What it lacks in privacy, San Elijo State Beach Campground makes up for with great views and easy beach access. The beach offers all variety of water sports: surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, boogie boarding, skim boarding, kayaking, and swimming. When waves are calm, scuba diving or snorkeling is possible and made interesting by a nearby reef system and some kelp patties. In fact, the first industry in Cardiff-by-the-Sea was a kelp works, founded in 1912.
Part of the appeal of this campground is its proximity to charming Cardiff-by-the-Sea. A quick walk brings you downtown where cafes, restaurants, and shops abound. Bull Taco's Mexican street food stand is a camper favorite.
San Elijo State Beach runs for 2 miles up the coast, where it merges with Cardiff State Beach. Although they are technically separate units, the beach is continuous and the beaches can be enjoyed as one.
Aim for sites along the beach for the best views and to avoid the noise of the trains that pass by along Highway 101.
Notes: Pets on a leash are allowed in the campground, but not on the beach, so consider this when deciding whether or not to bring your dog. Also, minors must camp with a parent or legal guardian or provide written consent from parent/guardian.