San Diego beach camping is a great way to spend your vacation in Southern California any time of the year. During the popular summer months, you will need to make reservations 7 months in advance to secure a spot. Off-season, there is greater availability.
From north to south, these are the places for beach camping in San Diego county.
San Onofre Bluffs Campground has sites for tent and RV camping right along the beach bluffs near the Pacific Coast Highway 101, with short trails to the beautiful sandy beach. There are fire pits and picnic tables in the camp sites but no hookups.
San Onofre San Mateo Campground is 1.5 miles inland from the beach, connected by a scenic path. This campground includes both tent and RV camping, hot indoor showers, firepits, picnic tables and hookups.
My dad was in the military, and I remember camping at many places as a child, but never did we get to go camping at San Diego Beaches like Camp Pendleton. Some rate these as the best beach camping in San Diego, California, so if you qualify (active duty or retired military personnel or dependents), take advantage of these excellent beaches and campgrounds on Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Reserve.
San Onofre Beach, not to be confused with the public one, has tent and RV campsites and group camping exclusively for military personnel. Located at the north end of Camp Pendleton, between the popular Trestles and San Onofre Surfing beaches.
About 15 miles south on Camp Pendleton is Del Mar Beach, which also has tent and RV campsites and group camping. Camp Pendleton’s Del Mar beach has a very nice, deep sandy beach, excellent surf spot next to Oceanside’s North Jetty, and a small marina. This beach can handle large crowds in the summer, which it gets on weekends. This is a lovely San Diego beach camping spot if you are military.
These military campgrounds have great beaches and views, especially if you can get a campsite right next to the beach.
Address: Harbor Beach Campground, N. Pacific St, Oceanside, Cal
Driving Directions to Harbor Beach Campground, Oceanside: From Interstate 5 in Oceanside, CA, exit 54C Oceanside Harbor Dr. Go west on S. Harbor Drive, then right on N. Pacific Street.
Reservations are a must in the summer, and this popular campground sells out early! Nearby are some of the popular attractions in Carlsbad, including Legoland California, Sealife Aquarium, Carlsbad Flower Fields, and the Carlsbad Lagoon.
Reservations are a must during the summer and weekends. This popular San Diego beach camping spot sells out 7 months in advance, when reservations open up on the 1st day of each month. Make reservations through ReserveAmerica 800 444-7275 (from 7 months to 48 hours in advance). First come first serve during last 48 hours, and if you are lucky you might find an open spot.
Carlsbad Campground Phone number: (760) 438-3143 (for reservations call 800 444-7275)
Address: 7201 Carlsbad Blvd., Carlsbad, CA 92008 (Carlsbad Blvd. is Highway 101 in this section).
Driving Directions to South Carlsbad State Beach Campground: This way is recommended for RVs in particular, as the other route requires a U-turn). From Interstate 5 in Carlsbad Calif, exit Palomar Airport Blvd. Go west toward the beach, then south on Carlsbad Blvd. (Hwy 101) for about 2 miles until you reach the state beach campground entrance on the right.
Directions to Carlsbad California State Beach by Train - You can easily reach this beach campground from the San Diego Coaster Train. It is located 1/2 mile south of the Poinsettia train station.
The beach is accessed by steep sets of stairs and is popular with surfers, swimmers, and walkers, as day use is also permitted. Reservations are a must in the summer, and this popular spot for San Diego beach camping sells out early! Nearby must see sites include the Self Realization Temple and San Diego Botanic Garden .
Reserve your spot early! This popular San Diego beach camping spot sells out 7 months in advance, when reservations open up on the 1st day of each month. Make reservations through Reserve America 800 444-7275 (from 7 months to 48 hours in advance). First come first serve during the last 48 hours, and if you are lucky you might find an open camping site due to a late cancellation.
San Elijo Campground Phone number: (760) 753-5091 (for reservations call 800 444-7275)
Address: 1600 S. Highway 101, Cardiff by the Sea, CA 92007
Driving Directions to San Elijo State Beach Campground: From Interstate 5, take the Encinitas Blvd. exit and go west to the last stoplight. Turn left onto Hwy 101, travel about 2 miles through the charming town of Encinitas, past the Self Realization Fellowship Temple, past Swamis surfing spot until you reach the San Elijo State Beach Campgrounds on your right.
Directions to San Elijo State Beach by Train - You can easily reach this beach campground from the San Diego Coaster Train. It is located 2 mile south of the Encinitas train station. Taxi cabs are usually available.
Phone number: (800) 422-9386
Address: 2211 Pacific Beach Drive, San Diego, CA 92109
Driving Directions to Campland on the Bay: From Interstate 5 in downtown San Diego, CA, exit 23A toward Grand Ave/Garnet Ave. Merge onto Mission Bay Dr., turn right at Grand Ave, left at Olney St., then left at Pacific Beach Dr. Camp land on the Bay will be on the right.
Silver Strand State Beach Phone number: (619) 435-5184 (for reservations call 800 444-7275)
Address: 5000 Highway 75, Coronado, CA 92118
Driving Directions to San Elijo State Beach Campground: From Interstate 5, take the beautiful Coronado Bay Bridge from downtown San Diego to Coronado. Follow Hwy 75 southward until you reach Silver Strand State Beach.
Address: 460 Sandpiper Way Chula Vista California 91910
Phone number: 800-770-2878 or 619-422-0111
Driving Directions to Chula Vista RV Resort : From Interstate 5 in downtown San Diego, CA, exit at J Street/Marina Pkwy and head west, follow Marina Pkwy to the stop sign at Sandpiper Way and turn left then continue on Sandpiper Way around the bend, entrance to Chula Vista RV Resort will be on your left.
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These are some of the most popular San Diego attractions to see in your San Diego or Southern California vacation.
Check out these best San Diego beaches for:
Some beaches are best explored at low tide. Check out the tides and find maps and directions to the popular beaches below.
These are the top beaches in San Diego, listed from north to south:
Blacks Beach (Nude beach)
Blacks Beach (Surfer beach)
These are the top beaches in San Diego’s North County, listed from north to south: