Top 5 Best Beach Camping Sites in Southern California For a Cheap Family Vacation

5 Responses

by Jenny Dixie

Camping can be one of the best experiences if done right. Most families enjoy vacations together but can’t afford to stay at fancy hotels or they might prefer not to. Camping is perfect for families with small children. There’s nothing like packing up your stuff for a weekend out in nature. Beach camping is a favorite during the warmer months. There are so many spots in Southern California where you can camp on the beach that it’s hard to pick which one you want. Here is a list of the top rated beach campsites in Southern California.
Most sites do require a fee.

1. Jalama Beach – Santa Barbara County Park
This is one of the most unique campsites in southern California. If you go during off season you can have the beach all to yourself. Summertime is the opposite. You can find yourself in line early in the morning to get one of the 98 beach front sites. The land surrounding this site is huge. Even when the sites are full the beach isn’t crowded at all. You can’t forget the famous Jalama Burgers. The beauty of the surrounding land is an amazing site to see as well, it looks like it hasn’t been touched for hundreds of years.

2. Leo Carillo State Beach California
This state park has about a mile of ocean front with two areas of sandy beaches. There are a ton of smaller coves to explore as well. They have everything from tide pools to sea caves.
There are 135 sites at this park. There is a small general store inside the campground for necessities. Activities are endless you can fish, hike, Swim, scuba, surf and much more.

3. Refugio State Beach – Santa Barbara County
This campsite is located just west of Santa Barbara. There are a limited amount of sites that are on the beach so reservations are recommended. The most distinctive feature of this campsite is the palm trees that are all over. There are campsites on both sides of the Refugio creek. The creek only runs during the rainy season though,

4. Silver Strand State Beach San Diego
This campground is located on the strip of sand that separates San Diego from the Pacific Ocean. Whole relatively close to San Diego this campground gives you a feeling of being in a remote location. There are 136 campsites that are for self-contained vehicle only. There are camping spots in the north lot that are right on the beach. The sites usually book up and it is a good idea to reserve the spot 3 months in advance. The temperatures at this campground stay in a comfortable 65-78 year round. Extreme cold and extreme hots are very rare here.

5. Gaviota State Park California
The Southern Pacific trestle travels over the canyon of the beach. Although Amtrak and a few freight trains travel over the tracks daily you barley notice the noise. There is a pier and a small snack bar with restrooms. This is a very popular site for fishing and scuba diving. There are 41 developed campsites that allow tents and trailers. The sites are not on the beach though but they are on the other side of the train trestle. The beach is a very short walk away though.

Jenny Dixie - EzineArticles Expert Author   Jenny Dixie is an avid reader and writer. She enjoys educating people on what they are interested in. She also enjoys fashion and finding that absolutely perfect suede handbag.Article Source:

5 Responses to Top 5 Best Beach Camping Sites in Southern California For a Cheap Family Vacation

  1. mike says:

    I am interested in tent camping at Yosemite, do you have any suggestions? Ideally, I would like a nicely wooded camp ground near a river, not overly crowded and some what close to major attractions.

    Thank you,


  2. Taylor Logan Smith says:

    I love camping on the beach in Santa Barbara. They have some of the best beaches to camp on and the weather is usually quite nice, though it does get a bit cold on the beach depending on what part of the year you come in. I recently had a bad experience and had to move to a hotel in town. Thankfully it was a great hotel and the rest of our trip was a whole lot of fun. The Sandman Inn ( Really affordable and in a great part of town, though we weren’t on the beach anymore we still got to enjoy everything as if we were.

  3. Raymond says:

    Camping anywhere is always a treat but camping on the beach is the best. Hearing the waves crash all night long and the quiet, fresh breeze, by far the best experience. Santa Barbara has some of the best beaches to camp on or some of the best places to visit in general! If you’re a hiker this is the place to be as well as a camper! Though I prefer to camp inside sometimes when the weather calls for it. The Sandman Inn ( is the ideal place to do it as it is so cheap!

  4. Toma says:

    Beach camping reminds me of my childhood with my dad and brothers out in Santa Barbara at Refugio and El Cap. Such great times playing in the surf then snuggling up in a sleeping bag and listening to the waves crash all night. Fresh fish and all, it was a great way to spend hot summer evenings in Cali! Now when I go back to the area-I enjoy hotels rather then tents!

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