Carlsbad State Beach Camping: The Best Tent Sites

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Wake to a view of the dazzling blue waters of the Pacific Ocean as the breeze playfully lifts your tent flap at Southern California's South Carlsbad Beach State Park. The park's campground lies atop bluffs overlooking the ocean, with stairways descending to the beach below. The campground combines rustic hookup-free camping with amenities like hot showers, an on-site store and sites surrounded with natural foliage.

Best Site to Work and Play

If you need to keep in touch with the workaday world on vacation, you won't have to run into town to check your email if you stay within 150 feet of the park office's Wi-Fi hotspot. Site No. 1 is closest to the office, with only a chain-link fence separating you from a grassy bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The site is in open sun, with a lone palm tree standing between you and the rays. Open space separates the site from the park office and camp store and vegetation softens the view of site No. 2.

Best Wheelchair Access

South Carlsbad State Beach Campground maintains 10 wheelchair-accessible campsites close to restrooms for the handicapped camper. Site No. 184 has uninterrupted views of the ocean, where you can watch the sun sink into the Pacific at day's end. The campsite has a compressed sand area at the western end where you can pitch a tent or set up your lawn chairs. Mature bushes rise about 8 to 10 feet on the south side of the site, providing limited shade. Access the beach via a ramp adjacent to site No. 180, and borrow the park's beach wheelchair to roll down to water's edge.

Best End Unit

Site No. 72 sits on the far north end of the campground with views of the Pacific Ocean broken only by the short chain link fence providing a safety barrier from the bluff. Mature foliage on the south side of your campsite provides adequate shade to encompass your tent for much of the day. The site has compressed sand and gravel for pitching your tent. The beach stairway adjacent to site No. 68 brings you down to the park's best surfing area. Bushes on the north side of the site soften the view of the cul-de-sac, where cars pulling trailers can turn around.

Close to Restrooms

If a midnight journey to the bathroom has you dreading a long walk through the campground, site No. 32 offers convenient bathroom access just across the campground's access road. The wide premium site has 10-foot trees along the southern side, where you can nestle your tent and get shade throughout the day. The site has the same open views of the ocean, crushed gravel and compacted sand base that you'll find in the other sites along the bluff, with a bit more open space between campsites.


About the Author

Indulging her passion for wide open spaces and outdoor fitness through the written word on a full-time basis since 2010, author Jodi Thornton-O'Connell takes the mystery out of outdoor skills and guides readers to discover fun ways to physically connect to natural surroundings.

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