Buckle up for a coastal road trip and explore beach camping in California. There are so many amazing places to pitch your tent or park your RV. Whether you’re looking for a secluded beachside spot near the redwoods, or a surfer’s paradise near the city, there’s a spot for you.
For many California Campgrounds, you can make a reservation at Recreation.gov. You can also search for additional camping destinations on public land at the website for the Bureau Of Land Management and other State Park Camping reservations can be made at Reserve California.
Redwood State & National Parks have many campgrounds, however the two primary beach camping destinations are Flint Ridge and Gold Bluffs Beach.
Flint Ridge Camp: Located on a wooded ridge near the ocean with bluff top views. This is a backcountry campsite in Redwood National Park. Vault toilets, fire rings.
Gold Bluffs Beach Campground: Located in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park with water, flush toilets, fire rings, free showers. Year Round. Features access to a secluded beach.
Lost Coast Camp Sites
The Lost Coast of California is a natural and undeveloped stretch of coast in Humboldt & Mendocino Counties with limited access. There also isn’t much information about access, fees, etc. If you are up for researching them and hiking in to primitive beach camping, you can find a few here including:
Punta Gorda & Sea Lion Gulch
Cooskie Creek Limited access and high tides
Spanish Flats & Spanish Creek
Big Flat Creek Camp
Shipman Creek Campsite
Location: Park Road, Trinidad, CA 95570
Features: 25 first come first serve campsites with coin-op showers and on site camp host. Restrooms, beach and lagoon access.
Sue-meg State Park has 3 family campgrounds and two group campgrounds on the headlands with beach access, hiking trails, and a visitor center.
Location: 4150 Patrick’s Point Dr., Trinidad, CA 95570
Features: Abalone Campground, Agate Beach Campground, Penn Creek Campground. 120 camp sites. Water, restrooms, showers, fire pits.
Location: Briceland Thorn Road, Whitethorn, CA 95589
Features: There are a number of campsites in Sinkyone Wilderness. All are primitive and first come, first serve. Bring your own water. Pit toilets (no toilet paper provided) and fire rings. Campgrounds here are Usal Beach Campground, Jones Beach, Streamside Camp, Needle Rock, Bear Harbor, Orchard, Railroad, Wheeler, Little Jackass Creek, and Anderson. Usal Beach is the only drive-in site, all others are trail camps.
Location: Located 19 miles north of Fort Bragg on Highway 1 and 2 miles north of Westport
Features: 86 primitive campsites that are first come first serve only. Restrooms are available. Campers can enjoy this bluff-top campground overlooking the ocean and three miles of rugged coastline. Enjoy beach access, fishing, boating, hiking trails, and more.
Location: 37700 CA-1, Westport, CA 95488
Features: Campsites on the sand, along the creek, or on grassy sites overlooking the beach. RV sites, tent sites, plus cabins and cottages available to book. Full hookups, camp store, showers, playground, and private beach.
Location: 24100 MacKerricher Park Road, Fort Bragg, CA 95437
Features: 4 campgrounds with over 140 sites: West Pinewood Campground, East Pinewood Campground, Cleone Campground, Surfwood Campground. Family and group sites available. Tent and RV access and dump station. Restrooms, showers, drinking water, on site camp host, visitor center, lake, beach access, seal watching point.
Location: Along Highway 1 in Mendocino, CA
Features: Tent and RV campsites, visitor center, on-site camp host, fire rings, showers and flush toilets, dump station, beach access, hiking and biking, day use areas. Camp sites can be reserved.
Location: 44300 Kinney Road, Manchester, CA 95459
Features: Just a short walk to the beaches of Manchester State Park, campers have access to all the beach activities they enjoy, and the amenities of a KOA. Cabins, tent sites, RV sites with hookups. Full restrooms and showers, camp store, camp hosts, pool, hot tub, games and planned activities, and more.
Location: 44500 Kinney Lane, Manchester, CA 95459
Features: 40 family campsites, tents and RV access, group site, vault toilets, water, dump station, beach and wetlands, hiking trails. Campsites are first come first serve.
Location: 35400 CA-1, Gualala, CA 95445
Features: Privately owned 6-acre campground on the ocean in a narrow gulch with redwoods and ferns. The perfect forest-meets beach campground. Spots have water, picnic tables, and fire pits. Some with electricity and sewer. Campground includes restrooms with flush toilets, coin-op showers, and hot water. Camping, fishing, beach activities. Anchor Bay Village has groceries and dining.
Location: 42401 Coast Highway 1, Gualala, CA 95445
Features: Located in the redwoods on east side of Hwy 1 next to the river with a short walk to the coastal bluffs and the beach. 19 sites for tents, trailers, RVs. Reservations required. No hookups. Camp host, flush toilets, showers, dump station. Trail access for hiking, whale watching overlook, beach activities, fishing, biking.
Location: 25050 Highway 1, Jenner, CA 95450
Features: Gerstle Cove Campground is the coastal bluff campground nearest the beach with 30 family campsites. An additional campground is on the east side of Hwy 1 with 79 sites. Reservations recommended. Fire rings, drinking water, restrooms (no showers), open to tents and RVs. No dump station. Tide pooling, beach activities, hiking, horseback riding, diving, whale watching.
Location: 23125 Coast Hwy 1, Jenner, CA 95450
Features: Bluff top camping on private land open to tents and RVs, oceanfront sites or wooded areas, over 100 sites, sheltered beach cove, boat launch, fire pits, hot showers, pit toilets, camp store, hiking, beach activities, and more.
Location: 3095 Highway 1, Bodega Bay, CA 94923
Features: Campgrounds include Bodega Dunes, Wright’s Beach, and Willow Creek Environmental Campground. Over 100 campsites. Tents and RVs. Dump station, restrooms, hot showers at Bodega Dunes, beach access, camp host, equestrian trails, hiking, boat launch, and more.
Location: 201 Doran Beach Road, Bodega Bay, CA 94923
Features: Over 120 tent and RV campsites available by reservation. Two miles of beach on Bodega Bay, water sports and activities, boat launch, fishing, trails, and more. No hookups. Potable water available, fire rings, flush toilets, coin-op showers, dump station.
Location: 2400 Westshore Road, Bodega Bay, CA 94923
Features: 46 tent and RV sites on Bodega Harbor, reservations required, no hookups. Boat launch, beach access, fishing, potable water, flush toilets, coin-op showers, dump station.
Location: 137 Marine View Dr., Dillon Beach, CA 94929
Features: Fishing and boating resort and campground on Tomales Bay. Tent and RV sites, reservations required. Water available, picnic tables and fire rings. Portable toilets, no hookups. Two dump stations. Boathouse with store. Beach access, sports, fishing.
Location: 1 Bear Valley Road, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956
Coast Campground: Hike-in or Bike-in Only, 14 tent sites, horses ok, beach access, pit toilets
Marshall Beach: Boat-in or kayak-in only, no hike-in camping. Permit required.
Tomales Beach Campground: Boat-In Only
Wildcat Campground: Access by foot, bike, or horse. Tents only, 8 sites. Pit toilets, beach access
Other campgrounds available farther away from the beach
Located in Point Reyes’s Tomales Bay, there are a number of campgrounds available by reservation and require permits. All are hike in, bike in, boat in, or via horse. The three campgrounds above have close beach access. Thise who stay at Wildcat, should make the hike to Alamere Falls.
Location: 801 Panoramic Highway. Mill Valley, CA 94941
Features: For on-beach camping, Rocky Point/Steep Ravine Environmental Campground has 7 primitive sites and 9 cabins. Water and restrooms are available and reservations are required. There are additional campgrounds within Mt. Tam but they are farther inland.
Location: Tiburon, CA 94920
Features: There are 4 environmental campsites with water and pit toilets: East Bay Sites, Ridge Sites, Sunrise Sites, and Kayak Camp. Sites are hike-in, and gear must be packed in and out. Wood fires are not allowed — must use camp stoves.
Location: Marin Headlands, Sausalito, CA 94965
Features: Closest campgrounds to the water here are Bicentennial and Kirby Cove. Hawk and Haypress are farther away. Bicentennial: 3 walk in sites, tent only, pit toilets. Kirby Cove: 1 group site, 5 tent sites, reservation only, pit toilets.
Location: 95 Kelly Avenue, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
Features: Francis Beach Campground has 52 campsites for tents, trailers, and RVs, dump station, coin-op showers, restrooms, camp host, hiking trails, water, visitor center. Beautiful 4-mile stretch of beach to explore. Reservations recommended.
Location: 2001 Rossi Road, Pescadero, CA 94060
Features: Located just across the highway from the beach, this KOA offers easy access to coastal activities, with all the amenities of a KOA resort. Tents, trailers, RVs, and cabins, hiking, biking, planned activities, horseback riding, general store, spa, restaurant, and more.
Location: 1500 Park Ave., Capitola, CA 95010
Features: Over 100 developed sites, 11 RV hookup sites, Pacific Migrations Visitor Center, hiking trails, pocket beach perfect for swimming, kayaking, surf fishing, etc. with additional access to main beach. Fire rings, potable water, restrooms and showers, camp host.
Location: 201 State Park Drive, Aptos, CA 95003
Features: 26 full hookup sites, 38 non hookup sites, 2 miles of shoreline, visitor center, fishing pier, restrooms, showers, swimming, camp host, hiking and biking trails.
Location: 205 Manresa Beach Road, La Selva Beach, CA 95076
Features: Tent only camping, over 60 sites, with trail to beach access, restrooms, pay showers, camp host, fishing, hiking trails.
Location: 201 Sunset Beach Road, Watsonville, CA 95076
Features: 90 campsites overlooking the beach, sand dunes, beach access, camp host, pay showers, restrooms, trails, viewpoints, dump station, glider port for remote control gliders, and fishing.
Location: 7905 Sandholt Rd., Moss Landing, CA 95039
Features: Set on Monterey Bay in the fishing village of Moss Landing. Nature tours through Elkhorn Slough, beach access, water sports and activities, hiking, kayaking, whale watching, KampStore. This KOA is only open to fully contained RVs. Sites are paved with full hookups.
Location: 45500 Highway 1, Big Sur, CA 93920
Features: Molera State Park features a trail camp campground, with 22 standard tent sites and 2 hike and bike campsites. Sites are next to Big Sur River just a short walk to the beach access area. Reservations available and fill up quickly. All sites are walk in, about 1/4 mile from day use parking area. Hiking trails, beach use, historic site, visitor center, and more. Camp host, restrooms.
Location: Hwy 1, Big Sur, CA 93920
Features: 2 environmental campsites on bluff above McWay Falls. Pit toilets, no vehicle access, hike-in only, hiking trails, observation deck, picnic tables, fire rings.
Location: 63025 Highway 1, Big Sur, CA 93920
Features: Developed campsites in the trees just above the beach near the creek, plus several on-beach ocean view campsites. Hot pay showers, restrooms, camp host, historic sites, hiking trails, waterfall, beach access, picnicking, water available.
Location: 64955 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920
Features: Oceanside campground with views of the water, single family sites for tents and RVs, no hookups, vault toilets, campfire rings with grills, walk to the beach, hiking trails.
Location: 500 San Simeon Creek Road, Cambria, CA 93428
Features: San Simeon Creek Campground has over 130 tent and RV sites. Fire rings, picnic tables, flush toilets/pit toilets, pay showers, RV sanitation station, picnicking, hiking, fishing, beach access and activities, whale watching. No hookups. An additional campground is located 1 mile inland, Washburn Campground. Much to explore at Hearst San Simeon State Park.
Location: Yerba Buena and Highway 1, Morro Bay, CA 93442
Features: Beach camping with views of Morro Rock, over 70 tent and RV sites with hookups, fire rings, restrooms, beach activities, picnicking, tide pooling, fishing.
Location: 1700 Embarcadero, Morro Bay, CA 93442
Features: 170 sites for tents and RVs, full and partial hookups, dump stations, office and store, restrooms with flush toilets, laundry, beachfront camping with access to long stretch of beach, views of Morro Rock, right in community with access to shops, dining, etc.
Location: State Park Road, Morro Bay, CA 93442
Features: Over 140 sites for tents, RVs, and groups. Fire rings, picnic tables, water, flush toilets, pay showers, dump station, hiking, picnicking, fishing, kayaking, bay access and beach activities, interpretive programs, located near the town for shopping, dining, etc. Cross the bay or a short drive to get to main beach area.
Location: 3550 Pecho Valley Road, Los Osos, CA 93402
Features: Islay Creek Campground is the main camp area with 47 primitive sites for tents and RVs. Fire rings, picnic tables, water and toilets. There is also Hazard Canyon Horse Camp with 4 sites, and 4 environmental hike-in camp sites. No hookups, no dump station, no showers. Beach access and activities, hiking trails, historic site, interpretive exhibits, fishing, family programs. Named for annual bloom of golden wildflowers.
Location: 399 S. Dolliver St., Pismo Beach, CA 93449
Features: North Beach Campground is an open, grassy beachside campground with easy access to the beach via footpath. Over 100 tent and RV sites, camp host, restrooms, dump station, showers, picnic tables, fire rings, no hookups, trail access to Monarch Butterfly Grove, and other hiking trails, beach activities. Oceano Campground has similar amenities but is farther south with access to the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Area, lagoon area, shopping, dining, etc.
Location: 9999 Jalama Rd., Lompoc, CA 93436
Features: Campground with over 100 sites for tents, RVs with hookups, cabins, group areas. Beachfront campground with beach access and activities, camp store and restaurant, restrooms, hot showers, playground, whale watching, fishing, etc. Reservations recommended. 12 first come first serve sites available. This is a great destination if you’re looking to get away from the city.
Location: 10 Refugio Beach Rd., Goleta, CA 93117
Features: 41 beachfront developed campsites for tents, trailers, and RVs. Restrooms, showers, fire rings, picnic tables, boat launch, fishing, hiking trails, hot springs, beach access with beach activities.
Location: 10 Refugio Beach Road, Goleta, CA 93117
Features: Beachfront campground with 66 family sites and 3 group sites. No hookups. Beach access for beach activities, hiking trails, kayaking, creek, restrooms, showers, camp store.
Location: El Capitan State Beach Exit #117, Goleta, CA 93117
Features: Located a short walk from the beach, there are 130+ family campsites and 5 group camp areas. Picnic tables, fire rings with a grill, restrooms, hot showers, tents and RVs, hiking trails, beach access and beach activities, seasonal stream, camp store.
Location: 205 Palm Ave., Carpinteria, CA 93013
Features: Beachfront camping with multiple loops for tents and RVs, some hookups available. Group sites available. Camp host, picnic area, tide pool area, play area, ranger station, restrooms, dump station, showers, trails, beach access and beach activities, fire rings, picnic tables, visitor center, family programs, fishing.
Location: 4668 Pacific Coast Highway, Ventura, CA 93001
Features: RV Camping only, portable toilets, 127 sites, beachfront camping, beach access and beach activities. No hookups or dump stations, no water and no full restrooms.
Location: Highway 101, Ventura, CA 93001
Features: North Beach Campground is a Beachfront campground with 90 campsites for fully self-contained vehicles only. No tents permitted. Primitive sites only. No water, no hookups, no fire rings, no dump station. Beach access with beach activities. Nature trails, camp host, picnic area.
Location: 2211 Harbor Blvd., Oxnard, CA 93035
Features: Large beachfront campground just 400 yards from the beach with over 150 sites for families and groups. RV dump station, restrooms, camp host, showers, drinking water, beach access and beach activities, family programs.
Location: 9000 W. Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265
Features: Sycamore Canyon Campground is on the east side of Hwy 1 with easy access to the beach at Sycamore Cove below. Over 50 campsites for tents or RVs. Restrooms, showers, picnic area, dump station, camp host, beach access and beach activities, hiking trails, nature center, fire rings, water supply, fishing.
Location: 35000 W Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265
Features: Canyon Campground is on the east side of Hwy 1 with easy access to the beach both by car or by foot. Over 130 sites for tents and RVs. Camp host, group camping, nature trails, nature center, restrooms, dump station, showers, camp store, hiking, beach activities, fishing, diving, surfing, tide pools, family programs, and more.
Location: 12001 Vista Del Mar, Playa Del Rey, CA 90293
Features: RV camping only, 118 sites, full hookups, restrooms, showers, beach access and beach activities, fishing, bike path, picnic tables, barbecues, bonfire pits on the sand, this is a beachfront camping location just steps from the sand.
Campground amenities on Catalina Island vary by destination. Many are primitive and only accessible by boat, kayak, or foot. Some cabins are available for rental at Two Harbors. Campgrounds on the beach in Catalina Island include:
Parson’s Landing – Secluded beach campground, 8 primitive sites, accessible only by hike-in or kayak
Two Harbors Campground – Blufftop camping overlooking the ocean. Tent camping, tent cabins
Brisa Del Mar Campground – Deluxe family camping site on the beach
Bahia Azul – Secluded family camp with semi private beach near Two Harbors Campground
Little Harbor/Shark Harbor – Beachfront campground on remote backside of island
Ripper’s Cove – Boat-In primitive campsites
Paradise Cove – Boat-In primitive campsite, up to six people
Lava Wall – Boat-In primitive campsites on 1/4 mile long beach
Gibraltar – Boat-In, 2 primitive campsites with sea caves
Cabrillo – Boat-In, 4 primitive campsites
Goat Harbor – Boat-In, 3 primitive sites, great spot for diving
Italian Gardens – Boat-In, 4 primitive campsites, good for swimming, snorkeling, diving
Long Point Beach – Boat-In, 2 primitive sites
Willow Cove – Boat-In, 1 primitive campsite
Location: 17851 Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Features: RV Camping only. Over 50 beachfront RV campsites just steps from the sand. Beach path, beach activities, bonfire rings on beach, camp host, restrooms, showers, dump station, concession stand, fishing, biking, surfing, hiking trails at Bolsa Chica Wetlands.
Location: 8471 N. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Features: Set on the bluffs overlooking Crystal Cove State Beach with access to day use area and beach. 57 total sites, some RV only sites. Some with hookups, some without. Restrooms and showers available. Beach activities, hiking trails, historic district, camp host, picnic area, dump station.
Location: 25300 Dana Point Harbor Drive, Dana Point, CA 92629
Features: Beachfront camping at Doheny is just steps from the sand and a mile of sandy beach. 113 campsites, fire rings, picnic tables, restrooms, hot showers, group camp, tide pools, swimming, paddle boarding, day use picnic area, visitor center, aquarium, snack bar and rentals, dump station, beach boardwalk.
Location: 225 Avenida Califia, San Clemente, CA 92672
Features: Bluff top Tent and RV camping, hookups, firepits, tables, nearby water, group camps, restrooms, showers, dump station, picnic area, multi-use trail, interpretive programs, visitor center, trail to beach, beach access and activities, surf fishing, grunion runs.
San Mateo Campground: 830 Cristianitos Road, San Clemente, CA 92672
San Onofre Bluffs Campground: 5200 S. Pacific Coast Hwy., San Clemente, CA 92672
San Onofre Bluffs is on the bluffs overlooking the beach with beach access, fire pits, picnic tables, cold outdoor showers, chemical toilets, RV dump station, no hookups.
San Mateo is farther inland with a 1.5-mile trail leading to Trestles Beach. RV hookup sites available, dump station, hot indoor showers, flush toilets.
Location: 7201 Carlsbad Blvd., Carlsbad, CA 92008
Features: 220 campsites, tents and RVs, bluff top campground, restrooms, camp host, laundry, dump station, camp store and restaurant, water, hookups, group camping, bike trails, visitor center, fishing, diving, beach access and beach activities, family programs.
Location: 2050 South Coast Hwy 101, Cardiff, CA 92007
Features: Blufftop campground with stairs down to the beach, reservations required, 171 campsites, tent and RV, fire rings, hookups, camp host, restrooms, laundry, camp store, water, dump station, beach activities, visitor center, diving, fishing.
Location: 2211 Pacific Beach Dr., San Diego, CA 92109
Features: RVs, tents, groups, boaters, over 500 sites, with and without hookups, sites along the shores of Mission Bay with plenty of beach access and activities, live entertainment, planned activities, game room, dog park, restaurant and bar, swimming pools, watersports, boat launch, playground, skate park, camp store, showers and restrooms, laundromat, dump stations, propane, and more.
Location: 825 E Street, Chula Vista, CA 91910
Features: RV sites and vacation cottage rentals, beachside on San Diego Bay. Games, swimming pool, Discovery Center, multi-use path, cafe, splash pad, events and activities, market, laundry, arcade, fitness center, RV sites with hookups, fully furnished cottages.
Location: 5000 Highway 75, Coronado, CA 92118
Features: RV and trailer camping only. No car camping or tent camping. Dump station, outdoor showers, restrooms, fire rings, camp host, beachfront camping, hiking and biking trails, picnic areas, family programs, fishing, beach activities.
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Heidi Deal is the author of the Newcomers Handbook to Living In Los Angeles & Orange County, and a children’s book author specializing in history and human rights.