Last summer we were lucky, and snagged a last minute campsite at San Clemente State Beach. You usually need to log on six months in advance to get a spot, but sometimes it pays to keep checking the website for cancellations.
San Clemente State Beach is one of our favorite places to camp. The sites are relatively large, and some have trees and other plants that give some privacy. Each site has its own fire pit and picnic table. The bathrooms and showers are very clean, which is always a bonus when you are camping with kids.
The campsites are up on a bluff with beautiful views of the ocean. There is a short and easy hike down to the beach that is doable with a stroller and your beach gear. This section of San Clemente State Beach is exceptionally beautiful and much less crowded than some of the other local beaches. There are also bathrooms available at the beach, just near the train tracks.
San Clemente State Beach is one of the best places in South Orange County to camp, especially if you enjoy beach camping. We actually prefer camping on a bluff, as opposed to directly on the sand, because less sand ends up in the tent. This is a great place to spend your day relaxing on the beach, then walking back up to your campsite to sit by the fire and roast s’mores.