While the idea of camping at one of California’s numerous beaches may seem like an easy thing to do, especially since the state boasts more than eight hundred miles of coastline, but finding the perfect beach for camping is easier said than done. While part of this coastline is rocky, protected, or includes steep cliffs, there are fortunately many beaches that do offer camping, whether campers are looking for a waterfront campground, a pet-friendly camping site, or a family-friendly campground. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Carpinteria State Beach Campground
The Carpinteria State Beach features a mile long stretch of coastline for camping, tidepool exploring, surf fishing, and swimming. While dogs aren’t permitted on the beach itself, there is a picnic area where they are allowed. Carpinteria State Beach also offers four different campgrounds for overnight visitors: the Anacapa Campground, the Santa Cruz Campground, the Santa Rosa Campground, and the San Miguel Campground. Santa Rosa is for only trailers and RVs, with all sites including full-hookups, as well as the majority of San Miguel. Anacapa and Santa Cruz can be used for trailer, RV, and tent camping.
205 Palm Ave, Carpinteria, CA 93013, Phone: 805-684-2811
2.Caspar Beach RV Park & Campground
The Caspar Beach RV Park and Campground, located just outside of the Mendocino village, is an ideal place for experiencing the lost harbor, offering a picturesque and pet-friendly RV park and campground. The friendly, fun, and clean atmosphere provides a place where people of all ages can have an delightful RV or tent camping experience. A variety of activities are available as well, including an arcade, kite flying, boogie boarding, bike riding, and more. The on-site store sells batteries, warm clothing, fishing and diving gear, pet toys and food, and several other supplies guests may need during their stay.
14441 Point Cabrillo Dr, Mendocino, CA 95460, Phone: 707-964-3306
3.Crystal Cove State Park Moro Campground
The Crystal Cove State Park and Moro Campground features deeply wooded ridges and canyons, gentle sloping hills, tidepools, sandy beaches, and rolling surf, all of which provide an enjoyable contrast to the park’s urban surroundings. Situated off the famed Pacific Coast Highway, between Laguna Beach and Corona del Mar, Crystal Cove State Park is one of the largest remaining examples of natural seashore and open space in California’s Orange County. The Moro Campground, situated by along the bluffs, consists of fifty-seven terrace sites along the coast for both RV and tent camping, and access to several recreation activities.
8471 North Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, Phone: 949-494-3539
4.Doheny State Beach
The Doheny State Beach is a great camping beach in California for both first-time campers and experienced camping enthusiasts alike, including other recreation activities. The campsites here are beach level, including premium campsites that face the ocean. The downside, however, is some of these sites can flood from the waves of very high tides. The majority of the sites at Doheny State Beach accommodate both RVs and tents, but there are a handful of them limited to only trailers and RVs. While there are no hookups available at the sites, the campground does offer coin-operated hot showers and clean restrooms.
25300 Dana Point Harbor Drive, Dana Point, CA 92629, Phone: 949-496-6171
5.El Capitán State Beach
El Capitán State Beach in Goleta, California provides visitors with stands of oaks and sycamore trees along the El Capitán Creek, rocky tidepools, and a sandy beach, offering an ideal environment for camping, picnicking, surfing, fishing, and swimming. A stairway offers access to the beach from the bluffs and free beach wheelchairs are available. Overnight visitors can relax by the water and fall asleep to waves crashing every night. There are 132 standard campsites at the El Capitán State Beach’s year-round campground, as well as three group camping sites. Amenities include fire rings, flush toilets, a general store, and picnic tables.
2 El Capitan State Beach Road, Goleta, CA 93117, Phone: 805-968-1033
6.Emma Wood State Beach
Emma Wood State Beach is a popular destination for camping, fishing, surfing, and swimming near Ventura, California. Fishing opportunities for corbina, cabezon, bass, and perch are particularly good here. Both family campsites for fully contained vehicles and group campsites are available, with primitive camping available only for fully self-contained vehicles. No tents are permitted. There are no fire rings, restrooms, electricity, water, dump station, or phones available at the campground, which consists of ninety campsites. Tent camping is available, however, at the group campground, along with primitive RV camping. Leashed dogs are allowed at the campground, but no the beach.
Pacific Coast Hwy, Ventura, CA 93001, Phone: 805-585-1850
7.Faria Beach Park
The Faria Beach Park is situated along the Pacific Highway, between the base of the scenic Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, boasting breathtaking views of the nearby Channel Islands. The campsites at the picturesque, small park are extremely popular and located only steps away from the ocean. The Faria County Beach campground is paved with amenities that include wireless internet, showers, restrooms, picnic tables, and fire pits. Fifteen RV campsites include 50/30/20 amp service, as well as cable television hookups and sewer and water connections. There are also a handful of tent campsites.
4350 Pacific Coast Hwy, Ventura, CA 93001, Phone: 805-654-3951
8.Francis Beach Campground
Stretching four miles of sandy, broad beaches, Half Moon Bay State Beach provides a picturesque setting for fishing, sunbathing, camping, picnicking, and more. Located here is the Francis Beach Campground, which includes more than fifty individual campsites, some suited for tents, while others can accommodate RVs and trailers. Some of these sites offer electric hookups, however, sewer and water hookups aren’t available. There is a station for filling water and a dump station provided for campers to use though. Coin-operated showers are offered in the campground as well. Half Moon Bay also features a Visitor Center, open on the weekends.
650-726-8819, Kelly Ave, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
9.Gaviota State Park
Visitors to Gaviota State Park can pack their tent and their flip-flops to spend a night or two just a short walk from the sandy beach on the scenic coastline around thirty miles from Santa Barbara. Located off of Highway 101, the park includes a campground, hiking trails, a pier, and a railroad trestle. Every one of the nearly forty campsites at Gaviota State Park includes a fire ring with built-in grill and a picnic table. The level campground itself offers flush toilets, showers, and potable water spigots. There is also a small store situated near the campground.
1595 US-101, Goleta, CA 93117, Phone: 805-968-1033
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10.Gualala Point Regional Park
The Gualala Point Regional Park is an oceanfront park in Sonoma County. Situated on both sides of the Pacific Coast Highway, visitors will find a forested, small riverside campground, an estuary, and a spacious beach. Trails connect the campground and the beach to The Sea Ranch and the coastal bluffs. Gualala Point is especially popular among day hikers, whale-watchers, and beachcombers, but it is typically not very crowded. There are 19 campsites available for RV, trailer, and tent camping, however, no hookups are included at sites. The campground also contains six walk-in campsites, coin-operated showers, electrical outlets, and flush toilets.
42401 Coast Highway 1, Gualala, CA 95445, Phone: 707-785-2377
11.Jalama Beach County Park
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Located near Lompoc, California, the Jalama Beach County Park consists of more than one hundred campsites that overlook the beachfront or the ocean. Every campsite includes a barbeque pit and a picnic table, with water, restrooms, and hot showers located nearby within the campground. There are also dump stations provided at Jalama Beach County Park and thirty-one sites with hookups for electricity. Activities at the park include fishing, nature photography, birdwatching, whale-watching, surfing, and swimming. Visitors can also stop by the Jalama Beach Store and Grill for a meal or to pick up a few supplies.
9999 Jalama Rd, Lompoc, CA 93436, Phone: 805-568-2460
12.MacKerricher State Park
The MacKerricher State Park boasts an array of different habitats, including tide pools, wetland, forest, dunes, headlands, bluffs, and beaches. As for wildlife, seals can sometimes be spotted on the rocks just off the coastline. There are over 100 campsites in MacKerricher State Park, including 75 standard campsites in the Surfwood and West Pinewood area, 37 tent campsites in the East Pinewood area, and two group sites within the Cleone Campground. Campground and park amenities include a dump station, restroom facilities with showers, a day-use picnic area, a boat launch, a seal watching station, visitor center, and more.
24100 Mackerricher Park Rd, Fort Bragg, CA 95437, Phone: 707-964-9112
13.Manresa State Beach
Located near Watsonville, California, the Manresa State Beach offers sweeping vistas of the bluff-backed sea and sandy beach, as well as the Monterey Peninsula’s forested hills and the Santa Cruz Mountains. The beach is open for camping from the middle of May until September for tent camping only. No RV camping is permitted here. Picnic tables can be found at the top of the beach’s bluff, which offers beautiful panoramic views of the ocean below. Visitors can also fish here with a sport-fishing license. Pets are allowed at the Manresa State Beach campsites, but can’t be left unattended.
1445 San Andreas Rd, Watsonville, CA 95076, Phone: 831-724-3750
14.New Brighton State Beach
New Brighton State Beach is named after England’s famous coastal resort, a beautiful beach, as well as bluffs, that have drawn countless visitors for centuries. These forested bluffs provide sweeping vistas of the Monterey Bay, trails for hiking, and a campground only steps away from the sandy beach, which offers opportunities for swimming, beach combing, and fishing. The campground consists of 114 sites for both RVs and tens, and all campsites at the New Brighton State Beach include storage, fire grills, food lockers, and picnic tables. The beach is also home to the Pacific Migrations Visitor Center.
1500 Park Ave, Capitola, CA 95010, Phone: 831-464-6329
15.North Beach Campground
The North Beach Campground at Pismo State Beach features slightly more than one hundred campsites situated along multiple loops by Carpenter Creek, as well as near sand dunes by the beach. All of these sites, majority of them grassy, are able to accommodate tents, trailers, and RVs, with plenty of space between campsites. While the campground isn’t located directly on the beach, it does offer direct beach access, as well as shower facilities, restrooms, and wireless internet near the restaurant about three-fourths of a mile away. The park itself offers walking trails, a butterfly preserve, and a nature center.
399 S Dolliver St, Pismo Beach, CA 93449, Phone: 805-473-7220
16.Refugio State Beach
The Refugio State Beach in Goleta, California provides picnic sites, hiking trails, excellent opportunities for coast fishing. Palm trees near the Refugio Creek give the camping area and the beach a distinctive look. Visitors can enjoy guided kayak tours during the summer months, protected cove waters, sandy beaches, and ocean breezes at Refugio State Beach. There is also a bike trail that heads south along the coastline. The campground includes more than sixty standard sites, accommodating tents, trailers, and RVs. A few premium campsites are available as well, along with groups camps and a “hike and bike” campsite.
10 Refugio Beach Rd, Goleta, CA 93117, Phone: 805-968-1033
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17.San Clemente State Beach
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Located at San Clemente’s south end, the San Clemente State Beach has been a state beach of California since the year 1973, popular among water sports enthusiasts, as well as anyone looking to escape the heat from the inland area or the metropolitan areas nearby. The area surrounding San Clemente is well known for its Spanish Colonial style of architecture, pleasant climate, and mountain, hill, and ocean views. The San Clemente State Beach also features a tent campground that is also able to accommodate small RVs. There is a separate trailer and RV campgrounds though that does provide full hookups.
225 Avenida Califia, San Clemente, CA 92672, Phone: 949-492-3156
18.Seacliff State Beach
Great RV camping, accessible facilities, an interpretive center, and picnic area can be found on the long stretch of bluffs and sand known as Seacliff State Beach, known for its extinct marine creature fossils in the scenic bluffs and its fishing pier. Seacliff is a popular spot for swimming as well. At the end of Seacliff State Beach’s fishing pier is one of the Santa Cruz area’s most unusual attractions: SS Palo Alto, which is also referred to as “the Cement Ship.” Camping at the beach is limited to only trailers and RVs with self-contained plumbing, with a handful of sites featuring full hookups.
234 State Park Dr, Aptos, CA 95003, Phone: 831-685-6500
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19.Sonoma Coast State Park
Sonoma Coast State Park is one of the most scenic attractions in the state of California, boasting secluded coves, natural arches, a craggy coastline, rugged headlands, and extensive sandy beaches. There are several areas for camping located throughout the park, as well as a wide variety of outdoor recreation activities, such as nature exploration, sunbathing, picnicking, surfing, and more. The Pomo Canyon can be explored along loop hiking trails, while visitors can find natural souvenirs at Shell Beach inside the tide pools. The Sonoma Coast State Park’s high cliffs provide amazing vantage points for viewing migrating gray whales.
CA-1, Bodega Bay, CA 94923, Phone: 707-875-3483
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20.South Carlsbad State Beach Campground
South Carlsbad State Beach Campground is located in the San Diego area of California and offers opportunities for camping, picnicking, fishing, skin diving, surfing, and swimming. The spacious, bluff-top camping area at the beach is especially popular during the summer and stairs provide access to the three-mile beach. The South Carlsbad State Beach Campground features a total of more than 220 campsites, with thirteen sites offering full hookups for RVs. Almost 140 of these sites are situated on top of the bluff that overlooks the Pacific Ocean and the beach. There are also flush toilets, showers, drinking water, and a camp store.
7201 Carlsbad Blvd, Carlsbad, CA 92008, Phone: 760-438-3143
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21.Thornhill Broome State Beach Campground
Located within the Santa Monica Mountains near Malibu, the Point Mugu State Park features approximately five miles of shoreline with two river canyons, rugged hills, sand dunes, sandy beaches, rocky bluffs, and grassy valleys dotted by native walnuts, oaks, and sycamore trees. Visitors will also find over seventy miles of trails for hiking, as well as opportunities for surf fishing, body surfing, and swimming. The park also contains the pet-friendly Thornhill Broome Beach Campground, which offers almost seventy primitive sites near the Pacific Ocean. There are a few drinking water spigots, vault toilets, and showers at the campground.
9000 W. Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265, Phone: 310-457-8143
22.Westport Beach RV Park and Campground
The Westport Beach RV Park and Campground is located off of Highway 1 in Westport, California. Around seventeen miles past the glittering jewels of Glass Beach, visitors will come to the peaceful solitude of this unassuming area. A couple of century-old, quaint buildings can be found where the ocean meets Wages Creek. This is where visitors can camp beachside along the creek, on grass sites, or in the sand. Amenities at the campground include a laundry facility, a volleyball area, horseshoe pits, a play area for children, shower facilities with hot showers, two restrooms facilities, and a camp store.
37700 CA-1, Westport, CA 95488, Phone: 707-964-2964
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23.Wright's Beach Campground
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The Wright's Beach Campground features twenty-seven developed sites next to a sandy beach. Flush toilets and running water are offered at the campground, and while no shower facilities are provided at Wright’s Beach, there are hot showers available at the nearby Bodega Dunes Campground. Each campsite features paved parking spurs, fire rings, and picnic tables, and many sites offer amazing ocean views. The beach is also connected to other beaches nearby through the Kortum Trail. Reservations are definitely recommended for the weekend during peak season. Other activities include hang gliding, bird watching, photography, and wildlife viewing.
7095 CA-1, Bodega Bay, CA 94923, Phone: 707-875-3483
23 Best California Beach Camping Spots
- Carpinteria State Beach Campground, Photo: simona/stock.adobe.com
- Caspar Beach RV Park & Campground, Photo: Andrei/stock.adobe.com
- Crystal Cove State Park Moro Campground, Photo: kikovic/stock.adobe.com
- Doheny State Beach, Photo: lightpoet/stock.adobe.com
- El Capitán State Beach, Photo: o_lypa/stock.adobe.com
- Emma Wood State Beach, Photo: Cesar/stock.adobe.com
- Faria Beach Park, Photo: VctorHugoGaribay/stock.adobe.com
- Francis Beach Campground, Photo: Ron/stock.adobe.com
- Gaviota State Park, Photo: htrnr/stock.adobe.com
- Gualala Point Regional Park, Photo: auremar/stock.adobe.com
- Jalama Beach County Park, Photo: Drobot Dean/stock.adobe.com
- MacKerricher State Park, Photo: Melastmohican/stock.adobe.com
- Manresa State Beach, Photo: Melastmohican/stock.adobe.com
- New Brighton State Beach, Photo: kaew6566/stock.adobe.com
- North Beach Campground, Photo: WavebreakmediaMicro/stock.adobe.com
- Refugio State Beach, Photo: artem_goncharov/stock.adobe.com
- San Clemente State Beach, Photo: Drobot Dean/stock.adobe.com
- Seacliff State Beach, Photo: flairimages/stock.adobe.com
- Sonoma Coast State Park, Photo: khomlyak/stock.adobe.com
- South Carlsbad State Beach Campground, Photo: ic36006/stock.adobe.com
- Thornhill Broome State Beach Campground, Photo: gstockstudio/stock.adobe.com
- Westport Beach RV Park and Campground, Photo: Sabphoto/stock.adobe.com
- Wright's Beach Campground, Photo: CandyBox Images/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: asierromero/stock.adobe.com