How to Find the Best California Beach Campsite
California has 840 miles of beautiful coastline, with the tidal shoreline (including small bays and inlets) making it a total of 3,427 miles. It includes some of the most picturesque coastal locations in the U.S. and world.
The California coast is also home to about 40 public "beach" campgrounds scattered from Silver Strand State Beach in San Diego all the way up to Gold Bluffs Beach Campground in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. There are also a handful of beach campgrounds on Catalina Island and the Channel Islands.
CampsitePhotos.com makes it very easy to research, find and see all of the campsites in each beach campground in California (with the exception of just a few, which we'll add soon). You can also reserve your beach campsite right from CampsitePhotos.com! To find the best California beach campsite, simply search our Campground Directory Map by region (California Beaches), or click on the links below to learn more about each California beach campground and see photos of each campsite.
Southern California Beach Campgrounds
Central California Beach Campgrounds
Northern California Beach Campgrounds
Because the California coast is so big, you'll experience quite a change in climate, culture, topography and outdoor recreational opportunities depending on where you go. Most of the beach campgrounds are on a bluff over looking the beach/ocean or right on the sand/beach. A few are a tad inland, but have walking trails to the beach.
- The Southern California beach campgrounds usually have abundant sunshine (except when the May Gray or June Gloom rolls in), warmer ocean waters (ranging from 68 to 73 degrees in the summer), great waves for surfing, clear waters for snorkeling, some nice surf fishing and plenty of other places to visit in the metro areas. Generally, most of the Southern California beach campgrounds are located on bluffs over the beach or right on the beach. Most of the Southern California beach campgrounds are large with many campsites for tents, trailers or RVs. Most campsites have flush toilets, showers and RV dump stations and some campgrounds offer RV hookups. Each campsite usually has a table, fire ring and grill.
- Central California beach campgrounds also have great weather and sun most of the summer. Water temps are a little cooler (around the mid-60s). There is also great surfing, snorkeling and fishing in and around the campgrounds. Central California beach campgrounds are located on bluffs or right on the beach, but the topography of Central California is more diverse and rural (smaller cities/less people). Central California beach campgrounds are typically large with many campsites for tents, trailers or RVs. Most campgrounds have flush toilets, showers and RV dump stations and some campgrounds offer RV hookups. Each campsite usually has a table, fire ring and grill.
- Northern California beach campgrounds offer spectacular coastal scenery and are located in mostly rural areas or close to small towns. A variety of wildlife can also be seen on land and the sea. Only the brave soul will spend much time in the water, with ocean temps usually in the mid 50s to low 60s during the summer months. Fishing and beach combing are great, and there are also a few nice surfing locations. Northern California beach campgrounds can also be found on bluffs overlooking the beach/ocean, with a few right on the beach. The Northern California beach campgrounds come in all sizes from the small (tent only) to larger campgrounds that have campsites for tents, trailers or RVs. Some campgrounds have flush toilets, showers and RV dump stations, but others may just have vault toilets. All have water and each campsite usually has a table, fire ring and grill.
Have fun finding a great beach campsite and remember to make your reservations early. California beach campgrounds sell out quickly and often on the first day you can make a reservation (the first day of the month – six months prior to your arrival date). You can learn more about how to make a campsite reservation by clicking here!