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11 Best Places For BEACHFRONT CAMPING In NorCal πŸ–

Are you ready?

City lights and the sound of traffic are OUT ❌

Starry nights and the soothing waves of the Pacific are IN βœ…

Welcome to our ultimate guide to beachfront camping in Northern California!

From the rugged shores of the Lost Coast to views of the Golden Gate Bridge in the Marin Headlands, we’re diving into the top spots where the sand is your front porch, and the ocean is your backyard.

And we’ve got you covered no matter WHAT kind of camper you are.

RVs, kids, or those who like to bring a furry friend along…

Everyone is catered to on this list.

So grab your sunscreen, pack your camping gear, and let’s hit the road – unforgettable beachfront adventures await!

Make sure you stick around to the end where we outline the top picks for different categories!

🚨Campground facilities and regulations can change over time and closures can be enforced due to weather patterns like storms. Always check with the relevant organization for the most up to date information before you plan a trip.

1. Gold Bluffs Beach Campground – Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park

Gold Bluffs Beach Campground is a hidden gem in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, nestled along a stunning 10-mile stretch of golden beach. 

Famous for its towering redwoods and the historic Fern Canyon nearby, this campground offers a unique mix of forest and ocean experiences. 

Note that the campground is accessed via a narrow, dirt road, and the use of recreational vehicles and trailers is not advised due to road conditions.

The maximum motorhome length allowed is 24 feet, and no trailers are permitted.

Amenities include solar-powered showers and potable water, but there are no hookups or dump stations. 

It’s a perfect spot for those who love nature, with opportunities for wildlife watching, hiking, and beachcombing. 

Remember, the area is remote, so bring all your essentials.

More Information:

2. Mattole Campground

Mattole Campground, located at Mattole Beach near Petrolia, CA, is a rustic and remote destination perfect for adventurous campers. 

Known for its stunning beachfront and proximity to the Lost Coast Trail, it offers a tranquil escape in nature. 

The road to get there is pretty rough so keep that in mind.

The campground has basic amenities, including pit toilets but no potable water, so visitors should come prepared.

While RVs are technically allowed, due to the challenging access road, larger vehicles are not generally recommended​​.

With only 22 tent/trailer campsites, it provides an intimate setting for enjoying the coastal beauty.

Be prepared for the cold windy nights if you’re in a tent!

More Information:

3. MacKerricher State Park Campground

Located near Fort Bragg, MacKerricher State Park Campground offers a diverse coastal experience.

It’s renowned for varied beach environments, including sandy stretches and rocky shores, making it perfect for exploration and wildlife spotting.

The campground is RV-friendly with a range of sites suitable for tents as well.

Amenities include showers and restrooms, adding comfort to the rustic setting.

Activities like fishing, tide pool exploration, and whale watching are popular here.

The nearby boardwalk and trails provide easy access to the beach and scenic views, making it a favorite for families and nature enthusiasts alike.

There are 3 main campgrounds at MacKerricher State Park:

  • West Pinewood
  • East Pinewood
  • Surfwood

More Information:

4. Manchester State Park Campground / KOA

Manchester State Park Campground, nestled along the Mendocino Coast, is known for its strikingly long, sandy beaches.

This campground offers a more secluded experience, ideal for those seeking a quieter, nature-focused retreat. 

Facilities here are basic, with sites accommodating both tents and RVs, but without hookups. 

The campground features restrooms and showers, enhancing the rustic camping experience.

It’s a prime spot for beachcombing, bird watching, and simply enjoying the peaceful ocean vistas. 

Be prepared for cooler temperatures and winds that are characteristic of this coastal region.

Top tip if you want better amenities, but like the area then choose to go to KOA Manchester Beach instead of the State Park Campground.

More Information:

5. Caspar Beach RV Park & Campground, Mendocino County

Caspar Beach RV Park & Campground, situated near Mendocino, is a favorite for families looking for a beachfront camping experience. 

This campground offers easy access to the picturesque Caspar Beach, ideal for a variety of water activities like surfing and fishing. 

It caters to both RVs and tents, with facilities including showers and a camp store for convenience. 

The campground provides a blend of natural beauty and comfort, making it perfect for those who enjoy outdoor activities without sacrificing modern amenities. 

Its location also allows for exploring the surrounding areas like Fort Bragg.

More Information:

6. Gualala Point Regional Park Campground

Gualala Point Regional Park Campground, located near the quaint town of Gualala in Sonoma County, offers a serene coastal camping experience. 

This campground is nestled in a scenic setting near the Gualala River and provides easy access to a sandy beach. 

It’s suitable for both tents and RVs, though there are no hookups available.

Campers can enjoy amenities like restrooms and showers. 

The area is great for hiking, bird watching, and beachcombing. 

The campground’s location also makes it a convenient base for exploring the surrounding natural beauty and the charming local community.

More Information:

7. Bodega Dunes Campground – Sonoma Coast State Park

Bodega Dunes Campground, located within the Sonoma Coast State Park, is a sought-after destination for its beautiful sandy dunes and proximity to Bodega Bay. 

This campground is well-suited for both tent and RV camping, with amenities including hot showers, flush toilets, and a dump station. 

It’s an ideal spot for beach lovers and hikers, offering easy access to several miles of scenic beach and trails like the Bodega Dunes Trail.

The area is known for its stunning coastal views and diverse wildlife with the opportunity for whale watching and bird watching.

It’s also close enough to explore the local flavor of Bodega Bay, adding convenience to the natural beauty of the campsite.

More Information:

8. Wright’s Beach Campground – Sonoma Coast State Park

Wright’s Beach Campground, part of the Sonoma Coast State Park, is renowned for its direct beach access and stunning ocean views. 

This campground is particularly popular among beach-goers and offers a true oceanside camping experience. 

It’s well-suited for tent camping, but also accommodates smaller RVs, although there are no hookups available. 

The amenities are basic, with flush toilets and potable water, but the real draw is the proximity to the beach. 

Ideal for sunbathing, beachcombing, and watching sunsets, it’s a prime spot for those seeking a tranquil beach escape.

This beach is not suitable for swimming due to the strong rip currents and heavy surf.

More Information:

9. Doran Regional Park Campground, Bodega Bay

Doran Regional Park Campground in Bodega Bay is a popular destination known for its extensive beachfront and a variety of recreational activities. 

This campground caters to both tent campers and RVs, with several sites offering beautiful views of the bay and beach. 

Amenities include flush toilets, showers, potable water, and a dump station.

There are also picnic tables and fire rings but no electrical hookups.

It’s a great spot for activities like fishing, boating, and picnicking. 

The campground’s location makes it convenient for exploring the local area, including the charming town of Bodega Bay. 

Its scenic setting and array of activities make it a favorite among families and outdoor enthusiasts.

More information:

10. Kirby Cove Campground, Marin Headlands

Kirby Cove Campground, nestled in the Marin Headlands just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, offers a unique camping experience with its secluded beach and stunning views of the bridge. 

This small, rustic campground is only suited for tent camping.

No car camping or RVs here.

There’s no water or electrical hookups, emphasizing a more primitive camping style. 

The campground is known for its tranquility and scenic beauty, including a pebble beach and hiking trails. 

Reservations are a must due to its popularity and limited number of sites.

More Information:

11. Shelter Cove RV Campground and Deli

Shelter Cove RV Campground and Deli, located in the picturesque Shelter Cove area on the Lost Coast of California, offers a unique coastal camping experience.

This RV-friendly campground provides full hookups, catering to a comfortable stay.

The on-site deli adds a convenience factor, making it easy to grab snacks and essentials.

It’s close to the black sands beach which is one of the most unique beaches in all of California.

This campground is ideal for those looking for a more developed camping experience in the rugged and beautiful Lost Coast region.

More Information:


Now as promised, here are the top picks for some different categories.

Do you agree?

Top Picks

Best for FAMILY Camping: Caspar Beach RV Park & Campground πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘¦

Caspar Beach RV Park & Campground offers family-friendly amenities and beach access, making it perfect for a memorable camping experience.

Best for BEACHFRONT Camping: Gold Bluffs Beach Campground πŸ–

Gold Bluffs Beach Campground provides direct access to a stunning beach, set against the backdrop of ancient redwoods.

Best for PETS: Doran Regional Park Campground 🐾

Doran Regional Park Campground welcomes pets, offering diverse landscapes for you and your furry friend to explore.

Best for SCENIC VIEWS: Kirby Cove Campground πŸ“Έ

Kirby Cove Campground boasts unmatched views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay, ideal for scenic photography.

Sophie Davis

Born and raised in the Bay area of California, Sophie is a California native. She joined our team in 2023 to create travel guides on California.

Learn more about the Traveller's Elixir Team.

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