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20 Beautiful Beachside Campgrounds Across America

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For most people, camping is all about getting lost in the wilderness, but it doesn't have to be. Beach bums on a budget, rejoice: There are tons of places to camp that are near or even on the water. Some are close to the nation's best beaches, and a few even offer the chance to step out of a tent or RV and wiggle your toes in the sand immediately. According to happy reviewers, here are some of your best bets for coastal camping across the country.

Crystal Cove State Park
Courtesy of crystalcovestatepark.org

Crystal Cove State Park

Laguna Beach, California
It's no wonder that the 58-site Moro Campground at Crystal Cove State Park inspires raves — the views from the sites, perched on bluffs above the Pacific, are simply hard to beat. There are also some unique points of interest beyond the gorgeous beach, including some of the area's best tide pooling and a 46-cottage historic district (some are even rentable for overnight guests).
Good to know: Only 28 of the sites are RV-friendly with hookups, and all sites are back-in only. Primitive backcountry camping is available in separate areas elsewhere in the park.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore
Marilyn/tripadvisor.com

Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Nags Head, North Carolina
The northernmost of Cape Hatteras National Seashore's four campgrounds, 120-site Oregon Inlet allows campers to sleep just a few steps from sweeping dunes and the churning Atlantic. And despite the remote feeling, campers are just a short drive from plenty of amenities in Nags Head. Make time to climb up the black-and-white-striped Bodie Island Lighthouse, just to the north.
Good to know: Only 27 sites have electricity and water hookups. Happy reviewers say facilities are clean and rangers friendly, but they warn you need to be prepared for the Outer Banks' sometimes relentless wind.

Grand Haven State Park
Courtesy of michigan.org

Grand Haven State Park

Grand Haven, Michigan
Who says beachside camping has to be on the coast? At Grand Haven State Park's 174-site campground, you can park your RV practically on the sandy shore of Lake Michigan. Though the park itself is relatively small at only 48 acres, there's plenty to do nearby, including dune climbing, lake cruising and biking. The town of Grand Haven also has a boardwalk and lighthouse to explore, plus a musical fountain — the world's largest — with nightly showtimes.
Good to know: The cement pads at this park mean it's dominated by RVs. Hookups are electric-only and no fires are allowed. Reviewers say the place is busy and you shouldn't expect much solitude, but the tradeoff is modern facilities, a lively lakeside town, and sand underfoot.

Wolfe's Neck Oceanfront Camping
Courtesy of freeportcamping.com

Wolfe's Neck Oceanfront Camping

Freeport, Maine
You're just a stone's throw from the Maine coast at Wolfe's Neck, a campground set on 600 acres where several of the sites have views of the water and kayaks are common. The campground is part of the nonprofit Wolfe's Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment, so visitors can get a firsthand look at sustainable farming practices at the property's barns, gardens, farm store and café. Close-by attractions include L.L.Bean's flagship location and the shops and restaurants of Freeport.
Good to know: Water and electric hookups are available on about two dozen sites, but there are no ocean views (though there is Wi-Fi, a nice touch). A handful of cabins and glamping-type "Comfort Camping" tents are available, too. Most restrooms are rustic.

Cape Lookout State Park
Ukienomad/tripadvisor.com

Cape Lookout State Park

Netarts, Oregon
This peaceful slice of the Oregon coast is about 90 minutes west of Portland, and offers campers the best of the Pacific Northwest, including old-growth forest and gorgeous beaches with dramatic rock formations. A human-made dune separates the well-kept campground from the beach, popular with beachcombers looking for sea glass and other treasures, but be careful at high tide, reviewers say. Like cheese? Tillamook Creamery, a short drive away, offers self-guided tours, a dining hall and a shop devoted to all things dairy.
Good to know: The vast majority of sites, 170, are tent sites with no hookups. There are 38 full-hookup sites and one electric hookup site with water. About a dozen yurts and a half-dozen cabins are also available to rent.

Jalama Beach County Park
Courtesy of countyofsb.org

Jalama Beach County Park

Lompoc, California
About an hour from Santa Barbara, Jalama Beach offers seaside cliffs, caves, and a relatively secluded spot to recharge in a busy state. Campers at the 107 sites get gorgeous ocean views thanks to a terraced layout, and about a dozen sites are right on the beach. The area is popular with surfers, bird watchers, hikers and fishers, and you have to try the famous Jalama Burger with its secret sauce at nearby Jalama Beach Grill.
Good to know: Tents and RVs are welcome, but only about 30 sites have hookups (electric only) and they are farthest from the beach. There are also a limited number of cabins and yurts at Jalama for those who want to try their hand at "glamping."

Fort De Soto Park
duyos/tripadvisor.com

Fort De Soto Park

Tierra Verde, Florida
Part of the Pinellas County park system, Fort De Soto sprawls over more than 1,100 acres on five islands south of St. Petersburg. It boasts 236 campsites, a significant number of which are right on the water. Reviewers love this place, particularly praising its low-key beaches and clean restrooms. The park is also an ideal spot for birdwatching, with 328 documented species, and loggerhead turtles can sometimes be spotted in the sand.
Good to know: While all sites have water and electrical hookups, 85 are set aside for tents, vans, pop-ups, and trailers under 16 feet long. Only certain sites are pet friendly.

Assateague National Seashore
Courtesy of the National Park Service

Assateague National Seashore

Berlin, Maryland
Famous for its herd of wild horses, Assateague is a beach camper's dream. You'll be perched right on the windswept beach, and the horses are frequent visitors to the campground, reviewers say. Popular activities inside the park include biking, canoeing and kayaking, and surf fishing. You're also just a short drive from Ocean City and its boardwalk, family amusements and nightlife.
Good to know: While tent campers and RVs are welcome, there are pit toilets and no hookups, so be prepared to rough it a bit. As with many beach campsites, privacy is limited. Bring lockable coolers unless you want the horses to feast on your food, reviewers recommend. Bug spray is also highly recommended.

Grayton Beach State Park
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Grayton Beach State Park

Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
Snag a spot at 61-site Grayton Beach for your own slice of paradise close to the sugary white beaches of Florida's panhandle. While the gorgeous beach takes top billing here, there are also opportunities for paddling, biking, birding, fishing, hiking, and more. Campers are also a short drive from Destin, a hub of activity with plenty of shopping and dining options.
Good to know: All sites are RV- and tent-friendly, but the turning radius is limited for larger rigs on about half the sites. Most now have 50-amp electric hookups as well as sewer hookups. There are 30 cabins available for rent, too. The beach is a short hike from the campground, reviewers say, though many sites do cozy up to a coastal dune lake.

Hunting Island State Park
Courtesy of southcarolinaparks.com

Hunting Island State Park

Hunting Island, South Carolina
This popular South Carolina state park on a barrier island boasts 102 campsites just a short walk to the beach. Most are shaded by palms and other large trees, and reviewers say wildlife is abundant, including some very bold deer and even the occasional gator. Once you've had your fill of the beach, there's fishing, boating, birdwatching, and an 8-mile hiking and biking trail. Leave time to climb the historic Hunting Island lighthouse for gorgeous views, too.
Good to know: All sites have electric hookups and water and are available for tents and RVs. Some sites accommodate RVs up to 40 feet long; others cap length at 28 feet. Bug spray is a must, veteran campers say.

Homer Spit Campground
Courtesy of homerspitcampground.com

Homer Spit Campground

Homer, Alaska
It might not be perched on the warmest beach in the country, but you can't argue with the stunning views of the mountains and Kachemak Bay at Homer Spit Campground, a half-day's drive southeast of Anchorage. This private 122-site facility offers two dozen spots that are right on the water, but even the farthest are just 100 yards away. There's tons to do and see here, including world-class halibut fishing, wildlife tours, kayaking, ferry cruises, and the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center. Homer also has a number of shops, restaurants and galleries to explore.
Good to know: All sites are RV- and tent-friendly. Sites closest to the water have no hookups, but other sites have electric hookups and a handful have full hookups. Reviewers say facilities are clean, but you do trade some privacy for the unbeatable views.

Doran Regional Park
docbruce/tripadvisor.com

Doran Regional Park

Bodega Bay, California
Journey farther up the California coast to find 120 sites at Doran Regional Park, a coastal haven along Bodega Bay in Sonoma County. Campsites have harbor or ocean views and are very close to the beach. Dramatic cliffs and rocky formations are a draw here, as is the relatively quick drive into the heart of wine country. Reviewers say the wide beach is relatively sheltered from large waves, making it a great place for a stroll or for little ones to enjoy the water.
Good to know: While tents and RVs are welcome, there are no hookups. There are outlets, flush toilets and coin-operated showers at the restrooms, however.

Anastasia State Park
TrailerTravelers/tripadvisor.com

Anastasia State Park

St. Augustine, Florida
St. Augustine is enough of a tourist draw on its own, but if you need any more reason to make the trip, reviewers have endless praise for the clean facilities and pristine beaches at nearby Anastasia State Park. They say the 139 campsites are a good size, with plenty of trees for privacy and shade. Biking, birding, boating, fishing, hiking, and paddling are popular here, and the park offers some of the state's best surfing.
Good to know: All sites have electricity and water, but only some are paved and there are various size restrictions that may prohibit larger rigs. While the beach isn't visible from the campgrounds, it's a short drive or bike ride.

Olympic National Park
Kara H./tripadvisor.com

Olympic National Park

Forks, Washington
How's a campsite on a bluff overlooking the Pacific sound? What if that campsite is in the lush coastal forests of Olympic National Park? That's what you can get at Kalaloch Campground, which boasts 168 sites with easy access to gorgeous beaches, tide pools, hiking, and fishing. Though reviewers caution that amenities are limited, most say the scenic surroundings are worth it
Good to know: While both tents and RVs are welcome, there are no hookups. The back-in sites may pose a challenge for larger rigs, and there are length restrictions for each one. There are flush toilets but no showers.

First Landing State Park
Robert P /tripadvisor.com

First Landing State Park

Virginia Beach, Virginia
Camp alongside the Chesapeake Bay at First Landing State Park, just outside bustling Virginia Beach. Though sites are close to the water, there are plenty of trees that provide privacy and shade, reviewers say. They also say the beach is uncrowded and calm, making it particularly good for anyone who wants to lounge with a book or wade with small children. There are miles of trails for hikers, and campers are just minutes from the Virginia Beach boardwalk and its family-friendly shopping, dining, and activities.
Good to know: About 75 sites do not have electric hookups, and those that do have them have varying length requirements — some can accommodate only 20-foot vehicles, while some can accommodate 30- or 50-foot rigs. Cabins and yurts are also available.

Hither Hills State Park
kktraveler/tripadvisor.com

Hither Hills State Park

Montauk, New York
One of Long Island's best spots for communing with the sand and sea, 189-site Hither Hills has offered a respite from the city for years. The campground offers sites that are just steps from the Atlantic, tucked away behind the dunes. Reviewers rave that the sites are spacious, the bathrooms clean, and the stretch of white-sand beach particularly scenic. Don't miss the Walking Dunes Trail, where you can see evidence of the shifting coastal sands.
Good to know: No hookups are available. Sites are back-in and the majority vehicles 30 feet or under; there are a limited number of 40-foot spots. Spots aren't shaded, so come prepared to use awnings.

Grand Marais Campground and Marina
itchyfeetx2/tripadvisor.com

Grand Marais Campground and Marina

Grand Marais, Minnesota
This city-run campground is right on the cobblestone beaches of Lake Superior, and while the water might be a little chilly, the North Shore views are unbeatable, reviewers say. So is the proximity to shops and restaurants in the town of Grand Marais, which is an easy walk or bike ride. Leave time to explore the Gunflint Trail, a National Scenic Byway that heads into the wilderness and offers a great chance to spot wildlife.
Good to know: There are 161 sites with full hookups, 82 with water and electric only, and 57 without hookups. Some are directly on the lake, while others are wooded, with more shade and privacy. Lakeside sites with full hookups are non-reservable. Bathhouses have hot showers and flush toilets.

Grand Isle State Park
Doug S/tripadvisor.com

Grand Isle State Park

Grand Isle, Louisiana
Louisiana isn't famous for its beaches, but that's all the better for anyone who's looking for a spot on the sand far from the crowds in Texas or Florida. Traversing the swampy stretches south of New Orleans will bring campers to Grand Isle State Park, on the tip of a barrier island that juts into the Gulf of Mexico. Its 63-site campground includes spots that are right on the beach, but swimmers should be aware of the area's sometimes strong rip currents. Other activities include birding, crabbing, and surf fishing.
Good to know: About 50 sites have electrical and water hookups — they're also pull-throughs that are big-rig friendly. The remainder of the sites are unimproved and directly on the beach; these are reserved for tent campers.

Horseneck Beach State Reservation
Courtesy of mass.gov

Horseneck Beach State Reservation

Westport, Massachusetts
Some low dunes are all that separate campers from the sand and surf at 100-site Horseneck Beach State Reservation, just across the border from Rhode Island in southeastern Massachusetts. Birdwatching, hiking, and fishing are particular draws here, but Providence is just a half-hour away for anyone needing big-city diversions.
Good to know: While tents and RVs are welcome, there are no hookups. Flush toilets and hot showers are available, however. Bring water shoes if you want to swim or walk along the beach, which is largely cobblestone.

Mustang Island State Park
JDSoui/tripadvisor.com

Mustang Island State Park

Port Aransas, Texas
For now, Mustang Island's 98-site campground is closed for repairs from hurricane damage. But keep your eyes peeled for its reopening, as the park has offered some of Texas' most well-reviewed seaside camping. Though sites are close together and lack shade, the tradeoff is being right on the water in one of the less-crowded stretches of beach in the area, reviewers say. The park boasts a paddling trail that snakes through prime fishing and birding territory as well.
Good to know: Only about half of the sites can be reserved; these have full water and electric hookups and are separated from the beach by dunes. The rest of the sites are primitive and non-reservable, but right on the sand. A bathhouse with cold-water showers is available.