We've been here twice. Once in late August in 2014 and again in July 2016. We were delighted how this campground (in a city) feels like wilderness. In late Aug it was getting cooler and sparsely populated. In July, it was pretty crowded but the camp sites aren't right on top of each other and there is foliage around. The flush toilets, drinking water and picnic tables was great. It's close to supermarkets too.
While we only have good things to say about our stay in August, There were some shady people hanging around in July just kind of…lingering. There were 3 of us and all felt that our cars/tents were being scoped out occasionally. Perhaps that was the case, or perhaps we were just paranoid but throwing it out there so you all know that opportunists seem to be lurking about here.
Camping is basically anywhere on the beach where you can find a spot (within signposted designated area). It's dispersed. While it was busy, we had no trouble finding a spot that wasn't too crowded. I said the cost is 0-$10 as I don't remember how much we paid. I recall we had a permit that we fixed to our tent, but it was very cheap.
There were about 8 to 10 porta-potties all in a row at the where the beach meets the road. They were disgusting and nearly full. In fact, it has been 2 years since we were down there and that is my biggest memory. Others who frequent the campground bring a tall "privacy" tent with their own portable toileting system- probably a bucket.
A little loud at night with a few raucous drunk people on ATVs. We parked our car in front of our tent as a deterrent. There were no problems, luckily.
It was beautiful, being on the ocean and a short drive or 20 min walk to the popular dipnetting area. And convenient to get up for early morning dipnetting sessions without the crowds. The weather was great but I imagine it would be rough camping on the beach if windy with flying sand everywhere.
We really enjoyed that we could drive our car further into the park to camp in this campground. Sites are flat and aren't too close together. Had outhouses and running potable water. Fires were allowed. Short walk to the gravel bar and Teklanika river. Nightly ranger programs. We bought a bus pass so we could take daily trips to a part of the park we wanted to explore and then would hop back on when we were done.
This is one sweet campground, though we found it a little loud at times as some groups were staying there as well. Takes RVs and Tents. There's running water, flush toilets and a great evening program each night with a ranger. We stayed a few days would hop on the bus each day (there was a fee) to where we wanted to explore and then catch the bus back when were were done. Great experience.
Nice little campground with small amt of campsites, not really suitable for large groups or RVs so it's nice and quiet. It's walk in, but not far from the car. The vault toilets have been clean every time we've come up. The campsite is at quite an elevation so is chilly at night and early morning even in the summer. There's a little stream that flows by the campground, which is nice to fall asleep to. Gorgeous trails to hike back here too.
This is the front country campground in Denali National Park. It's really big and has a few stores and most facilities. The campsites are assigned and we found them clean with a little teeny bit of foliage between some sites. Bathrooms were clean. However, there were people driving in/out setting up, cooking, talking all hours of the night. The sun doesn't really set during the summer and it throws off A LOT of people and they forget that they don't realize that it's late at night/early morning.
We were in a tent. It may be quieter in an RV.
We were passing through and needed a place to stay for the night. On a weekend during the height of summer. It was very busy and crowded and noisy. But it served its purpose, needed a place to rest our heads for the night. When we want quiet, we'll head out into the woods.
This is a nice little walk in campground. The sites aren't very far from the car and the food storage/shelter/eating area isn't far from the car either. The further in you camp, the more privacy you score and the furthest away ends up by the gravel bar with the braided river lulling you to sleep. There wasn't any wind and the mosquitos were INSANE! Bring your bugspray and a headnet. The campground was having a problem with bears in the area. The bear storage bin had recently been attacked sporting huge dents and claw scratches.
WHAT YOU MUST KNOW: The campground is either accessible via boat or hiking in at LOW TIDE ONLY. It is a lovely hike along the coast with views of eagles, bears, glaciers etc. 5.1 miles one way from Lowell point. The campsite is free but parking is $5/day or free with your state parks pass.
We found South Beach to be a wonderful place to camp. There are a few brand new wooden platforms that we set one of our tents up on, but there are lots of sites both in the woods a little way for wind protection but also along the beach and up on the grass before the beach. There are two bear bins for food. The one nearest us had a nice overhang shelter with 4 picnic tables for cooking/eating. It did rain so we appreciated having somewhere dry to eat and listen to the horror story from the group that ignored the low tide warning and were nursing their wounds from falling on the razor sharp rocks.
No running water but there's a lovely stream for water filtering nearby. 2 outhouses- Warning, no TP. Bring your own!
The trailhead to Caines head/Fort Mcgilvray is at the end of the beach by the abandoned pier and easy to find. Long story short (see the website), Fort Mcgilvray is an old abandoned WW2 fort that is worth the hike uphill to explore. Bring a flashlight. Really gorgeous views of the bay from the top. Great place for lunch at the old gun emplacements. There's even picnic tables at the lookout. There are a few other trails to explore and even a few days at the beach with a good book and a pair of binoculars would be some great R+R.
The mosquitos are INSANE. Just unreal. Be sure to bring a headnet, it'll help with your sanity. We enjoy taking the camper bus out and back, less excited tourists everywhere and less narration, although the drivers still look for and stop for wildlife.
The campsites are nice, but all of the tents are in view of each other so no real privacy from others. The nightly ranger programs were a really nice touch. The weather is quite variable. We had sunny days with AMAZING mountain views and driving rain downpours that felt like they'd never end and bring a chill. Glad we spent 3 days so we could see Denali. Bathrooms are nice and even flush.
Tonsina Point Campground is the first campground, 2.1mi hike in from Lowell Point, on the way out to Caines Head/North Beach or is a great destination to camp on its own. Parking at the trail head does cost $5/night or is free with a season pass. The trail passes through beautiful forest and gains some elevation, about 250ft, before dropping down to the coast line. To access Caines Head after Tonsina, one MUST pay attention to the tide tables and can only safely pass the shoreline at low tide. We arrived late in the day, and low tide was at 7am the next day, so camping at Tonsina was a perfect choice. Now mind you, it gets crowded on the weekends on this trail, but we came out on a Thursday in late summer and the campground was empty.
The campground itself is set back in the forest for some windbreak. There is about 5 or 6 semi private, flat sites with fire circles with dispersed places for tents here and there. There is a long drop toilet but NO toilet paper. There are two bear bins for food with two picnic tables that has an overhead shelter roof. Great on rainy days. No running water but there's a gorgeous stream nearby for filtering.
If it's a nice day like we had, bypass the official camping area and camp on the beach. We found a lovely flat spot well above the waterline. Woke up to eagles, harlequin ducks and glacier views. Kept our food in the bear bins as there are frequent bear sightings.
We continued on to Caines Head/North Beach the next night but I'd also have been perfectly happy to relax on the beach with a book and some binoculars for a few days.