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

We came here year after year with groups and always loved it! The beach is beautiful and it is so convenient to camp here and just keep walking down to the beach everyday. The sites are on the smaller side but they are well maintained and there are plenty of showers and bathrooms situated throughout the campground. The actual campground itself isn't exactly scenic as it is just a road with sites on wither side and little shade in every site but that is not why people usually come. There is a store in case you need anything along with other perks, such as junior ranger programs. A pricey camping option but very much worth it to be on the beach, just busy!

Amazing Views

The sunset was amazing. The site was pretty spacious, could have fit two tents. The night was cool and all you could hear at night was the sound of the ocean even though we camped near to an RV. Our site was somewhat near the stairs to the beach. During the day it was warm but at night it cooled down quite a bit.

Wonderful views

This campground provided a perfect place to rest our heads during the Cotopaxi Questival. It provided a place for campfires, our tent and a great view.

Camping by the beach

We had a great stay here overnight. It was wonderful to be by the beach.

Beautiful beach campgrounds

Stayed here for a quick night during Questival. The bathrooms are clean and the sites were well kept. The parking people are strict but the the ticket is the same cost as paying for parking so not to worry! Not too noisy at night or windy

It's the beach and only the beach that will bring you here.

There is one reason and one reason only to stay at South Carlsbad Campground, and that is Carlsbad State Beach. It's a pretty convincing reason. The sand is perfect. The waves consistent. The water warmer than normal (which probably isn't a good thing in the long run, but it feels like the Caribbean Sea right now.

The actual campground is huge and narrow with one road splitting the sites down the middle. All the sites are roughly the same with the major differences being depth and the amount of shade. The ocean side sites are premium priced ($50 during peak season) and the road side is more affordable ($35) but still pricey for a campsite. Especially one that has no privacy and is backed up against a highway. The Pacific Coast Highway but still. Sites are on sand, have a picnic table and a fire pit…and that's about it. If you're lucky, we weren't, you'll have some shade or privacy to one direction or another. Not many sites do so google earth it if you can. There are pay showers, flush toilets and a camp store with booze, ice cream bars and flip-flops if you forget yours.

And it's busy…all the time. Most sites are booked in advance most of the peak seasons and the camp also acts as the access point for locals and tourists accessing big portions of the beach. With nearly 200 sites and additional traffic be prepared for sand always being kicked up, kids wandering aimlessly and noise from generators, partiers and traffic.

That all sounds not so great, but the location of the camp on the cliffs overlooking the beach is still pretty great. It's not Big Sur, but it if you're looking for beach you won't find a finer spot to camp just about anywhere in SoCal. San Elijo Campground down the road is a smaller version of Carlsbad SB but is also hard to get a spot in without reservations.

Overall, I'm giving Carlsbad SB Campground 2 1/2 Tent Stakes of Awesomeness. It isn't wilderness, but it is the beach. The location makes it worth it. Car, RV or Van camping is more fun that tent camping just because of all the sand, and to cut down on noise, and surf spots within walking distance. 

Pro-Tip #1: California has its own reservation site now. You can still see the basics on reserveamerica but can't actually reserve it. The new reservecali site is kind of a dick.

Pro-Tip #2: The far south end of the camp has the most shade/privacy brush, and only has sites on the ocean side so you'll have far more privacy.

Pro-Tip #3: Google Earth your site. The difference between sites next to each other is big when you're talking about any versus zero shade.

Pro-Tip #4: Pizza Port Brewing for pizza and beer. You'll be glad you did.

Great site

Super beautiful area (obviously), with a tent site overlooking the beach (but fenced in). Wish we could camp on the actul beach but that is rare. There was privacy and it wasnt overcrowded.

Ok for groups

I was not a huge fan of this campground but I think for out of towners, or for a fun time with friends by a bonfire, it would be great. Campground is in town, right on a major road/hwy, crowded, and loud. The beach is very rocky and not the best place to swim but if you go further north or south there are sandy beaches.

If you have have small children or are looking to party the location being so close to stores and food would be nice. Also it's a beautiful location and staff are friendly. So while I didn't find it to be that great others may have a lovely time.

Great location!

We stayed 2 nights and wanted to stay a third. It was awesome to be so close to the ocean and be able to walk down to the beach. There were big groups on both sides of us, but that was just because we didn't notice how close our site was to the group site. There are bushes in between every site though so it really creates a lot of privacy. Hot showers, close to a grocery store and other conveniences. Carlsbad is also an adorable little town!