The quintessential camping experience might take place in the mountains, but beaches and camping are a match made in heaven, particularly in a country with as many incredible stretches of sand as the United States. Anyone looking for a getaway with a tropical feel will appreciate the white sand and palm trees of Bahia Honda State Park in the Florida Keys, but you can also camp with wild horses on the Assateague Island National Seashore, pitch a tent on the shore of lake Michigan or lose yourself in the rugged beauty of the Pacific coast at the Sonoma Coast State Park. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
Set at the northern tip of Wisconsin, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore encompasses 12 miles of coastline and 12 islands, which are fondly referred to as the "Jewels of Lake Superior". There are campgrounds on 19 of the islands as well as one on the mainland, and as many of the islands only have one campsite, advance reservations are required. Most of the sites can only be reached by boat, and although amenities vary from campground to campground, campers can typically expect to find a fire ring, a vault toilet, a bear-proof locker, and a picnic table.
415 Washington Ave, Bayfield, WI 54814, Phone: 715-779-3397
2.Assateague Island National Seashore
Known for the beautiful wild horses that call the beach home, the Assateague Island National Seashore is located on a 37-mile-long barrier island made up of constantly shifting sand. Both walk-in and drive-in sites are available, and there are also two equestrian sites available for people who want to bring their horses. All sites have picnic tables and fire rings, and campground amenities include drinking water, unheated showers, and vault toilets. Reservations are required between mid-March and mid-November, and because the island is so popular, weekend dates tend to fill up as soon as they become available.
7206 National Seashore Ln, Berlin, MD 21811, Phone: 443-614-3547
3.Bahia Honda State Park
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With its palm tree-lined white sand beaches and its crystal-clear water, Bahia Honda State Park is the perfect place for a tropical vacation. The island is mostly uninhabited, but the conveniences of Marathon and Big Pine are only a short drive away, and the campground has a small store where you can purchase some basic items. Visitors can swim, snorkel, and fish to their hearts' content, and there are two boat ramps if you want to get out on the water. The park is sunny and warm year-round, but reservations are strongly recommended if you're planning to visit in the winter.
36850 Overseas Hwy, Big Pine Key, FL 33043, Phone: 305-872-2353
4.Black Sand Beach
Also known as Punalu'u Beach, Black Sand Beach is one of the most unique beaches in the country, and it's a beautiful place to spend a night or two. The neighboring beach is home to a group of sea turtles, and when the weather is nice, you can snorkel with the turtles and the tropical fish that live in the water. The campsites are on the grass right above the beach, and all campers have access to vault toilets and unheated beach showers. Camping permits are required, and alcohol is only permitted between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m.
Highway 11, Pahala, Island of Hawaii, HI 96777
5.Cumberland Island National Seashore
Encompassing most of Cumberland Island, the largest barrier island in Georgia, the Cumberland Island National Seashore boasts more than 17 miles of pristine beaches. The island itself can be reached by taking a ferry from the mainland, but all of the campgrounds are walk-in only. The most popular campground is the Sea Camp Campground, which is the closest to the ferry dock and features amenities like flush toilets, drinking water, and fire rings, but the Stafford Beach Campground is also a good choice if you don't mind hiking 3.5 miles to get there. There are also several wilderness campgrounds with no amenities.
Plum Orchard Dr, St Marys, GA 31558, Phone: 912-882-4336
6.Grand Isle State Park
One of Louisiana's best kept secrets, Grand Isle State Park is located right on the Gulf of Mexico. The ocean is excellent for boating and fishing, and lucky visitors will be able to spot dolphins swimming and jumping in the water. The sites right on the beach are walk-in only, but if you don't mind being a little further away from the water, there are also drive-in sites with water and electric hookups. All campers have access to restrooms with hot showers, and if you plan on fishing, there is also a fishing pier and a fish cleaning station.
108 Admiral Craik Dr, Grand Isle, LA 70358, Phone: 985-787-2559
7.Hammocks Beach State Park
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If you're looking for a truly secluded place to pitch a tent, Hammocks Beach State Park fits the bill perfectly. The park consists primarily of the rugged Bear Island, which is where all the campsites can be found, including both single family and group options. Water and other basic facilities are available between mid-March and mid-November, but the campsites are primitive, and campers should prepare for a backcountry experience. A passenger ferry operates between the beginning of April and the end of October, but the island can only be reached by private boat during the rest of the year.
1572 Hammocks Beach Road, Swansboro, NC 28584, Phone: 910-326-4881
8.Hampton Beach State Park
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Sitting on a peninsula where the Hampton River runs into the Atlantic Ocean, Hampton Beach State Park features the only RV campground right on the coast of New Hampshire. There are 28 sites to choose from, all of which have full hookups, and the campground only accepts vehicles that can hook up to water, sewer, and electric. There's a small store on site, and campers also have access to a pleasant day use area with picnic tables, restrooms, and a children's playground. The park is open year-round, but the campground is only open between the beginning of May and the end of October.
160 Ocean Blvd, Hampton, NH 03842, Phone: 603-926-8990
9.Hoffmaster State Park
Stretching for three miles along the shore of Lake Michigan, Hoffmaster State Park is known for its wonderful beaches and its massive sand dunes. With almost 300 campsites, the campground here much larger than most of the other beach campgrounds on this list, but the sites have plenty of space and campers will enjoy amenities like hot showers and sites with full hookups. There are also miles and miles of hiking trails in the park, and if you're feeling up for a challenge, you can hike the Dune Climb Stairway to get a spectacular view of the surrounding area.
6585 Lake Harbor Rd, Muskegon, MI 49444, Phone: 231-798-3711
, Michigan beaches
10.Horseneck Beach State Reservation
Established to protect more than 800 acres of land on a peninsula near Buzzards Bay, the Horseneck Beach State Reservation is one of the most popular seaside recreation areas in Massachusetts. The campground has approximately 100 sites, and it can accommodate both tents and RVs, although none of the sites have hookups. The two-mile stretch of beach is wonderful for swimming, sunbathing, and windsurfing, and a paved walking path runs along the entire stretch of sand. Camping is available between early May and early October, and lifeguards are on duty between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
5 John Reed Rd, Westport, MA 02790, Phone: 508-636-8816
11.Hunting Island State Park
Tucked in between Fripp Island and Harbor Island, Hunting Island State Park is undoubtedly the most popular state park in South Carolina, and it boasts five miles of the state's most picturesque beaches. Both tent and RV sites are available, and all sites are only a short walk away from the ocean, where you might spot sea turtles, migrating birds, and beautiful seashells. There's also a simple cabin with a screened porch that can be rented for a more luxurious stay. Reservations for the campground are necessary during the high season, and a two-night minimum stay is required.
2555 Sea Island Pkwy, Hunting Island, SC 29920, Phone: 843-838-2011
12.Jalama Beach County Park
Formerly the site of a Chumash Indian settlement called "Halama", Jalama Beach County Park is only an hour's drive away from Santa Barbara. It offers 100 campsites, and there's accommodation to suit almost every kind of visitor, including tent sites, RV sites with electric hookups, and rustic cabins for anyone who wants more of a glamping experience. Campers will have access to convenient amenities like drinking water, hot showers, and modern restrooms, and there's a small on-site store selling beer, wine, and snacks. Reservations can be made up to six months in advance and are particularly recommended during the summer.
9999 Jalama Rd, Lompoc, CA 93436, Phone: 805-568-2460
Perched on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Kalaloch Campground is part of the magnificent Olympic National Park. There are almost 170 campsites to choose from, all of which have fire pits and picnic tables, and campground amenities include drinking water, restrooms, and food lockers. Some of the sites overlook the water, and all campers are only a short walk away from the beach, although the trail is quite steep. Plenty of tide pools appear on the beach at low tide, and there are also some beautiful trails to explore, including a mile-long nature trail that runs alongside Kalaloch Creek.
Forks, WA 98331, Phone: 360-565-3130
14.Napali Coast State Wilderness Park
With its towering sea cliffs and its many waterfalls, Napali Coast State Wilderness Park is one of the most spectacular and recognizable coastlines in the world. Camping permits are only issued for Kalalau Valley, which is located at the end of a steep 11-mile hiking trail, but hikers can also stop halfway and spend a night in Hanakoa Valley if doing the entire hike in one day is too demanding. Both sites have composting toilets, but no drinking water is available and campers will have to pack out their own garbage. Reservations are required, and permits often book up months in advance.
Kapa?a, HI 96746, Phone: 808-274-3444
Part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island is a pristine piece of paradise perfect for a relaxing beach vacation. The island can only be reached by boat or by aircraft, and visitors can spend their time kayaking, birdwatching, or simply strolling along the beach looking for seashells. The campsites are separated from the beach by barrier dunes, and campground amenities include drinking water, grills, and restrooms with flush toilets and unheated showers. The campground is open between mid-April and the end of November, and reservations can be made up to six months in advance.
4352 Irvin Garrish Hwy, Ocracoke, NC 27960, Phone: 252-928-6671
16.Padre Island National Seashore
Located on North Padre Island, the world's longest undeveloped barrier island, Padre Island National Seashore is an amazing place to windsurf, birdwatch, and spot sea turtles. Malaquite Campground has amenities like picnic tables, flush toilets, unheated showers, and if you don't mind a little less luxury, you can also stay at the Bird Island Basin Campground, where the only amenities are chemical toilets. Primitive tent and RV camping is also permitted on more than 64 miles of the seashore, although camping permits are required no matter where you stay. All sites are available on a first come first served basis.
20420 Park Rd 22, Corpus Christi, TX 78418, Phone: 361-949-8068
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17.Patrick’s Point State Park
Patrick’s Point State Park is only one square mile, but don't let its small size fool you. It's an incredible place to experience the rugged beauty of California's coastal redwoods, and it has a beautiful beachfront campground with just over 120 sites. All campsites have picnic tables and fire pits, and other campground amenities include pay showers, flush toilets, and drinking water. Swimming in the ocean is not advisable, but campers can hunt for semi-precious stones on Agate Beach, visit a traditional plank-house village that was recreated by the local Yurok tribe, and explore the tidepools that dot the dramatic shoreline.
4150 Patrick’s Point Dr, Trinidad, CA 95570-8707, Phone: 707-677-3570
18.Salisbury Beach State Reservation
Established to protect 3.8 miles of coastline on the Atlantic Ocean, the Salisbury Beach State Reservation is one of the most popular public recreation areas in Massachusetts. It's not a remote campground by any means, but it's a great place for a family vacation; the campground has 484 sites, each of which is equipped with a picnic table, a grill, and a fire pit, and campers have access to modern restrooms with flush toilets and hot showers. The beach is only a short walk away, and it offers a long boardwalk, a children's playground, and a picnic pavilion.
1 Beach Rd, Salisbury, MA 01952, Phone: 978-462-4481
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19.San Pedro Carefree RV Resort
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Spread out over six islands, Islamorada is one of the most welcoming communities in the Florida Keys, and the San Pedro Carefree RV Resort is a fantastic place to stay during your visit. There are only 43 sites, but all are equipped with full hookups, and a white sand beach and swimming pool are located right across the street in the public park. Guests will have access to a private marina with ten boat slips, and fishermen will appreciate the on-site fish cleaning station. The park is open year-round, and discounts are offered for weekly and monthly stays.
87401 Old Hwy Islamorada, FL 33036, Phone: 305-289-0011
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20.Sandy Neck Beach Park
Boasting seven miles of sandy beach, Sandy Neck Beach Park is one of only two places in Cape Cod where overnight camping is permitted. The campsites can only be reached on foot or in an off-road vehicle, and an additional permit is required if you're planning to bring a vehicle. There are separate camping areas for tents and RVs, but all campers will have access to restrooms and unheated showers. The park also has more than 4,000 acres of sand dunes and forest for visitors to explore, and there are miles of beautiful hiking trails.
425 Sandy Neck Rd, W. Barnstable, MA 02668, Phone: 508-362-8300
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21.Scusset Beach State Reservation
The Scusset Beach State Reservation can be found just across the Cape Cod Canal from the town of Sandwich, and it offers just over 100 campsites, most of which are reserved for RVs. Campers have easy access to a beautiful sandy beach, and popular activities include fishing, swimming, sunbathing, and watching the ships pass through the canal. The only individual fire pits are located at the tent sites, not the RV sites, but there's a community fire pit that everyone is welcome to use in the evenings. The campground is open year-round, but there's no running water between October and March.
20 Scusset Beach Rd, Sagamore Beach, MA 02562, Phone: 508-888-0859
22.Sonoma Coast State Park
The craggy coastline of northern California has a rugged beauty that can take your breath away, and if you're not content with just passing through, Sonoma Coast State Park offers some spectacular places to camp. The biggest and most popular campground can be found at Bodega Dunes, but there's a campground at Wright's Beach as well, although campers will have to use the showers and drinking water taps at Bodega Dunes. There are also two smaller, primitive campgrounds that are only open during the summer; both these sites are walk-in only and are available on a first come first served basis.
CA-1, Bodega Bay, CA 94923, Phone: 707-875-3483
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23.Wai’anapanapa State Park
Wai’anapanapa State Park is one of the most popular stops along the road to Hana, and although most people only stop here for an hour or two, it also makes an excellent place to camp. The famous black sand beach is only steps away from the campground, and there are some wonderful hikes you can do. Both tents and RVs are welcome, and campground amenities include restrooms, outdoor beach showers, drinking water, and picnic tables. There are also several cabins available for rent, but reservations must be made at least three days in advance and a two-night minimum stay is usually enforced.
Waianapanapa Rd, Hana, HI 96713, Phone: 808-984-8109
23 Best Beach Camping Spots in the United States
- Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Photo: RVPRPhoto/stock.adobe.com
- Assateague Island National Seashore, Photo: duke2015/stock.adobe.com
- Bahia Honda State Park, Photo: Patrick McCabe/stock.adobe.com
- Black Sand Beach, Photo: glass_frog/stock.adobe.com
- Cumberland Island National Seashore, Photo: jctabb/stock.adobe.com
- Grand Isle State Park, Photo: Maryna/stock.adobe.com
- Hammocks Beach State Park, Photo: IEGOR LIASHENKO/stock.adobe.com
- Hampton Beach State Park, Photo: New Africa/stock.adobe.com
- Hoffmaster State Park, Photo: ehrlif/stock.adobe.com
- Horseneck Beach State Reservation, Photo: EdNurg/stock.adobe.com
- Hunting Island State Park, Photo: digidreamgrafix/stock.adobe.com
- Jalama Beach County Park, Photo: goodluz/stock.adobe.com
- Kalaloch Campground, Photo: Rawpixel.com/stock.adobe.com
- Napali Coast State Wilderness Park, Photo: MNStudio/stock.adobe.com
- Ocracoke Island, Photo: stock.adobe.com
- Padre Island National Seashore, Photo: CheriAlguire/stock.adobe.com
- Patrick’s Point State Park, Photo: Evaldas/stock.adobe.com
- Salisbury Beach State Reservation, Photo: katkami/stock.adobe.com
- San Pedro Carefree RV Resort, Photo: Tomasz Zajda/stock.adobe.com
- Sandy Neck Beach Park, Photo: 06photo/stock.adobe.com
- Scusset Beach State Reservation, Photo: methaphum/stock.adobe.com
- Sonoma Coast State Park, Photo: khomlyak/stock.adobe.com
- Wai’anapanapa State Park, Photo: Fotocat4/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: Baronb/stock.adobe.com