Even seasoned campers will find something wonderfully whimsical about camping next to the waves.

Where to pitch your tent

Camping beaches with endless access to breathtaking views, exciting wildlife and plenty of adventure can be found up and down both coasts of the United States.

While most people are drawn to the wild horses that call Assateague Island National Seashore in Maryland home, the park offers endless outdoor activities from kayaking and horseback riding to bicycling and shellfishing. Watch out for the horses, though, and other wildlife as the park advises keeping your distance to maintain your and the animals’ safety.

Although certain campgrounds are currently closed due to restoration efforts from the aftermath of hurricane Irma, there is still plenty of fun to be had when you plan a beachside camping trip at Bahia Honda State Park in Florida. With plenty of sites available for RVs, trailers, hammocks and tents, campers can enjoy snorkeling, kayaking, birding and more.

Just one hour from California’s Redwood National Park, Patrick’s Point State Park provides the perfect camping experience for the outdoorsy type. The park boasts several miles of trails, a robust wildlife presence and a rich Native American history dating back hundreds of years.

Natural-born explorers will find plenty of room to wonder at Kalaloch Campground in Olympic National Park in Washington State. The area’s low tides produce shallow pools of seawater near the rocky shores, called tide pools, teeming with marine life. The campground’s 168 campsites offer plenty of room for families of all sizes.

Abide by the rules and leave no trace

While beachfront camping can provide hours of endless fun for any traveler, many beach campsites do have specific rules designed to protect the unique ecosystems found by the seashore.

Many beaches may have special guidelines governing campfires including whether or not you can bring or collect your own firewood, so make sure you’ve read all campground rules before breaking out the s’mores and sleeping bags. To make things easier, skip the campfire and go low-impact with a camp stove built to withstand the elements.

RV and trailer restrictions also may apply. Check with your campground to see about size restrictions and if a special permit or other licensure is required.

And, as always when camping, strive to leave no trace behind when you pack up to head home. Ensure all garbage and waste is disposed of properly and be careful to not disturb any flora or fauna sharing the neighborhood around your campsite.

Prepare for surf and sand

Windy weather can create major waves and kick up a lot of sand, so be prepared for both by minding the tides; swimming and surfing with a buddy when there’s not a lifeguard present; and packing a small broom and dustpan to help keep the sand at bay.  

And, when spending day and night on the beach, sunscreen and fresh water are absolute necessities to keep you hydrated and protected while having fun in the sun.