TOP 10 campgrounds on the American West Coast

A U.S. west coast road trip is synonymous with freedom, adventure and discovery.

And there's no better way than camping to enjoy this wild nature and these magnificent landscapes.

I've identified a few spots for you, some with ocean views, others right on the beach, all in a dreamy setting.

Get out your notebooks, here are my Top 10 campgrounds on the American West Coast.
 

#1- Malibu Beach RV Park


:pin: emoji  Address: 25801 Pacific Coast Highway - Malibu, California 90265
:crochet: emoji  Tents + RVs 

Malibu campground US West Coast
Ocean views from the campground as far as the eye can see

Malibu Beach RV Park is 30 mins west of Los Angeles in the wealthy seaside city of Malibu, known for its beautiful beaches.

This mountainside campground facing the Pacific Ocean is spread over three levels. Levels 1 and 2 are for motorhomes only, and most sites offer panoramic ocean views. 

There is a tent camping area on the third level. It is kept separate from the motorhomes, but enjoys the same beautiful views. 

On site, you'll find a small convenience store, laundry facilities, a dumping station, and washroom facilities with toilets and showers.

#2- Marina Dunes RV Park


:pin: emoji  Address: 3330 Dunes Drive Marina, California 93933
:crochet: emoji  Tents + RVs 

Most beautiful U.S. west coast campgrounds
Sunset on the beach just metres from the campground

Situated on a nature preserve made up of dunes, Marina Dunes RV Park boasts one of the best locations in Monterey Bay.

Indeed, the campground, which is accessible directly from Route 1, is just a short drive from the picturesque towns of Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea, both of which are on my list of the most beautiful towns in California.

The campground doesn't have ocean views but offers beachfront access on Monterey Bay, just a few minutes' walk away.

On-site amenities include a restaurant, a fitness centre, an outdoor patio with barbecue area, playgrounds, and laundry facilities.

Bring a blanket and a picnic and take in the beauty of the U.S. West Coast sunsets... 

 

#3- San Elijo State Beach Campground


:pin: emoji Address: 2050 S Coast Hwy 101 - Cardiff, California 92007
:crochet: emoji  Tents + RVs 

best west coast campings usa
Beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean at San Elijo State Beach

San Elijo State Beach is located by the sea about a 30-minute drive north of San Diego.

The campground stretches along a bluff overlooking the ocean. 

Stairs lead down to the beach, which is popular with surfers, divers and fishermen. The atmosphere is very friendly.

A small convenience store and a fast food-type restaurant are open from April to October.

Reservations open 6 months in advance. If you already know your travel dates, I advise you to book as early as possible. This is the kind of little treasure that's in high demand all year long...

 

#4- Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Campground


:pin: emoji  Address: 47555 Highway 1 - Big Sur, California 93920
:crochet: emoji  Tents + RVs 

California west coast campground
Camping in the heart of a hundred-year-old forest

Located on the California coast in the famous Big Sur region, this campground is part of a state park nicknamed “Mini Yosemite”. 

There is no ocean view or beach access here, but the setting is every bit as majestic.

The campsites of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Campground are set on the banks of the Big Sur River in a forest of giant redwoods, oaks and century-old maples.

Activities offered in the park include hiking, biking, and swimming in the river. In short, it's a small paradise for nature lovers.

And if you're craving the ocean, pay a visit to Pfeiffer Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in California, a less than 20-minute drive from the park.

 

#5- Ocean Mesa Campground at El Capitan Canyon


:pin: emoji  Address: 100 El Capitan Terrace Lane - Santa Barbara, California 93117
:crochet: emoji  Tents + RVs 

campground with a pool and Pacific Ocean view
The campground offers many services and activities

Ocean Mesa campground is just 20 minutes north of the charming town of Santa Barbara.

Surrounded by the Los Padres National Forest, the campground enjoys an idyllic location with a beautiful view of the ocean.

The nearest beach is a 15-minute walk away, but if you prefer to stay at the resort, you have a wide array of activities to choose from: heated swimming pool, spa and massage therapy, hiking, evening entertainment, movie nights, and even a visit to a llama farm...

You could easily stay here for several days, whether to simply enjoy the beauty of the landscape or to enjoy the activities and entertainment on offer.

 

#6- Cape Banco State Park Campground


:pin: emoji  Address: Cape Blanco State Park - Port Orford, Oregon 97465
:crochet: emoji  Tents + RVs 

West coast sunset on the beach at Cape Banco State Park campground
A trail leads to the campground's beach

The Oregon coast offers spectacular scenery, and this state park is no exception.

Located at the state's westernmost tip, Cape Banco State Park campground offers 52 spacious sites with water and electricity.

There are no ocean views from the campground, but the park has over 12 km of hiking trails leading to the beach, viewpoints of ocean vistas, and the Cape Blanco lighthouse, which was built in 1870. 

It's a lovely, peaceful place.

 

#7- Manchester Beach KOA


:pin: emoji Address: 44300 Kinney Road - Manchester, California 95459
:crochet: emoji  Tents + RVs 

Campground beach on the US west coast
A short walk leads to this magnificent view

Manchester Beach Campground is located on the coast 270 km north of San Francisco, within a natural marine preserve.

The campsite itself is not directly on the beach but a short access trail leads to the Pacific Ocean.

You'll find bocce courts, a swimming pool, family activities, a recreation hall, a convenience store... Everything you need to ensure an enjoyable stay.

And that's not to mention everything the region has to offer: Anderson Valley wineries, the picturesque village of Mendocino, two historic lighthouses...

It's simple: this area is known as the hidden treasure of the Pacific Coast Highway.

 

#8- Leo Carrillo State Park Campground


:pin: emoji  Address: 35000 West Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, California 90265
:crochet: emoji  Tents + RVs 

nature camping in the American west
Wake up in the heart of nature

This state park is located between Malibu and Ventura along the iconic Highway 1, one of the most scenic routes in the Western U.S.

The campground, set amidst giant sycamores, features 135 sites, all equipped with a picnic table and a fire ring. 

Leo Carrillo State Park has several kilometres of beaches (within walking distance of the campground) for swimming, surfing, fishing, and even whale watching.

The campground is also the starting point for several hikes including the Nicholas Flat Trail, which winds through wildflowers and various plant species to a seasonal pond.

Reservations are strongly recommended from May to October and during the end-of-year holiday season.

 

#9- Kirk Creek Campground


:pin: emoji  Address: CA-1, Big Sur, California 93920
:crochet: emoji  Tents + RVs 

campground with ocean view on the American west coast
Each site has a stunning ocean view

The photo speaks for itself, doesn't it? Scenery doesn't get much better than this.

Kirk Creek Campground is located on the Big Sur coast, on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. All sites enjoy exceptional views which are even more sublime at sunrise and sunset. Note that the sites have no utility hookups (water/electricity).

Campers visiting in winter will have a good chance of spotting whales from their campsite, as they migrate along the coast between November and February.

From the campsite, a short path will lead you to a rocky beach. In addition, Sand Dollar Beach, the largest sandy beach in Big Sur, is just a short drive away. 

 

#10- Sunset Bay State Park


:pin: emoji  Address: Coos Bay, OR 97420
:crochet: emoji  Tents + RVs 

Seaside camping Oregon
Beach at Sunset Bay park

As the name suggests, the park is located in a bay along one of the most scenic stretches of the Oregon coast.

Just steps away from a sandy beach protected by towering sea cliffs, the wooded Sunset Bay campground offers serviced and unserviced sites as well as comfortable yurts.  

Hiking enthusiasts will be pleased to know that a network of hiking trails through pristine coastal forests and stunning vistas connects Sunset Bay to nearby state parks. 

Reservations open 6 months in advance. Be sure to read the information carefully when choosing your campsite to make sure it fits the size of your rental RV.

 

That's it for my "best campground" suggestions!

Do you have any other good West Coast camping spots to share with us? Be sure to mention them in the comments section below!

Karolane Lessard

An enthusiast of both our vibrant cities & great oudoors, my life revolves around travel & adventure. It's a no brainer that I have to share the wonders & secrets of my neck of the woods with other travelling souls. Enjoy the journey!

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