San Onofre State Beach Campgrounds: Where Surf and Serenity Converge

Nestled along the northern coast of San Diego County, San Onofre State Beach Campgrounds offer a unique blend of sun, sand, and legendary surf. With its iconic backdrop of the now-defunct nuclear power plant, the state beach provides a picturesque setting for surfers gathering at renowned spots like Trestles Beach, Old Man’s, and The Point. Explore our top tips, strategies, and gear recommendations to ensure your first-time camping experience at San Onofre is a perfect balance of coastal adventure and relaxation.

Map & Reservations

Top Tips for First-Time Campers:

  • Ocean-View Bliss: Opt for campsites at Bluffs Campground for a scenic ocean view, providing an extra touch of tranquility to your camping experience.
  • Trail to Trestles: Embark on the 1½ mile trail leading down to Trestles Beach for an invigorating coastal hike and a chance to witness skilled surfers catching waves.
  • Seasonal Savvy: Plan your visit between mid-May and September for access to Bluffs Campground, as it is only open during this period.
  • Group Getaway: If camping with a larger group, consider the exclusive group campsites at San Mateo or Bluffs Campground for a more communal experience.
  • Wildlife Respect: Adhere to the leash policy for pets, ensuring they are always attended and not allowed on the beach to protect the local wildlife.

Top Strategies and Tactics for Camping Success:

  • Prime Reservation: Secure your preferred campsite by making reservations up to 6 months in advance of your arrival date, especially during the peak season.
  • Surfing Season: If you’re a surfing enthusiast, plan your visit during the prime surfing season for optimal wave conditions and a chance to witness top-rated beach volleyball competitions.
  • Beachside Bliss: Arrive early to San Mateo Campground for campsites closer to the beach, offering a more immediate connection to the soothing sounds of the ocean.
  • Sunset Serenity: Experience the magic of Southern California sunsets by setting up your campsite to face westward, providing front-row seats to the nightly spectacle.
  • Eco-Friendly Camping: Be mindful of campground regulations, such as fires in designated concrete fire rings only, to contribute to a sustainable and enjoyable camping environment.

Recommendations on Camping Gear:

  • Coastal Comfort: Pack extra layers for varying temperatures, as coastal evenings can get cool; ensure a cozy experience with warm clothing and blankets.
  • Seaside Cuisine: Bring portable grills or camping stoves for beachside cooking, and explore our gearlist account for specific camp cooking recommendations.
  • Illumination Essentials: Include flashlights, lanterns, or headlamps in your gear for navigating the campground during quiet hours and enjoying the starlit beach nights.
  • Beach Fun Accessories: Pack beach essentials like towels, sunscreen, and beach games for daytime enjoyment by the shore.
  • Explore Our Gearlist: Check our gearlist account for specific recommendations on camp cooking, sleeping systems, overlanding setups, backpacks, and clothing to optimize your camping experience.

Check out our Gearlist for the gear we use for trips like this

Our Gearlist account lists all of the gear we use. Discover our top picks, where to snag them, and stay informed with our regular updates.

As you venture into the coastal haven of San Onofre State Beach Campgrounds, let the rhythm of the waves and the allure of the ocean views guide your camping experience. Whether you’re seeking a laid-back beach retreat or an active surfing adventure, these curated tips and recommendations ensure a memorable and enjoyable camping journey along the Southern California coast.