Imagine trading the humdrum of your hectic daily life for a night under the stars with the relaxing lull of crashing waves as your lullaby. Welcome to the world of beach camping! It's more than just a vacation; it's an extraordinary blend of relaxation and adventure, nestled between the golden sands and azure blue waters. In this article, we'll voyage across the 10 best beach camping spots in the US that you can't afford to miss. And if you're a rookie, fear not! We have you covered with essential things to prepare for a beach camping trip. So, whether you're a seasoned camper or a first-timer, strap on your adventure boots, pack that sunscreen, and get ready to break away from the ordinary. The beach is calling, and you must go!
10 Best Beach Camping Spots in the US
1. Hoffmaster State Park: Muskegon, Michigan
Offering three miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, this popular campground boasts 297 sites filled with scenic views, as well as hiking and skiing trails. Despite its seclusion, nearby towns and local breweries are just a short trip away. Camping fees start at $20 per night.
2. Nāpali Coast State Wilderness Park: Kauai, Hawaii
Featuring two main campgrounds (Hanakoa and Miloli'i), the latter provides exceptional beach camping and is only accessible by boat. Rates start at $25 per night for Hawaii residents and $35 for non-residents. Camping permits can be obtained online, 90 days in advance.
3. Kalaloch Campground, Olympic National Park: Washington
As the most popular beach campground in Washington state, Kalaloch offers unique rocky terrain and is home to various wildlife like gulls, whales, and bald eagles. Rates range from $24 to $48 per night, and early reservations are recommended.
4. Sea Camp Campground: Cumberland Island National Seashore, Georgia
Accessible only by ferry or private boat, this remote island rewards visitors with vast freshwater wetlands and diverse wildlife. The campground includes modern amenities such as treated drinking water, showers, and toilets. Campfires are permitted in designated areas only. Reservations can be made up to six months ahead, with fees starting at $22 per night.
5. Wai’anapanapa State Park: Maui, Hawaii
This state park's stunning black-sand beaches, natural tide pools, freshwater caves, and stone arch make it an ideal beach camping destination. Permits and reservations are required, with rates between $20 and $30 per night. Additionally, cabins can be rented for a supplementary fee.
6. Hunting Island State Park, South Carolina
Situated between the bustling cities of Charleston and Savannah, Hunting Island State Park is an awe-inspiring campground encompassing an exquisite beach. Offering a tranquil and secluded retreat, the park welcomes campers with pets. It provides 100 campsites accommodating both tents and RVs, equipped with water and electric connections. Activities like fishing, crabbing, hiking, and biking are popular pastimes once you're settled.
7. Bahia Honda State Park, Big Pine Key, Florida
Are you captivated by the idea of camping beneath the shade of towering palm trees? Then, Bahia Honda State Park, based in the Florida Keys, is your dream come true. A popular haunt for snorkeling enthusiasts, this campground spot enthralls visitors with its flawless sands and captivating turquoise waters. The nightly reservation fees start at approximately $36, with more details present on the Florida State Parks website.
8. Horseneck Beach State Reservation, Westport, Massachusetts
Located a stone's throw away from Martha's Vineyard, Horseneck Beach State Reservation boasts a sprawling two-mile beach adorned with wild roses, optimal for windsurfing and provides around 100 campsites to choose from. Overnight rates begin at $22 for Massachusetts residents and escalate to $70 for non-residents.
9. Ocracoke Campground, Ocracoke, North Carolina
Situated on the magnificent Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, with its pristine 16 miles of untouched coastline, is accessible only by ferry, private boat, or plane. Adjacent to the sand dunes, this pet-friendly campground accommodates 136 sites equipped with grills, flush toilets, cold shower facilities, and potable water. Being available throughout the year, it accepts RVs shorter than 40 feet but lacks electric hookups. Starting from $28, campsite rentals include a charcoal grill, picnic table, and paved parking space.
10. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Lake Superior, Wisconsin
The Apostle Islands in Wisconsin comprise 21 stunning islands, with beach camping options being available on 18. If you crave solitude or enjoy fending for yourself, 15 islands further offer backcountry camping options. The nightly fee for individual campsites is $15, and you can secure reservations up to 30 days beforehand.
Preparing for a Beach Camping Trip
Going on a beach camping trip can be a fun and relaxing experience. To ensure that you have a great time, you must ensure you are well-prepared for your trip. Below is the comprehensive list of items for your beach camping trip.
- Tent: Ensure that it is suitable for beach camping, with proper ventilation, and sand pegs
- Sleeping bags: Suitable for the climate of your camping destination
- Camping chairs and table: Collapsible and lightweight for easy transportation
- Stove or portable grill: For cooking meals
- Cooking utensils and dishes: Pots, pans, plates, cups, and silverware
- Food and drink: Non-perishable items and enough water for the duration of the trip
- Food storage containers: To keep food protected from sand and wildlife
- Lights: Headlamps, lanterns, and flashlights for illuminating your campsite
- Batteries: Extra batteries for electronic devices that may need them
- Backup Power: One other important item to consider is a backup power source, especially if you plan to stay for an extended period on the beach. A solar generator or portable power station provides you with the necessary backup power to keep your essential devices like phones, laptops, and cameras charged. With this, you won't have to worry about running out of battery and missing out on capturing those special moments.
Safety & First Aid
- First aid kit: Include band-aids, painkillers, antiseptic, and any personal medications
- Insect repellent: To keep mosquitos and other insects at bay
- Swimwear: If you plan on swimming in the ocean
- Sunglasses and sun hat: To ensure protection for your eyes and face from the sun
- Umbrella or shade canopy: To create a shaded area for sun protection
- Life jackets: For water activities such as kayaking or paddleboarding
- Multi-tool: For solving minor camping-related problems
Indeed, beach camping is an experience that truly captures the essence of connecting with nature and creating lifelong memories. Among the 10 best beach camping spots in the US we've explored, each destination offers its unique blend of adventure, tranquility, and breathtaking scenery. So go ahead, pack your bags, and let the expanse of the ocean be your canvas. Immerse yourself in the symphony of waves, golden sunsets, and star-filled skies at these picturesque escapes. Because, in the end, it's not just about the destination but the stories we carry with us when we leave the sandy shores behind.