Summer has officially arrived, and sometimes all you need is a little sun, sand, and your tent. Some of the best getaways including a beach view, with bonfires and unforgettable ocean sunrises or sunsets, and the blissful sound of waves crashing against the sand as you sleep off a hard day of playing in the water, hiking the coast, or just soaking in the sun.
However, the problem is not very many beaches around the country allow camping. To help you in your search, we have rounded up some of the best options for you to enjoy the sand and surf while camping.
1. Na Pali Coast
This one might be a bit of a reach for some because it is located on the Hawaiin island Kauai, but the beautifully lush valley, sea cliffs, waterfalls, and pristine beaches make camping along the Na Pali Coast a completely surreal experience. The 22-mile round-trip backpack can be done in just two days, or you can choose to add on a few days to soak up the natural beauty.
You will have to obtain a camping permit beforehand, so make sure to plan a few months in advance. The summertime months can be hot and humid, but you can cool off in the ocean or go kayaking. Make sure to pack mosquito repellant, sunscreen, and water, as well as rain gear! You will also need to pack a camp stove and fuel because you are not permitted to have an open fire.
2. Cape Lookout National Seashore
Carteret County, North Carolina
If you truly want to get away from it all, then Cape Lookout National Seashore is where you should be going. There are no developments or campgrounds around, so it allows you the chance to camp serenely along the beach. You have to arrive via ferry, and once you get there, there are no roads. If you do end up bringing a car, make sure it is 4-wheel-drive, because non-4WD can get stuck in the soft, loose sand. During your time along the cape, you can enjoy a few days of kayaking along the 112 miles of shoreline, fishing, or watching for wildlife and the bioluminescent plankton at night. If you go during the summer, make sure to bring your insect repellent and foot-long stakes to keep your tent anchored in the soft sands.
3. Second Beach Trail
Olympic National Park, WA
If you can’t choose between forest or beach, then Second Beach Trail should be your go-to spot. It gives you the best of both worlds along the mile-long trail. While there, you can enjoy wildlife like bald eagles, seals, and even whales. If you do plan on spending a few nights here, you will have to obtain a Wilderness Camping Permit. In addition, all food, garbage, or scented items must be stored in park-approved bear canisters, which are located all up and down the wilderness coast. You are not permitted to bring your own bear canister anymore.
4. Bird Island Basin
Padre Island National Seashore, TX
For those who live in Texas, there are some excellent beach camping options available down along the southern border as well! Located near Corpus Christi, TX, this is a great place to see the water and camp at the same time. You aren’t required to have a permit, and the spots are first come, first served, so you might have to arrive early if you want a spot during the popular summer months. This is a great place for boating and windsurfing, and you can even choose between RV and tent camping.
5. Cape Cod National Seashore
Barnstable Country, Massachusetts
Cape Cod National Seashore is a unique opportunity that not many can experience because only 100 vehicles every night get to camp in this gorgeous location. The best time to go is during the summer, but you might experience beach closures at any time. You must have a 4-wheel-drive self-contained vehicle that meets the toilet and holding tank requirements, meaning not everyone will be equipped to handle this opportunity. You must all have an off-road permit and should know how to drive on sand, change a tire, and even extricate a stuck vehicle. While on the Cape, you can enjoy swimming, biking, and tons of hiking trails in the swamps, marshes, and beaches. If you get a license, you can go fishing, and, with a permit, you can build a beach fire.
Before you go hiking, make sure to be 100% prepared by having enough water and food to last for your entire journey. Set up your tent while you are still at home to make sure it is still working properly and you still have all the necessary pieces. A few days before you go on your adventure, make sure to keep an eye on the weather, so there won’t be any surprises. You might want to consider packing a solar powered AM/FM radio like this NOAA Solar Weather Radio. It is an all-in-one tool that gives you all the basic components you need on a camping trip, including a flashlight and power bank that can charge four devices at once.