Member
Your donation supports our high-quality, inspiring and commercial-free programming.
Support Icon
Discover all the ways you can make a difference.
Support Icon
The Leadership, Advancement, Membership and Special Events teams are here to help.

Top 5 Beach Camping Sites in California

Support Provided By

There are few more tranquil activities than taking a drive to a beach, pitching a tent, and letting the somniferous swell of the ocean surf lull you into peaceful sleep. But a lot of times, just because the campground site has "beach" in the title, doesn't mean you can actually set up nearby for the night. Here, then, are my favorite five camping sites on the California coast that actually offer close proximity to the beach.

San Clemente State Beach

About halfway between L.A. and San Diego is San Clemente State Beach, which includes 142 different beach-adjacent campsites. Just make sure to get a reservation in advance, as the campground gets super popular during the summer.

San Elijo State Beach

Down on the San Diego coast is San Eligo. Along with the standard natural beauty of the Pacific coast, there is also a reef that divers or snorkelers can explore.

Doheny State Beach

Located in Dana Point, the southern end of Doheny State Beach includes campgrounds with sites only a few steps removed from the beach proper. However, if you're going during peak season, expect a crowd. The beach attracts almost one million visitors a year.

Carpinteria State Beach

Twelve miles south of Santa Barbara, this state beach offers a full mile of sand for swimming, tide pool exploring, and camping. From December through May, it also offers occasional glimpses of gray whales as they make their migratory journey.

Leo Carrillo State Park

One of the favorites for L.A. weekend warriors, Leo Carrillo is just a short drive up Highway 1, and offers 1.5 gorgeous miles of beach for recreation, as well as a number of campsites to use. Again: A reservation is wise.

Support Provided By
Read More
A row of ice creams in cones.

We Asked, You Answered: Your Favorite Women-Owned Small Businesses

If you're missing a personal touch, creativity and curation, small businesses are the way to go. This holiday season, here are some women-owned shops to add to your list.
A green arch bridge made of metal beams stretches between two mountains. Behind it are rolling mountains and a clear blue sky.

6 Exhilarating Mountain Drives You Can Take in a Day Around L.A.

No matter if your starting point is an inland valley or an oceanside beach community, here are six mountain drives you can take on a day trip from L.A.
A network of tunnels lead to a tree in the center of an open pocket of space. Above sunlight streams in through a hole for light and the tree to pass through.

An In-N-Out Museum and Underground Gardens: 10 Quirky Stops Along Highway 99

Here are 10 of the best Highway 99 remnants that capture the character and charm of early 20th century "highway life."