San Clemente State Beach Camping
San Clemente Campground is one of Southern California's most popular camping destinations. It is a must-visit camping destination with close proximity to the San Clemente Pier and beach access that trumps most other California State Beach campgrounds.
Before you go, however, you must understand the rules, regulations, reservations, and activities so that you can optimize your trip.
Come dive in with us as we explore the beauty of this west coast camping gem.
ADA, Group, RV, Tent, Trailer
# Of Tent Sites: 88
# Of Hook Up Sites: 72
225 Avenida Califia, San Clemente, California 92672
San Clemente Campground
San Clemente State Beach campgrounds are located in the city of San Clemente in Orange County, about halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles. You'll find two campgrounds, one of which is designated for tents while the other is for trailers and RVs.
The RV sites have full hook-ups. You will also find two group sites adjacent to the tent sites. Campsites 1-72 are full hook-up RV sites. Most of these RV sites can accommodate trailers and RVs up to 42 feet in length, though a few RV campsites can not accommodate this length, so make sure to check with the reservation website for up-to-date rules regarding length.
Whether in the RV or tent sites, every camp site has a fire ring, table, and grill, perfect for cooking up meals throughout the day and night. Some of the amenities include the amphitheater, hot showers, flush toilets, a dump station, a picnic area, overflow parking, and a gift shop.
Note that the hot showers are coin-operated, so make sure to bring quarters for your stay.
To get down to the beach, you can use one of the two beach trails.
You can head to the visitor center or ranger station while you're there, and someone will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
There are plenty of things to do in San Clemente State Beach, including taking a stroll along the San Clemente State Beach Trail, surfing at T-Street, or sunbathing at Califia Beach.
With a mile-long stretch of ocean surf protected by a steep bluff, you can hike, swim, and surf to your hearts desire.
Since established in 1937, San Clemente State Beach has remained one of the most popular beaches for water sport enthusiasts.
If you bring your kids along, there are Junior Ranger programs at the Visitor Center, which offer a hands on approach for kids to learn about the Pacific Ocean and the local wildlife around San Clemente.
If you want to take a small day trip during your stay, we recommend heading to the Surfing Heritage Foundation Museum in the city of San Clemente.
We also recommend taking a stroll on the San Clemente Pier if you get some time, as it is one of the most popular attractions around San Clemente State Beach.
People often refer to San Clemente as the "Spanish Village By the Sea" thanks to its Spanish Colonial Style Architecture, mountain views, and pleasant year-round climate. If you get a chance to explore the San Clemente area around the state beach, we highly recommend doing so. The nearby metropolitan areas have plenty of opportunities for shopping and dining. Plus, with such a dramatic location, almost everything in the region is photogenic, perfect for the burgeoning photographer.
If you are looking to venture a bit from San Clemente, we recommend heading to Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach, Zuma, Coronado, or Del Mar. Huntington Beach and San Onofre are some of the best spots in Southern California for surfing, thanks to their curling ocean surf, while Laguna Beach is one of our favorites for catching a good sunset and enjoying a nice dinner.
Rules and Regulations
Every campsite has room for one vehicle, which must be parked on the pavement within the campsite region. Fires are permitted, though you must keep them in the designated concrete fire rings within the campsite.
While the San Clemente State Beach campground is pet-friendly, your furry friends are not allowed on the beach. After sundown, you must keep your pets in your vehicle or tent.
Lastly, if you bring a generator, you may only operate it between 10 AM and 8 PM.
PRO TIP: Make sure to bring flashlights if you head to the restroom or around the campground after sundown.
San Clemente Camping Reservations
As with all California State Parks, you must make reservations for camping at San Clemente State Beach through Reserve California. You can find helpful information on this website regarding the various campgrounds sprinkled up and down the California coast.
We recommend reserving your campsite as early as you can. Reservations can be made six months in advance.
If you want to enjoy RV camping, yet you do not have a trailer or RV, you can check out the Holidays CA website to rent one of the five vintage trailers they have available.
Suppose you cannot find a campsite in San Clemente. In that case, there are plenty of other nearby Southern California beach camping options that we recommend, including San Mateo, San Onofre Bluffs, and Doheny State Beach.
These nearby campgrounds are all within an hour of San Clemente State Beach, so it's not too much drive for a change of plans.
San Clemente Tent Camping
There are 88 tent campsites in San Clemente State Beach, which can host up to eight people at one time each. Generally, each of these campsites can fit up to two to three tents.
However, if you're worried about space, you can call the visitor center and speak with the camp host.
There is a large fence that separates the tent campground from the bluff overlooking the ocean.
As for camping fees, they cover one vehicle and one towed vehicle.
If you have a large group, you can reserve one of the two group campsites.
Group Camp 1 can accommodate up to 20 vehicles and 50 people. The site sits on top of the steep bluff and overlooks the ocean. Group Camp 2 can host ten vehicles and 50 people and is a "tent-camping-only" area. The group campsites have multiple picnic tables and BBQs for large feasts.
Both of these campsites provide beach access with a steep, paved trail. The maximum vehicle length in each of these campsites is 20 feet.
PRO TIP: Campsites 76-94 are the closest to the beach trail.
Beyond tent camping, there is a separate RV and trailer campground with water and electrical hook-ups.
Note that sites 100-160 only take reservations from April to September, so camping is a bit more limited during the winter months.
As for handicap accessibility, site 158 is the one to reserve.
San Clemente State Beach Camping Map
Check out our Beach Camping California Guide to discover 9 additional locations for camping on California's coastline.