San Diego Beach Camping: A Quick Look at a Golden Experience

happy girl on a beach

San Diego beach camping offers beach lovers several opportunities to camp on southern California's golden beaches.

About San Diego Beach Camping

San Diego County, California, has several beach campgrounds perfect for those who love to tent camp and for RV campers as well. There is one caveat you need to consider, however, and that is space. If you love to camp during the summer months, you'll need to make reservations at these campgrounds sometimes months in advance. While there are several campgrounds available, beach camping in San Diego is a popular activity, and sites fill up quickly. However, if you don't mind camping during cooler months, San Diego beach camping is typically available year round.

RV Camping at Silver Strand State Beach

If you plan on tent camping, then mark this campground off your list. However, if you have an RV, you may enjoy the Silver Strand Campground. This is an RV-only campground, which means that even pick-up truck shell campers and van campers are not allowed. Although there are bathrooms at the campground, all RVs must be self-contained.

Silver Strand is a favorite among RV campers in the southern California area because campsites are just a few steps to the beach. While the RV sites themselves are on a paved section, the campsite is level with the beach, so walking very far to play in the sand, swim in the waves, or simply lay in the sun is just not a problem. One of the best parts of camping at Silver Strand is the easy access to the ocean and the bay. The bay is easily accessible through one of the tunnels that are built under the highway, so you never have to worry about crossing busy traffic.

What can you do besides enjoy the surf and sand?

  • Campfires-There are several fire pits or rings on the beach, but keep in mind that these are first come, first served. You cannot reserve them, so you'll want to claim one early!
  • Bird-watching-Numerous birds love the marshy area on the bayside making this a great place for bird-watching!
  • Walking/Jogging-You can also walk, jog, or ride your bike along a path that takes you to a nice park near quaint Coronodo. Once you're there, visit the many small shops and restaurants, or take the ferry across the bay and enjoy the upbeat atmosphere of Embarcadero.

For more information on Silver Strand, visit the Silver Strand website.

Mission Bay RV Park

Many people prefer the calmer waters of the bay. If you're one of them, check out the Mission Bay RV Park. Before you hit the road, however, keep in mind that this park lists very specific requirements. For example, your travel trailer, 5th wheel, or Class A or Class C motor home must be a 1990 model or newer. Cab-over camper models must be 1995 or newer models.

The park has a limited number of sites which can accommodate larger than normal motor homes, and tents, pop-up campers, and converted vans or buses are not allowed. In addition, this RV park has been known to refuse to rent a site to motor homes or travel trailers that are not in good shape aesthetically.

Still, if you do choose to camp here, you'll appreciate the shaded sites, each with its own picnic table, as well as the picnic facilities, basketball court, playgrounds, and walking path. For more information, visit the Mission Bay website.

Tent Camping San Elijo Beach and South Carlsbad State Beach

If you are looking for San Diego beach camping in a tent, there are two great beaches that won't limit you to RV regulations. Both San Elijo and South Carlsbad are a short distance from Encinitas, and both of these beaches allow tent camping in addition to RV camping. Amenities include picnic tables and grills at each site with beach access via a wooden staircase that winds down from the bluff-level campground to the beach. While the path to the beach may seem a bit cumbersome if you are carrying beach paraphernalia, the views are breathtaking. In addition, the campground is in close proximity to outlet shopping, Encinitas' quaint shops, mega surfing beaches, and of course Legoland California. For more information on these two beaches, visit the San Elijo State Beach website and the South Carlsbad State Beach website.

Enjoy Beach Camping in San Diego

Beach camping in San Diego county is possible. You just need to know where to go and understand each individual campground's regulations.

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San Diego Beach Camping: A Quick Look at a Golden Experience