12 Great Beaches Where You Can Pitch a Tent or Park an RV
Find beautiful shorelines where you can spend the night.
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Bahia Honda State Park, Florida
If you’re heading down to Key West, at mile marker 36.8 you’ll find Bahia Honda Island. The entire island is one of Florida’s most southern state parks. Bahia Honda is a Spanish name meaning “deep bay”, so you can easily guess it is a paradise for boaters, fisherman and nature lovers. It’s not bad from the shore either; the island boast beautiful white sand beaches with over 80 campsites to choose from. If you don’t have your own watercraft, you can rent canoes, kayaks and snorkeling equipment at the park.
Jalama Beach County Park, California
Padre Island National Seashore, Texas
A short drive from Corpus Christi, Padre Island National Seashore contains the world’s largest undeveloped stretch of barrier island. Take a few days to enjoy the natural beauty from your base camp at Bird Island Basin campground. Reservations for RV and tent camping are available on a first-come, first-served basis year-round. You will need to pick up a camping permit (for a nominal fee) from the campground host or kiosk to enjoy the serene campsites and basic amenities, such as fire rings and water. The area is known for its ideal windsurfing conditions at Laguna Madre, a protected hypersaline lagoon. Connect with Worldwinds Windsurfing for lessons and rentals.
Sandy Neck Beach Park, Massachusetts
Grand Isle State Park, Louisiana
Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland
The protected seashore at Assateague Island stretches from Maryland into Virginia, with camping permitted on the Maryland side. The park’s oceanside campsites are spacious, sandy and just a short stroll on the boardwalk past the dunes to the beach. Walk-in and drive-in sites feature picnic tables, grills and easy access to restrooms, showers and clean water. After setting up camp, head out on a hike to catch a glimpse of the island’s famed wild ponies, collect seashells on the beach (limited to 1 gallon) or play in the surf. Campsite reservations are required only if visiting during prime season, from March 15 to Nov. 15
Apostle Islands, Wisconsin
Made up of 21 islands and 12 miles of mainland coast, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore offers visitors a place to hike, paddle, sail or camp along the shores of Lake Superior. Camping is available on 19 of the 21 islands. The park also offers more than 50 miles of maintained trails. Big Bay State Park offers a near mile-and-a-half of secluded beach, making it the perfect spot to camp.
Hammocks Beach State Park, North Carolina
Long Key State Park, Florida
Experience a quieter side of the Florida Keys at Mile Marker 67 on the Overseas Highway with an oceanfront campground at Long Key State Park. Each of the park’s 60 sites overlooks an isolated stretch of the Atlantic Ocean. Relax on the beach or snorkel in the gentle waves along the shoreline. When you’re ready to shake the sand off your feet, take a 40-minute walk around the Golden Orb Trail. Rent a canoe or kayak and navigate the 1.5-mile Long Key Lakes Canoe Trail through the park’s shallow lagoons. Amenities include hot showers, electric hookups (for lighting or charging) and water at each site, plus some ranger-led activities.
Deer Island, Mississippi
The pristine barrier islands forming Mississippi’s Gulf of Mexico coastline offer untouched landscapes for adventurous campers. Paddle to Deer Island, just offshore from Biloxi or sail to Gulf Islands National Seashore’s Petit Bois, East Ship or Horn islands. Campers can explore miles of dunes, coves and bayous all bookended by dramatic sunrises and sunsets.