10 Smart Steps to Planning Your PERFECT Beach Camping Trip

Are you interested in camping in a tropical locale but unsure how to plan a trip like this? Beach camping requires planning and packing if you want to do it successfully. Learn from the experts how to make your next beach camping trip successful. 

When planning a beach camping trip, get a permit or reserve a campsite if required in your local area. You should also know the tides if you’ll camp on the beach. Bring plenty of water, activities, and good walking shoes. Plan for a shady spot at your campsite and leave no trace. 

For more information on how to plan a beach camping trip, here are our best tips.  

Planning for a Beach Camping Trip

Beach camping can be an extremely pleasant time to relax and unwind. However, it won’t be stress-free unless you can plan for your trip and come prepared.

If you plan for your next beach camping trip, here is what you need to know.  

1. Get a Permit or a Campsite

Some beaches require a permit before being allowed to camp on the sand. Others may not allow you to camp directly on the beach, preferring you to stay in nearby campgrounds.

The good news is that many beaches have adjacent state parks and campsites where you can still get full access to the ocean. 

Always keep up with the legalities to avoid being fined for your camping.  

Check out my article on the beach camping laws in the US and beach camping laws for Canada to inform yourself about the legalities of your state or province.

2. Know the Tides

If you’re permitted to spend the night on the beach, you must come prepared, knowing when and where the tide will come in.

There’s nothing worse than waking up in the middle of the night or early dawn hours to realize that your tent and gear are completely underwater. 

Do a little research, and you could save yourself tons of hassle from moving your tent in the middle of the night. 

Know the Tides

3. Make Sure You Have Water

You’ve likely heard the saying, “water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink.” This might be even more true when staying on the beach.

You’ll have access to plenty of sun, sand, and saltwater but nothing to quench your thirst. 

Spending all day in the hot sun can make you seriously parched, so always bring plenty of water. The general rule of thumb is to bring at least two liters of water per person per day.

It’s always a good idea to bring a bit extra, just in case.

4. Pack Plenty of Dry Clothes

Even in the middle of the summer, the temperatures can drop rapidly on the beach at night.

You might feel extra chilly if your clothes are wet from the ocean spray or damp with sweat from being in the sun all afternoon.

To keep yourself warm and comfortable, bring a few extra changes of clothes so that you can change before bed. 

It’s also a good idea to pack plenty of light layers that you can put on if it gets a little cooler than you were truly prepared for.

5. Bring Activities

The idea of lounging around on the beach might seem like a dream come true initially, but you’ll likely grow bored with this quickly.

Especially if you’re taking kids on this camping excursion, they will want more to do than simply soak up the sun. Make sure to bring plenty of activities to do for them. 

You might want to pack extra reading material, fun beach games like cornhole or bocce ball, and gear to create sand castles.

My article on beach game ideas will help with some more fun suggestions.

Bring Activities

6. Bring Shoes for Walking

A short walk on the beach over seashells and rocks might be fine, but it can be painful if you want to go for a long walk along the seashore.

To this end, most beach camping experts recommend packing some great sneakers or hiking shoes.

This will protect the soles of your feet, offer you better support than sand alone, and make your camping experience enjoyable overall. 

Pack socks and a little extra water to rinse your feet before putting on your socks and shoes.

My guide on beach camping essentials would ensure you don’t forget something important.

7. Pack with the Beach in Mind

You won’t want to leave home without certain things if you intend to camp on the beach. First and foremost, you need a dustpan and a small broom to clear sand out of your tent and sleeping area.

This is an absolute must-have for beach camping. 

However, you’ll also need specific gear like sand stakes designed to anchor your tent even in the loose substrate. 

Pack with the Beach in Mind

8. Plan for Shade

At first, soaking up the sun might be the only thing you want to do on the beach. Once your skin has been sufficiently sunburned, you might want to rethink this, though.

In addition to packing lots of sunscreen, you should also plan to have a place to escape from the sun. 

A tent can be a great way to do this. Make sure that it has screen walls that allow that beachy breeze to blow through so that you can stay cool and comfortable.

You’ll also love that this screen can keep out pesky sand gnats and mosquitos, depending on where you’re camping and in what season. 

Many people don’t want to seclude themselves from the beach, though. Instead, you might want to consider whether you can pack an umbrella.

If not, bring a few things that keep the sun out of your face, like a wide-brimmed beach hat or a pair of high-quality sunglasses.

I have more information on camping seasons in the US to help you plan what you need to bring to save yourself from the elements.

9. Prepare for Rain

The weather at the beach can be a bit unpredictable, so always prepare for a nighttime shower or rainstorm. This means that when you pack your tent, you must bring the rainfly – just in case.

It’s better to be safe rather than sorry, and you won’t love waking up drenched to the skin because of an unexpected rainstorm.

10. Prepare to Leave No Trace

Ensure you come prepared to carry your trash back off the beach.

You might want to pack extra garbage bags or storage containers to pack up your waste if you aren’t sure where or whether there will be trash receptacles in the area where you set up camp. 

To minimize the amount of trash you must bring back from the beach, consider the items you pack to take with you.

Too many small items like cans can be a real hassle when you want to pack up quickly and make just one trip. 

Prepare to Leave No Trace

Be Mindful of the Beach Ecosystem

Planning for a beach camping trip requires a lot of research, packing, and preparation.

You might want to consider some of these tips to help you get the most from your beach camping trip and make sure that you’re positively impacting the environment when you leave.

People often are too focused on leave no trace but leave no stone unturned to tamper with the ecosystem of their beach camping spot.

Lastly, find the perfect spot to pitch your tent, and comply with local laws. With these tips in mind, you’ll be a beach camping pro in no time!

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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