Why settle for that gentle wave mode from white noise app when you can get out and sleep near the real thing? Now that the summer is knocking hard on our doors, there's no better time to find your site near the lapping waves or pounding surf. Mild temperatures, diverse terrain, and beautiful West Coast sunsets await! We've assembled a baker's dozen suggestions to get your wheels spinning, but we know there is much, much more to feature here. Give us a note and let us know where you're heading this summer!
Between the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Puget Sound, Washington has some fascinating and unusual opportunities for overnights near the water. Try camping in a decommissioned fort for a dose of history and scenery, for instance. Fort Worden State Park Campground and Fort Flagler State Park Campground provide great views, direct access to the beach, and are both part of the fascinating history of Puget Sound. Farther west along the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Salt Creek Recreation Area Campground puts you a stone's throw from some of the healthiest tide pools on the Olympic Peninsula.
Alternately, consider heading for the Olympic Coast. Choosing a spot at Kalaloch Campground sets you up for days of exploration in the nearby beaches, tide pools, and inland trails. But if getting away from it all is really a priority, packing a sea kayak with all you need for a few nights of island hopping is a perfect break from the norm. Clark Island is worth any effort to get there, but there are plenty of great choices for island camping that are a little more accessible as well.
There is no shortage of great camping along the Oregon Coast, and Cape Lookout State Park is a perfect option for ocean views just steps from your tent (or yurt!). An easy drive from Portland, this is a campground to head for when you want to get away for a weekend on the sand. Beverly Beach State Park Campground is Salem's answer to the same scenario and also offers plenty of yurts if you want to leave the tent at home. Be sure to check out the whale tours in nearby Depoe Bay if you're in the neighborhood.
Farther south, be sure to take some time to check out the state parks just south of Coos Bay and stay overnight in Sunset Bay State Park Campground, just steps away from the namesake cove. In the beautiful Bandon area, Bullard's Beach State Park Campground has an extensive bike trail system for easy access to the waves and a large boat ramp for easy access to the Coquille River.
And volumes could be written about the costal camping options that California offers, so we thought we'd offer a few that may be less well known. Gualala Point Campground puts you right in the heart of Gualala Point Regional Park, and the sites nestled under the bay trees and redwoods couldn't feel more protected. Nearby Gerstle Cove Campground is a popular spot with divers exploring the kelp forest and the Salt Point Marine Conservation Area, but the views from the rocky shoreline ensure the campground is a great option even if your exploration is more terrestrial in nature.
Bodega Dunes Campground is a great option if you are surfing nearby North Salmon Creek Beach or exploring Bodega Head. Sites here are a little ways from the water, but you'll also be protected from some of the wind that whips off of the bay.
Plaskett Creek Campground is located just across Highway 1 from Sand Dollar Beach, one of the finest stretches of sand in the area. This campground does see some traffic, but if you can grab a reservation or show up mid-week, you'll be ready to enjoy some truly impressive sunsets a few minutes from your tent.
And if you are in the Santa Barbara area, El Capitan State Beach Campground is a staple. You'll get plenty of amenities here including showers, a store, and plenty of trails, but first in line is the access to the beach and fickle surf. This is an ideal place to find yourself when a west swell rolls in, so long as you don't mind a little company.