San Onofre State Beach Camping
San Onofre is a legendary Southern California state beach with tons of room for swimming, surfing, sunbathing, kayaking, camping, fishing, and more. Each year, 2.5 million visitors head to San Onofre, making it one of the top five most-popular California state parks out there!
In 1971, Governor Ronald Reagan established San Onofre SB, and since then, it has become one of the most visited state parks around!
You'll find three specific areas in San Onofre State Beach, including San Mateo Campground, San Onofre Bluffs, and San Onofre Surf Beach.
San Onofre Bluffs is the most popular option for visitors, so we'll go over how to get there and what amenities you can enjoy during your beach camping experience!
# Of Tent Sites: 157
# Of Full Hook Up Sites: 0
5200 S. Pacific Coast Hwy
San Clemente, CA, 92672
San Onofre Beach is pretty easy to pick out as you're driving along the coast, as the defunct nuclear power plant acts as the beacon of shining light.
From hiking to surfing to fishing and beyond, there are plenty of activities to enjoy next to the San Onofre bluffs.
Six rugged dirt trails connect to the beach below, allowing you to take your gear down to the sand for a day of seaside fun.
If you want to go surfing, we recommend heading to the nearby Trestles Beach. Trestles Beach is a world-class spot for surfers, who have flocked here from LA and San Diego since the 1940s.
The beach is not accessible by vehicle, meaning you must take one of the nature trails leading from the north or south to get there and pass under the Trestles Bridge. The waves are some of the most consistent at this beach.
Some other surf spots near San Onofre Beach include:
If you head just a bit outside of San Onofre State Beach to the San Clemente pier, you'll find pier fishing opportunities. Make sure to have your permit handy!
Hiking is a prevalent activity near San Onofre Beach with jaw-dropping sandstone bluffs. You can catch panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean on one of the many winding hiking trails.
PRO TIP: If you're going on a romantic camping getaway, we recommend taking one of the hiking trails up above the San Onofre Beach bluffs to enjoy an evening picnic while watching the sun go down.
Here's a list of activities you can enjoy while camping at this state park:
San Onofre Bluffs Campground
San Onofre Bluffs Campground provides the ideal beachfront camping experience for those traveling near LA, Orange County, or San Diego.
It is three miles south of San Clemente, off of Interstate 5.While there are a few spots to camp near San Onofre State Beach, this one has consistently been the most popular.
San Onofre Bluffs Campground sits adjacent to the gorgeous San Onofre State Beach sandstone bluffs and has plenty of day-use parking along the Old Highway 101.
While it may not be as amenity-rich as other Southern California beach campgrounds, you'll find fire pits, picnic tables, water spigots, and outdoor showers! Note that the showers do not have hot water, so make sure to bring a jacket to stay warm!
Note that there are no RV sites in the Bluffs Campground, but they do have an RV dump station. If you want to camp with your RV, you should check out San Mateo Campground which is not far.
Check-in for these sites is around noon, while check-out is around 2 pm.
If you plan on parking in one of the day-use areas for a day at the beach, there are two areas to choose from. Both day-use parking spots cost $15 for the day. You'll find one day-use parking lot at the southern end of the Bluffs campground and another at the northern end.
PRO TIP: Because this is a popular surfing spot, it is essential to get there early in the morning on the weekends to get a good location. People typically start pulling into the park by around 6:30 am.
San Onofre Camping Reservations
To reserve your spot at the San Onofre Bluffs Campground in San Onofre State Beach, head to the Reserve California website. In addition to using the platform to reserve campsites, you can also call the number on this website to ask questions about the campground directly. The people at Reserve California are very helpful!
Note that these campsites fill up quite fast, so make sure to book early in the year! There is also a Bluffs Group Campground, accommodating anywhere from 9-50 people and 12 vehicles.
At the Ground Campground, you'll find large, open spaces for large tents, cold outdoor showers, and gorgeous ocean views.
If the San Onofre Bluffs campground books up, you could take a look at San Mateo Campground, which lies right across the road from San Onofre State Beach. This campground is excellent for surfers, as it is only 1.5 miles from Trestles Surf Beach!
San Mateo Campground Address - 830 Cristianitos, San Clemente, CA, 92672
San Onofre RV Camping
Just a short distance inland, you'll find the beautiful San Mateo Campground. San Mateo Campground has plenty of tent camping and RV camping, and each site has a picnic table, fire pit, and RV hook-ups. In addition, you'll find plenty of amenities like hot indoor showers, flush toilets, and a dump station.
Just east of the RV sites, you will find San Mateo Creek, which flows into the ocean, creating unique wetland and riparian habitats, some of which house endangered species. It is a 1.5-mile walk to the world-renowned San Onofre Surf Beach, which is just a little bit south of San Clemente.
Note that you cannot camp at this beach, as it is for day-use only! To get there, take the I5 South from San Clemente and exit at Basilone Road. Note that Surf Beach does NOT permit alcohol or vehicles longer than 25 feet.
If you want to grab a fire pit while at Surf Beach, make sure to show up early, as there are a limited number of pits.
PRO TIP: If you're looking for the best sites for motorhome and travel trailers, check out sites 1-23, 26-44, and 95-175. All of these sites have RV hook-ups and pads that are around 35 to 36 feet in length.
You can make online reservations for both the standard and group campsites through Reserve California.
San Onofre Camping Map
Our Beach Camping California article covers 9 other beautiful locations if you would like to look into alternative campgrounds near the beaches.