San Clemente Campgrounds

San Clemente Campgrounds and RV Parks in California

Feb 06, 2024

If you're planning a beach vacation in Orange County, you can choose from a variety of experiences. Want a relaxed, surfer vibe? Check out Huntington Beach. Perhaps you're interested in the arts? Laguna Beach is your destination.

If you want a more sophisticated atmosphere, Newport Beach and Balboa Island are ideal. Dana Point also has some upscale resorts for those seeking luxury.

But if you prefer a quieter atmosphere, San Clemente is ideal. It has a charming downtown center, a long stretch of beach, a picturesque pier, and numerous dining options.

There's also a trolley that can take you to Dana Point, from whence you can explore the rest of Orange County's beaches in San Clemente.

There's also a bike route that leads all the way to Dana Point. The town's relaxed pace is palpable, and time appears to slow down.

San Clemente Campgrounds

One important advantage was that the town of San Clemente and the beach are well back from the PCH, which is rare for Orange County beach communities. For example, the main beaches at Laguna Beach and Huntington Beach are located right next to the road, so you can hear the traffic.

On the downside, San Clemente's beaches are located directly next to a railway track. This is, of course, noisy when trains pass, but it occurs far less frequently than the continual thrum of traffic. The beach next to the pier is significantly less gorgeous than some of the other Orange County options.

It's still beautiful. However, there are a lot of stones mixed in with the sand in spots. If you walk or drive a short distance, you will rapidly come across beautiful beaches. Now you have a brief, let's head straight into San Clemente campgrounds and RV sites.

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1. San Clemente State Beach Campground

San Clemente State Beach Campground

San Clemente State Beach is down towards the south end of San Clemente, California. It's a spot renowned for its awesome coastal, hill, and mountain views, plus the weather is pretty nice, and the Spanish-style buildings give it a cool vibe.

They even call the place the "Spanish Village by the Sea." People love coming here for the strong breezes and the beautiful scenery.

2. San Onofre State Beach

San Onofre State Beach

Governor Ronald Reagan made the decision to create San Onofre State Beach back in 1971. But this beach isn't just any regular beach—it has an interesting past.

Look, there's an old California Indian settlement there called "Panhe." This location was bustling with activity more than 8,000 years ago when it was the Acjachemen people's final resting place and focal point.

And here's something to think about: a lot of Acjachemen people can actually trace their ancestry back to Panhe. It is a very significant location for ceremonies and cultural activities to this day.

The preservation of this piece of history is very important to several organizations, such as "The City Project" and the "United Coalition to Protect Panhe."

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3. Doheny State Beach

Doheny State Beach

Doheny State Beach, one of California's most well-liked state beaches, is situated in the community of Dana Point and welcomes about a million people annually.

At its northern extremity, Doheny features a day-use surfing beach and a five-acre lawn with volleyball courts and picnic areas.

Campsites are available near the southernmost portion of the state beach; some are just a short stroll from the shore. In addition to tide pools, the state beach features a tourist center with multiple aquariums.

Among tourists, surf fishing is also very popular. And there are accessible RV parks close to the Pacific Ocean with full hookups.

The first state beach in California, the beach was given to the public in 1931 by oil magnate Edward L. Doheny. In 1963, it was given the formal name Doheny State Beach.

4. San Mateo Campground

San Mateo Campground

The San Mateo Campground is located just inland from San Onofre State Beach, which has 3.5 miles of sandy beaches.

This is the best choice for nature lovers because of its shade structures, weather conditions, and big rigs, that is why it is also called casa romantica! Of course, that was its particular purpose. All campsites have a fire pit and a picnic table.

There are RV hookup sites available that include electricity and water. Other amenities include a dump station, hot showers, a visitor center, easy access to WiFi, and flush toilets.

Camping is available all year round. Just create a great time to spend with your loved ones because this is more like a family campground.

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5. South Carlsbad State Beach

South Carlsbad State Beach

When summer arrives and the sun shines, it can be difficult for many people to resist the impulse to go outside and enjoy themselves.

If you can relate and you just need to take a quick break from technology, Carlsbad has some of the greatest camping locations in the state.

Gather your camping supplies and head to Carlsbad State Beach camping for some alone time and relaxation when your workload has piled up and you're exhausted.

There is camping, swimming, surfing, skin diving, fishing, and picnics at this San Diego beach and campground. Due to its popularity, the campground only accepts reservations; if you arrive without one, you may not be able to stay.

6. Newport Dunes RV Resort

Newport Dunes RV Resort

Situated along the picturesque Back Bay, Newport Beach, California, is home to the Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort & Marina.

The same services as hotel guests are available to RV campers at our carefree, luxurious resort: beach access, hydrotherapy pools, dining on the beach, hiking and biking trails, water sports, and, during the summer, one of Southern California's biggest inflatable water parks.

We provide families with scheduled activities to participate in. Let us serve as your headquarters for exploring all that Newport Beach and Orange County have to offer.

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7. O'Neill Regional Park

O'Neill Regional Park

The Arroyo campground has 79 campsites of varied sizes that may accommodate RVs or tent camping for up to eight people each. Reservations for certain venues can be made online, by phone, or in person.

The park has eight big group campsites for groups of 17 or more and five equestrian campsites, each with horse corrals, barbeques, and fire pits.

Recent changes made at this park is not much therefore, there is no need to be skeptical because it will definitely be a great place to be.

8. Moro Campground - Crystal Cove State Park

Moro Campground - Crystal Cove State Park

Perched atop a bluff with unmatched views of the ocean, the Moro campground has 27 hookup and 30 non-hookup tent sites, three of which are ADA-accessible.

In addition, we provide basic hike-in camping in our backcountry, with 32 sites divided into three regions. While it does involve a difficult climb, it offers a tranquil haven from the city.

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What is San Clemente Famous for?

San Clemente, located on the southern California coast north of San Diego, is a charming small town with numerous surf beaches. The settlement is dubbed the "Spanish Village by the Sea." It's a beachfront paradise in southern Orange County.

The sandstone coastal bluffs enhance the splendor of the untouched beaches. A significant amount of San Clemente's beachfront is classified as state park beaches, which inhibits commercial development.

After visiting, we can see why Southern California beaches have inspired so many songwriters to write songs.

Guide to the Best San Clemente Beaches

During our week in San Clemente, we went to four different beaches and enjoyed each one for various reasons. We paid several visits.

1. Trestles Beach

Trestles Beach requires over a mile of walking on a paved nature route, but the effort is well worth it. The beach was virtually vacant. Plus, we didn't mind sharing it with the local surfers, who offered excellent entertainment.

2. San Clemente State Park Beach

San Clemente State area Beach is popular with families and a few surfers who camp at the area. An enormous virgin beach is easily accessible by a 0.25-mile paved pathway.

This was the widest beach in San Clemente, with lots of room to spread out. It is less rocky than other parts of the coast and provides an excellent sandy surface for riding, walking, or running on the beach.

3. San Onofre Surf Beach

San Onofre Surf Beach (also known as Old Man's Beach) is more rustic than its sister park, San Clemente. The dirt parking lot is next to the beach. Many locals park their vans and truck campers along the waterfront and spend the day surfing at SanO Beach.

The water's edge here is a little rough for easy walking. However, if you look attentively, you will notice anemones and sea snails on the rocks.

4. San Clemente Pier and Beach

Easy entry and sunset Happy Hours at Fisherman's Oyster Bar distinguished the San Clemente Pier and Beach from the other beaches we visited. Prior to 5 p.m., public parking is available in two big lots or at street meters for $1.50 per hour.

The pier is open to the public and provides a unique view of the city and the stunning landscapes of the Golden State.

There are numerous benches on the pier. We spotted a few people fishing from the pier but saw no catches. You just have to take a short walk to enjoy the beautiful view of this large campground.

5. Fisherman on the San Clemente Pier

The beach narrows at high tide and can feel a bit crowded compared to the huge state park beaches. Because of the adjacent San Clemente Surf School, we witnessed the biggest number of surfers near the pier.

6. San Clemente - Off the Beach 

San Clemente has many of the amenities of a larger city, including a charming downtown with numerous local coffee and taco businesses, as well as sophisticated shopping and dining options. San Clemente boasts an assortment of highly-rated restaurants.

Bottom Line

Although San Clemente State Beach is open year-round, summertime is the ideal season to visit because of the warm weather, long days, and an abundance of lifeguards on duty.

But this is also the busiest time of year, and the campground is likely to be completely booked, so if you prefer a more sedate experience, think about visiting in the fall shoulder season.

Winter to early spring is whale-watching season. If you are from California, don't forget to hit us close as your California's best camping website.

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