Friday, September 1, 2017

San Clemente State Beach Camping Trip

We just crossed another Southern California Beach Camp off our bucket list and camped for 3 nights with 2 kids at San Clemente State Beach. We have been camping our way through Orange County and San Diego Counties and got to find out what makes this place unique.

This post was sponsored by Navdy. We use their hands-free gps unit in our car to get us from place to place. Here is our latest destination in the Navdy app on my Galaxy S8.

Maps are projected on Navdy’s transparent screen, which is mounted in front of the driver. Destinations, music, calls, text messages, and app notifications can also be handled safely through the device while driving, all without taking your eyes off the road.

The beach is located just a few minutes off the 5 fwy, and it took us less than an hour to get there from our house in Southern California. 

There was a heavy marine layer when we arrived. It usually burns off from sunshine and there was plenty of that on this trip...

San Clemente State Beach Campground

Perched atop the cliffs over the ocean in the southernmost city of Orange County, about an hour south of Los Angeles and an hour north of San Diego, is the the San Clemente State Beach Campground.


The San Clemente State Beach Campground has both an RV campground with hookups and a tent campground.

There are 144 campsites total that are large enough for RVs without hookups (69 with full hookups) and 2 group sites.

Only a handful of sites actually have an ocean view, and many of the tent sites will fit an RV. You will just not have hookups available.

There are fire rings and barbecue grills are at every campsite, as well as picnic tables with wooden shade structures to give you some sun protection during the day.

There are also 3 vintage trailers which can also be reserved through Reserve America so you could drive up in your tiny eco-friendly car and glamp in one of these for a couple nights if you like!

Get more info about The Holidays trailers

There are hot showers in each campground which are operated with tokens sold in vending machines on the sides of the buildings to make a beach trip with little kids a much more enjoyable experience.

There is also a visitor center with art, history, other educational displays, and items available for purchase. The kids each scored a bag of sea glass for $5.

San Clemente State Beach Location:
225 Avenida Califia
San Clemente, California 92672
949 492-3156


Wildlife sightings:
Lots of seagulls, pelicans, and tons of skunks around at night!

Campground Map:
San Clemente State Beach

We had reserved a spot that was large enough for our RV and our small car, but we recently spent a year in Japan and did not have enough time to get the RV tune up, smog check, and registration renewal completed, so we ended up tent camping this time. It was fun nonetheless!

With water available close to campsites, restroom blocks with hot showers, and a good air mattress, you can be reasonably comfortable.

We also brought a canopy for additional shade, a small table for cooking, a 2 burner gas cooking stove, some chairs to put around the fire, and some arts, crafts, games, and toys.

There are nature trails around the campground and trails down to the beach from the campground.

When I say "down to the beach" I truly mean it. It is a pretty steep incline to get down.

Just remember... whatever you carry down with you... you will be carrying back up again!

Some folks brought wagons, but we tried to keep our gear to a minimum. It wasn’t too difficult for the little ones to walk up and down on their own.


Was San Clemente State Beach good for kids?

As a Southern California local, we are blessed with an abundance of beaches. As far as beaches one can camp at, this is a fun one. There are some nice waves for boogie boarding, body surfing, or swimming. The tent campground is spacious for lawn darts and safe for biking, walking, and scootering.

However, on the beach the waves break REALLY close to the shore, making it impossible for the little kids to play in the water without an adult holding onto them or ready to pull out each time they get knocked down. Your kids may learn quickly that they don't want to go in alone, but if they're fearless, then you're screwed!

Also, the road up and down from the beach is best traveled only once per day. After the first walk, we drove the car to the parking lot by the Visitor's Center where we could cut down on our utter exhaustion.

Between the wind, sun, baby chasing, hiking, and hauling, you will be glad you are sleeping at the beach.

A good umbrella (We have a Sportbrella)
UV protective swim shirts, the longer the sleeves the better!
Enough snacks, drinks, and sunscreen to last the entire day so you are only climbing that hill in the sun once.

There is a snack bar across the train tracks on the north end of the beach, but we came out on the south end so it is a trek to get there and it is mainly junk food.

Check out some of our delicious and easy vegan camp food!

Vegan s'mores!!!!

This lucky little girl has a vegan chocolate chip cookie with a plant-based marshmallow roasted and smooshed in between.

One of the best things about camping is cooking and eating outside (and of course s'mores!)

And there's nothing better than cuddling up by the fire with a tuckered out toddler.

We booked a whopping 3 nights on this vacation, which is an eternity in tent-camping. The good thing is that you really get to enjoy your time at the beach, learn which restroom is closest to your campsite, where the hidden nature trails are, what time those cute little skunks come out.

As our trip came to an end, we crammed all of our stuff back in our car and asked Navdy where the gas station was so we could fuel up and get coffee that we didn’t have to make over a fire. My husband used the device’s GPS navigation, took calls, and avoided traffic, all while keeping his eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. With my husband and Navdy keeping everything under control, the kids and I were able to nap through our stress-free ride home. It was another great trip thanks to Navdy!

Check out the trip video where you can see the device in action and check out San Clemente State Beach with us:

Want to get to great places like this quickly, easily, and safely?

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