Where to go Beach Camping in California
We have every California beach campground covered on our site. Many are right on the beach so watching the sunset before heading back to your camp spot is easy. While few allow pitching a tent right on the sand, these beachside campgrounds still offer an outdoors experience with the benefits of beach walks and the sound of waves throughout the evening.
Which beach camping spot is the best?
There are so many and they are diverse. Of course it depends on your desired setting and activities so a “best list” is difficult. Some that stand out include:
Southern California: Crystal Cove, Leo Carrillo, Sycamore Canyon
Central California: El Capitan, Jalama, Spooner’s Cove, Andrew Molera
Northern California: Kirby Cove, Wrights, Mattole (remote), Patricks Point
All the beach campgrounds are listed below!
Which ones are the worst?
If you are a tent camper then some of the “RV-only” campgrounds in Southern California like Silver Strand State Beach won’t work at all. Even if RV camping is your thing, the large paved lots that offer little seclusion are a downer too. Having amenities like hiking paths in addition to the beaches themselves helps. You’ll need to look at the list below for options near your home or vacation spot to determine which camping spot is best for your needs.
No matter where you plan to go, contact the state park, private owner, or manager to see if they offer reservations. Most do and it’s important to reserve spots ahead of time. On every one of our beach pages, we link to the owner for more info and for reservations. Most of the state beach campgrounds can be reserved through ReserveCalifornia.
Other options for beach camping in California
Catalina Island – Going to Catalina and want to camp instead of hotelling it? See our list of Catalina Island beach camping spots. Most are boat-in spots, but there is one near Avalon and one near Two Harbors that have easy access and are great for families.
Tomales Bay – In addition to the boat-in spots on Catalina, there are many beach camp spots for kayakers on Tomales Bay in Marin County.
Point Reyes – There are campgrounds near the beaches of Point Reyes National Seashore, but they are all hike-in spots. With a good weather forecast these wilderness camps would be worth the effort as they have access to stunning remote beaches.
San Francisco Bay – Angel Island on San Francisco Bay has several campgrounds and most are not a long walk to either of two modest beaches.
Channel Islands – For those who are even more adventurous, there are campgrounds on the Channel Islands and some are close to the beach.
The Beach Camping List
Below you’ll find ALL of the beaches with camping options listed from south to north.