Summer is here and those dreams of road trips, camping trips, and beaches that got you through the harsh winter months are ready to become reality. Sleeping in a tent deep in the woods and waking up to fresh mountain air and the music of leaves swaying in the wind is pretty awesome. But, waking up to salty sea breeze kissing your cheeks and the music of waves lapping the sandy shore can’t be beat.
Where can you find the best beach camping spots in the US? This list of 8 must see parks should help you decide which seaside destination is perfect for your summer time escapades.
Assateague State Park, MD
Calling all horse lovers: did you ever read the Marguerite Henry Misty series when you were a kid? You can live those childhood horse dreams on Assateague Island, where the wild horses that inspired Henry’s beloved novels run free. What could be better than exploring hidden coves by kayak, or swimming and beach combing along two miles of luscious beach. Camping is permitted on the Maryland side of the state park with over 300 campsites available year round. Keep in mind, reservations must be made from April 15 to October 15.
Bahia Honda State Park, FL
If you want paradise, and I mean turquoise water, gentle currents, palm tree laden beach and tropical climates, then head to the glorious Florida Keys for a beach excursion unlike any other. Bahia Honda Key at marker 37 boasts a state park with 500 acres and an offshore island renowned for natural beauty, heaps of outdoor activities and beach camping that will make you want to stay permanently. There are three camping areas with 80 campsites for tents and RV campers.
Hammocks Beach State Park, NC
Picture this: Three miles of raw nature on a barrier island only accessible by ferry, canoe or kayak. Massive dunes of powdery sand rise and dip with the ocean singing softly in the background. This park will satisfy any explorer’s cravings for the wild. Bring a paddle board or rent one at the visitor center and follow aquatic trails to the breathtaking marshlands. After a day in the sand and sea, return to your tent and spend a clear night under the stars.
Wai’anapanapa State Park, HI
We all know Hawaii takes the cake when it comes to having some of the top beach destinations in the US. Wai’anapanapa State Park in Hana offers plenty of stunning outdoor activities and camping, with a little something for everyone. The unique volcanic coastline is wild and lush, perfect for hiking. Visitors can follow the ancient Hawaiian coastal trail, bird watch and picnic. Check out the native hala forest, the natural stone arch and comb black sand beaches.
Olympic National Park, WA
How would you like to wake up on an overhanging bluff, waves of the Pacific Ocean splashing down below? The Northwest is known for wild beauty in its most pure state, and Olympic National Park is where you can find just that. Besides 70 miles of coastline to explore, this sprawling park boasts some incredible views of glacier-capped mountains and temperate rain forests. There is a 175-site outpost for camping situated beside the sea. Spend your days dipping your toes into the soft sand, discovering treasures in the rocky pools, and taking in the massive rock outcrops that rise out of the surf like giants.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore, NC
Head out to dune territory, where you can camp on a 136-site campground between the Atlantic Ocean and Pamlico Sound, surrounded by white dunes and clustered sea oats. This barrier island in the Outer Banks will keep you captivated with its untouched beauty, abounding with historic charm, wilderness adventure and relaxed environment. Climb the 257 steps of the old Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, tread upon a nature trail on Ocracoke Island and enjoy the rich diversity of wildlife and fauna.
Cumberland Island National Seashore, Georgia
Cumberland Island is one of the South’s best kept secrets, with picturesque beaches that were frequented by the Carnegie family in the early 1900s. Only accessible by ferry, note that camp reservations are a must. There are 16 campsites nestled within the twisting branches of live oak trees with 18 miles of wide shoreline close by. Enjoy the tranquility that engulfs this paradise, and be on the lookout for wild horses that were first introduced to the island by the Carnegie family.
Westport-Union Landing State Beach, CA
Another west coast gem offers salt-seeking campers a glorious setting to pitch a tent, over rocky coastline with scenic views that will have you snapping photos in earnest. Find yourself on top of the cliffs, where 86 campsites sit just out of reach of churning currents, clashing waves and salty mist. Enjoy a hearty meal cooked over a fire and let a vibrant sunset of the mighty Pacific usher in a good night’s sleep under the stars.