SoCal’s Best Beach Camping

socal beach camping sm

Southern California beaches are a popular destination year round, so why not spend a few days at a beachfront or bayfront campground?

“Southern California has some of the best ocean-front campgrounds and RV resorts in the nation,” says Debbie Sipe, executive director of the California Association of RV Resorts and Campgrounds, which hosts the Camp-California.com travel website. Here are top picks for beach campgrounds between Santa Barbara and San Diego County.

Campland by the Bay, Mission Bay (San Diego)
www.campland.com
This park features RV sites as well as “supersites”—luxurious RV sites with private patios, grills and Jacuzzis and a view of a nearby wildlife sanctuary. Campland’s Open-Air Study Hall is available as a convenience for all families who have kids that need to attend online school or plug in and do homework. Additional amenities include al fresco dining, an onsite market, dog park, playground, skateboard park and year-round onshore and aquatic recreation activities. Watercraft rentals offered.

Chula Vista RV Resort and Marina, Chula Vista (San Diego County)

www.chulavistarv.com
This park is adjacent to a 552-slip marina. Onsite amenities include a casual dining restaurant (Galley at the Marina) and a fine dining restaurant (South Bay Fish and Grill). Both restaurants have patio decks, live music and dancing. Other amenities include a pool, Jacuzzi and fitness room.

Dockweiler Beach RV Park, El Segundo
http://reservations.lacounty.gov
This 117-site beachfront campground near LAX is located right next to the beach bike path. Campsites are paved and include water, sewer and electrical service. Bathrooms and showers are also available.

El Capitan Canyon Campground, Santa Barbara

www.elcapitancanyon.com
El Capitan Canyon is located about 20 miles from downtown Santa Barbara in a hidden canyon filled with sycamores. It features luxurious park model cabins, furnished safari tents and yurts, which are modern versions of the ancient shelters used by Central Asian nomads. El Capitan Canyon has six fully furnished yurts, each sleeps four people. They complement the resort’s 109 park model cabins and 26 furnished safari tents. The resort’s amenities include a small onsite restaurant, evening star talks, a private hiking trail and a summer concert series featuring jazz, blues and bluegrass music.

Malibu Beach RV Park, Malibu

www.maliburv.com
This oceanfront park includes both RV and tent sites. Campsite amenities include picnic tables and charcoal grills. Bathrooms and showers are available along with a convenience store that sells food and beverages.

Mission Bay RV Resort, San Diego
www.missionbayrvresort.com
Overlooking the shores of De Anza Cove, scenic RV sites are steps from the sandy beach and calm, waveless waters. Mission Bay RV Resort offers showers, restrooms, laundry facilities and full hook-ups with complimentary access to additional resort amenities and activities at nearby sister property, Campland on the Bay.

Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort & Marina, Newport Beach

www.newportdunes.com
This pet-friendly RV resort is located along a protected bay in the harbor at Newport Beach. The resort also has luxurious park model cottage rentals. Onsite amenities include a restaurant that offers lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. Activities include movies on the beach and an inflatable floating structure for the kids. Sailboats, pedal boats, kayaks and electric boats are available for rent.

Ocean Mesa Campground, Santa Barbara

www.oceanmesa.com
Ocean Mesa Campground is about 20 miles from Santa Barbara, right next door to El Capitan Canyon Campground. Perched on a hillside overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Ocean Mesa caters to RV and tent camping enthusiasts.

Paradise by the Sea RV Resort, Oceanside

www.paradisebythesearvresort.com
This 91-site park, located 4 minutes on foot from the beach, has picnic tables at each campsite. Surfboard, boogie board and bike rentals are available. Other amenities include a heated pool and spa.

South Carlsbad State Beach, Carlsbad

www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=660
A local top pick in our Best of Family Fun 2014 contest! This San Diego campground features 212 sites, many of which are on a bluff overlooking the ocean. Stairs lead to the beach, which offers swimming, surfing, skin diving, fishing and picnicking. Campground showers are token operated (tokens available on site).
The camp store operates March through October.

Ventura Beach RV Park, Ventura
www.vbrvresort.com
This 144-site park is close to the beach and has bike rentals, arcade games as well as an outdoor swimming pool and Jacuzzi, showers and Wi-Fi service. The park also has 36 tent sites with water and electricity hookups as well as 34 additional sites without hookups.

For more information on places to camp in California visit www.Camp-California.com. Photo courtesy of Jeff Crider Photography.

Don't need to be near the beach? Read Best Family Camping in San Diego for more campground options.

Discover California National Parks

Discover California National Parks

These national parks in Southern and Central California are within a day’s drive of San Diego.Celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service with a visit to one (or more) of these sc . . .

Read more

Family Camping Fun: Activities, Recipes and Ideas

Family Camping Fun: Activities, Recipes and Ideas

  Grab your camping gear and get ready for a great outdoor adventure (even if it's only in the backyard). Here are activities, crafts, recipes and tips that make fabulous family camping me . . .

Read more

Take the Family Glamping in Buellton, California

Take the Family Glamping in Buellton, California

So, what is glamping? Glamping is like camping—but not. Combining the words glamorous and camping, glamping includes amenities and comforts of home (beds, electricity, indoor plumbing). None of th . . .

Read more

Family Road Trip: 6 Fun Stops Along California's Central Coast

Family Road Trip: 6 Fun Stops Along California's Central Coast

The secret is out: San Diego is amazing. In fact, it’s a top U.S. vacation destination. So while the rest of the country is descending upon San Diego this summer, consider venturing away from the . . .

Read more

Plan a Family Adventure to Catalina Island

Plan a Family Adventure to Catalina Island

What do wild bison, an awesome zipline, a casino and walking on the ocean floor have in common? Catalina Island, of course.Looking for a fun family day or weekend trip? I’ll let you in on a little . . .

Read more

Visit Zion National Park in Utah

Visit Zion National Park in Utah

Photo by Lisa Pawlak Breathtaking, colorful Zion National Park embraces towering cliffs, glimmering waterfalls, emerald-green pools, blue skies, red sandstone river canyons and massive multihued rock . . .

Read more

SoCal’s Best Beach Camping

SoCal’s Best Beach Camping

Southern California beaches are a popular destination year round, so why not spend a few days at a beachfront or bayfront campground? “Southern California has some of the best ocean-front campgro . . .

Read more

Fun Things to Do with Kids in the Bay Area

Fun Things to Do with Kids in the Bay Area

Planning a road trip to the San Francisco Bay Area? Here are five kid-friendly stops from Gilroy (south of San Francisco) to Fairfield (north of San Francisco). Each super fun spot will entertain, e . . .

Read more

Get to Know Lake Gregory in Crestline, CA

Get to Know Lake Gregory in Crestline, CA

I had never even heard of Lake Gregory in California’s San Bernardino Mountains until a couple months ago. But now the secret is out! Bustling with fun lake activities for families, it’s a perfe . . .

Read more

Winter Family Fun in Big Bear

Winter Family Fun in Big Bear

Ready to take your family on a winter getaway close to San Diego? Head to the mountains for a fun-filled winter vacation at Big Bear. Winter activities include skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing and . . .

Read more

Six Snow Play Destinations

Six Snow Play Destinations

photo credit- Big Bear Mountain Resort Ready to play in the snow? The whole family can enjoy a snowy, active vacation with adventures like skiing, snowboarding, sledding, snow tubing, ice skating, sn . . .

Read more

Ski Mammoth Mountain

Ski Mammoth Mountain

Take the kids to “shred some pow” at Mammoth Mountain, one of California’s premier winter sports recreational resorts. Families wanting a fun, wintery escape will fulfill mammoth-sized dreams . . .

Read more

Visit Bryce Canyon National Park

Visit Bryce Canyon National Park

Breathtaking Bryce Canyon National Park offers one of the planet’s most surreal landscapes. Within the park’s 56 square miles, the geological forces of weather and erosion have carved intense sa . . .

Read more

Family Travel to Arches National Park

Family Travel to Arches National Park

Arches National Park, located in southeast Utah, offers an abundance of geological wonders waiting to be discovered by visiting families. The park’s scenic, red rock landscape is home to more than . . .

Read more

Get started with RV Camping

Get started with RV Camping

Take Your Family on the Road, RV Style! During a recent email session with an old friend about our summer plans, I mentioned that our family planned on taking our annual four-week road trip in our . . .

Read more

Insider's Tips when Visiting Catalina

Insider's Tips when Visiting Catalina

Here are helpful insider’s tips you won’t find anywhere else. Things I didn’t know until I got to Catalina. They could make your visit to the island a little sweeter.If you haven’t read the . . .

Read more

Make Traveling with Kids a Lifelong Adventure

Make Traveling with Kids a Lifelong Adventure

Travel is loaded with benefits for families. It awakens curiosity and helps kids and parents feel more at home in the world while creating strong bonds and lasting memories. As kids grow, the fun of . . .

Read more

Kid-Friendly SoCal Getaways

Kid-Friendly SoCal Getaways

Southern California resorts and hotels that families love! Looking for a local family getaway where there’s relaxation for adults and fun for the kids? These resorts offer plenty of amenities . . .

Read more

11 Kid-Friendly Adventures on Oahu

11 Kid-Friendly Adventures on Oahu

Taking a family vacation to the island of Oahu? Sure, you’ll lounge on the beach, build sandcastles and play in the water; but why not dig a little deeper into the culture, traditions and excitement . . .

Read more

4 Tips for a Successful First RV Camping Trip

4 Tips for a Successful First RV Camping Trip

Is your family new to RV camping? Here are a few tips provided by KOA that will help you get started.1. Make your first trip close to home so you can work out any kinks in your RV before getting too . . .

Read more

Best Family Camping in San Diego

Best Family Camping in San Diego

Ready to embark on a San Diego family camping adventure? Help your kids experience the great outdoors at one of the many family campgrounds in San Diego County! First-time campers? Consider pra . . .

Read more

Family Fun in Oxnard, CA

Family Fun in Oxnard, CA

Visit Oxnard: Family-Friendly Things to Do, See and Eat Looking for a relaxing beachside community that is void of crowds? Go a few hours up the coast from San Diego to Oxnard—it’s so awesome! . . .

Read more

(Mostly) Unplugged Road Trips

(Mostly) Unplugged Road Trips

8 Survival Tips for Family Road Trips Taking a family road trip this year? You are not alone—traveling to a vacation destination via car is still popular with families. While sitting in a car tog . . .

Read more

The Splendor of Sedona

The Splendor of Sedona

Cathedral rock (photo credit: Geno Pawlak) If you’re looking for an active family getaway that will recharge and renew your spirits, look no further than Sedona, Arizona. This spectacular destina . . .

Read more

Weekend Getaway to Long Beach

Weekend Getaway to Long Beach

Want to get away for a fun weekend? Just a couple hours north of San Diego is the pet-friendly coastal city of Long Beach, which offers water activities, popular attractions and a lively night scene . . .

Read more

San Diego Family Magazine Logo

Be Family Informed – Sign up for our Newsletters below!