Use this Southern California beaches camping guide to learn about campground facilities and amenities, so you can decide which would be a good fit for your next trip. Whether you like “roughing” it in a tent or kicking back in a plush RV, there’s nothing like sleeping to the sound of the surf.
The campgrounds below are listed in order from north to south, from Santa Barbara to San Diego. There are many opportunities for both tent and RV camping at Southern California beaches. Some areas have several campgrounds, so you’ll see a link to more info. There you’ll find out about amenities, location, and whether they have RV sites, tent camping or both.
Most of the beach campsites in Southern California can be booked on reserveamerica.com, especially the ones at the state beaches. Other campgrounds have phone numbers you can call to get updated reservation information.
Southern California Campgrounds Map
You can enjoy beach camping at one or more of the many Southern California campgrounds shown on the map below. This may well be the most inexpensive way to wake up near the sound of the ocean waves and cry of the seagulls.
As you’ll notice on the map, you’ll find most of the beach campgrounds north and south of Los Angeles County.
From Santa Barbara to San Diego, there are many choices in beach camping. Some may have campsites right at ocean level, while others have campsites up on the bluff, or back in a grove of trees.
Some of the campgrounds are private, but many are at California State beaches.
These in particular can book up well in advance. You are allowed to make reservations for the state campgrounds up to 7 months beforehand, starting on the first of the month.
You can reserve sites online, by phone or by post. For phone reservations you can call 1-800-444-7275. If you’re calling from out of the country, try 1-916-638-5883. The California State Parks website is at www.parks.ca.gov.
Note that not all California State Parks or State Beaches have camping facilities, but the ones listed on our Southern California Beaches Camping Guide page do.
You can also reserve most sites online through www.reserveamerica.com.
Be aware when booking your site that besides the nightly camping fee, there might be additional charges for showers, RV hookups, parking for extra cars, premium sites and peak season rates.
Santa Barbara Beach Camping
These are all north of the city of Santa Barbara. All are on the beach except for El Capitan Canyon Resort, which is on the inland side of Pacific Coast Highway.
- Refugio State Beach
- El Capitan State Beach
- El Capitan Canyon Resort
- Gaviota State Park
- Carpinteria State Beach
Ventura Beach Campgrounds
- Faria Beach Park
- Hobson Beach Park
- Rincon Parkway
- Emma Wood State Beach
- McGrath State Beach
- Ventura Beach RV Resort
- Leo Carrillo State Park
- Malibu Beach RV Park
- Point Mugu State Park–Thornhille Broome, Big Sycamore Canyon, La Jolla Canyon Group Camp
- Malibu Creek State Park
Playa Del Rey RV Camping At The Beach
This is the only RV beach campground in Los Angeles County. It’s on the beach at Playa del Rey. Dockweiler State Beach is actually operated by L.A. County, so reservations are through them.
Amenities include fire pits, volleyball courts, picnic tables, hot showers, barbecues and a laundromat. The Marvin Braude Bicycle Trail goes through here from Santa Monica down to Redondo Beach.
Activities to enjoy include biking, swimming, volleyball and surf fishing.
Dockweiler RV Park
12001 Vista Del Mar
Playa Del Rey
There are 120 sites (most with hookups)
Long Beach RV Camping
This campground is located on the waterfront in the downtown Long Beach area, making it super convenient to all the local activities and attractions. Just to name a few, there are the Queen Mary, the Pike, the Aquarium and Queens Harbor.
Amenities include a picnic area, a recreation room, spa, swimming pool, horseshoes, shuffle board and a small store.
Golden Shore RV Resort
101 Golden Shore
Long Beach, California
80 RV sites (with hookups)
Catalina Island Tent Camping
- Hermit Gulch Campground
- Two Harbors Campground
- Little Harbor Campground
- Blackjack Campground
- Parson’s Landing Campground
- Boat-In Campsites
Huntington Beach Camping
- Sunset Vista RV Park
- Huntington By The Sea RV Resort
- Bolsa Chica State Campground
Newport Beach Campgrounds
- Newport Dunes
- Crystal Cove
Dana Point Beach Camping
From the beach, you can see the boats going in and out of Dana Point Harbor in the distance. There is a nice grassy picnic area and volleyball courts on the day use side of the beach at the north end. A lagoon with pelicans and shore birds separates the day use area with the camping beach on the south side. And, there’s plenty of sand to kick back on.
Surfing is allowed at the north end of Doheny Beach. Surf fishing and swimming are other activity campers can enjoy here. There is also a bike trail which goes along San Juan Creek.
CAMPSITES: There are 120 sites for RVs and tents. They also include picnic tables and fire rings.
AMENITIES: showers, visitor’s center, dump station, comfort station, fire rings, horseshoes
Doheny State Beach Campground
25300 Dana Point Harbor Drive
Dana Point, California
San Clemente Campgrounds
- San Clemente State Beach
- San Onofre State Beach — San Mateo Campground, Bluffs Campground
Oceanside Beach Camping
- Paradise By The Sea RV Park
- Oceanside RV Park
Carlsbad California Beach Camping
- South Carlsbad State Beach–campsites are on a bluff overlooking the ocean. The beach is below.
Encinitas or Cardiff-By-The-Sea
- San Elijo State Beach
More details on campgrounds in Oceanside, Carlsbad and Encinitas can be found on our North County San Diego Camping page.
San Diego Beach Camping
For those of you who enjoy pitching the tent or relaxing in your motor home, I can give you a few popular places to enjoy this activity.
Campland On The Bay
This is a popular place especially if you have kids that enjoy a swimming pool and the many activities they plan for children. It is located on Mission Bay. (near Sea World) They have a game room, Jacuzzi, an internet cafe, laundry facilities ect.. Take the Grand/Garnet exit off the 5, take Grand to Olney Street. (not far from Mission Bay High School) Go Left (south) on Olney, you’ll see the sign at the end of the street. I’ve had good reports back from families..(the kids enjoyed it)
Silver Strand State Beach Coronado
Lovely place, 4.5 miles south of the city of Coronado on Highway 75. 2 1/2 miles of ocean beach. 5000 Highway 75, Coronado, 92118. Caution, there are lot’s of rules and regulations. Ask a lot of questions. There is a lock-down in the late evening, so you may not be able to come and go freely. Though, seeing that it isn’t more than maybe 15 minutes to the Mexico border, I am sure that they have their reasons to lock the gates at night. But, it is a reason a lot of people love the strand camping, but, don’t like the gate lock situation.
San Elijo State Beach
I’ve actually stayed at the campground. It is a gorgeous area on a cliff overlooking the ocean.
But a very popular place, get your reservations in advance! It is along Coast Highway 101, 3/4 mile north of San Elijo Lagoon, near Cardiff-by-the-Sea. Take freeway 5 to Encinitas Blvd, go west, then left on South Coast Hiway about 2 miles.
These campgrounds are the most popular places, there are others, but you might think about these three first if you’re a beach person.
- Campland On The Bay
- Mission Bay RV Park
- Chula Vista RV Resort & Marina
- San Diego Metro KOA
- San Diego RV Resort
- Silver Strand State Beach Campground
See our San Diego Campground listings for more details and a map.