As the weather warms up this spring, you’re probably dreaming of all the places you’ll explore. If you’ve never tried it before, beach camping is a great way to enjoy everything that’s awesome about the great outdoors. From falling asleep to the sounds of the waves to waking up to an unbelievable sunrise, there’s so much to love about sleeping on the shores.
However, if you’ve never been beach camping before, you should know that it presents certain challenges that you’ll need to overcome for a comfortable, enjoyable trip. Consider these tips for the best beach camping experience of your life.
1. Bring supplies specifically for beach camping
You’ll want to make sure you are well-stocked when you set out on your beach camping trip. While you’ll need all the basic supplies, like a tent, camp stove, and coolers, you’ll want to make sure you add supplies specifically for beach camping, too. You might want to bring a tent fan, as it can get hot on the beach, and you’ll want to pack a broom or dustpan to get the extra sand out of your tent.
2. Track the tides
Watch the tide report when you’re preparing to head out on a camping excursion. Tides can extend a long way onto a beach. Avoid camping in areas where a tide is likely to come in. You can look this information up ahead of time or even use a tide tracking app on your smartphone, like Tides Near Me.
3. Don’t forget about the power of the sun
Beaches, by nature, tend to be exposed to the brightest rays of the sun throughout the day. Make sure you bring plenty of sunscreen and a beach shade. And don’t forget your wide-brimmed hat. Even if you’re a pro at camping and sun protection, remember that the rays of the sun are magnified when you’re near the water. Plan accordingly.
4. Consider your shelter
Even if you plan on sleeping outside under the stars, make sure you have a good tent in case you want a quick respite from the heat, sun, or mosquitoes. We're not talking your typical beach tent (even the best pop up beach tent ain't gonna cut it!). You want a normal camping tent (depending on the size of your group I'd suggest a 3 person tent for the best balance of size and comfort) and you'd be smart to invest in some dedicated tent stakes for sand if you want a solid pitch. Consider bringing a collapsible sun shelter in addition to a tent, particularly if the forecast is steamy.
5. Stay away from the dunes
Dunes are gorgeous, but they also are home to vulnerable vegetation. This vegetation can be killed by human interference, and they’re also covered with shifting sand. Don’t set your tent up on the dunes, and avoid walking on them whenever possible.
6. Don’t neglect the rainfly
You should always check the weather conditions before you head out on a camping trip, but don’t think you can eschew a rainfly under any circumstances. Even if the forecast is clear, you should set up a rainfly to account for passing storms, heavy doses of dew, or even a bit of spray off the ocean.
7. Make sure you pack plenty of water
Yes, you’ll be surrounded by water, but make sure you pack extra or invest in some water filters. You can’t consume saltwater, so unless you know for sure that there’s a source of fresh water nearby, make sure you haul in extra water (or something to purify it for you) to avoid any mishaps.
8. Carry out your trash
Beaches are beautiful, and we all want to enjoy them. Help keep them that way by carrying out any of your trash. Many parks provide garbage bags specifically for this purpose, but not all. Be prepared by bringing in your own trash-hauling baggies and keep the beach pristine for everybody else who wants to use it.
9. Pay attention to campfire regulations
A campfire is one of the best parts about beach camping, but remember that beach campfires aren’t permitted in all areas. Remember, too, that it can be hard to ignite a beach campfire in windy conditions. You’ll want to pay attention to your surroundings for best results, and to avoid causing damage to the surrounding environment.
10. Don’t bug out
Beach bugs are entirely different from inland bugs. Remember that you’ll see a variety of insects, and be prepared by carrying a screened shelter, plenty of insect repellent, and scented oil lamps.