The Best Places for Beach Camping

The Best Places for Beach Camping

We’ve all seen it before. 

The idyllic image of waking up and hearing the waves crashing against the shore as you wake up and open your tent zipper, taking in the impossibly beautiful white sand beaches before your eyes. 

Of course, I’m talking about camping on the beach. 

Beach camping is something that we are all familiar with, but perhaps not all of us have tried. This may be because it’s something that’s never crossed your mind, or there aren’t many good opportunities near your home.

However, beach camping can be easier than you think. 

All it takes is a bit of planning.


There are quite a few factors that come into play (Sand I’m looking at you) that need to be considered when beach camping. 

This isn't to say you should be put off by going camping on the beach. No, anything but! But picking the right spot and bringing the right equipment will ensure you'll have the time of life and create some great memories.

So here's what i think are some of the best locations in the United States for beach camping.

I'm sorry to any i've missed, there's just too many to choose from in this massive country.

So let's lay down a towel (or a tent) and get started.

Cape Lookout National Seashore

Located in North Carolina, this is one of the best places to head out on a camping adventure, as there are a ton of beach camping spots located in this national park.

Here you have the opportunity to camp on the beach, primitive-style tent camping with no designated campgrounds. Also, no camping permits are usually required, unless you are in a large group of more than 25.

This allows you to have a much more off-the-beaten-track experience on a remote island when you head out to this beautiful site, being able to enjoy the beach by engaging in activities such as swimming, surfing, and fishing.

Definitely a picturesque island that will allow you to create memories with your loved ones.

the inside of a tent looking out onto the beach

Padre Island National Seashore

A beautiful part of the world separating the Gulf of Mexico from the Laguna Madre, this park comprises over 66 miles of coastline and prairies.

Here you can find many types of beach campground, where there exists a combination of primitive beach camping and campgrounds with a parking area right next to the beach, making it perfect for car or RV campers.

However, come prepared as the nearest services from the park entrance are around 12 miles away. So bring those picnic tables, food, and plenty of fresh drinking water.

You're definitely going to need it!

Additionally, there are parts of the beach with 4WD access, such as the South Beach primitive camping area.

Gulf Islands National Seashore

If you're looking for an idyllic getaway with pristine beaches next to the Atlantic ocean, then look no further than the gulf islands national seashore.

Preserving the historic and natural resources along the Gulf of Mexico barrier islands, there is plenty to do in this 160 mile stretch of coast.

Popular activities here are bird watching, snorkeling and diving, boating, and waterfowl hunting.

There really is something for everybody.

Once again, we have a great combination of beach campground and backcountry camping that you can choose from depending on your taste.

Hunting Island State Park

Ah yes, the famous South Carolina state park, Hunting Island.

Attracting more than a million visitors every year with its huge diversity of land and marine wildlife, that's not the only reason why I had to include it on the list.

There are also about 5 miles of beautiful beaches with soft sand and swaying palm trees, which open up a world of possibilities with activities that you can do.

Along with this, there are two designated campsites that accommodate both RVs and tent campers alike.

Go fishing in johnsons creek, swim in the Atlantic ocean, or explore one of the three hiking trails.

a woman relaxing on the sandy beach

Assateague Island National Seashore

An absolutely fantastic destination for beach camping, Assateague Island state park is a brilliant sandy beach with many opportunities for not only some of the best beach camping on the edge of the continent but also a ton of other activities.

You can do a ton of cool stuff too! Examples include horseback riding, hiking, and getting a permit to drive your vehicle over the sand dunes.

Here, campsites range from accommodating horse camping, drive-in-car camping, and backcountry camping.

Bring your camping essentials and make sure your fire pit your firewood is locally sourced.

Camping is available only in the Maryland district of Assateague Island, and camping fees are generally $30 per night for a campsite.

Sonoma Coast State Park

Now, it wouldn't be a list of pristine beach camping spots without a visit to California, would it?

The 17 miles of coast consisting of sandy beach, coves, and rocky bluffs as far as the eye can see offer the opportunity for days and days of exploration and the best beach camping.

A trip to Sonoma Coast means experiencing a scenic park that reinforces Northern California as one of the best spots around for nature and camping, right on the pacific ocean.

Common activities here include trips for wine enthusiasts through Sonoma county (there are over 400 wineries in Sonoma County), picnicking, kayaking on the pacific ocean, and horseback riding.

There are a combination of primitive and designated campgrounds in the park, depending on if you're looking for more amenities (such as an RV site) or something a bit more remote.

In regards to getting to Sonoma Coast State Park, it's less than an hour's drive from the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge, making it quite easy access for many parts of Northern California.

person camping under a tree on a beach sunset

Crystal Cove State Park

Thought I was done with California? Think again.

Now, my friend, you've made it this far, so I can't not recommend to you the incredible sandy beach that this magical place in Southern California offers.

Encompassing 2,400 acres of undeveloped woodland and 3.2 miles of beach, there are limitless options of places to camp and things to do here.

You can go biking inland on the awesome mountain bike trails or scuba diving off the coast of crystal cove, or travel to the tide pools and secret coves littered throughout the coastline.

There are 57 family campsites (picnic tables anybody?) to choose from and three different campsites with about 29 campsites in total for backcountry camping, so you've got a lot of options depending on your vibe.

More of that Sandy Beach

These are some of the honorable mentions that I didn't touch on in detail before but are still definitely worth a mention. Get those

Florida Keys

A destination that needs no introduction, the beaches and incredibly blue waters of the Florida Keys are home to beach campgrounds such as Bahia Honda State Park, Long Key State Park, and Boyd's Key West Campground.

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Tent campers, get your towels and picnic tables, and make your way to this beach campground. From ice caves to beautiful beaches, this place really has everything.

Olympic National Park

With a rich history, a biodiversity to die for, and vast ranges of mountains and rain forest, get yourself over to South Beach in the season for a unforgettable camping experience.