Stargaze Seaside: The Best Beach Campsites in San Diego

Sure, the woods are a fine place to pitch a tent, but beach lovers will do the wave over these four coastal campsites that will make everyone want s’more. From the beach bluffs to the sand, we’ve found spectacular places to set up camp and take in ocean views. And what could be better than falling asleep to the sound of waves lapping on the shore? Read on to find the best spots to reserve now!


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Photo: slworking2 via Flickr

San Elijo State Beach Campground
Little explorers will love biking, swimming, building sandcastles and a fire to roast marshmallows at this popular campground. You’ll appreciate the easy walk to restaurants, shopping and coffee. There’s an onsite store where you can buy groceries and camp supplies. With 171 sites, each with a table, fire ring and grill and nearby hot showers, flushable toilets and even a doggie beach, you really can’t go wrong pitching a tent here.

Campsite Tip: Walk to local favorite VG Donuts for a sweet treat.

Cost: $30-$50/day

2050 S. Coast Highway 101
Cardiff, Ca

San Elijo State Beach Campgrounds
Photo: Lindsay H. via Yelp

South Carlsbad State Beach Campground
For families with wee ones who want to rough it, this bluff top campsite is a good start. Each site comes with a table, fire pit and grill. If it gets too cold, or the ground too tough, it’s a short drive home if you live in North County. There’s an onsite camp store with food and supplies (including firewood)! Little beach-goers will need to walk down the stairs to enjoy the sand and surf. You can pitch a tent or bring your RV to one of the 223 campsites, some with ocean views.

Campsite Tip: Bring a tarp or umbrella to shade your eating area.

Cost: $30-$50/day

7201 Carlsbad Blvd.
Carlsbad, Ca


Photo: C. Fiedler

Campland on the Bay
Are you in for a camping wonderland? While not exactly in the wilderness, this Mission Bay campground is perfect for the whole family, all generations, both young and old. Kids love that there are no waves in the bay and the swim area is safely roped off. Additional swim spots include two heated swimming pools and a jacuzzi. Half-pints will delight in the bucketful of activities planned throughout the day. There’s biking, sailing, aqua-cycling, a game room, skateboarding and even sandcastle competitions.

Campsite Tip: If you want to try RV camping, you can call ahead and have one waiting for you.

Cost: $45-$225/day

2211 Pacific Beach Dr.
San Diego, Ca

Photo: Stoney B. via Yelp

Silver Strand State Beach Campground
Want to try RV camping? Although tents aren’t allowed on this 7-mile stretch of sand that connects Coronado to Imperial Beach, RVs are the way this state park rolls. You can enjoy barbecue pits, fire rings, a snack bar, showers and clean restrooms. You’ll see plenty of kids riding around on scooters and bikes.

Campsite Tip: Check with the park rangers about Grunion runs––littles love it.

Cost: From $50/day

5000 CA-75
Coronado, Ca

Where’s your favorite beach campsite? Tell us about it in the comments below.

—Nikki Walsh


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