Beachside Camping: Doheny State Beach
I think one of the coolest things about camping is that you can do it almost anywhere. You can simply go out and explore, find a place you like, set up your tent, and you’re basically good to go.
For me, a beach is a great place to set up a tent and simply lay back and relax, while listening to the crashing of the waves along the shoreline. Whenever I am in California, I like to visit Doheny State Beach.
Doheny State Park Overview
Doheny State Beach is located in Dana Point, California. It has 118 campsites in total, with 33 of those as premium oceanfront sites. There are 16 sites meant for RV or trailers only. There are no hook-ups available at any of the campsites and the maximum length for trailers and campers/motorhomes is 35 feet. There are also a few group sites available, along with a hiking and biking campsite.
The campground also has restrooms and showers that you can use (for a fee), along with a dumpsite, and an amphitheater.
If you have a dog, they are allowed on the campsite as long as they are well attended and on a leash. However, dogs aren’t allowed on the beach itself.
The park is open from 6 am to 10 pm all year.
- Inland campsites: $35
- Premium beachfront sites: $60
- Group campsites: $300.
NOTE: Doheny can get pretty crowded sometimes so be sure to settle your reservations beforehand. You can visit Reserve America to make sure you have a spot at Doheny.
Doheny State Beach Interpretive Association
The Doheny State Beach Interpretive Association or the DSBIA is a non-profit association of Doheny State Beach that is dedicated to protecting the park’s beaches, facilities, marine life, and the historical, cultural, and social stories of the park. They hold projects and events designed to both fundraise and educate people.
Doheny + Surf
Southern California is known for its vibrant surfing lifestyle. In virtually every beach in Southern California, you will find surfers waiting along the horizon for their next wave to ride. Doheny State beach is a favored destination for surfers and so the DSBIA along with California State Parks have created The Doheny Surf Festival for 2017. This year it will be held on June 24 and 25.
They have a number of different contests for surfers or all age categories, a vendor’s village, exhibition, live music, food, art exhibits and more. It’s basically a two-day celebration of surfing.
Doheny is a great place for you to catch some waves and have fun over the weekend. If you are a surfer or surf-enthusiast, try to drop by the event. You can learn more about it on their website.
For those of you who do not yet know how to surf but long to ride the waves, you can take surf lessons or attend surf camps at Doheny. Anyone ages 5 and up can sign up. You don’t have to worry about finding a surfboard somewhere because surfboards and wetsuits are provided. Surf camps usually are on during spring and summer breaks.
If surfing isn’t really your thing, there are paddleboards and kayaks that you can rent as well where you can pretty much wander wherever you want. If you want a faster adventure, you can also rent jet skis.
For jet ski, surfboard, wetsuit, stand-up paddleboards, and kayak rentals, you can visit Dana Point Jet Ski and Kayak Center.
Tips For Beach Camping
- Bring a small dustpan and brush. Sand can get anywhere and everywhere. This will help keep your sleeping area clean after a day of going in and out of your tent.
- Know the tides, especially if you’re camping near the shoreline. You don’t want to end up stuck in the middle of the high tide!
- Bring a cooler with a lot of ice to store your food and drinks.
- Bring your rainfly. It will protect you not just from rain, but from the mist and humid air that comes from the crashing waves.
- Remember to bring garbage bags. Not all beaches will have trashcans available. Know that any trash you leave behind will go into the ocean, without a doubt, and can harm marine life. So be a responsible traveller and bring a garbage bag and keep all your trash in there.
- Bring your sleeping pad, even though you think the sand will be soft. Sand can sometimes be lumpy and bumpy so a sleeping pad will still help you out.
- When packing up your tent, take out the pegs, open the doors, lift it up, tilt it to the side so the door is facing downwards and shake, shake, shake. Trust me, there will be sand coming out there even if you think the inside of your tent was sand free.
See also our perfect camping checklist here.
Camp To Your Heart’s Content
I absolutely love camping on the beach. I love hearing the waves, getting some sun, and taking a dip in the water. I’ll let you in on a secret - I also love surfing too, which is why Doheny State Beach is one of my favorite beaches to go.
There are lots and lots of sites on the park but be sure to reserve in advance so you can get the premium beachfront sites - you won’t regret it.
There are so many activities there from hiking, biking, fishing, different water activities, all the way to festivals, historical and cultural sites, learning centers and more. For every adventurer, there is an adventure waiting for you at Doheny. If you’re ever in Southern California and happen to go to Dana Point, be sure to drop by at Dohney and then come back and tell me how your adventure went.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to drop them down below. I’d love to hear from you and about all of your adventures.
Now go, your adventure awaits.