Carlsbad State Beach Camping: The Best Tent Sites

Carlsbad State Beach Camping: The Best Tent Sites
Carlsbad State Beach is north of San Diego and south of Orange County. The beach is well known for surf and ocean swells, attracting surfers nearly year round to the consistent waves. Scuba, snorkeling, swimming, kayaking and boogie boarding are all popular sports at Carlsbad Beach in addition to the surfing. Due to the 2010 budget cuts in California, services at state parks and beaches have been reduced. Carlsbad State Beach still has many of the services prior to the budget cuts, including choice camping sites for tent campers.

North End Sites

The north end sites at Carlsbad stretch from the campground office and lifeguard tower north up the coast. The choice campsites are those closest to the tower and campground office, as a Wi-Fi signal is available within 150 feet of the office and tower, letting you surf the net at night after surfing the waves during the day. These sites are directly at the beach and steps away from showers and bathrooms. Try to book or reserve campsites one through 23 if you wish to be directly on the beach, near the Wi-Fi signal and showers.

Sites 119 through 130 are behind sites one through 23. These are also choice sites because of the proximity to the showers, Wi-Fi signal and bathrooms. Fire rings are available at these sites, allowing you the pleasure of evening fires after a day in the water. Thes sites are also next to the parking lot, allowing you a level of security to monitor your vehicle or have quick and easy access without a long walk through the parking lot.


South End Sites

Heading south of the campground office and lifeguard tower are sites 206 through 222. Head directly south down the beach; sites are on the sand with direct access to the water and beach. These sites fill up fast and reservations are strongly encouraged. A Wi-Fi signal is picked up at these campsites, and they offer showers and bathrooms within 100 feet. Fire rings are also available at these choice sites.

Campsites 131 through 147 are located directly behind sites 206 through 222, and are between the parking lot and the first row of camping areas. These sites receive a Wi-Fi signal, have fire rings and are very near showers and bathrooms. The parking lot abuts this row of campsites, allowing you to park close to your campsite, making for convenient loading and unloading.

Campsite Rules and Reservations

Because the camping sites near the Wi-Fi signal and those with fire rings are highly desired, it is strongly encouraged to make reservations far in advance. Reservations may be made online at

Rules on the beach prohibit dogs or pets on the beach. Pets and dogs are allowed at the campsites if they are on a leash six feet or shorter and the pets must stay in tents or vehicles at night. Glass bottles are not allowed on the beach at any time, nor is alcohol. Prior to having a fire, check to see if there are any current fire restrictions with the campground manager.

Carlsbad State Beach

7201 Carlsbad Blvd.

Carlsbad, CA 92008



Article Written By Eric Cedric

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

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