What are the Top U.S. Beaches for Camping?
Summer travel planning is heating up, with camping trips and beach vacations on a lot of people’s shortlists in 2021.
Camping vacations are an affordable option for those willing to rough it a little, and beach camping can be an amazing way to blend two favorite summer activities. We’ve put together our picks for the best camping beaches from coast to coast.
Olympic National Park, Washington
The massive Olympic National Park (close to one million acres) is also home to the most popular beach camping in the state of Washington. Don’t be surprised to find yourself in the company of whales and eagles on your visit to Kalaloch. There are only two campgrounds in the park that accept reservations, and this is one of them. The beach located about 40 miles south of Forks, is often covered in a light mist. Dress accordingly – this is not a sunbathing beach. Rates range from $24-48/night.
Bahia Honda State Park, Big Pine Key, Florida
One of Bahia Honda’s biggest draws is the impressive birdwatching. It’s a very good place to see wading birds and shorebirds in their natural habitat. Shallow sand flats during low tide is where many species of birds feed and rest – you can expect to see willets, sanderlings, ruddy turnstones and plovers among others. You can also rent bicycles – cycling is a popular pastime. All campsites come with a picnic table, grill and water. A small restroom area is at the campsite, and showers are .5 mile way at the Buttonwood campground. Rates are $36/night plus a nonrefundable reservation fee ($6.70)*At the moment, Bahia Honda State Park is closed for overnight camping, due to ongoing repairs being made due to Hurricane Irma.
Wai’anapanapa State Park, Maui
This popular state park in Hana on the northside of Maui is the only black sand beach on our list of top camping spots. The jungle beach is amazing – and reservations can be made 90 days from arrival. Camping rates are $20/night (residents) and $30/night (nonresidents). There are also cabins for rent for $70/night (residents) and $100/night (nonresidents).
Acadia National Park, Maine
Located on the Isle Au Haut, Acadia National Park might be the wildest beach to visit on our list. Campsites are primitive and secluded so you might feel like you’re one of the only people on the island. There are 15 miles of bike paths and and 18 miles of hiking trails.
Point Mugu State Park, Malibu, California
When people dream about a California beach vacation, a lot of them imagine a place like Malibu, which has been immortalized in countless television shows and movies. Point Mugu offers an affordable way to stay in Malibu, with more than 5 miles of coastline and 70 miles of hiking trails. Park showers are token operated and the token machines only accept $1 bills.
Parson’s Landing, Santa Catalina Island, California
While there are a few camping options on Catalina Island, the most secluded and spectacular is found at Parson’s Landing, located 7 miles west of the village of Two Harbors. The 8 primitive camp sites are only accessible by one of two approximately 7 mile hikes in. You can also kayak to Parson’s Landing – the trip is about 4.25 miles by water. You can rent a pre-stocked locker for $20 and they come filled with one bundle of firewood, one firestarter and a 2.5 gallon jug of water. You pick up a locker key from Visitor Services in Two Harbors before you start your hike.
Hither Hills State Park, New York
On the eastern tip of Long Island’s tony Hamptons lies this family-friendly destination with resort vibes that’s popular with locals. The Montauk campground has movie nights, magic shows, line dancing, basketball and volleyball courts, sand castle contests and even a freshwater lake for fishing! But by far the biggest draw is sleeping right on the 2-mile beach. The only thing this location lacks is much shade – make sure you bring your sunscreen. Campsites start at $35/night (New York residents) or $70/night (non-residents).
Homer Spit, Alaska
Homer is known as the “halibut fishing capital of the world,” and Homer Spit is the popular beach community that springs up every summer. You can build a fire, make new friends and enjoy the amazing views of Kachemak Bay. Access to hot showers, restrooms and laundry makes it less rustic than you might be expecting, but campsites are right on the beach. There are restaurants, galleries and gift shops all within walking distance of the beach. Campsites start at $30/night.
Check back with us for more great ideas for destinations in 2021. We’ve also put together a list of tips for post-pandemic travel. There are a lot of people heading out this summer for the first time in many months. Make sure you have all the information you need to make a good decision.
And if you feel like sharing, let us know what other destinations you’d like for us to cover in the comments section so we can bring you more content that hits the mark. Happy travels!