Hard to beat the scenery here. Camping cliff side along the beach in Southern California. The camp grounds are a little cramped. Seem more designed for RV’s and trailers but we don’t mind. You can take dogs here and hike down to the beach from trails 1&6. Bathrooms are clean. Only outdoor showers though. I’ll go again!
If you can get over the train coming by multiple times a night you will enjoy this campground. Beautiful beach views but frequent trains. Great for local oc residents
We stayed here for Labor Day weekend and it was packed! There are no hookups but you can use a generator. We were surrounded by tent campers with 15 people in a site who partied all night yet complained when we used our generator during generator hours. It’s a hike to the beach and even then it’s more of a surfer’s beach than one for kids.
Growing up in SoCal, I had thought this would be a lousy place to go camping when I would drive by on the 5 Freeway. But after I had gone with a group of friends for a weekend trip, I totally changed my mind. And here are the reasons why:
- You can't hear the freeway traffic
- The beach is uncrowded, plus every camp site has a fire ring and picnic table.
- You can set up your tent or bring your RV (some guys merely set up cots next to their cars on the asphalt and slept under the stars)
- World-renowned surfing just up the beach
- The campground offers cold outdoor showers and chemical toilets. No RV hookups are available, however, there is a RV dump-station.
- Super long paved bike ride with no traffic which is great for the kids.
- Great surf fishing
- Unofficial nude beach is just south of the camp ground near Camp Pendleton.
- The San Onofre Nuclear Plant was closed in 2013 if that is a concern for you.
Only open during a portion of the year this campground is the true beach camping experience. While it can be used for day use throughout the year when I first visited this area I was so upset that it was not open and instead ended up staying at another campground.
Upon my return I had to check it out and now it will be my exclusive campground when in the San Onofre area!
The views of the ocean are amazing from the sites. There are pull in spaces that you can park a small RV or adventure vehicle or green space for tents. I noticed a lot of surfers pulling in when I was there and hiking their boards down the bluff while others pulled in by the Camp Pendleton Beach front for the rocky beach shores.
The facilities include outdoor showers and sinks and nice bathrooms. It is perfect for a visit to the beach where you don't need a lot to make you happy.
Stairs stagger down the bluffs toward the beach where there is a lifeguard stand and a vast beach area for anyone wanting to brave the cold waters. It is a perfect place to catch the sunset on any given night as you can see for what seems to be eternity.
During the open season on weekends it fills up quickly, during the weekdays it is kind of busy as well but there are still some walk up spaces available. I would suggest calling for reservations in advance just to make sure.
Camping on the bluffs is a bit more expensive than I typically would be wanting to spend to stay in my tent, $40 dry camping. No hook ups are available at sites and with the exception of some picnic tables there isn't much else to talk about in way of the actual location. You will also find that there is an additional fee if you reserve online for "convenience", that was annoying but standard for all campgrounds in California.
Everyone I met there had such a chill vibe and so it made for a great camp.
One perk to the expensive fee is it does allow you access to the San Clemente beach area which has hot showers and a little different view to check out!!
If trying to walk in arrive early otherwise there will be little chance of snagging a spot.
Bring your firewood because there is none to forge and none available at the entrance.
Pack a wetsuit the water is COLD so if you are planning on being in and engaging in any water sports you will be thankful!!
I have camped at this state beach many times. Easy drive up car campingnor RV. Easy hike down to the beach and you usually have most of it to yourself.
Beach camping is something else. I much rather prefer mountains, forests, and woods…there was something beautiful about this place as well. As far as the campsites go, it's a long stretch of 150+ rows of sites that are practically parking spots. You get a concrete parking spot that parks about 2 long RVs, and a very small 10x10 dirt patch. Some sites are bigger than others, but all of them include a fire pit ring with grill & a wooden picnic table.
The campsites are rather close together so be prepared for LOTS of noise and people walking through your site to get to the restrooms. The beach is the best part of this place. It's secluded and quiet. Great for surfers! If you're into nude tanning, that's available as well. BEWARE OF BEES!