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10 Seaside campsites for your West Coast road trip

It's tough to beat camping at the beach, right?

By: The Outbound Collective + Save to a List

With thousands of miles of coastline, the West Coast has plenty of options for taking in every last drop of the sunset from the comfort of your tent, cabin, or even your very own "human nest". Perfect surf breaks, incredible campsites overlooking the mighty Pacific Ocean, and rugged beaches littered with old growth driftwood beg for an extended camping road trip along the West Coast. The weather is warming up and it's time to start planning your trip, so check out some of our favorite camping spots on this list and make one of your own!

1. Camp at Black Sands Beach on the Lost Coast

A coastline stretches into the distance where mountains rise from the sea.
Photo by Josiah Roe

The Lost Coast is an iconic California backpacking trail but Black Sands Beach, while part of the famous Lost Coast Trail, is also accessible by car. This is a major bang-for-your-buck value here! 

2. Backpack Along Rialto Beach

Tall rocky structures rise from the shallow water near a long sand beach.
Photo by Greg Balkin

It's an easy 1 mile hike into the campsite so even if you don't have a full-on backpacking set up, you can make do by filling your arms with gear. If you set up camp before the big rock, make sure you take a stroll down to it for sunset. 

3. Camp at Catalina’s Two Harbors

A green and blue tent is lilt up from inside in the dark.
Photo by Kathleen Buenviaje

An island camping escape is a mere 50 minute boat ride away from the southern California coast. If you're feeling generous with your funds, you can also opt for a helicopter ride, leaving out of Long Beach and 15 minutes later landing in Catalina Island. 

4. Camp at Gold Bluff Beach

A tent is light up from inside. There is a barely visible beach in the distance and stars in the night sky.
Photo by Juan Moreno

Located at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, the access road to this beach is a dirt road through the redwoods. Sunsets here are amazing as you have an unobstructed view of the entire ocean and the bluffs light up nice at sundown. 

5. Camp Out in the Steep Ravine Cabins

A wood building is surrounded by short grass and a large body of water is in the distance behind it.
Photo by Joshua Contois

Steep Ravine Environmental Campground is home to 9 Rustic cabins sitting on the coastline just south of Stinson Beach as well as tent camping campsites. Enjoy amazing sunsets from the comfort of your cabin's porch.


6. Explore Oregon’s Cape Lookout

Scraggly evergreen trees rise from a sandy area toward a sky full of stars.
Photo by Dan Moe

Photo: Dan Moe

Cape Lookout is a two-mile long peninsula that juts into the Pacific Ocean from Oregon's rugged coastline. There are roughly 10 miles of trails ranging from easy to moderate. The 2.6 mile trail to the tip of the Cape is the most scenic and offers views of migrating whales in spring and fall. 

7. Camp at Limekiln State Park

A beach at dawn or dusk with four people standing off near the water. The sky is turning orange, yellow, and pink.
Photo by George Miller

Located just off the iconic Pacific Coast Highway, this campsite is sandwiched between a gorgeous beach and a redwood forest. Explore the beach then hit the trails to find waterfalls, massive redwoods, and an abandoned limekiln. 

8. Camp at Second Beach in Olympic NP

A valley of sand beach between two huge stone cliffs. A person is silhouetted far in the distance exactly in the middle of the image.
Photo by Michael Matti

Second Beach is an easy 0.7-mile forested hike to the coastal camp. The beautiful coastline is accented with several large sea stacks. Campfires on the beach…that should be enough to make you want to go. 

9. Camp Out in the Human Nest

Two people are lying in sleeping bags in a massive nest-like structure looking out at a beach.
Photo by Nicholas Adam

The Nest itself is quite literally a "Nest". The interior is about 4.5 feet tall, and about 5-6 feet wide. All created by bent sticks that create the shell of the nest. From the nest, you’ll overlook the mountain below, which drops straight into the Pacific. The view is amazing! 

10. Camp at Montaña de Oro State Park

A peninsula is dark and the sky is bright with many stars and the Milky Way.
Photo: Nathaniel Polta

Enjoy the peace and quiet of the cove after all of the day use people have left and don't forget to look up and appreciate the Milky Way. The campground is located just across the road from the famous Spooner's cove, but there are any number of trails and hikes you can enjoy - check out the Bluff Trail or Valencia Peak, which stands at 1,347 ft and overlooks everything including Morrow Bay. 

Find awesome lodgings across America with KOA!

Feature photo by Michael Matti.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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