The West Coast offers world class beaches and top-rated campgrounds for those looking to enjoy an adventerous coastal getaway. Discover the many unique places to pitch your tent - from sunny Southern California all the way to the remote shores of the Pacific Northwest.
What Should I Bring Beach Camping?
While coastal camping is a unique experience for outdoors lovers - there are a few special items you may consider adding to your gear list. Some campers can do with just a hammock and flip-flops but some of the most useful gear I've found for beach camping includes a hand vacuum for removing sand from the tent, beach bag or backpack with built in cooler, beach blanket and lightweight portable chairs.
Shop more of my camping favorites here.
Beach Campgrounds in California
South Carlsbad State Beach | Carlsbad, CA
South Carlsbad State Beach Campground is one of Southern California’s most coveted campgrounds and is located on the bluffs overlooking San Diego’s most popular surfing beaches. Book a premium site for an oceanfront view and enjoy the many amenities that the quaint and bustling town of Carlsbad has to offer.
Soak in the million dollar coastal views and even bring your fur babies along because it is a dog friendly campground! Reservations start at $35 and can be booked online. This campground has 223 sites - ranging from basic tent sites to RVs with full-hookups.
Make sure to book far in advance for this campground as it tends to book ahead at least 6 months. San Diego has amazing weather almost year round and summertime is always a good time to visit and to have the full SoCal experience. If you prefer less crowds Fall and Winter tends to have amazing weather as well!
North County San Diego offers world class surfing, premium craft breweries, and authentic mexican food to make your camping experience feel like the ultimate summer vacation. However, if you are planning a visit with the family you should consider going to Legoland, Carlsbad U-Pick Strawberry Fields or in the Springtime the Carlsbad Flower Fields!
Submitted by Chelsey from Chelsey Explores
Patricks Point State Park | Trinidad, California
Camp along California’s most rugged coastline at Patrick's Point State Park and discover why Humboldt county is considered the heart of the redwoods. You can choose between three different campgrounds within this 640 acre park - Abalone, Agate and Penn Creek - although Agate Campground will put you closest to ocean views.
There are 124 sites which can accommodate tents, trailers and RV’s. Each campsite comes with a picnic table, fire ring and bear box and is a short walk to many incredible hiking trails and beaches. The coastline, forests and meadows within Patrick’s Point State Park is nothing short of amazing. Wedding Rock is an iconic rock formation that should not be missed!
You may experience some Humboldt County moisture while visiting this luscious coastal rain forest. Even though rainfall is recorded almost every month of the year, June - Aug tends to boast the best weather, and Sept- Oct is the best time to visit if you want to beat the crowds. Definitely consider packing some extra jackets and a rain tarp just in case.
On your drive up to Patrick’s Point you should consider making the drive through the Avenue of Giants to see some of the world's tallest redwood trees. The quaint town of Trinidad is only 5 miles South and offers cute local restaurants and stunning dog friendly beaches. If you don't mind driving just a little bit more North you can hike the amazing Fern Canyon within Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park!
Westport Beach RV & Campground | Westport, CA
Find your new home away from home at Westport Beach RV & Campground. Nestled along the rocky Mendocino coastline is a premium coastal camping experience for tent campers, RVs and groups. Pitch your tent directly on the sand and enjoy the sun rising and setting over the ocean waves.
Although this is a very popular RV campground, it is the quintessential camp on the beach experience for tent campers! Westport Campground hosts 175 sites with fire rings and picnic tables, and also offers cabin and cottage rentals. You will have access to a convenient store on site which sells local beverages, clothing and even fishing licenses! This beautiful beach side campground also hosts weddings and you might consider a glamping experience for your guests.
Summer is the busiest time to visit the Mendocino Coast although it hardly feels crowded when you are camping on the beach. You will still want to bring some layers as the temps can range from low 50s to high 60s most of the summer. If you don’t mind a little bit of weather you may consider camping in the Spring and catch the whale migration!
Less than 5 miles down HWY 1 is an amazing coastal winery called Pacific Star Winery, make sure to swing by and grab some bottles for your beach camping! The quaint town of Fort Bragg is only 17 miles South of the campground but boasts many outdoors activities for the family such as Glass Beach, The Skunk Train, and MacKerricher State Park. You can also head up North to the town of Legget if you want more of a forest experience and check out Confusion Hill and the Drive Thru Tree Park.
Beach Campgrounds in Oregon
Beverly Beach State Park | Newport, Oregon
If you’re looking for a fabulous oceanfront campground on the Oregon coast, look no further than Beverly Beach State Park near Newport, Oregon. You will find that Newport, Oregon is a family-friendly PNW destination and a place you'll want to come back to every year!
Beverly Beach State Park campground is well maintained and family-friendly, and it features lovely secluded creekside spots in the trees right next to miles of Pacific Ocean beach. It is also closely located to whale watching spots, tidepools, downtown Newport’s shops and restaurants, and fun tourist attractions like the Oregon Coast Aquarium.
Beverly Beach State Park offers rustic yurts (including pet-friendly yurts), 53 full-hookup sites (27 with cable), 76 electrical sites with water, and 128 tent sites. Beverly Beach State Park campsites are reservable year-round and up to six months in advance.
Weather-wise, July and August are peak months at the coast, but pleasant weather often continues into September or even October. Regardless of the month you choose, come prepared for a variety of windy and cold weather, because Oregon’s coastal summers can be unpredictable. Pack your windbreaker!
There is so much to see and do in Newport! Among our favorites are kite flying, the Oregon Coast Aquarium, tidepools, and the Drift Creek Falls Trail.
Submitted by Camille from Tournesol Adventures
Nehalem Bay Campgrounds | Nehalem, Oregon
Nestled in between the bay and ocean, Nehalem Bay Campground is on a 4-mile-long sand spit. A short walk over the dunes will take you to a beautiful beach. There is something special about being walking distance from the beaches of the beautiful Oregon Coast. There is a 1.8-mile-long bike path that runs along the bay as well where visitors commonly see deer, elk and a variety of birds.
There are 264 electrical sites with water and sewer hookups. The park also has 18 yurts. The max length for RVs is 60 feet. There is a sanitary dump on site as well as firewood for sale and a market. Hot showers and flush toilets are available for campers to use.
Summer is the busiest time to visit the Oregon Coast. The summer weather ranges between the high-60s and mid 50s so you’ll still want to bring a jacket. During the fall, you’ll find smaller crowds but still decent weather.
The Nehalem Bay State Park is about 25 minutes south of Cannon Beach. It is a charming coastal town with tide pools, dramatic coastline and wildlife. There are so many fun things to do in Cannon Beach like tide pooling at low tide at Haystack Rock, hiking in Ecola State Park and exploring Hug Point State Recreation Area.
Submitted by Candice from CS Ginger
Beach Campgrounds in Washington
Kalaloch Beach Campground | Forks, Washington
Kalaloch Beach Campground in Olympic National Park is in one of only two UNESCO World Heritage Sites along the western coast of the United States. Camping in this stunning Washington state location is sure to create lifetime memories. Visiting Olympic National Park makes an ideal short road trip from Seattle, Washington (~ 3 hours) or Portland, Oregon (~ 4 hours) for both residents and visitors seeking a quintessential Pacific Northwest camping experience.
The campground sits atop a high bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and is surrounded by a fascinating temperate rainforest. It hosts 168 sites with fire rings and picnic tables, but no electricity. All sites are tent friendly, many will take smaller trailers, but only a few can accept large RVs. Several sites offer ocean views, and all campers can enjoy the pathway to the beach. The campground is part of a larger complex boasting a lodge, cabins, restaurant, and small store, allowing you to add a little extra comfort into your trip if desired.
Kalaloch Beach receives an astounding 8.5 feet of rain a year! This makes summer the ideal time to visit but reservations go quickly. They open up six months in advance so keep an eye on the website. The campground is open without reservation from mid-September through mid-May. Because of intense weather, tent camping in the winter is challenging but those with trailers will have much of the place to themselves.
Your trip will be full of adventure, much of it right on the beach in front of the campground. The many massive driftwood trees and long expanse of sand are a delight for all campers. Be sure to look for the Tree of Life along the bluff, not far to the north of the campground stairs. The soil beneath the tree has eroded, leaving the roots hanging in the air, while the tree continues to thrive. It is quite an inspiration!
Take a day of your trip to make the one-hour drive to the Hoh Visitor Center, which is the heart of the park. There are many short trails and ranger-led activities to enjoy in this otherworldly forest. Families can stop at a ranger station to participate in the Junior Ranger Program.
Spend another day on the local beaches. Check the tide charts before your adventures and explore some of the best tide pools along the coast at Beach 4. Visit Ruby Beach for beautiful views and a picnic. There is always more to explore in Olympic National Park and Kalaloch Beach Campground is the ideal place to stay on your trip.
Submitted by Erica from TripScholars
Pacific Beach State Park | Pacific Beach, Washington
Pacific Beach State Park is located just south of Olympic National Park, right on the Pacific Coast. It’s an easy 90 mile drive from Seattle, making it the perfect weekend getaway for those wanting to spend some time camping on the beach.
The 10 acre campground has 64 sites (42 have electrical hookups) as well as two yurts that can be reserved year round. There are also showers, flushable toilets and potable water available on site. Campfires aren’t allowed on the campground, but they are allowed on the beach, which is just a short walk away. Although the campground itself is basically a parking lot, the easy access to a spectacular beach more than makes up for that.
Summer time is the best (and most popular) time to visit the park, so you’ll want to reserve early to make sure you get a spot. Pacific Beach has an amazingly beautiful coastline, with its wide open sandy beaches that are perfect for bike riding, beach combing or collecting sea shells. Once you see the view it has to offer, you’ll understand why it’s known as “Washington’s best kept secret!”
If you’re skilled at building sandcastles (or even if you just want to see them), plan to visit during the Pacific Beach Sandcastle Contest held each year. Another very popular event is the Annual Kite Flying Contest that takes place each summer.
With plenty to do near the campground, you can spend your time here without ever leaving the park!
Submitted by Karee, Our Woven Journey
Second Beach, Washington
One of the best beaches in Washington State is called Second Beach. This beach is located in Olympic National Park and is a great place to go backpacking for the night! The hike is only around 2 miles round trip with an elevation gain of 278 feet and is labeled an easy trail. The trail takes you through a bright green rainforest, and eventually, it opens up to the beach, and you have to climb over driftwood. The hike is worth it as there are fantastic views of enormous sea stacks, many evergreen trees, and bald eagles.
This is an outstanding place for people that have never backpacked before as the trail is relatively easy but has gorgeous views. You need a permit to camp on the beach, but it is easy to get at Recreation.gov. When camping on the beach, make sure to check the tide charts before getting there because you don't want to wake up with a wet tent!
You can also visit the small town of La Push after camping. There is a fantastic breakfast spot where you can watch the Bald Eagles eating breakfast as well. There are also other beaches nearby like First Beach, Third Beach, and the famous Hoh Rainforest. Visiting these areas is a must after your Second Beach camping trip!
Submitted by Michelle, The Wandering Queen
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