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Camping at the beach is in high demand in the San Francisco Bay Area and all of Northern California during the summer months. Since these beachside camp spots are so coveted, you’ll want to be proactive and book them well in advance. Many of these camping areas allow spots to be reserved online months before your trip. See the map above and the list of beaches below that you can camp at.

Kirby Cove with the bridge in the background

The closest beach camping options to San Francisco are Kirby Cove below the Golden Gate Bridge on the Marin County side, China Camp on San Pablo Bay, Steep Ravine Camp below Mount Tam, and Francis Beach in Half Moon Bay State Beach. Each is unique both in the camping experience and the type of beach adjacent to camp. Other beach campgrounds can be found between Bodega Bay and the Santa Cruz area (see map).

Point Reyes National Seashore has a couple wilderness camps right next to the sand of Santa Maria Beach and Wildcat Beach. The only challenge is that you’ll need to carry all your gear in. For backpackers, these two spots should rank highest.

Tomales Bay camping areas are mostly boat-in only. This means that you can only get there by boat or kayak. Two have toilets, Tomales Beach and Marshall Beach, but the others are completely carry in and carry out. At all of these boat-in camp spots you’ll need to bring your own water. If you want to drive to a Tomales Bay campground, then Lawson’s Landing is your only choice.

Doran Beach Campground on Bodega Bay

Beaches on this map

  • Kirby Cove Beach

    Kirby Cove Beach is at the base of the Marin Headlands north of the entrance to San Francisco Bay. The view from the beach is stunning with the city of […]

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  • Steep Ravine Beach

    Steep Ravine Beach is a small secluded beach at the bottom of a steep canyon below Highway 1 south of Stinson Beach, CA. This is a rocky beach with drift […]

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  • Angel Island State Park – Perles Beach

    Perles Beach is on the west side of Angel Island State Park on San Francisco Bay near Tiburon. It’s hidden away below the main loop road near the Camp Reynolds […]

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  • Angel Island State Park – Quarry Beach

    Quarry Beach is located on the east side of Angel Island State Park on San Francisco Bay near Tiburon. This narrow sandy beach is near Fort McDowell about a 1/3 […]

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  • China Camp State Park Beach

    China Camp State Park is a large state park on San Pablo Bay north of San Francisco. China Camp Beach is located at China Camp Village just off North San Pedro […]

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  • Francis Beach – Half Moon Bay State Beach

    Francis Beach is the southernmost beach in Half Moon Bay State Beach. Francis Beach has a nice grassy park with many of picnic tables and barbecues on the bluff above […]

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  • Waddell Creek Beach

    Waddell Creek Beach is the northernmost beach in Santa Cruz County. This wide sandy beach is part of Big Basin Redwoods State Park, the oldest and one of the largest […]

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  • Lawson’s Landing Beach

    Lawson’s Landing is a privately-owned campground and resort on a wide sandy beach known as Sand Point at the entrance to Tomales Bay. The resort caters to tent and RV […]

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  • Doran Beach

    Doran Beach in Doran Regional Park is located along the spit at the entrance to Bodega Harbor from Bodega Bay. Doran Spit is a great place to view the bay, […]

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  • New Brighton State Beach

    New Brighton State Beach is a wide sandy beach at the north end of Monterey Bay. This state park has a large hillside campground in a wooded area surrounded by […]

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  • Seacliff State Beach

    Seacliff State Beach is a long sandy beach on the waterfront of Aptos, CA. This is a great place for sunbathing or walking the sandy shores of Monterey Bay in […]

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  • Wildcat Beach

    Wildcat Beach is a long west-facing beach backed by steep bluffs along the Point Reyes National Seashore. It requires a hike of over five miles to get here, but Wildcat […]

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  • Santa Maria Beach

    Santa Maria Beach is a remote beach on Drakes Bay in Point Reyes National Seashore. The beach lies below a wilderness tent camping area up on the bluff called Coast […]

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  • Tomales Beach

    Tomales Beach is a boat-in campground on Tomales Bay in Point Reyes National Seashore. An outhouse is provided at the beach so if you are boating and wish to camp […]

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  • Marshall Beach

    Marshall Beach is on Tomales Bay in the northern part of Point Reyes National Seashore. Access to Marshall Beach is either by water or by trail. Visitors frequently boat-in to […]

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