

Address: CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920

About Kirk Creek Campground: This campground is your slice of paradise. Kirk Creek Campground is on an open bluff and has impressive views of the Pacific. It sits in the Los Padres National Forest, and the Vicente Trailhead is across the road, perfect for an afternoon hike. 

Cost To Camp: $35 per night. Walk-in and bicycle tent camping is $5 each night.

Amenities: These primitive sites fit RVs smaller than 30 ft. There are no hook-ups onsite but vault toilets and picnic tables in each area. You can stay up to 14 days on your site, and two of the 40 campsites are first-come-first-served. The nearest dump station is 40 miles away at San Simeon State Park. Pets are welcome.

Friends camping on the beach in California.
California beach camping is perfect for friends and family.

2. Crystal Cove State Park, Laguna Beach

Address: 8471 N Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA

About Crystal Cove State Park: Crystal Cove has something for everyone who wants to go beach camping in California. With over three miles of coastline, this state park has beach access, rocky shorelines for tide pooling, and 2.5 miles of paved trail.

There are another 2,400 acres of undeveloped land with 15 miles of track. This Newport Beach state park offers interpretive programs throughout the year. There’s also a visitors center nearby. You’ll find a historic district in the state park if you want to learn more about the seaside colonies adorning the coast in the 1930s.

Cost To Camp: Campsites with hookups are $75 per night, while premium tent sites without hookups are $55 per night. Hike-in primitive sites are $25 per night. There’s also a $7.99 reservation fee.

Amenities: This state campground offers 27 campsites with water and electric hook-ups. There are 30 non-hookup sites for tents and “low impact” RVs. The hook-up sites are for RVs as long as 38 ft., while the non-hookup sites fit RVs as large as 25 ft. long.

There are also three separate areas of hike-in camping where you’ll have to hike for at least three miles to your campsite. These sites are primitive with no hook-ups, but they offer pit toilets and picnic tables. The campground has bathrooms with flush toilets and shower stalls that run off tokens. There’s also a dump on site.

You can bring pets to the paved areas but not to the primitive campground sites.

3. Thornhill Broome Campground, Malibu

Address: 9000 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA

About Thornhill Broome Campground: At Point Mugu State Park, you can overlook the Pacific and walk out your door right to the beach. With five miles of shoreline, you’ll also see dunes, canyons, and rocky bluffs nearby. Swimming, body surfing, and surf fishing are popular activities at this state park. Plus, there are over 70 miles of hiking trails to explore. Beach camping in California has never been so fun. 

Cost To Camp: $35 per night, plus a $7.99 reservation fee.

Amenities: You can camp at the paved sites with RVs up to 31 ft. long, but there are no hook-ups. There are picnic tables on-site, plus token-operated showers and portable toilets.

You can bring pets to the campsites. The maximum RV height at this campground is 13’6”. Some sites are first-come-first-served, so if you can’t snag a reservation, you may be in luck.

mcway falls beach big sur california
There are many stunning beach camping sites in California.

4. Wright’s Beach Campground, Bodega Bay

Address: 7095 CA-1, Bodega Bay, CA

About Wright’s Beach Campground: This campground is at the Sonoma Coast State Park. Although this area is too dangerous for swimming, you can enjoy the beach access for sunset viewing and whale watching. There are also nearby hiking trails.

Cost To Camp: $35-$45, plus a $7.99 reservation fee

Amenities: There are 27 developed campsites for RVs up to 31’ with no hook-ups. There is running water and flush toilets in the onsite bathrooms. There is also a picnic table at each site. Use the nearby Bodega Dunes Campground for token-operated showers, a dump station, and fill up your fresh water tank. Finally, you can bring leashed dogs.

Pro Tip: While beach camping, make sure you never break these 10 Beach Camping Golden Rules.

5. North Beach Campground, Pismo Beach

Address: 399 S Dolliver St, Pismo Beach, CA

About North Beach Campground: This state beach campground is next door to Pismo State Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove, where you can see the largest colony of monarchs during the winter months.

The campground also has beach access and plenty of opportunities for hiking, surf fishing, horseback riding, and digging for Pismo clams on the beach. There’s also a campfire center onsite, with educational programming in the summer months.

While you’re beach camping in this California beauty spot, please be sure to take a tour of the driveable area of Pismo Beach.

Cost To Camp: $25 per night, plus a $7.99 reservation fee

Amenities: This campground has paved sites for RVs up to 28 ft. long. There are no hook-ups. There are token-operated showers onsite, flush toilets, and a fee-based dump station. You can bring dogs, but you must keep them on a leash.

➡ Want more Pismo Beach camping options? Check out these 8 great campgrounds.

6. Morro Strand State Beach, Morro Bay

Address: Highway 1, Morro Bay, CA

About Morro Strand State Beach: With views of Morro Rock outside from the door, you’ll enjoy coast-side beach camping on this California site. The three miles of the beach give you plenty of opportunities for bird watching, tide pooling, surfing, and fishing. Plus, there are great picnic sites along the coastal frontage park.

Cost To Camp: $35, $55 for full hook-up sites, plus a $7.99 reservation fee

Amenities: This location has more than 80 campsites, including oceanfront sites and locations with full hook-ups. Showers are nearby at Morro Bay State Park, and there are flush toilets on site.

For non-hook-up sites, the maximum RV length is 24 ft. For hook-up sites, the total length is 40 ft. Sites have picnic tables and fire rings, and you can bring leashed pets to the campsites.

Couple putting tent together on California beach at sunset.
Sleep under the stars while beach camping in California.

7. Mission Bay RV Resort, San Diego

Address: 2727 De Anza Rd, San Diego, CA

About Mission Bay RV Resort: This private campground puts you on the shores of San Diego’s De Anza Cove for prime beach camping in California. You’ll be steps away from 14 miles of trails for hiking and biking.

Next door is the De Anza Cove Public Beach, with calm waters perfect for days of water play. You can rent equipment nearby like kayaks, jet skis, or ski boats. Or head to one of the many San Diego attractions, like Sea World or Balboa Park.

Cost To Camp: In summer, rates range from $110-$205 per night during the week or $145-$225 per night for a weekend rate. During the winter, rates range from $80-$170 during the week or $90-$190 during the weekend. Pets are an additional $2 per day per pet.

Amenities: As the only full-service resort on our list, we think it deserves this spot thanks to its amazing views. The full hook-up sites are pull-through and fit big rigs up to 45 ft. long. There are restrooms, showers, and laundry onsite.

Each site has wifi and cable, plus a picnic table. You can use the nearby Campland on the Bay’s amenities, like their swimming pools and spas, fitness center, and video arcade. You may also rent their bike and water equipment for some fun or head to their market or ice cream parlor for a treat.

Pro Tip: While camping in California, make sure to check out these 7 Best National Parks in California.

8. Doran Regional Park, Bodega Bay

Address: 201 Doran Beach Rd, Bodega Bay

About Doran Regional Park: This Sonoma County campground is on a two-mile beach along Bodega Bay. There are areas for fishing and exploring sea life, as well as a boat launch at Bodega Harbor.

The nearby Bird Walk Coastal Access Trail offers fantastic bird watching and is accessible by wheelchair. This campground provides three separate camping areas, each with different surroundings. There are also scheduled ranger-led activities throughout the week.

Cost To Camp: $35, plus a $9.50 reservation fee

Amenities: This park offers more than 120 campsites with a mixture of tent and RV sites, some as large as 42 ft. long. There are no hook-ups but picnic tables and fire rings at each location. Some sites offer water views as well.

There’s potable water onsite, plus a fee-based dump station. Onsite restrooms provide electrical outlets, flush toilets, and coin-operated showers. Leashed dogs are welcome at your campsite.

Woman cooking over campfire in California while camping.
California beach camping is perfect for year-round adventures.

9. San Clemente State Beach, San Clemente

Address: 225 Avenida Calafia, San Clemente, CA

About San Clemente State Beach: This campground is on the famous San Clemente state beach, halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles. This makes it a great place for beach camping in California.

The mile-long beach is a short walk from the campground and is ideal for swimming, surfing, and fishing. Take a walk on nearby trails to explore the plant species and wildlife, or marvel at the sandstone bluffs and canyon walls along the beach.

Cost To Camp: $40 for tent sites and $65 for RV sites, plus a $7.99 reservation fee

Amenities: This campground has tent and RV sites, with 160 campsites overall. The full hook-up RV sites are for RVs up to 38 ft. long. Each location features a fire pit and a picnic table, plus a shade ramada at the tent sites. Leashed dogs are welcome. There’s a fee-based dump station onsite, plus restrooms and showers.

10. Sunset State Beach, Watsonville

Address: Sunset Beach Rd, Watsonville, CA

About Sunset State Beach: With marshlands, 200-foot dunes, and coastal woodlands, Sunset State Beach has much to experience. It’s next to the beautiful nearby Monterey Bay. This area is ideal for fishing and picnicking, and there’s a remote control glider port onsite. Swimming and surfing are not recommended at this beach.

Cost To Camp: $35 per night, plus a $7.99 reservation fee

Amenities: There are  90 campsites for RVs up to 31 ft. long. The sites do not have hookups but picnic tables and fire rings at each location. You’ll find pay showers on-site, as well as restrooms. Enjoy learning about the area with ranger interpretive programs during the summer months. You may bring pets on a leash. 

Sunset State Beach, California Campsite Photos

Plan Ahead for Your Next Visit

We don’t blame you if you’re looking for a vacation to melt your cares away. Beach camping in California may be the ticket, and we think one of these campgrounds could be the perfect spot. If you decide to camp in California, be sure to plan and book early. These campsites fill up quickly!

Have you ever camped on the beach? Drop a comment below!

Become A Mortons On The Move Insider

Join 10,000+ other adventurers to receive educating, entertaining, and inspiring articles about RV Travel Destinations, RV Gear, and Off-Grid Living to jump-start your adventures today!

About Mortons on the Move

Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of The RVers, producers of “Go North” on Amazon Prime, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for and an Arizona travel guide.

About Us

Sharing is caring!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.