You can find thousands of miles of coastline with nearby beach camping along both the east and west coasts of the United States. Throw in all of the scenic routes that meander between, the quirky small towns, and low key roadside pit stops, and you have the makings of an epic summer adventure.
With The Dyrt’s new camping app, it is easy to stake out your beach camping road trip before you head out the door. Knowing where you are headed and what to expect when you get there can make your beach vacation even more relaxing and enjoyable. To get you started, we’ve listed some of our favorite stretches of highway with nearby beach camping spots.
1. Florida’s Overseas Highway
Every year, millions of people flock to the Florida Keyes to drink fruity umbrella drinks, splash in the warm ocean, and relax on the white sandy beaches. The Overseas Highway is 113 miles long, starting in Key Largo and ending in Key West. We recommend camping right across the street from the ocean at Bahia Honda State Park, located just outside of Marathon. Along with prime beach camping, you will also find spaces for fishing, snorkeling, and swimming. For turtle lovers, don’t miss the Turtle Hospital in Marathon, which is the world’s first veterinary hospital designed especially for seas turtles. Go deep sea diving in Key Largo, which is known as one of the best scuba diving spots in the country. You can even head to Key West to grab a drink at Hemingway’s old drinking hole, Sloppy Joe’s Bar.
2. Oregon Coast Highway
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Extending along the Pacific coast from Brookings to the Washington state line, US Route 101 is a scenic 363-mile two-lane highway. Popular during the summer months, the Oregon Coast Highway winds through many small seaside towns and along stretches of rocky cliffs jetting into the sea. If you are on the northern end of the highway, you can camp at Ecola State Park, located just between Seaside and Cannon Beach. On the central portion of the highway, Beverly Beach State Park is easy to access for overnight camping, located just outside of Newport. Close to Port Orford on the Southern stretch of the Coast Highway, Cape Blanco State Park offers camping as well. Along with beach camping, each of these parks offer miles of beach, nearby hiking trails, and even whale watching opportunities.
3. California Highway 1
Known as the Pacific Coast Highway or California Highway 1, this 655-mile highway is one of the most popular highways in the world for road trips. With a starting point in Dana Point in Orange County and an ending point in Leggett in Mendocino County, Highway 1 is the longest state route in California. Along the route, there are hundreds of beaches to discover, like Huntington Beach and Long Beach. You can see the tallest trees in the world at the Redwood National and State Parks and stick your toes in the purple sand at Pfeiffer State Beach. You’ll definitely want to spend a few days at Point Reyes National Seashore Campground just north of San Francisco. Farther south, just outside of Encinitas, San Elijo State Beach is another ideal camping destination along this scenic stretch of highway.
4. Maine Route 1
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Maine’s US Route 1 features sandy beaches and rocky coastline dotted with pine trees. Stretching from Kittery to Eastland, this highway is also an easy access point to nearby campgrounds. Some of the pitstops along the way include grabbing a lobster roll in Portland and catching a glimpse of L.L. Bean’s headquarters in Freeport. Acadia National Park is Maine’s only national park, where you will find miles of hiking trails, a public campground and close proximity to several private campgrounds. After a day of shopping for new camping gear in Freeport, you can also spend a night or two at Wolfe’s Neck Oceanfront Campground, where the pine forests meet the ocean.