If you want to enjoy picturesque landscapes with golden sandy beaches and serene green seas, relax on deck chairs and spend your summer – San Diego on California’s Pacific coast will be a perfect variant!
San Diego Beach camping sites offer both options for RV and tent camping.
San Diego beach camping is a great way to spend your vacation alone, with your friends or family in Southern California any time of the year.
In this article, we have prepared a list of beautiful camping sites that you may want to consider visiting in San Diego to turn your vacation into a memorable adventure!
What Beaches In San Diego Can You Camp At?
There are 15 most popular and picturesque beach sites with beautiful landscapes and different activities to do there:
1. Silver Strand State Beach
Silver Strand State Beach is one of the famous and beautiful paved lots. Silver Strand State Beach is located between Coronado and Imperial Beach.
If you choose this place for your vacation, you will have an opportunity to go fishing, ride a bike on the paved bike path or have dinner enjoying the nice sandy Pacific Ocean beach in front of you.
Silver Strand State beach on the outer edge of San Diego Bay connects Imperial beach to Coronado Island, so you can enjoy the warm waters of San Diego Bay.
There is no tent camping in Silver Strand State Beach, it is suitable for RV’s only. We recommend you book the place on this camping site half a year in advance.
Silver Strand State Beach campground can hoof a lot of people – locals and tourists – due to four spacious parking lots with the capacity to accommodate about 1000 vehicles.
2. San Elijo State Beach
San Elijo State beach is one of the most desirable spots for beach camping in Southern California.
San Elijo State Beach campground is a perfect option for both RV camping and tent camping. There are 157 campsites in total, 130 of which are general, six being handicapped accessible, 28 for RV, and about 4 for tent camping.
At San Elijo State beach you can take a picture of an incredible sunset, explore the sea world with its jellyfish and other sea creatures, go surfing and swimming or enjoy every bite of the delicious dishes of Mexican cuisine at the local restaurant.
It is advisable to reserve a place in San Elijo State Beach campground 3 months in advance to avoid unpleasant last-minute rushes.
3. Campland on Mission Bay
Campland on Mission Bay is another place related to San Diego beach camping sites. It is located in the heart of San Diego.
Campland on Mission Bay offers about 500 campsites, most of them are designed for RV camping, but tent camping is also allowed.
If you like traveling with kids, give the preference to the Campland on Mission Bay – this campground is really family-friendly, the ambiance here is cozy and relaxing, so kids will feel comfortable here.
Leave your car in the free parking lot, relax on a small sandy area with a secured place designated for swimming, try some water sports like kayaking or water aerobics or play volleyball with other tourists.
This campground is located in the northeastern part of the picturesque Mission Bay Recreational Park, about 10 miles from downtown San Diego, so you can enjoy beautiful landscapes and escape from the city bustle.
There are flat areas to set up the tent, clean restrooms, bars and restaurants to make your camping trip more comfortable.
Among the amenities, we can highlight a horseshoe pit, bicycle rentals, a children’s playground and boat launch.
4. South Carlsbad State Beach
No matter whether are you a lover of tent camping or prefer RV camping, South Carlsbad State Beach has 223 campsites for both of these options.
The best time to come to South Carlsbad State beach campground is during hot summer, though this place remains crowded from October through April.
This beach extends three miles along the Carlsbad waterfront. The campsite is located above the beach on the cliffs. There are stairs for beach access.
Among extra amenities, we can highlight swimming pools, game room, laundry facilities and camp store.
There is a lot you can do in Carlsbad State beach: bird watching, surfing, picnicking and hiking. The nice sandy bottom is perfect for the kids, so you can spend time with your family in South Carlsbad State beach.
Reservations are a must during the summer and on weekends. This popular San Diego beach camping spot sells out 7 months in advance.
5. Black’s Beach
Black’s beach is a true paradise for surfers! This campground is situated close to the University of California’s San Diego campus, to the north and south of La Jolla Shores and Torrey Pines State Beach.
It is a nude beach, not a family-friendly beach.
There are free as well as paid parking spaces. You can access this campground through beautiful touristic routes, including the La Jolla Shores, Torrey Pines State Park, Torrey Pines Glider Port Trail, and Torrey Pines State Beach.
This place is also suitable for classical beach relaxing pastime: you can sunbathe, swim and play beach volleyball here.
The Black’s beach allows leashed pets on the beach before 9 in the morning and 6 in the evening between April and October.
6. Harbor Beach Campground
Harbor Beach is a picturesque sandy beach in Oceanside California. This campground is one of the low-price places for RV or trailer camping, with overnight parking in case you get a free spot. No tents are allowed, and there is a five-day limit of 30 days.
You will not be bored in Oceanside, you can visit the California Surf Museum or spend a lovely time on the beach.
So if you are searching for an inexpensive option to spend time and relax from routine life – give preference to Harbor Beach campground.
7. San Onofre Bluffs Campground
This place for camping in San Diego is open from May 15 to September 30, but during this period you can experience California at its wildest.
The amenities are free cold water in outdoor and chemical toilets.
There are fire pits and picnic tables in the campsites, but no hookups.
8. San Onofre Beach
This campground is a good option with a popular surf break offshore for active reservists, DOD, and retired military members.
San Onofre bluffs campground, situated in the county of San Diego, is one of the best beach camping places. If you are traveling by vehicle, you will not face any issues because there is a spacious parking lot, located close to Bluffs Beach.
This place is popular for fishing and surfing lovers, but also you can sing songs around the campfire, have a delicious meal on picnic tables or relax on wheelchairs.
San Onofre Beach Camp Pendleton is a perfect option for RV and tent camping, also you can spend your time in the Beach Cottages.
There is a special option – you can celebrate your wedding or special anniversaries, so this day will also stay in your memory due to the breathtaking views.
You can also relax here with your pets, but not on the beach.
9. Del Mar Beach Resort
Like the San Onofre Beach, the Del Mar Beach resort is a military campground too. It is a good place for RV and tent camping.
Camp Pendleton’s Del Mar beach has a very nice, deep sandy beach, an excellent surf spot next to Oceanside’s North Jetty, and a small marina, so if you like to take photos or surf, you are in the right place.
It is really comfortable to spend a vacation here – you can prepare delicious dinners with the fire pits and grills that are available on some sites.
You can go for a San Diego beach camping in Del Mar Beach Resort with your dog, but not on the beach.
10. San Mateo Campground
This beautiful campground is situated about 1.5 miles from the coast, so you will have an opportunity to enjoy the picturesque landscapes.
San Mateo campground is suitable for both tent and RV camping.
You can go for a camping trip in the San Mateo campground with maximum comfort – there are fire pits, picnic tables, and showers with hot water.
11. Oceanside RV park
If you want to enjoy beach camping in San Diego, you can make a choice in favor to the Oceanside RV park.
There are a few significant advantages that will help to make your vacation at times more comfortable – pool, spa and laundry.
Oceanside RV park suggests comfortable cottages, cabins, tiny houses, vacation campers, and yurts for your beach camping.
12. Paradise by the Sea Beach RV Park
This place for beach camping is popular due to its playground, picnic area and Buccaneer Cafe at Buccaneer Beach.
Among the extra amenities, we can highlight a heated pool and spa, wifi, full hookup facilities, and small markets – all to make your rest comfortable.
13. Chula Vista RV Resort and Marina
This premier RV resort with 237 RV sites and full hookups is situated across San Diego Bay.
You can relax in private swimming pools, jacuzzi spa and then have a delicious lunch in two local restaurants.
Close to everything in San Diego, Chula Vista is perfect for boat lovers.
If you decide to go camping in Chula Vista you will also have an opportunity to visit Seaport Village, San Diego Balboa Park and San Diego Zoo.
This is one of the popular places for RV camping in San Diego so we recommend you reserve a free spot and spend a few warm days here.
14. Shell Beach
Beautiful beach along the coast, accessible by stairs, and tide pools, rarely crowded. Only minutes away from Scripps Park and Children’s Pool.
This unusual beach is made up of only a small area of sandy shore, but it is a great place to wander around and look for shells during low tide, a small tide pool area and plenty of sea life is visible.
All the beach camping sites in San Diego follow the same regulations regarding pet policies, allowing dogs to enter the campsite when leashed but not the beach. The only exception is the Black beach.
Q: Is It Legal To Camp On The Beach In San Diego?
A: Yes, it is completely legal to go camping on the beach in San Diego. There are a lot of beautiful camping sites that differ from each other with amenities, activities and opportunities for camping, so you can easily choose the perfect one for your memorable experience.
Q: Can I Camp Anywhere In San Diego?
A: There are special places – campsites that offer extra amenities and opportunities to spend your time while beach camping in San Diego with maximum comfort. They are situated in different parts of San Diego, so you can choose the perfect one in accordance with your needs.
Q: Where Can You Park And Sleep Overnight in San Diego?
A: Some of these above-mentioned campgrounds have free or paid parking lots, so you can easily leave your car and spend time on San Diego.
The main problem is to find a free spot for your vehicle, as beach camping in San Diego is really popular among tourists and locals, so think in advance about the reservation to avoid unpleasant events and a ruined holiday.
Q: Can I bring my pet with me for beach camping in San Diego?
A: Dogs may camp with you on the beach camping sites in San Diego, but must be kept on a leash. No longer than six feet. Dogs must be on a leash at the campground and on the sand. About 5 miles from San Elijo is Del Mars Dog Beach that is used only for your pet. Dogs can run free in the sand. Make sure your dog can contact with other easily and does not pose a danger for people and other animals.
Q: Can I drink alcohol at these San Diego beach camping sites?
A: Drinking alcohol is forbidden in San Diego beach camping sites, and it is illegal on the beach. So, we do not recommend you to bring alcohol to the camping sites.
In this article, we try to bring together most popular and beautiful places for a beach camping adventures in San Diego. Each of them has its advantages and disadvantages, please read it carefully and compare these campgrounds to make the right choice for your trip!
Do not forget about the reservation to avoid unpleasant force-majors.
Hope will help you to select an ideal place for San Diego beach camping! In case you have any questions and suggestions or want to know more detailed information- please contact, and we will be happy to answer!
Please read also our Beach Camping Tips.
We wish you to have a memorable trip!
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