California’s greatest locations for tenting on the seaside


Tenting on California’s 840 miles of biodiverse shoreline presents the possibility to have the street journey of your life with out breaking the financial institution. Select your spot – from rugged and untamed in California’s north to reasonable climates, desert flowers and the dreamiest sunsets you’ve ever seen within the south. 

Wherever you land, you’ll pitch up and go to sleep beneath the celebs to the sound of crashing waves. However plan your sleepovers correctly – tenting on California’s coast is not any secret, and locations guide up months prematurely.

For miles of empty golden sand, head to Silver Strand State Seashore in Coronado

Probably the most southern beach-camping spot in California can also be the warmest spot on this checklist. The abandoned Silver Strand State Seashore – with some 10 miles of golden sand to discover and infinite, uncrowded waves to surf – is simply 20 minutes from the Mexican border to the south and a brief drive from central San Diego to the north.

There’s solely a seaside and ocean within the direct neighborhood, however all the town’s huge sights are inside driving distance. Dine with San Diego’s hoi polloi in close by Coronado, which has has dozens of wonderful eating places.

It’s strictly RVs solely at Silver Strand; no tents allowed. There are greater than 100 campsites accessible, plus restrooms, picnic tables, hearth rings, potable water, a dump station and electrical hookups on website.

High tip: E-book as much as six months prematurely through the California Division of Parks and Recreation

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Panoramic view of San Elijo State Beach, Encinitas CA
Surfers love the tidy campground located on the cliff above San Elijo State Seashore © Marcel Fuentes / Shutterstock

Admire hovering views of the Pacific Ocean at San Elijo State Seashore Campground

Surfers love this tidy campground located on the highest of the cliff above San Elijo State Seashore, with stair entry right down to the sand. It’s 1 mile south of the well-known Swami’s surf break, which impressed the track “Surfin’ USA” by the Seashore Boys, and close by Encinitas is the epitome of a laid-back Southern California surf city, full with meditation gardens, burrito shacks, juice bars and vegan cafes.

Tent and RV tenting is allowed on San Elijo State Seashore Campground’s massive grime pitches, lots of that are separated by bushes. There are restrooms with flush bogs on website, plus piped water, a camp retailer and hearth rings.

High Tip: Reservable as much as six months forward through California Parks; canine welcome on leaches. 

Side view of male surfer having drink outside mini van on San Onofre State Beach
San Mateo Campground is a bit inland from San Onofre State Seashore and Trestles, top-of-the-line surf spots on the planet © Cavan Photos / Getty Photos

Surf at daybreak after sleeping on the seaside at San Mateo Campground

Not strictly on the seaside, this secluded campground is a bit inland from the world well-known San Onofre State Seashore and Trestles – thought of by many to be the perfect surf spot on the planet.  

A 1.5-mile nature path connects campers to the basic level break, with peeling left and right-handers and straightforward paddle-outs. Together with using waves, there’s rugged bluff-top strolling trails and wildlife recognizing (look out for pelicans and and migratory waterfowl) and loads of swimming alternatives on the three-mile stretch of seaside. 

San Mateo Campground has greater than 150 pitches with hearth pits, barbecues and picnic tables, plus there’s water, restrooms (with showers and flush bogs) and laundry amenities on website. Some websites have electrical hookup factors. A small camp retailer promote necessities and there’s a dump station for waste. E-book prematurely through California Parks. 

Hike, scuba dive and snorkel at Crystal Cove State Park

Located north of the coastal metropolis of Laguna Seashore, excessive up on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, you get the perfect of park and seaside at Crystal Cove State Park Campground, the place there’s an emphasis on lower-impact tenting (or fundamental tent tenting). 

Plots have quick access to the close by Crystal Cove, an enormous underwater park with wonderful scuba diving and snorkeling – look out for the 2 historic anchors relationship from the 1800s, and elements of a Navy airplane that went down within the Nineteen Forties – plus, there are numerous desert vegetation to discover within the state park’s 2400 acres of undeveloped woodland. 

Services embrace loos and showers, and a small variety of RV hookups. Campfires aren’t allowed within the space. Seasoned campers could op for the ‘primitive’ campsites (no ingesting water or showers) accessible through three-mile hike from the parking zone.

E-book through ReserveCalifornia.com; park-entry charges are relevant, and permits are required for in a single day tenting.

Households and wildlife lovers will love Carpinteria State Seashore Campground 

One of the vital fashionable household tenting spots in Southern California, Carpinteria State Seashore Campground has greater than 150 plots dealing with calm waters.  Youngsters can splash round with lifeguards on responsibility, go tide-pooling, and spot harbor seals and sea lions bathing on the sand. The Tomol Interpretive Play Space is just a few minutes stroll inland. Don’t miss the mile-long bluff-top hike with sweeping ocean views. 

There are flush bogs on the campsite, which has a number of hookups accessible, plus sizzling showers, picnic tables and barbecue grills.

Introducing Coastal California

Take pleasure in your solitude at Gaviota State Park Campground 

Located in wild and pristine Gaviota State Park, some 40 pitches sit within the shadow of a formidable outdated railroad trestle. Trails lead right down to the seaside and its adjoining pier (a preferred fishing spot) and as much as the Gaviota Wind Caves – surreal sandstone formations with peculiar twists, turns and cavities, solely a mile away. 

Campers also can hike up the 1325ft Gaviota Peak for panoramic excessive cliff views of the Pacific Ocean. Be careful for mountain lions within the space.

Pitches include a fireplace ring and picnic desk. There are bogs on website, plus showers and ingesting water. Tents and RVs welcome, however there are not any electrical hookups. 

Carry your canine alongside to Jalama Seashore County Park Campground 

Halfway between Santa Barbara and Pismo Seashore on the finish of a hilly, twisting street is the secluded Jalama Seashore County Park, with extra than 100 campsites for tents, trailers and RVs overlooking the ocean and seaside to the west and the mountains to the east. 

Hikes within the space weave alongside towering cliffs – it’s a main place for whale recognizing throughout migration season, whereas kite-boarders benefit from the robust winds. 

Most of the tidy pitches are flanked by privateness hedges, and all have a picnic desk and barbecue pit. There are additionally seven cabins for fortunate early bookers, plus electrical hookups, sizzling showers, restrooms and potable water. Canine are welcome. The Jalama Seashore Retailer and Grill serves warming clam chowder and home made apple pie, and sells most stuff you may need forgotten.

E-book through countyofsb.org.

A wide angle view of McWay Falls in late afternoon in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in the Big Sur area of Central California
The camp spots at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park sit above the enduring 80ft-tall McWay Falls © PictureLake / Getty Photos

Camp subsequent to a non-public waterfall at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park Campground 

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park Campground has solely two camp spots, each of which sit above the enduring 80ft-tall McWay Falls, spilling instantly into the azure Pacific Ocean under. This cease is a spotlight on any Massive Sur Coast or Rte 1 street journey – however campers get all of it to themselves when the day trippers have gone residence.

It’s a half-mile hike by tropical forests and 300ft redwoods to get to the environmental pitches, the place there are hearth rings, picnic tables and restrooms accessible, however no water or firewood (carry your personal).

E-book at ReserveCalifornia. 

For a last-minute hook up strive Pillar Level RV Park

Positioned 20 miles south of San Francisco, Pillar Level RV Park does not take reservations for its 49 websites, so these with an RV can merely rock up and take a look at their luck.

The primary draw is Mavericks – a monster wave that soars as excessive as an residence constructing. Daredevils practice to journey these transferring mountains for a lifetime, and watching them is simply as thrilling. Tenting spots are scarce when Mavericks is “on.”

It is a spot the place browsing legends are made, but it surely’s a stupendous spot to spend time whatever the waves. Actions within the space embrace wine tasting, fishing, a 6-mile strolling and biking path subsequent to the campsite and boating from the next-door marina, the place you may also purchase the catch of the day.

Services for RV campers embrace electrical energy and water hookups, plus complimentary cable TV and wifi. All RVs need to have their very own absolutely functioning rest room to park up. There are not any restrooms, showers or laundry amenities.

Shipman Creek campsite is an off-grid tenting journey

The wilderness tenting spots on California’s Misplaced Coast Path aren’t for the faint of coronary heart – they’re solely reachable on foot through a difficult hike alongside wild, tortured seashores, rocks and shoreline. The overall path is 25 miles lengthy, and finishing it means spending round three days within the wild, carrying all of your meals and tools with you.

The adventurous can be rewarded with mountain views, wild meadows, old-growth redwood forest and thrilling rivers and tides to navigate. Carry a tide desk so that you don’t get  trapped or swept out to sea, and look out for sea lions and Roosevelt elks en route.

On the beach-side Shipman Creek campsite there are not any amenities, however tenting is free with a backcountry allow.

The best way to get there: The Misplaced Coast Path begins close to the mouth of the Mattole River at Mattole Seashore, the place there’s a parking zone, a automobile campground, potable water and pit bogs, and ends at Black Sands Seashore. The path begin at Mattole Seashore at 3750 Lighthouse Rd, Petrolia. Permits are required. 

Steep Ravine Seashore has sizzling springs and cabins

An hour north from central San Francisco at Steep Ravine Seashore, a cluster of primitive cabins with no operating water, electrical energy or plumbed-in bogs sits overlooking the Pacific Ocean and a small rocky seaside.

Come right here to get away from the world and soak your bones within the hidden Steep Ravine Scorching Springs at low tide. There’s additionally a clothing-optional bathing grotto close by, maintained by locals.

E-book through ReserveCalifornia.




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