Beach Camping in San Onofre


On Memorial Day Weekend, what could be  better than camping, s’mores, and BBQ with friends? Doing it at the beach! We reserved campsites at San Onofre State Beach for the long weekend, which is right off Interstate 5, between Camp Pendleton and San Clemente. As far as campgrounds go, this one has minimal amenities, but the beach access can’t be beat. I was surprised to learn that San Onofre is one of the five most-visited State parks in the state, because it was relatively quiet and uncrowded while we were there – we were almost always the only people at the beach, besides a surfer or two.

The views of the ocean from the campgrounds are unreal. This is what you wake up to!

The camp sites are pretty close together, so it may be an issue if you have a McMansion tent, but for our two-person set-up, we didn’t have a problem! You can pull your car right up to the site as well.

The sites aren’t right ON the sand, because there are huge bluffs overlooking the beach. You have to take a trail down to the actual beach section, which is a narrow strip against the sandy bluffs. Being able to stand high on the  bluff during sunset made for some great views.

Off in the distance, you can see the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. That is where the public beach access stops, due to the plant. Currently, the plant is offline, so it wasn’t a concern.

The temperatures were pretty mild, considering we were right on the ocean. It was mid 70’s during the day, with lows in the mid to upper 50’s during the night. The only downside to this campground is that Interstate 5 is right next to the campsites. This ended up being an issue with the light sleepers, because of the constant noise of cars and trucks going by during the night. There are also only outdoor showers with cold water – not a big deal if you only stay for one or two nights though! San Onofre is a great park if you are looking to get out of town for the weekend, as it is only a few minutes’ drive from San Diego and Orange County. Check it out – and don’t forget the marshmallows!

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