Nothing beats the feeling you get when you wake up during sunrise, step out of your tent, and stretch your arms to the warm and welcoming views of nature.
There are tons of great camping locations on mountains, forests, and the backcountry throughout the U.S., but sometimes a change in scenery is excellent.
And when I say, change in scenery, I mean setting up your tent beside the calming views of the ocean horizon and the relaxing sounds of the waves crashing along a beautiful shoreline.
But camping on the beach is slightly different when it comes to regular camping, so here are seven of my best beach camping tips to help you make the most of your camping trip by the ocean.
Tip 1. Know Where You’re Going
My absolute favorite place to camp is on the beach. But when it comes to beach camping, the first thing you need to know is all the details of the beach that you are going to.
Visit their website if they have one or research online whatever information you can get. Find out if they have a potable water source, and if they offer food or you’ll have to cook it yourself.
Ask them if they have flushing toilets and showers available, or if you’ll have to dig a hole for yourself – caveman style; something that my husband and sons don’t seem to mind, for some crazy reasons.
NOTE: If you do have to dig a hole, do it at least 50 meters (or 200 feet) away from your campsite and the ocean.
Another thing to ask or find out is if bonfires are allowed because a bonfire (as you’ll learn in Tip #4) is a great beachside companion.
Tip 2. Track The Tides
One of the most important things you need to do is to track the tides. If you’re able to get a spot by the oceanfront, don’t just set up wherever you want, or else your tent may turn into a pool.
Back during my teenage, early camping years, my friends and I made the mistake of not asking about the tide or observing our surroundings. Needless to say, we woke up at 4AM to water rushing inside our tent.
You can ask locals or the admin of the beach about the tides or research the tide charts beforehand to find out when the peak high and low tides will be.
You can also look around for the high tide line. It will usually be marked by ocean debris such as driftwood and seaweed.
Don’t just set up a meter away from that high-tide line; 20 feet away from that line should be enough.
Tip 3. Keep Sand Away
Trust me on this, or you’ll end up with sand appearing out of nowhere in your tent, in your car, and in your home for the rest of the year.
Initiate a strict, no shoes or slippers in the tent policy and have everyone do a shakedown and dust off before entering.
A great tip is to get a small handheld brush and dustpan and sweep up before going to bed and before folding up your tent. If you have a small portable vacuum that you can leave in the car, give your tent a little vacuuming before packing up!
Before folding up your tent, give it a shakedown. Close all the windows and side doors and keep the main door open. Tilt your tent to the side, so the open door is facing downwards and shake your tent with all you’ve got!
Tip 4. Bonfires And Clotheslines Are Great
If you are allowed to set up a bonfire, go for it!
Bonfires aren’t just for cooking food, or gathering around to eat s’mores – they’re also a way to help you pack fewer clothes!
Also, try creating a makeshift clothesline for your campsite. You can do it by tying a piece of rope tightly around two trees. Or, you can build it using a few sticks and rope to make it “moveable.”
Build it as soon as you set up your tent so you can hang your towels, wet clothes, and swimsuits right away.
Then at night, when you’re all gathered around the fire, bring your clothesline near your bonfire so your clothes can dry quicker. Just be sure not to position it too close to the fire and that it is really mounted on the ground firmly.
If you don’t have a rope or can’t really build a makeshift clothesline, you can look for large tall sticks to dig into the sand, and then just drape your clothes over the stick.
Tip 5. Use The Right Kind Of Tent
Using the right kind of tent can highlight the beauty of camping on the beach. Look for a tent with a mesh roof and large windows so you can open up your tent to stargaze and appreciate the view.
A great tent is OutdoorMaster Pop Up Beach Tent from OutdoorMasters. It’s really cool, with a sun canopy and large windows on the side so you can see everything.
You can even try a tent that doesn’t close like a regular tent, but instead, keeps one side open so you can enjoy the breeze coming from the ocean.
Companies like Pacific Breeze have tents like these. Their Easy Up Beach Tent Deluxe XL even has a pouch on the inside for you to keep a tiny broom and dustpan plus sunscreen.
When setting up your tent on the beach, be sure to use large pegs and dig them deep into the sand. Because sand is softer than dirt, you have to dig in the pegs deeper to really anchor the tent to the ground.
TIP: Bring your rainfly to protect your tent from sudden rain or mist coming from the crashing waves.
Tip 6: Other Items Perfect For The Beach
There are some things you’ll want to bring when beach camping that you wouldn’t normally bring to the woods or the mountains.
Bring blankets because it still gets cold at night. Don’t forget your towels; preferably one for showering, and one for drying off after swimming.
Pack lots of clothes because you’ll be getting wet often. Or, use the clothesline and bonfire trick to help dry your clothes so you won’t have to bring too many.
Of course, bring lots of fun activities you can do with your family like boogie boards, floatation devices, snorkels, fishing gear, Frisbees, kites, volleyball, cards, mat for stargazing, and whatever else you can think of.
Most importantly, bring a lot of garbage bags and be sure to pack away all of your trash. Remember that the water in front of you is home to a very fragile ecosystem, so treat it with respect.
Tip 7: Stuff Sacks and Zipper Bags, A.K.A. Your New Best Friends
While camping on the beach, you’ll learn that stuff sacks and zipper bags will become your best friends. These things will help keep sand away from important items like your phone or cameras and also keep your belongings waterproof.
When camping on the beach, keep your things organized and separated through stuff sacks and zipper bags and store your things in separate compartments. This is especially true for food – unless you want sandy eggs for breakfast.
It also gets pretty damp and moist in the beach even if it isn’t raining, so the zipper bags will protect all your things from getting wet as well.
Enjoy The Beach!
So there you have it! Seven simple steps to help you enjoy the beach even more! Beach camping is great, and I’m sure you’ll have fun with your family or your friends (as long as you follow my tips!)
If you enjoyed this list, please do share it! If you have other nifty tips and tricks for beach camping, tell me in the comments below and let everyone know!
Remember always to stay safe when camping on the beach and to be alert and aware of your surroundings at all times. Plan ahead and enjoy your trip!