Beach camping is an incredible way to enjoy the natural beauty and serenity of the coastline. However, it can also be a challenging experience if you’re not well-prepared.
From packing the right gear to understanding beach regulations, there are a variety of things you need to keep in mind to make the most of your beach camping trip. Follow these essential tips and tricks to ensure your beach camping experience is safe, enjoyable, and stress-free.
1. Decide on a Location
Before you set out, you’ll need to find a suitable beach camping location. The destination can affect everything from drive time and weather to camping fees.
Many designated campsites charge a fee. This payment goes towards the upkeep of bathrooms, showers, and other camp facilities that may be invaluable to you. The Cape Lookout National Seashore is a lovely example of fee-based beach camping, but the cost is worth it!
Some areas offer free beach camping, although these will include fewer facilities. You may find a hidden gem if you do a little searching — either online or on the coast. For example, the west coast of Maui, Hawai’i, has miles-long stretches of beach inhabited by travelers and permanent campers alike.
If you expand your search to a mile or two inland, you’ll almost always find a suitable campsite.
2. Be Wary of the Wind
Beach camping exposes you to something few campers consider when planning a trip: wind. In typical forest camping, the trees provide some protection against the wind. But nothing stops the wind (and sand) from whipping against you or your tent when you’re on the coast.
You should invest in a set of sand-specific tent stakes. The stakes that come with your tent likely won’t do much good in the sand, and this leads to our next tip…
3. Watch the Weather
The weather can significantly impact your comfort and safety during your camping trip. It’s crucial to check the weather forecast and plan accordingly, packing appropriate gear and clothing for the expected conditions.
High winds, storms, and extreme temperatures can make camping on the beach challenging, so always prepare for the worst. Additionally, it’s a good idea to monitor the weather during your trip and be ready to adjust your plans if conditions change. Check the National Weather Service for the latest forecasts.
4. Get the Right Gear
While “cowboy camping” is undoubtedly an option, most folks will want the privacy and the shelter of a proper tent. You don’t need anything fancy, but you might want to set it up at home first to confirm you have all the pieces and everything is in good condition.
- Tent and Sleeping Gear: Because coastline temperatures are usually moderate, any sleeping bag or basic bedding should suffice. The same goes for your tent, although a rain fly could be good to protect against sudden summer storms or salt spray from the ocean. Check the weather before you go out to be sure.
- Portable Power Station: If you need to keep your devices powered, keep a portable power station in tow. Something like the EcoFlow RIVER 2 is perfect for a short beach camping trip — it can power personal electronic devices and is light enough to throw in your backpack for hiking along the coastline. The RIVER 2 Pro is a step up for those who prefer glamping and want to power equipment such as speakers, a movie projector, lamps, etc. These power stations can even turn into solar generators for extended trips by adding a portable solar panel. You can toss these panels in the car and unfold them at the campsite for an off-grid, renewable power supply.
- Sustenance and Cookware: Bring enough food — and more than enough water — for the time you plan to spend camping. Bring food that is ready to eat or easy to cook over a campfire. You’ll also want to double-check that you’ve packed all the pots and pans to cook!
- Baby Powder and Broom: This is a little-known secret for successful beach camping. Apply some baby powder to your skin at the end of the day to remove sand and the greasy sunscreen build-up. A small tent broom can help sweep up any sand that makes its way into your tent.
- Firemaking Supplies: Other essential beach camping gear includes firewood, tarps, and long tent stakes. A bonfire on the sand makes for the quintessential beach camping experience!
5. Bring Several Bundles of Firewood
There’s nothing like sitting around a cozy campfire, watching the stars, and listening to the waves. However, unlike camping in the woods, there won’t be an abundance of dry wood to collect. Make sure to purchase several bundles of wood in town before heading out to your beach campsite and practice good campfire safety.
Some beaches may not allow fires—check local laws and regulations before lighting a campfire.
6. Track the Tides
Tracking the tides is crucial for safety while camping by the water. High tides can quickly flood your campsite if you’re too close to the water. By monitoring the tides, you can plan activities such as swimming and fishing and set up your campsite in a safe and dry location.
You can track the tides using resources like tide charts, apps, or local weather stations. Be sure to research where you plan to camp and read up on tidal patterns to ensure a safe and enjoyable camping experience.
7. Protect Yourself From UV Rays
For many, acquiring a tan is the only real reason to visit a beach. However, the sun can be relentless, especially if you’re on a treeless beach all day. With no shade and the UV rays bouncing off the water, you’ll get burned if you don’t bring protection.
Bring more sun protection than you think you’ll need. Sunglasses, a sun hat, and sunscreen are all good choices. You may also want to bring some sort of shelter, such as an umbrella or a UV-resistant canopy. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
8. Bring a Tarp
A good tarp is essential for camping. It works as a sun shelter, a wind break, or a footprint for your tent (amongst many other uses). Odds are, a tarp—or two!—will make your beach camping a more comfortable experience.
9. Leave No Trace
Leave No Trace is a set of principles to follow when camping, whether on the beach, in the forest, or anywhere else. It dictates that you remove all your trash and leave no trace behind so the environment remains clean and undisturbed. Plan to bring appropriate trash bags and containers to pack all waste, including food scraps, toilet paper, and other garbage.
Additionally, you should aim to dispose of waste responsibly, following local regulations and guidelines. By practicing “packing it out,” you can help preserve the environment’s natural beauty for future campers and minimize your impact on the ecosystem.
Frequently Asked Questions
Camping on a beach can be an excellent idea for nature lovers, offering the opportunity to witness stunning sunsets, go swimming, and enjoy a peaceful environment. However, it’s important to check local regulations, consider the weather conditions, and be mindful of potential safety hazards such as high tides or wildlife.
When camping on the beach, you can sleep on various surfaces, including the sand, a tent footprint or groundsheet, a camping pad or air mattress, or even a hammock. It’s essential to choose a comfortable and appropriate option based on the weather, location, and personal preference.
Beach camping can be an unforgettable experience if you take the time to plan and prepare accordingly. Remember to check the weather, follow beach regulations, and practice Leave No Trace principles. Most importantly, don’t forget your gear! Forgetting the essentials—like a tent, portable power station, or enough water—can put a damper on your camping trip.
For more options and power to keep your beach camping going all weekend, shop EcoFlow. Our compact portable power stations and solar generators give you a stress-free way to power your trip—and they’re quiet, fume-free, and eco-friendly. Shop today, and happy camping!
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