This Beach Campground Is Right On San Diego's Coast With Unforgettable Views

If you're looking for a campsite overlooking the beach and offering a glorious panoramic view of the ocean, then head to the Californian coast. The San Elijo State Beach Campground is located near Encinitas and is a 30-minute drive from the city of San Diego. It is truly a special place to spend the night as it is next to an ecological reserve and the San Elijo tidal lagoon.

Outdoor lovers will enjoy the activities that this area has to offer, with a diversity of landscapes that includes sand, reefs, and wetlands. The campground is also a perfect spot to watch the sun go down, which is why the oceanside sites are in high demand. It is so beloved by travelers that the state department has had to put restrictions on how long people can stay, as well as the number of days they can camp in total per year. However you decide to spend your time here, make sure to add this underrated beach to your California bucket list.

Know before you go

The San Elijo State Beach Campground is perched on a bluff which has superb views of the ocean. To get to the beach, campers need to travel down a flight of stairs so disabled visitors will need to use the park's beach wheelchair to access it. There is also the possibility of rip currents so it is important to exercise caution while in the ocean.

Visitors can book their spot up to six months in advance and there are 171 sites in total. They are divided into ocean and inland sites, some of which have hookups, including those designated for RVs and trailers. There are also some accessible spots. During the high season (March-November), visitors can only stay for seven nights in a row, which is extended to 14 in the low season (December-February). As the campground is so popular, nobody can stay for more than 30 days per year. Dogs are allowed to stay at the campsite but aren't allowed to go down to the beach itself.

Things to do at San Elijo State Beach

It is possible to swim or surf off the beach, and if you're camping here you have the chance to catch waves before everyone else gets here. There is also a reef off the coast where you can enjoy snorkeling and diving with tropical fish and other Californian sea life. Next to San Elijo is the Cardiff State Beach which also offers opportunities for swimming and surfing, as well as beachcombing to see if you can find any natural treasures that have been washed up.

Immediately South of San Elijo State Beach is the San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve and Nature Center which has 7 miles of trails to explore, some that are suitable for horseback riding. It is one of San Diego's largest wetlands so animal lovers can spot birds like egrets and heron. Coyotes, mule deer, rattlesnakes, and lizards can also be seen here. Once you've enjoyed your time at San Elijo State Beach, then consider taking a drive along the coast to see more of the best beach towns in California.