The Best Beach Camping Parks in California

There are many beautiful beaches in California. Although most of these have many activities available for day-use, not all of them provide facilities for camping and allow overnight stays. This article lists the best beach camping parks in California and gives you some of the hightlights of each park. We have broken the beach camping parks out into three sections: Northern California, Central California, and Southern California, so that you can locate beaches in just the region you desire.

Northern California

Clam Beach County Park is located just south of Little River State Beach, north of Eureka. It is one of the few parks that allows camping right on the beach. Beachcombing, clamming, fishing, picnicking, camping, kite flying, and building sand castles are all popular at this beach.

Gold Bluff Beach is within Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. The campground is located in the dunes along a beautiful 10-mile stretch of golden beach. The campgrounds lie between the Pacific Ocean and a bluff thickly covered with Redwoods. It is located about 50 miles north of Eureka.

Westport-Union Landing State Beach covers over 3 miles of rugged and scenic coastline. There are approximately 100 campsites located on the bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It is located about 19 miles north of Fort Bragg.

Central California

Half Moon Bay State Beach offers 4 miles of broad, sandy beaches. This picturesque setting is ideal for sunbathing, hiking, biking, fishing, picnicking, and camping. It is located near San Mateo in the San Francisco Bay area.

Manresa State Beach is a large, beautiful sandy beach, which offers surf fishing, surfing, swimming, and camping. It is located on Monterey Bay just south of San Francisco.

New Brighton State Beach is located in the town of Capitola, just south of Santa Cruz. This beach camping park offers swimming, fishing and a nearby forest. The camping area is located on a bluff overlooking Monterey Bay.

Seacliff State Beach is best know for its fishing pier and concrete freighter just offshore. There is swimming, fishing, camping, and hiking trails. It is located on Monterey Bay near Aptos.

Sonoma Coast State Beach is one of California´s most scenic attractions. It has long sandy beaches below rugged headlands. The craggy coastline has natural arches and features secluded coves. The beach is located north of San Francisco between Jenner and Bodega Bay. There are many campsites to choose from. Fishing, hiking, horseback trails, and many other activities are available.

Sunset State Beach features pine trees, mountainous sand dunes, and oceanside picnic spots. The beach is 16 miles south of Santa Cruz.

Southern California

Carpinteria State Beach is approximately 12 miles south of Santa Barbara. This park offers a mile of beach for swimming, surf fishing, tidepool exploring and camping. Seals and sea lions can be seen in the area December through May.

Doheny State Beach is two parks in one. Camping is located in the southern area and the northern area is limited to day-use. There is a five-acre lawn with picnic facilities and volleyball courts. Surfing and surf fishing is popular here. It is located just south of Los Angeles.

McGrath State Beach is famous for bird-watching. The lush riverbanks of the Santa Clara River and the sand dunes along the shore create just the right environment for our feathered friends. There is a nature trail for hiking, and 2 miles of beach for surfing, fishing, or swimming. It is located near Ventura.

Morro Strand State Beach is a coastal   frontage  park with excellent picnic sites and about 3 miles of beach. Fishing, windsurfing, jogging, kite flying and camping are popular at this park. It is located near San Luis Obispo.

Pismo State Beach is located near San Luis Obispo. This park offers all kinds of attractions: hiking, swimming, clam digging, surf fishing, camping, and bird watching. Four restaurants are within 2 blocks of the campground.

San Clemente State Beach has about 1 mile of beach. The beach is located at the south end of San Clemente and is popular for surfing, skin diving, and swimming. The park has a landscaped bluff top with picnic areas. There are also hiking trails on the bluffs which lead down to the beach.

San Elijo State Beach is located near San Diego. The beach is narrow and backs up to a bluff. It has a nearby reef that is popular with snorklers and divers. The park also offers swimming, surfing, picnicking, and camping.

San Onofre State Beach has 3.5 miles of sandy beaches with access trails cut into the bluff above. The campground is near old highway 101 adjacent to the bluffs. The beach is popular with swimmers and surfers. Whales, dolphins and sea lions can be seen offshore at times. It is located just south of San Clemente.

Silver Strand State Beach has extensive beaches on both the Pacific Ocean and on San Diego Bay. Camping, swimming, surfing, boating, water-skiing, volleyball, and picnicking are popular activities, along with fishing. The park is located in Coronado.

South Carlsbad State Beach is a beach near San Diego that features swimming, surfing, skin diving, fishing, and picnicking. Its large bluff-top campground has stairs that lead down to the beach. It is a very popular camping spot, especially in the summer.

Our family really enjoys camping, and we hope that you do to. There is nothing like the beach for relaxing and having some fun together as a family. Whether its just going for the day, or extending your visit by camping overnight, we hope that you have a wonderful time. Most of all, have fun and stay safe. You are creating memories that will last a lifetime!