Camp at Point Mugu State Park's Thornhill Broome Campground

 - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by E Cawley

Pitch your tent on the sand and fall asleep to the sound of the waves! Where else can you watch dolphins and sea lions from your sleeping bag? This campground is just 30 minutes north of Malibu, but isolated enough that you forget the city is nearby.

Beach camping in California seems elusive these days, but we were able to pitch our tent just feet from the surf! We stayed for two nights and felt like we had our own private stretch of beach.

First, you'll want to make reservations at It was fairly easy to reserve a spot, but try a weeknight if you're having trouble. The campsites are a good size, and can accommodate four tents comfortably. The fee is $25/night and $8/additional car - so be sure to carpool! Although this might seem like a steep fee, especially for long term travelers like us who generally only use free camping, we felt like the experience was special enough to warrant the price. Each site has a fire pit with a grill and a picnic table. Bathrooms are porta-potties, but seem to be cleaned frequently. You will be able to dump trash on-site, but will need to take your recycling out with you.

The campground is basically a long asphalt road right on the edge of the beach. The sites are right next to each other and long and narrow, but the waves drown out any noises from your neighbors or the Pacific Coast Highway. You'll be next to other car campers, RV-ers, and, of course, the occasional #vanlifer (or in our case, #trucklifer). You can park in your space on the asphalt, or pull your vehicle directly onto the sand and sleep in the back! Perfect for the coveted staring-out-of-the-trunk-at-the-ocean Instagram shot. ;-)

While this campground is close to Malibu, it is still a wild coastline, so be prepared for the elements. The mornings are extremely foggy, so if you don't put on your rainfly, the inside of your tent will get wet. We wanted to watch the ocean from our sleeping bags in the morning, so we took the rainfly off halfway after we woke up. The sun can be intense during the day, so I would recommend bringing a shade shelter. Additionally, the wind can be harsh at times, so understand how to anchor down your tent prior to arriving. The campground is covered in smooth rocks, so you can simply tie your tent to the rocks or place them inside in each corner. 

One great feature of this site is the wildlife! This particular beach is sandy farther back, but the water line is full of smooth rocks and powerful waves. It isn't ideal for swimming, but it seems to be a good place for dolphins and sea lions to play! We saw six dolphins the first day and one sea lion the second day. If you want to swim, you can walk about a quarter mile down the beach to a fully sandy area.  

Overall, this campground was one of our favorite so far on our road trip. It's a great balance between convenience in terms of proximity to the city and isolation from the hustle and bustle. 

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Camping On The Beach

This state beach is amazing! It is mainly designed for RVs, tent campers are welcome. You can setup your site right on the beach. Each site has a table and fire ring. Some of the rings have a grill, but many are missing or non-functional, so make sure to bring a grill of your own. Amazing views of the ocean and sunsets. You can sit and enjoy the seals playing in the waves occasionally or cross highway 1 via the tunnel at the north end of the campground and gain access to miles of hiking!

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