Beach Camping Tips (32 Ways to Enhance your Seaside Trip)

Imagine waking up to the smell of the sea, sand between your toes, and a beautiful sunrise over the water. Camping on the beach lets you experience one or all of these! However, like all types of camping, it requires preparation and awareness. Below we’ve got a great list of beach camping tips to get you started.

Beach camping requires you to be aware of the tides and weather, and how you will anchor your tent. Remember to consider beach rules. Always treat the beach and its wildlife with respect by leaving no trace and leaving anything you find on the beach behind.

These are the tip of the iceberg for beach camping tips. Keep reading to find out how to best enjoy your seaside getaway.

32 Beach Camping Tips

Below are 32 beach camping tips to make your stay on the beach less stressful and more fun. Keep reading to make the most out of your beach adventure!

1. Anchor Your Tent

Beaches are usually exposed spaces with smooth, sandy bottoms. With terrain like this, it’s no surprise that you need to anchor your tent securely!

You can use various natural materials to keep your tent in one place. These include rocks, driftwood, or filling up sandbags. You can even fill up plastic bags with water, which will do the trick.

My article on best beach camping tents can help you pick the right kind of tent for your camping trip.

Anchor Your Tent

2. Or Buy Long Stakes

If you don’t trust anchoring your tent, you can always use long stakes to keep your tent from blowing away.

Regular tent stakes will struggle to hold in sand. Ideally, you’ll want 9 inches or longer stakes with an uneven surface. These will grip the sand and keep your tent in one place.

3. Check the Weather

Like any camping trip, you’ll want to check the weather before you set off. Beach camping is usually very exposed, so it’s important to check that the weather won’t ruin your trip or put you in danger.

Especially if you plan to camp on the coast, make sure it won’t be a washout!

4. Do You Need a Permit?

While plenty of free beach camping is available throughout the United States, you may still need to purchase a permit to set up.

These permits allow camping beaches to be kept clean and safe, as well as a way for beach rangers to track how many people are on the beach.

5. Watch the Tides

To camp on the beach, you must always be aware of the tides. Study the tides to know when low and high tides will be. This ensures you’ll pitch your tent in a safe location.

Otherwise, you might have an unexpected visit from the sea in the middle of the night! You can download an app that makes checking the tides simple and easy.

6. Be Flexible

Not all tides or weather can be predicted, so prepare to be flexible.

If you’re worried about the beach environment being unpredictable, pitch up somewhere higher where the tide won’t reach your campground or near a shelter if it rains.

Be adaptable to your environment, and you’ll be ready for surprises!

Be Flexible

7. Camp Off the Dunes

Avoid camping directly on dunes or sandy grasslands if you plan to camp on higher ground. These are usually ecological habitats for wildlife that lives on the beach.

Most likely home to bugs, spiders, wasps, lizards, and sometimes even snakes. Dunes are also not very comfortable to camp on!

8. Wear Sunscreen

Due to your exposure on a beach, it’s best to layer up the sunscreen! It’s not just to protect your skin from sun damage but also to reflect UV rays.

Even if you’re not experiencing blazing sun during your trip, ensure you take precautions and wear sunscreen outside the tent.

9. Take Aloe Vera Products

If you’re planning to experience sun throughout your beach camping trip, it’s a good idea to pack a skin product containing aloe vera. Aloe vera soothes sunburn and hydrates skin.

I’ve used aloe vera gel several times, which cools down a burn! Remember, it’s better to pack it than get a nasty burn and not have it!   

10. Insect Repellent

Beach camping brings a range of different bugs and insects. Be prepared to repel these pests with some strong insect spray! A big bug bite can be a serious downer.

If your skin is sensitive to insect repellents, you can always try essential oils such as tea tree or lavender, which will ward off mosquitos.

11. Pack Firewood!

This one might seem obvious, but believe it or not, you could seriously struggle to source firewood for your fire if you’re on a beach. It’s best to pack some firewood before you set off on your adventure!

If you cannot get firewood, you can always hunt for driftwood or ask at a beach campsite if they have any spare. 

12. Campfire Rules

Beaches usually have a set of campfire rules you must adhere to if you plan to light a fire. Some beach campsites do not allow fires, while others will only allow them in designated areas.

You can usually check beforehand by googling the beach online. As well as this, it’s best to keep your fire small and check that it’s fully extinguished before you go to bed.

Campfire Rules

13. Follow a Beach Camping Checklist

A beach camping checklist can make packing for your trip simple and stress-free.

A beach camping checklist will include everything you need to remember, from a tent to sleeping gear to appropriate kitchenware for a beach.

A beach camping checklist also gives you pointers about what activities to pack!

I have curated a beach camping checklist which can help you pack better. Feel free to check it out!

14. Pack Extra Towels

Towels should be high on your beach camping checklist. However, we recommend that you should double up and pack extra.

You never know when you might fancy a quick dip and want to ensure you have a dry towel available. If the beach has showers, it’s also nice to have a separate towel that won’t be sandy.

15. Pitch Your Tent Away From Palm Trees

Palm trees may be the perfect backdrop for a photo with your tent in. However, pitching up directly underneath one is not the best idea.

Palm trees can bear coconuts, and a falling coconut on your head could be fatal. Since only one species of palm tree bears coconuts, you can always check beforehand to see if it’s a risky tent position.

16. Remember Beach Activities

It’s a good idea to research what beach activities will be available at your camping location. This way, you can pack and prepare for hikes, watersports, or wildlife watching.

If there are limited activities at the beach, you can always bring your own. You could pack a ball, a frisbee, spades, or even a surfboard!

17. Beach Carts

Walking through sand can be a serious workout, especially if you carry all your camping gear. Instead, a beach cart or sled can make your life much easier!

Just load up your supplies and breeze across the beach. 

18. Pack Water

Whether you’re camping in the summer or winter, you will always want to pack enough water.

You can get seriously dehydrated on a beach, so to make it easier, pack at least one gallon of water per person daily. Otherwise, you can check to see if your beach campsite will provide drinking water.

Pack Water

19. Where Can You Go to the Restroom?

This may have slipped your mind, but it’s crucial to check where you’ll go to the toilet while staying on the beach. Some beaches have campsite toilets you can use; just remember to roll!

If toilets aren’t available, take a small shovel. You’ll need to bury your business at least 6 feet deep and 200 feet from a body of water.

20. Wildlife Neighbors

When camping on a beach, be aware that you are sharing this space with the wildlife there. These wild neighbors could come from birds, plants, or other animals.

Be respectful of the wildlife surrounding you, and remember you are the visitor. 

21. Smooth Down Your Camping Spot

Sand may appear smooth, but it’s handy to pack it down and make it as flat as possible before pitching up your tent. You want the surface underneath your tent to be as durable as possible.

This will ensure you are comfortable and prevent anything underneath from ripping your tent’s tarp. This will also make it easier to put stakes in!

22. Bring Extra Tarps

Tarps are your new best friend when camping, and beach camping is no different! Extra tarps can create sand and non-sandy areas in your camping spot.

You can use a tarp as a child zone if you plan to camp with small children or babies.

You could also use a tarp to clean your feet from the sand before entering your tent. The uses for a tarp are endless! 

23. Tidy the Campsite Before Bed

Before hitting the hay, it’s a good idea to tidy your campsite and pack away any items outside your tent.

Light items such as buckets and spades might be blown away by the wind or picked up by some local wildlife. To prevent this, you can cover everything with a tarp and weigh the edges down.

Or pop it back into your car!

Tidy the Campsite Before Bed

24. Tick Check Before Lights Out

Whether you’ve layered on the bug spray or not, it’s always helpful to do a tick check before you turn it in for the night.

Ticks are part of the mite family and are common in warm beach environments, where they tend to be found in tall sea grass. Do a quick check before bed to put your mind at ease!

25. Take an Extra Cooler

One cool box is not enough for camping on the beach in the summertime. Ideally, you want a cool box for all your food items and another for ice.

This ensures if the ice blocks in your food cooler thaw out, you can replace them and keep your food fresh. It’s also a good idea to keep your cool boxes out of direct sunlight and in a cool place.

26. Respect Fellow Campers

Beach camping in the summertime can get crowded, and good camping etiquette requires you to respect your camping neighbors. Keep noise to a minimum after 9 and keep your campground clean and tidy.

Making positive relationships with those camping around you can help if you need to borrow something!

27. Check Pet Rules

If you plan to bring your furry friend along, check pet rules for the beach you intend to camp on.

Most campsites that allow dogs will ask that owners clean up any dog poo and keep dogs on a leash in certain areas.

Some beaches will not allow dogs for wildlife protection reasons, so make sure you check first.

28. Pack In, Pack Out

Pack in, pack out is all about leaving no trace. If you want the beach to remain as beautiful as it was when you arrived, leave it as you found it.

This means disposing of all your rubbish on or off-site, keeping fire impacts to a minimum, and leaving what you find behind.

Be respectful of the beach, and you’ll return for future camping trips finding it in the same condition.

29. Remember a Beach Can Get Cold at Night

Temperatures on the beach can drop once the sun goes down, so make sure you layer up for chillier nights.

Packing layers over one thicker jumper is recommended, as it’s easier to regulate your body temperature by taking on or off a single layer. Another option is packing some extra blankets!

Remember a Beach Can Get Cold at Night

30. Keeping the Sand Out

Keeping the sand out of your tent is not easy advice, but try to keep your sleeping area as sand-free as possible. Sand is uncomfortable to sleep on and can seriously grate your skin.

We recommend bringing a small brush to make it easier to keep sand out of your tent.

31. Safety First

As always, be safe when you’re camping on the beach. If the tides or weather look dangerous, consider how safe it is to be camping on the beach.

It’s also important to note that swimming at night can be really dangerous; lack of visibility and a lifeguard could put you in a sticky situation. 

32. Shake Out All the Sand

Our final tip regards the end of your camping trip on the beach. It’s best to shake out all the sand from your tent, sleeping bags, and gear before you pack it away.

Just imagine opening all your gear at home and getting sand everywhere! Avoid this by giving everything a good shake as you leave!

Respect the Beach and the Beach Would Respect You…

We hope these tips give you all the advice you need to experience beach camping to the fullest!

Remember to respect the beach and its wildlife, pack sunscreen, and keep your sleeping area sand-free. With these tips, you can have a fantastic, memorable camping trip!

Shailen Vandeyar

A proud Indian origin Kiwi who loves to plant trees and play with his pet bunny when not out in the woods, exploring the infinite beauty of mother nature.

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