Beach Camping Tips and Tricks + Packing Checklist

Beach Camping Tips and Tricks + Packing Checklist

(Last Updated: February 7, 2019)

Download the Beach Camping Packing Checklist (PDF) ⇓

When summertime comes, you will want to go to the beach and at the same time go camping. The good news is that you can do both. Beach camping is the perfect way of combining two great leisure activities: stargazing at night and enjoying the sandy beaches. However, one thing you need to note is that camping on the waterfront is different from pitching a tent at a designated campground. There are several things you need to know before you head to the beach camp. Here are tips and tricks that will make your stay by the Oceanside comfortable.

1. Research well

Before you hit the ground running, you will need to carry out adequate research on the state and region that you plan to visit. This will give you an idea on whether you are allowed to camp at the beach in that locality. Remember that certain beaches will be closed during the cyclone season. If you are wondering “where can I camp on the beach for free”, there are lots of locations. Get in touch with the state park or local authority to find out the beach you can camp on.

2. Choose a good location

After getting to the beach destination, take time to study the kind of terrain. Avoid camping anywhere below the high-tide line. In many beaches, you can easily identify this by looking at the layer of seaweed or driftwood that was left behind by the previous tide. In case, you aren’t sure of the level, you can have a look at the local chart of the tide. You should bear in mind that the fluctuation between tides can also get more aggressive between the new and full moon stage. Consider also the weather forecast of the beach you can camp on. If the weatherman says there will be violent offshore winds and storms, these could result in huge waves. Give yourself enough room by pitching the tent a distance from the high tide line.

beach camping

3. Consider your shelter options

If you will be RV beach camping an area where there are bugs, remember to carry a tent. By setting up a tarp, you will have a shelter from the rain and wind while still using sand as your floor. In case you are aware that it will not rain or it won’t be windy, you can sleep out in the open. If you choose to make a shelter, you will realize that securing the tent or tarp in the sand can be quite hard as a result of the sands. A good idea would be to use sand pegs as these have been designed for that purpose. Alternatively, you can fill nylon bags with sand and use them.

It can also get quite cold at night and therefore it may be a good idea to use a sleeping bag. In case you live in the tropics or it looks like a warm night, you may be able to get away with something lighter. However, remember the air moisture and wind.

4. Be keen on your waste disposal

Whether you are camping by the lake, ocean or river, bear in mind that the water is home to a fragile ecosystem. Therefore, be careful on how you dispose of your wastes. A good idea would be to carry away your waste with you. If you will be digging a camp toilet, this should be dug at least 100 feet from the water and should be in a hole that is at least 6 inches deep. Avoid using dish soap as sand is a healthy alternative.

5. Keep out the sand

You don’t have to wait until the sand has gotten into your tent for you to begin removing it. A good way is to keep it out of the sleeping bag or tent. Ensure that you sleep on an oversize tarp under the tent so that you will have some extra space for taking off the shoes. Before you can enter the tent, brush the sand off your feet. You can also have a water bottle to rinse your feet before getting into the tent. Remember to carry with you a brush and a dustpan for sleeping your tent. Maintain a policy of no shoes in your tent to keep out the sand.

beach tent camping

6. Store your items in an organized way

The zippered plastic baggies and stuff sacks can prove to be quite helpful when tent camping on the beaches and can be all over. If you don’t want to see sand on all your belongings, ensure that everything remains organized and arranged properly in different compartments. This is particularly the case where you are dealing with food. You will find it awkward to bite your oatmeal only to hear that gritty sound.

7. Consider waterproof

Beach tent camping can get a little bit soggy even when it is not rainy. While the days are usually hot and sunny, nights tend to be damp and foggy. The experience can be made worse by passing showers, unexpected storms, and those heavy dew doses. Your stuff may get damp as a result of the fog, humidity, mist and ocean spray. This is why it is advisable to pack everything you want to want to stay dry and set up a rain fly. Also, ensure that damp sleeping bags, clothes, and other items are kept in the hot sun to dry during the day.

8. Building the campfire

If you will be taking extended stays, you will definitely need to cook over a fire. This is practical and you will get the chance to enjoy food that is far much delicious. Bear in mind that you will be cooking over open flames and you need to allow the fire to burn down before using hotbed of remaining embers. However, you will need to confirm with the beach you are visiting if it allows fires.

Most beaches are windy and this can make it hard to start a fire. To overcome this challenge and keep the fire in control, dig a hole in the sand. This will also make it easier to put it out as you can simply pour sand on it.

can you camp on the beach

9. Stay safe at the beach

One of the most important beach camping tips to ensure that you remain safe. If you are camping on a remote beach, this will mean there will be no lifeguards. You may also not have a reception on your phone. If you are planning to go on swimming or hiking in an area with no lifeguards, ensure that there is someone on the beach as you remain in the water. This person will be your designated lifeguard. Ensure that you remain hydrated as dehydration can happen as a result of remaining exposed to the sun all day long. Avoid camping on sand dunes as these are habitats for various fauna.

Be careful of the sun and the heat. Ensure that you get enough rest under shade to avoid sunburns and heat stroke. Use sunscreen to protect your skin. If you plan to go swimming, beware of riptides. You don’t want a situation where your current beach tent camping will be the last one.

10. Remember your sleeping pad

You might think that sand is a perfect bed for slumber. However, the bumpiness and lumpiness can make you be quite uncomfortable if you do not have a sleeping pad. Bear in mind that there are certain beaches that are not sandy. You will realize the importance of having the sleeping bag if you set up camp on a rocky and rugged beach.

Beach camping packing checklist

Download the Beach Camping Packing Checklist (PDF) ⇓

Before you head to the beach camping sites, you will need to ensure that you have carried with you the necessary items that will enable you to enjoy the waves and the sun during the day and sleep comfortably at night. Here is a beach camping checklist of the items you must carry with you for your trip:

Camping gear

  • Beach suitable tent. Make sure that the tent can securely anchor into the sand. Where possible, ensure that the tent is twice the size you need for the purpose of air circulation.
  • Sleeping bag. This must-have beach camping equipment should match the weather. If you will be hiking, choose a lightweight one.
  • Sleeping mattress or mat where necessary. Consider also whether you will need blankets and pillows
  • Flashlight and headlamp. This can prove hardy to see around at night
  • Beach chairs. You don’t want to be sitting on the sand
  • Small brooms. With the huge amount of sand on the beach, you will need a broom to clean away the sand
  • Garbage bags. Proper disposal of garbage is very important while on the beach campgrounds.
  • Cooking items. These may include cooking pot, waterproof matches, reusable utensils, knife, backpacker propane stove and lighter.
  • Firewood and grate. Depending on the location, you may be able to find driftwood on the beach and in the dunes. But if this is not available, remember to carry your own firewood.

Food and water

  • Frozen water in gallon jugs. Find out if there is a water source. If there is none, you will be left with no option but to carry gallons of frozen water. This will be a good source of drinking water as the ice melts.
  • Food. We recommend that you carry one pot of pre-cooked, frozen or freeze-dried meals. Also carry fresh bread, cold cuts, yogurt, fruits, tea bags, and coffee.


  • Swimsuits. If you have chosen to camp at the beach, there are chances that you enjoy swimming. You should therefore not forget to carry your swimming costumes
  • Layered clothing. As a result of the cool evening breeze, you will want to keep yourself warm. Carry a lightweight breathable, wind or rain jacket.
  • Extra towel. This can prove useful for use on the beach as well as for cleaning up. Choose a towel that dries quickly as they will not take a lot of space and will dry fast.
  • Shorts, pants, and shirts. These should be quick drying.
  • Water shoes. You will get into the water regularly and the right shoes can help you feel comfortable.

Personal items

  • Ziploc bag. This will help you to keep sensitive items such as your phone, camera, car keys, and wallet free of sand. You may also have wet clothes that you may need to pack and you don’t have to combine these with the dry ones.
  • Sunscreen with a high SPF. Make sure you are using sunscreens all day long. Even when the weather looks cool and the sky is overcast, it is possible to get sunburns. Make sure you reapply every time after surfing, snorkeling or swimming.
  • Bug repellents. Bugs can be a nuisance while camping at the beach and this is why you need a repellent.
  • Shovel and toilet paper. If there is no toilet available around the area, you will need to prepare in advance on how you are going to relieve yourself.
  • Sunglasses. You will need to protect your eyes as you swim on the beach or sunbath.
  • Telescope. If you are a fan of bird watching, this is a must-have accessory. It will provide you with an excellent view of the various bird species.
  • First-aid kit. You should not be excited about your camping trip to the point where you forget about staying healthy.
  • Life jacket. To stay safe while on the beach, always have a life jacket nearby.


For those asking, “Can you camp on the beach? “, it is possible as long as you do proper planning. When you have everything right, there is nothing as good as camping by the waterside. Unfortunately, beaches are not always camping friendly. In order to make your stay at the beach enjoyable, you need to have the necessary information and equipment. Use the above beach camping ideas to make your stay comfortable.

Leave a Comment