If you’re on vacation in California, beach camping should be on your must-do list. It is such a fun and awesome experience that even locals living a block away from the beach will book a few days, so their family can pitch a tent; roast marshmallows; and awake to the ocean.
The most popular campgrounds in San Diego County are San Elijo State Beach and Carlsbad State Beach. They are so popular that people have to book over 6 months in advance for a spot or wait in line for a chance that one of the campers will fail to show for the reservation. Here’s a little secret: avoid all the summer months from May to September; you’ll have a better chance at snagging a spot from October-April.
Besides those two campgrounds, San Clemente State Beach is also a great place. It is located about 1.5 hour north of San Diego. The funny thing is, no one in California seems to know about it, or we must have been very lucky to camp without any neighbors during the end of September.
If you’re up for a real adventure, definitely go to Jalama Beach located at the border of Southern California and Central Coast in Santa Barbara County. I camped here a few years ago towards the end of October. After learning that this place is “first come, first served” and the amount of people that were turned away during the summer, we booked it up there in the middle of the night, only to find it empty without a ranger in sight. Read more about my adventure here.
Do yourself a favor. Reserve a site at one of these multi-acre ocean front campgrounds and experience a special piece of Southern California.