Standard (tent/RV)
Tent Cabin
RV Sites
Tent Sites
Fires Allowed
Pets Allowed
Drinking Water
About South Carlsbad State Beach

For many, once the sun comes out and summer rolls around, it can be hard to resist the urge to get outside and soak up some fun. If you relate, and you just need to unplug for a minute, Carlsbad camping offers some of the state’s best camping sites around. When your work has stacked up and you’re overloaded, it’s time to gather your camping gear, and head to Carlsbad State Beach camping for solitude and relaxation.

This San Diego beach and campground feature camping, swimming, surfing, skin diving, fishing and picnicking. The campground is especially popular in the summer, thanks to its scenic location which overlooks the picturesque Carlsbad Beach below. Even better, the campground offers direct access to the beach via a set of well-kept stairs. As a result of the popularity, the campground is reservation only, so don’t show up without one or you’ll likely be unable to stay.

When you’re done with the beach, check out the nearby California geography and some of the trails within the park. If the ocean isn’t your thing, a number of Campfire Programs, Junior Ranger Programs, and Nature Walks may be offered. That said, program availability changes with the season, so be sure to check signs posted on the restrooms and at the entrance station regarding park information during your visit.

At night, campers are gently caressed to sleep by the nearby ocean tide, lapping upon its secluded shoreline. There is plenty of privacy throughout, thanks to the large selection of flora and fauna throughout the campground. The campsites themselves are also spacious, with roughly half of them featuring electric hookups. Additionally, All restrooms and shower buildings have accessible facilities. Prior to arrival, visitors with disabilities who need assistance should contact the unit Supervising Ranger.

South Carlsbad State Beach Campground is perfect for campers and individuals who love the ocean and the outdoors. Whether you’re looking surf the rolling waves, or paddle board out and take part in all that the north county coastline has to offer, you’re sure to have fun here.

Drive In
Walk In
Boat In
ADA Accessible
Alcohol Allowed
Drinking Water
Electric Hookups
Fires Allowed
Firewood Available
Pets Allowed
Phone Service
Picnic Table
Sanitary Dump
Sewer Hookups
Trash Available
Water Hookups
South Carlsbad State Beach is located in California
33.1026 N
-117.3201 W
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45 Reviews of South Carlsbad State Beach
Peaceful and still close to cool places

The good. 

Pick a spot - $75 gets you on the bluff with hookups $50 gets you on the bluff but no hookups $35 gets you on the other side Trash, recycling, and sewage disposal ($10) nearby. Water quality at the hookup sites smell fresh.

The not as good. 

Although ocean bluff spots cost you the elevation angle of the site lot or vegetation may impede or restrict your view. There’s also a metal fence. Unlike San Elijo State Park to the south most of the ocean sites do have an actual ocean view.

The bathrooms Bring soap. No dispensers near the sinks. Toilets are cleaned but not necessarily clean.

Noise. Far enough away from the train tracks to not have train noise issues but alongside US101 so there may be road noise.

Stuff to know- 

If you’re towing a vehicle it has to be literally towed onto the property. Don’t disconnect and go get groceries prior to entering or you’ll have to pay $15 a night for the vehicle once you enter (Or take your rig back out back out and tow it in)

Recommendations - 

There is a train station not too far away (short drive long walk) Take the “Coaster” south to Encinitas, Solana or all the way down to Old Town in San Diego and enjoy one of the most toured cities in the US. Taking the train north one stop puts you at downtown Carlsbad- also a worthy venture.

Local cuisine- I like Sushi Cuchi (excuse the name) Half off menu on Sunday night.

Got Gas? - Costco is close and about 30 cents per gallon cheaper than any other gas station. Get there early to avoid the mayhem. Pumps open 5:30-6:00am depending upon the day.

Nice campground

Nice campground try to get a spot on the ocean side. The road side is louder… showers and bathrooms are available. Long walk downstairs to the beach.

Beautiful and well maintained

We lived less than a mile from this campground and would bike there almost every night for years. Always a friendly, peaceful, and beautiful place to visit.


I get that this is some people's idea of amazing camping… it's just not mine.

The sites are overpriced in a major way.  $50+ and I'm sorry but it's ridiculous that they charge $20 for a second car when it can easily fit within the confines of your site.  And the sites have so little privacy between them that we wanted that extra car simply to create a barrier from noisy neighbors.

It's great that sights on the west side overlook the cliffs, but there's an ugly chainlink fence that makes it feel ghettoy to look out over the water.  When you have to watch a beautiful sunset through a fence, it's a bit less magical.  They need to tear it down and put up a low-sitting wood barrier.  It's a shame.  

That being said, we got the site on the far south side and because of that we didn't have neighbors on one side.  BUUUT we did have people playing kickball in the little cul-de-sac next to us that got really annoying really fast.  

Save your money, go to the woods.

Favorite beach campground

Super beautiful but sites always full

Best campsite in SD

Title says it all.

Grew up here

I loved coming her through my childhood and into my adult life. It’s pricey for a site but it’s hard to beat for a beach camping site

Nice beach

This campground sits on the busy coast highway.  It's fine if you are on the beach side, on the bluffs.  The surf cancels road noise on the beach side.  On the road side it is noisy.  Campsites are generally very close together. Vagrant/transient foot traffic can be a problem.

Sun, Sand, Waves and Fun

October, January and February are the best times to camp if you don't want crowds otherwise there never is really a bad time to be at the beach, at least not in my book.

My Favorite Beach

This place is a hot spot and tough to book so make sure you do it far in advance. The area sits up on the Carlsbad cliffs, and there are stairs that run down to the beach about every 1/4 mile or so, some aren’t open though due to damage. Best sites sit on the cliff side where you can over look the ocean, otherwise you’ll be hearing the cars off the road, but any spot is nice as long as you plan on spending your days on the sand.

The spots are separated by large bushes (mostly) but still can get pretty hot in the day so be sure to bring shade. Some spots now have hook ups, and they vary in depth from large enough for a motor home to small enough for a tent.

Where you drive in is the middle, there are washers and dryers there, a store (open in the spring and summer), and rentals for bikes and surf boards. The bathrooms along the campground have showers so be sure to bring cash for tokens.

Other important notes: beach shore can be very rocky in spring time due to tidal patterns, there’s a dump station for RV’s, campsites generally just have fire rings and picnic benches, squirrels can be a bit of a pain, and the ONLY real issue I can find, there is a theft time to time so keep your stuff hidden or locked up. They’ll go for your cooler, generators, and anything they see.