Top 5 Tips For Beach Camping In California

When people think of California, they typically think of Hollywood, Disneyland, or those old commercials with celebrities talking about the common “misconceptions” surrounding Californians. And while the culturally rich cities and commanding presence of the entertainment industry are all vitally important to California’s identity, it makes it easy to overlook the natural wonders the state has to offer. 

It is no secret that California has great beaches with a lot of life and excitement surrounding the shore. But for those looking to detach and relish in something a little more low key and simple, spending a night on the beach could be the perfect fit. 

Here are our top tips for planning your overnight stay on beach: 

    1. KNOW THE RULES. It is the responsibility of the individual to know the rules for the specific area they will be staying in. For example: Are you allowed to have an open fire? Are you permitted to drive along the shore? Is there any private property that needs to be avoided? Knowing the regulations of a specific area will enable you to preserve the natural state of the area and avoid any confrontations or interruptions. 
    2. BRING GEAR FOR THE SAND AND SUN.  If you plan on going to the beach, you are obviously going to expect and most likely be excited for the sand, ocean and sun. However, when you are looking to stay for extended periods of time, they can be the very thing that could ruin your experience. With almost no shade available, it is important you bring more than just your wide brim hats and sunscreen. Have some type of covering (awning, umbrella, tarp) available to protect yourself and other belongings from the constant beating of the sun. Also, remember that sand is far looser than typical dirt. Use sand specific stakes for any tents or shelters and bring a small brush and dustpan to manage the sand. This will help you keep sand out of unwanted places and prolong the life of your gear. 
    3. BEWARE OF THE TIDE. Before you start pitching your tent and setting up camp on the beach, it is imperative that you ensure you are far enough away from the water’s edge. Check local websites or apps such as Tides Near Me to track the tides. There is nothing worse than a giant wave taking you by surprise or damaging any gear you might have. Although being as close to the water as possible is tempting, play it safe. 
    4. USE A LANYARD. Dropping your car key is about as bad as losing a needle in a haystack. It is a great idea to add lanyards or long keychains to keys and other small items to make them easier to find when they inevitably fall into the sand. 
    5. BEWARE OF MOISTURE AND WEATHER. Spending the day out on the beach and soaking up the sun makes it pretty easy for your body to warm up and become accustomed to a certain amount of sun and heat. This makes your body especially sensitive to the colder temperatures associated with sunset and the proximity to water. Make sure your gear can keep you warm and dry. Fog and dew are common along the shore so don’t leave anything exposed overnight if it can’t get wet. Bring some type of dry bag or pack these items in the car. Also, pay attention to the material in your sleeping bag. Not all down sleeping bags will bode well with moisture. 

Beach camping in California can be an incredibly rewarding and fun experience when done properly. Take the time to plan your trip out and organize your gear. Be mindful that not all of California’s beach camping sites will allow you to stay close to your car. You may have to boat or hike in a decent distance so make sure you can carry all of the necessary gear! If you find yourself lucky enough to have the opportunity to camp on California’s Coast, we hope you apply these tips and enjoy one of the few natural attractions this great state has to offer.

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