8 Scenic Campgrounds Where You Can Sleep Right on the Beach
Summertime is finally here! If you’re anything like us, you want to spend every spare moment outside. Whether that’s by visiting the wildest places in the US, checking out lesser-known national parks, or just stocking up on the best beach accessories, we fully support embracing the outdoors. When you’re the kind of person who wants more time in nature but doesn’t want to skip the sand, there’s a perfect solution: Go camping right on the beach. Of course, that’s not legal everywhere, so we rounded up your best options for ocean views where tents are totally allowed.
1. Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland: This campground is located on a strip of island just off the shore of Maryland, you can walk or drive to your campsite right by the Atlantic ocean. You might even get a chance to spot the wild ponies that live in the area. But don’t expect a luxury trip here — the campsites take you back to basics with only drinking water, chemical toilets, and cold-water showers provided.
2. Cape Lookout National Seashore, North Carolina: First, access the barrier islands via a three-mile boat ride. From there, you can climb a lighthouse, tour historic villages, or just get right to setting up camp on the sandy shores. Prepare to get rugged — bathrooms are open only during high season, and you’ll otherwise be resorting to cat holes above the high tide line. There are no camp stores nearby, so be sure to stock your cooler before you arrive.
3. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Florida: Located on Key Largo, this park is best known for the spectacular coral reefs it’s unsurprisingly named for. Once you’re done with a day of snorkeling, there’s a 47-site campground available with water, grills, picnic tables, hot showers, toilets, and full RV hookups, so get your glamp on.
4. Padre Island National Seashore, Texas: Just off the shore of Corpus Christi, Padre Island boasts the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world. That also means that when you set up camp at one of only five first-come, first-served campsites, the nearest amenities will be 12 miles away. How’s that for a secluded getaway?
5. Treebones Resort, California: Not all the best campsites are at national parks. Treebones Resort in Big Sur is set for excursions that are the definition of glamping. Yurts, cocoon-shaped tents, and bring-your-own-gear campsites are all available on the property, which features stunning views of the ocean below. (Photo via Lisa Werner/Getty)
6. Blake Island Campground, Washington: Want more to look at than an open horizon? This campground on an island in the Puget Sound between West Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula will give you unparalleled views of Mount Rainier — but first, you’ll have to kayak over or find a boat to the island.
7. Homer Spit Campground, Alaska: If you’re an RV camper on a grand road trip adventure, make your way up to Alaska to camp on the shores of Kachemak Bay. The campground offers views of snow-capped mountains and open water, but it’s also only short walk to shops and restaurants, so you won’t feel too far off the beaten path.
8. Ocean Island Campground, Maine: Are you an avid kayaker? Paddle out to this 13-acre island to get away from it all. The campsites have fire rings, grills, and picnic tables, but you’ll want to bring your own food and water with you, or you’ll be looking at a quick trip back to the mainland to retrieve some. Stay put here, or paddle to adjacent islands for more adventures.
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(Photos via Getty)