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11 Best Campgrounds on the California Coast Near the Beach

11 Best Campgrounds on the California Coast Near the Beach

California has a lot to offer for the average camper or RVer, especially with the entire western border running along the pacific coast. The California beaches have so much to offer. But you’ll need to prepare and find the best campgrounds along the California coast to enjoy your time camping on the beach.

What Are the Best Things About Camping on the California Coast? 

Obviously, one of the best things about camping on the California coast is the beaches. You can enjoy the warm water and the soft sand. 

You’ll find many beaches and campgrounds on the California coast near a state park, where you can see wildlife in their natural habitat.

So Cal Adventure VLOG - San Diego to Lone Pine! Mondays S4E6 / VLOG 89

Is Beach Camping in California All It’s Cracked Up to Be? 

While beach camping has its benefits, such as close access to swimming, it also has some deficits. For example, sand can get everywhere. 

Although beach sand feels great between your toes, you may not enjoy it in your bed, food, and other places. But, with some great organization and forethought, you can keep the bulk of the sand out and enjoy your camping experience on the beach.

person biking at sunset along California coast.
The California Coast is sure to be a stunning camping adventure.

11 Best Campgrounds on the California Coast

You may love camping close to a beach, but you’ll want to find the right campground to really enjoy your time. Follow us as we review 11 of the best campgrounds on the California Coast. Let’s get started.

Beach at sunset along California Coast.
Camp close to the beach while exploring the California Coast.

 1. Mendocino Grove

Google Maps Address: 9500, 9601 CA-1, Mendocino, CA 95460

Amenities: Mendocino Grove supplies tents with all the bedding and has shower services with towels and toiletries. 

Pet-Friendly: Pets are allowed with a $25 nightly fee. It has a dog park and dog-friendly beaches within a mile or two of Mendocino Grove. 

Why You’ll Love It: Mendocino Grove is the epitome of glamping. This campground on the California Coast supplies a tent and access to warm showers and a commons area with beverages served all day. There is also a central courtyard where you can play yard games, such as bocce ball or horseshoes, and access to nature trails. And the view of the sunset on the beach from the nearby overlook is awe-inspiring. 

Morton Road Trip Rating: 9.5/10

First Time Going Glamping | Mendocino Grove

2. Sunset State Beach

Google Maps Address: Sunset Beach Rd, Watsonville, CA 95076

Amenities: There are no RV hookups for this campground. 

Pet-Friendly: You can bring pets, but you can’t leave them in the campground unattended. You also have to keep them on a 6 ft. maximum leash. 

Why You’ll Love It: The Sunset State Beach has numerous family campsites settled amongst the dunes on the coast. Each site can host RVs measuring up to 31’. So, while staying in this campground on the California Coast, you can enjoy the nearby Sunset Beach and Monterey Bay, picnicking, and fishing. 

Morton Road Trip Rating: 8/10

Sunset State Beach, California Campsite Photos

3. Steep Ravine Campground and Cabins 

Google Maps Address: Rocky Point Rd, Stinson Beach, CA 94970

Amenities: The Steep Ravine Campground and Cabins has potable water, picnic tables, fire pits, food lockers, and toilets.

Pet-Friendly: No pets are allowed at Steep Ravine.

Why You’ll Love It: You’ll find Steep Ravine campground and cabins located in Mt. Tamalpais State Park. Each site has breathtaking views of the beach.

You have access to multiple activities around both areas. You can go hiking, biking, and horseback riding, and enjoy the local wildlife. Plus, a trip to the beach is nearby. So, whatever you choose, you can find a fantastic adventure waiting. 

Morton Road Trip Rating: 9.7/10

Steep Ravine Cabins

Pro Tip: As you head down the coast towards the south of CA, check out these amazing Southern California RV Adventures.

Man exploring cove in California.
Trade in your RV for some luxurious glamping while exploring California.

4. Paradise By The Sea Beach RV Resort, Oceanside, CA

Google Maps Address: 1537 S Coast Hwy, Oceanside, CA 92054

Amenities: Paradise By The Sea is located just a short paved, level walk to the beach out the back gate of the park. Downtown Oceanside and the pier are just a mile down the way.

The park offers 50 amp pull-thru RV park sites and a resort-style pool and hot tub. Free HD cable TV & Wi-Fi are also available.

This campground caters to surfers, with warm rinse-off showers on-site at the campground. They also rent surfboards, bikes, and kayaks if you don’t have them yourselves.

Pet-Friendly: Dogs are an additional $2/day per dog. Doggie waste bags, as well as waste receptacles, are provided at just two Pet Stop areas, and in Buccaneer Park. Buccaneer Park has a large 2-acre grass field for your pet to exercise on. Numerous dog breeds are restricted for insurance reasons, and no dog can be left alone inside or outside your RV.

Why You’ll Love It: Proximity to the beach is the defining feature of this RV resort. While a bit more expensive than other parks in the area, Southern California’s demand and the amenities make up for it.

Morton Road Trip Rating:  9.1/10

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

5. Half Moon Bay State Beach

Google Maps Address: 95 Kelly Ave, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

Amenities: Some of the sites at Half Moon Bay State Beach have electrical hookups but no water or sewer hookups. However, you can use the dump station with a $10 fee and a water filling station within the campground. It also has coin-operated showers, with a run time of two minutes per quarter. 

Pet-Friendly: Dogs are allowed within the campground and picnic areas with a leash but are banned from all beaches.

Why You’ll Love It: This campground on the California coast consists of four miles of sandy beaches close to the campground and not overcrowded. You can visit the Half Moon Bay State Beach Visitors Center on Saturdays and Sundays. 

Morton Road Trip Rating: 9.6/10

Half Moon Bay campground

6. Wright’s Beach Campground 

Google Maps Address: 7095 CA-1, Bodega Bay, CA 94923

Amenities: Wright’s Beach Campground has fire pits, picnic tables, food lockers, vault toilets, and access to drinking water. It doesn’t have any RV hookups. 

Pet-Friendly: You can bring dogs as long as you keep them on a leash and don’t leave them unattended. They also must be in your tent or RV between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Dogs are also not allowed on most trails.

Why You’ll Love It: You’ll find Wright’s Beach campground in Sonoma State Park, halfway between Bodega Bay and Jenner, California. Campers have direct access to Wright’s Beach and can also access other beaches using Kortum Trail.

Visitors can explore the coast, watch for birds and other wildlife, and even hang glide. But be warned — the ocean off of Wright’s Beach is too dangerous for wading or swimming. 

Morton Road Trip Rating: 9.3/10

Wrights Beach, California S3E17 | Grand Adventure to Baja Sur - Roam Free

7. Mission Bay RV Resort 

Google Maps Address: 2727 De Anza Rd, San Diego, CA 92109

Amenities: The resort offers showers, restrooms, laundry services, and full RV hookups. RV campsites also have concrete pads. 

Pet-Friendly: Pets are allowed at Mission Bay, but there are many regulations on what animals or breeds are allowed at the resort. 

Why You’ll Love It: Mission Bay has impressive views of San Diego’s De Anza Cove. While enjoying this campground on the California coast, guests can play on the sandy beaches or wade through the pacific coast. Guests can also visit Campland nearby, which has numerous activities for the whole family.

Morton Road Trip Rating: 8.2/10

MISSION BAY RV RESORT

Pro Tip: From beach camping to RV dwelling, these are 15 Types of Camping To Try!

California beach with pier at sunrise.
Enjoy some sun and sand while camping along the California Coast.

8. New Brighton State Beach 

Google Maps Address: 1500 Park Ave, Capitola, CA 95010

Amenities: Eleven out of the 100 campsites have access to electrical hookups. It has water and sanitation services available, but the dump station has a $10 fee. 

Pet-Friendly: Dogs must be on a leash, no longer than 6 ft, and can’t be left alone. You must also take them inside a tent or RV between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Why You’ll Love It: New Brighton State Beach provides awe-inspiring views of Monterey Bay. And, the beaches near New Brighton are perfect for playing in the sand, fishing, beachcombing, and swimming in the summer months.

Campers can also go hiking and visit the Pacific Migration Visitor Center, located in the campground, where you can learn more about the human and animal populations found around the Pacific Rim. 

Morton Road Trip Rating: 8.7/10

New Brighton State Beach Campground, Beach path from day use adjacent to site 90.

9. Kirk Creek Campground 

Google Maps Address: CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920

Amenities: Every site has a picnic table, fire ring, and grill. Trash collection services, with bins scattered throughout the campground and vault toilets, are also provided. However, there are no RV hookups.

Pet-Friendly: Kirk Creek allows pets on a leash, but they must not be left unattended. 

Why You’ll Love It: Located near Los Padres National Forest, Kirk Creek campground is the perfect location for visiting both the forest and nearby oceans.

Campers can see the rocky beach a short walk away or drive to Sand Dollar Beach, one of the largest sandy beaches near Big Sur. You can fish, swim, sunbathe, and more. Or you can take one of the many nearby trails into the forest.  

Morton Road Trip Rating: 9.2/10

Drive Thru Kirk Creek Campground, Big Sur, CA

10. San Clemente State Beach 

Google Maps Address: 225 Avenida Calafia, San Clemente, CA 92672

Amenities: Each site has a picnic table and fire pit, and the RV campsites have full hookups. 

Pet-Friendly: Dogs are allowed, except for on the trails or beaches. 

Why You’ll Love It: San Clemente State Beach has so much to offer visitors. One can fish or sight-see from the San Clemente Pier, enjoy the Calafia Beach, hike the San Clemente Beach Trail, and surf at sites like T Street and Toad.

The visitors center also has a Junior Ranger and Ranger Buddies program for families with children. 

Morton Road Trip Rating: 9.0/10

San Clemente State Park Campground

11. Doheny State Beach 

Google Maps Address: 25300 Dana Point Harbor Dr, Dana Point, CA 92629

Amenities: Doheny is a dry campground and does not have hookups. However, RVs have access to water and sewage services. 

Pet-Friendly: Dogs are allowed on leashes, must be attended at all times, and must be in a tent or RV at night. They are also not allowed on the beaches.  

Why You’ll Love It: Doheny is a beautiful campground on the California Coast. In fact, Doheny beach is a frequent site for whales. You can enjoy the whale walk that has life-size paintings of the types you might see. You can also visit the local aquarium. Additionally, every June, you can attend the annual Doheny Surf and Art Festival.  

Morton Road Trip Rating: 8.0/10

Doheny State Beach

Enjoy the Campgrounds on the California Coast

Campgrounds on the California Coast are some of the best in the state. And who doesn’t love camping near the beach? Whether you prefer tents, RVs, or cozy cottages, you can find a nice spot perfect for your style.

So, when planning your next adventure, consider any of these 11 campgrounds and enjoy your trip. 

What California Coast campground would you like to stay at? Drop a comment below!

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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 Hwy.co and an Arizona travel guide.

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