San Elijo State Beach Camping
From swimming to surfing to picnicking and beyond, the San Elijo State Beach campground offers the perfect backdrop for summer campers who want to enjoy the sun and the sand.
If you're looking to book a campsite at San Elijo State Beach Campground, then you've come to the right place. We've got all the information you need to prep for the best beach camping trip possible!
Let's dive in!
ADA, RV, Tent, Trailer, Group, Hike/Bike
# Of Tent Sites: 139
# Of Full Hook-Up Sites: 26
2050 S. Coast Highway 101
Cardiff, California 92007
San Elijo Campground
San Elijo is in the Northern End of San Diego County, just ten minutes south of Carlsbad, in a place called Cardiff-By-The-Sea, Encinitas. The beach takes up most of the land on the coastline, giving visitors plenty of room to play!
You'll find the campground entrance on the crossing of Chesterfield Drive and the southbound lanes of Pacific Coast Highway. The campground extends long Coast Highway South, about 0.7 miles north of the entrance of San Elijo Lagoon.
A good marker is the locally-renowned Bronze Statue by the name of "Cardiff Kook."
FUN FACT: The statue has the nickname because it looks more like a ballet dancer than a surfer. Locals will often dress it up or mess with it in funny ways.
You'll find 165 campsites readily available at the San Elijo State Beach Campground, which sits along the bluff overlooking the gorgeous Pacific Ocean. The premium campsites have unobstructed ocean views, though they book up quite fast, which is why it is essential to book far ahead of time.
Those in need of amenities during their camping trip will be satisfied with this campground. You'll find a camp store, hot showers (which cost money), flush toilets, a dump station, an amphitheater, and even a casual restaurant where you can dine outside! In addition, every campsite comes with its own grill, fire ring, and picnic table.
Pets are allowed at San Elijo State Beach campground, and there is even a small doggie beach where you can let your furry friends run free!
There are plenty of recreational activities you can enjoy while here! The weather is spot-on year-round, and visitors can find one of California's most famous surf breaks adjacent to the campground at Cardiff State Beach.
Even if you're not a surfer, you can enjoy fishing, sunbathing, swimming, beachcombing, or whale watching. Throughout the summer, ocean temperatures hover around the mid-70s, which is pretty warm compared to the northern parts of the California coast.
You'll find plenty of snorkelers and divers along this bluff-backed stretch of sand, thanks to the warm, clear waters and the nearby reef.
Getting down to the water is easy, with several long ramps and stairways that lead down the bluffs to the sand. However, if you're planning on swimming here, beware! Many rip currents appear on this beach, so knowing how to get out of one is crucial!
If you didn't bring your own ocean gear, there is a camp store that is in operation from March to October, where you can get rentals. They also have a selection of clothing, and some general camping necessities.
Within walking distance of the campground entrance, there are plenty of excellent restaurants. Of course, the on-site Mexican restaurant is fantastic, and we highly recommend taking the time to enjoy this year-round establishment. The snack bar, which you can find near the campground entrance, operates March to October.
If you want to get out of the campgrounds and take a drive along the San Diego coast, you'll find a variety of popular San Diego attractions within a 45-minute drive. Some of the best nearby attractions include Solana Beach bicycle rentals, San Diego Botanic Garden, San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve, Fletcher Cove Beach, and Cardiff State Beach in Cardiff-By-The-Sea.
If you cannot book a site at San Elijo, we recommend checking out the South Carlsbad State Beach Campground, which lies just ten minutes north on Highway 1.
If you're planning on lighting a fire in your campsite, it is best to obtain firewood locally to prevent the spread of potentially invasive insects.
San Elijo State Beach Camping Reservations
To book a campsite at San Elijo, you must head over to Reserve California. In addition, you can find information and reservations for many California State Parks on this website.
Because this particular campsite is so popular, booking far ahead of time is essential if you want to reserve a spot. The sites overlooking the bluff typically go pretty fast, and the last ones to go are the hike and bike campsites. These sites are limited to those on bike, and no cars are allowed, so try and plan as far ahead of time as you can.
There is a shared site in this campground as well, which is spacious enough for multiple tents and vehicles if you are camping with a large group.
San Elijo State Beach RV Camping
You will find 26 RV campsites with full hook-ups at this campground. It is essential to check the length of the campsites before going, as not all sites can accommodate RVs and trailers of all lengths. Therefore, it is crucial to make sure your RV will fit before reserving.
If you want to enjoy RV camping yet don't have your own trailer or RV, you can check out one of the many rental locations below:
San Elijo State Beach Camping Map
Our Beach Camping California resource page features 9 other coastal campgrounds for you to explore!