Camping is one of the most freeing and liberating feelings you can have. Beach camping is a little different from setting up a regular campsite. If you are a surfer or just love the water being able to set up camp right on the water offers a new experience not a lot of people ever get to do.
You will be able to wake up next to the cool breeze of the incoming tide. All you need to do to get ready for the day is to make a campfire and brew some coffee. You can grab your snorkel gear and be in the water whenever you want.
Being all alone on your own beach is a life-changing experience. Don’t get us wrong, we don’t say this lightly. Waking up to nothing but the sound of waves crashing around you gives you a new perspective that you will remember forever. Instead of going on an all-inclusive vacation look into a simple vacation to a beach you’ve never heard of.
With that being said, there are some things you should consider before setting off in your car to the beach.
Know Before You Go
You will have to do some research before you set off for your adventure. Some beaches do not allow people to camp on them as they are protected environments. This will vary greatly depending on your state and even region. When you are looking for the perfect spot you should keep your eyes open for national parks and reserves. These are the best places to camp as they usually have full amenities while being off the beaten path.
Pro Tip: If you are not camping in a designated park you will want to bring all the water you need for your trip.
Making a few phone calls to the park you’re looking to camp at will save you a hassle. It’s the worst when you plan a trip and get there to find out that they don’t let you camp on the beach. Some beaches are also closed during parts of the year due to bad weather.
How To Choose Your Spot
You have chosen your perfect destination and have made the trek to the campsite. There are a few things to keep in mind when deciding where to set up your temporary home. If you are by the ocean learn where the tide line is. You don’t want to spend the time setting up to learn you’re in the path of the incoming tide. To do this, look at the shore. If there is a line of driftwood or seaweed that will usually be the high tide line. If you are still not sure you can bring out your phone and search the tide charts for your area.
Pro Tip: Keep updated on the weather around you. Big storms can make the tides come in more aggressively.
Next, consider the way the wind is blowing. Setting your tent up directly in the path of the wind is not a good idea. If there are trees that come close to the water it may be worthwhile using them as a windbreak. They will also give you some shade if the sun is especially strong during the day. We recommend not going into the trees though. Stick to the sand – the bugs will be less and there will be fewer animals.
Home For The Night
Beach camping requires some different equipment than traditional camping. The biggest difference is the type of shelter you’ll be sleeping in.
If you are the type of person who only beach camps in the summer a floorless shelter may be ideal for you. It will give you a connection to nature that you won’t get in a different style tent. These are super easy to make even out of a tarpaulin. These are great if you have to hike into your beach as they are lightweight and don’t require much time to set up.
In areas of changing weather, or strong winds, a traditional tent may be best for you. These offer great protection from the elements and add extra comfort. During the summer you can even keep the fly off which will give you more ventilation and even a view of the stars. You may need to invest in some sand pegs to keep your walls up.
Pro Tip: If you have some nylon bags you can fill them with sand and tie your tent’s lines to that instead of buying extra gear. Large rocks work well too.
We recommend always bringing along a sleeping bag as they are guaranteed to keep you warmer. Remember, it is easy to get cooler but much harder to get warmer. Having a synthetic waterproof bag will ensure that you stay not only warm but dry as well. If you are staying in warmer climates feel free to bring along a sleep sheet. These are sleeping bag liners made typically from cotton and are very lightweight. These can be brought in addition to your sleeping bag or if you are confident in the climate can even replace your sleeping bag.
A sleeping pad is used for more than just comfort. It also adds an extra layer of insulation between you and the ground keeping you warmer on a cold night. You don’t need to invest in an expensive sleeping pad to get these benefits. A yoga mat or folded blanket will give you the same type of result.
Sleep Under The Stars
If you are just going for a night and the weather forecast looks dry, why not try the truly magical experience of sleeping under the stars? A good sleeping bag and a tarp for under you is all you will need for a night you will never forget.
Keeping the sand out of your place can be a challenge. No matter what your site looks like laying a large tarp on the ground will keep the sand from flying up and give you a place to take off your shoes. Dusting your feet off before you enter your tent will also keep your place even tidier. You can bring two buckets that can sit outside your tent that can clean your feet as well. If you have to hike it, a water bottle can also be great for rinsing your feet.
Having a campfire is one of the best parts of any camping trip. Not only is it enjoyable but quite practical as well. You can use this to cook your food and stay warm as well. Just be sure to confirm that fires are allowed where you are staying. Trust us, the fines and potential for a forest fire are not worth it. Bringing along wood is always helpful but you can also forage for some driftwood too. If it is windy outside, try digging about a foot or two deep and using that for your fire pit.
Packing List: Extras
Even the most experienced campers often forget something when packing for their next camping trip. We have spent so much time camping we decided to make you a small list of some of our favorite camping extras to pack along.
- Ziploc Bags: We cannot stress this one enough. This is essential to keep your important things clean and dry. Throw your phone, camera, wallet, keys, or even wet bathing suits in a ziplock to help preserve their life.
- Sunscreen: You may not know that you can get burnt even in overcast conditions. It does not need to be the middle of summer for you to feel the harsh effects of the sun. Moreover, having sunstroke while camping can be quite dangerous.
- Garbage Bags: Use these to take out your trash. These also can be used as ponchos in cases of extreme weather.
- Hammock: Hammocks are almost guaranteed to make any camping trip much more enjoyable.
- Hat: The best way to avoid heat exhaustion.
- Fire Starter Kit: Be sure to bring some lighters, matches, and some items for kindling.
- Extra Towels: You can never have too many towels for cleaning and the beach. Be sure to get quick-drying towels.
- Flashlight WITH Extra Batteries: Or, better yet pack some solar-powered or mechanical lights as well.
- Layers: Stick away from heavy clothes and instead pack items you can layer.
- Water! Water! Water!: Staying hydrated is so important.
Camping is a great time to indulge in many other outdoor activities. We will always advocate for ditching your smartphone and splashing in some mud. Try your hand at surfing, boogie boarding, bring along a snorkel or a paddleboard, and go have some fun. There are of course some things you can do to keep yourself safe. First and foremost, always tell someone. Keeping a family member or friend informed of your intended travel is important. Always include where you are going and when you plan to return. This way if something unexpected happens they will know where to look.
If you are like us, you will likely look for some remote campsites. Keep in mind these might not have phone reception in case of emergency. The beaches also likely do not have lifeguards. The best advice for situations like this is to always have a buddy system. You may want to also invest in a spot safety GPS. This will give you peace of mind that you always have access to safety devices.
Never Leave A Trace
You have heard it before: take only memories, leave only footprints. This is huge for us. We love the outdoors and the only way we can ensure our kids do too is if we respect the land around us. Where ever you go, be sure to do a sweep at the end and make sure that whatever you pack in you pack out.
You may not think about it but some places just shouldn’t be camped on. Dunes, for example, do not make good campgrounds. A beautiful meadow with flowers that you have to crush is another. These places are home to fragile ecosystems that flourish without us there. If moving a few feet out of the way is all it takes to preserve this, it’s undoubtedly worth it. Check these articles for a better camping experience, best beach cruisers, and best beach volleyballs.
Globo Surf Overview
Beach camping is a great way to spend a weekend, or even a week, in the summer. Being able to hike, swim, or lounge at your leisure will give you a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Following some of the tips and tricks in this article will give you the confidence and knowledge you need to make your next beach camping trip the best it can be.
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- Spot safety GPS, Saved by Spot