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  1. Default camping or sleeping on the beach- california

    Hi,
    I really wana thank u all for this precious site and forum..
    I've learned a lot of things in road trips in the US,,

    I am new student here in San diego, California, and I want to take advantage of the spring break by discovring california.

    I am planning for a road trip from San Diego to San Fransisco, using the 1 coast way,,

    I will camp for some days and go to motells for other days,,

    speaking of camping, I really want to stay on the beach infront of the sea. along the 1 coast way, Can I sleep in some beaches , I expect to find areas with no-people, or is it a must to find a camping site, and are there ones infront of the sea directly...?

    Thank you very much for your help,,
    :)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default Camping on the Beach

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Despite a multitude of movie and other portrayals, I don't know of anyplace where you can just camp by yourself on the beach in California.

    However, there are at least a few places where there are designated campsites on the beach. I'd start by exploring the California State Parks website, where you can find the State Beaches that allow Camping

  3. Default Camping on the beach in CA

    Hmm.. Most of the places I've camped, you don't camp right on the beach, but maybe 50-100 yards back from the beach. The reason for this is to keep folks from having their tents wash away as the tide and surf come up in the night, and to keep the trash down on the beach from the campers.

    Some good beach camping spots might include

    - San Onofre (you're up on the bluff, maybe 100 yards from the beach)
    - Huntington Beach State Beach/ Bolsa Chica State Beach (This is primary RV camping it looks like)
    - Jalama Beach up near Lompoc.
    - Refugio State Beach
    - San Simeon State Beach (you're across coast 1 from the beach)

    I've camped at a couple of others -- including up north of SF, and its about the same

    There are also good camping sites on Catalina Island, but other than the Campground at Two Harbors, they may be a bit difficult to get to. There are two other good campsites which are not really heavily used other than in the summer, but you may have to backpack in 4-5 miles to get into them. The campground at Two Harbors is pretty nice, and sites 1-4 are right on the bluff overlooking the beach.

    As for camping by yourself? There are very few of these places left -- part of this is for anywhere close to civilization, the California Coastal Commission tries to keep the impact of people on the beach down, so its typically an organized campground. There are a couple of places up in the Big Sur area where you hike down to the beach and camp without too many people (and without violating state park or private property regulations). And I've heard of a few other spots.. but they're a long walk from anywhere and semi-legal to use.

  4. Default

    MidWest Michael, Larrison

    Thank u very much,

    Do I have to reserve for these parks, because I would like to see the place first?

    Does sleeping on the beach- without a tent consider as capming?

    and what would be the punishment of illegsl camping? ;) i'm looking for an exciting adventure

  5. Default

    I am not sure if it was technically allowed or not, but a few years back I spent the night on a beach north of San Diego. If I recall correctly, it was a state beach and a few of my friends and I slept on fold out lounge chairs and mexican blankets right out on the beach. We stayed back a ways to avoid the tide, but it still reached us and we were the only people out there. Looking at an atlas I see Torrey Pines St. Beach, San Elijo St. Beach, and Carlsbad St. Beach, but I do not recall specifically if it was one of these.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 03-25-2007 at 05:40 PM. Reason: white space formatting

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Could have earned you a trip to the slammer

    Quote Originally Posted by scott5678 View Post
    I am not sure if it was technically allowed or not, but a few years back I spent the night on a beach north of San Diego. If I recall correctly, it was a state beach and a few of my friends and I slept on fold out lounge chairs and mexican blankets right out on the beach.
    I have done that too -- there is nothing quite like being awakened by cold water from the incoming tide. These days, the park rangers frown on that behavior and there is always the chance that you could be arrested for loitering. Technically I was a registered camper (in the campground) but sleeping out on the beach is probably not the wisest course of action.

    Mark

  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Editor View Post
    I have done that too -- there is nothing quite like being awakened by cold water from the incoming tide. These days, the park rangers frown on that behavior and there is always the chance that you could be arrested for loitering. Technically I was a registered camper (in the campground) but sleeping out on the beach is probably not the wisest course of action.

    Mark
    Yeah, I was younger then and am not sure if I would(will) do the same now...

  8. #8
    RoadTrippers A & R Guest

    Default

    Pismo State beach you can camp right on the beach, sleeping bag,, it makes no never mind.
    But it is cold and damp and blowing 365 days a year.

    Catalina island is designated campgrounds sleeping only. Tentless is fine too.
    Get a campground reservation for Catalina. Showers are a buck.

    The one sleeping on the beach in Catalina exception is when the cross channel outrrigger canoe race is held.

    People from all over the world participate is this low plubicity event.
    Wild and fun times on the beach.

    The girls race over the first nite (huge turnout), the guys the second, and beach camping is then OK. I suggest the first nite for obvious reasons.
    Dates vary from year to year.

    Fast food outlets have all been kicked off the island so expect to pay considerably more to eat in town.

    Their is a Vons supermarket in Avalon (apply for a Vons card for a discount), and a mini market in 2 Harbors.

  9. Default Camping "on the beach" at Catalina..

    Actually, there are several places to camp on, or right next to the beach at Catalina Island.

    First of all there are 9 different 'boat in" camping areas right on the beaches around Avalon with about 18 different campsites. Not very big locations, and 1 or 2 or 3 camp sites per location. These are regulated by the Catalina Island Conservancy, and can be reserved. But the problem with these is the only access to them is via boat, and they are pretty primitive.

    Then there is Two Harbors Campground at 2 Harbors. This is a pretty nice location, and is also operated through the Catalina Island Conservancy. The campground goes up a hillside starting from the beach, not far from the dock at 2 Harbors. Its a developed campground with fire rings and with fresh water rinse showers. If you want a hot shower you can walk the half mile or so back into the village at Two Harbors and use the boater's pay shower near the general store and restaurant. Sites 1-4 are along a bluff right next to the beach, which is about as close as you can get without having risk of getting wet as the tide comes in.

    Besides Two Harbor's there's Parson's Landing campground about 7 miles from 2 Harbors near the West end of Catalina. Also operated by the Catalina Island Conservancy you can reserve spots here, but its either a long hike from 2 Harbors (fortunately the road/ trail to here is pretty flat), or you have to kayak or boat in -- usually from 2 Harbors. Its' pretty nice, although somewhat primitive. There's no running water, but you get a couple of gallons of water and a bundle of firewood in an locker at each campsite and a bundle of firewood with your per night camping fees. Sometimes the rangers take pity on hikers heading too and from the campground and will give you a ride on their truck -- but you can't plan on it.

    There's also Ben Weston beach on the west side of the island, where you can also camp right along the beach -- but the road to this campground has been washed out for some time, and offically you're not supposed to camp here. It's supposed to be open this summer -- although to get to it you have to hike in a couple of miles down from the main Island road on a steep trail (you can get to the trailhead via the Catalina Island bus).

    Little Harbor is also on the west side of the Island, and operated by the Catalina Island Conservancy. It's also right along the beach, and the Catalina Island bus will drop people off there, or you can hike the 7 miles from 2 Harbors (or 16 from Avalon) up and over the spine of the Island to get there. There is running water and cold water rinse showers at the campground.

    There are a couple of other areas which people sometimes camp at, or there have been campground in the past, as well as the organized private campgrounds around the Island. At some time or another I've been to Whites Landing to camp, Cherry Valley and Emerald Bay -- all which have private campgrounds on the beach. I've heard the campground at Shark Harbor on the west side may be opening up at some point, but I haven't seen any plans for this.

    Here's a picture from when I camped at 2 Harbors about 2 years ago.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 04-29-2007 at 08:14 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Wow! What a view!

    Quote Originally Posted by Larrison View Post
    Here's a picture from when I camped at 2 Harbors about 2 years ago.
    Awesome location!

    Thanks for this in-depth field report.

    Mark

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