Best Camping in Doheny Beach

The Best Doheny State Beach Camping

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If you’re looking to stay along the coastline and experience a true Californian summer filled with surfing and beach volleyball, then you’ll want to camp along the beach. Many beaches do not allow camping, however, the Doheny State Beach is a protected beach right off of the city of Dana Point.

It was named after Edward L. Doheny who donated the property for public use in 1931. It’s one of the most popular beaches in California, well-known as an exceptional surf spot for many locals and travellers. As one of the most popular beaches, it attracts millions of tourists every year as it’s packed with activities for everyone.

Camping in Doheny Beach

Where can I camp in Doheny Beach?

Doheny State Beach South Side

Best Camping in Doheny

Doheny Beach
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Doheny State Beach campground consists of 121 campsites located on the south side of the beach. Out of those 121 campsites, 55 of them are beachfront campsites. The campsite is very well equipped as it’s the only one in Doheny State Beach.

It’s complete with full amenities such as hot showers, toilets, picnic tables and RV/trailer hookups. The park itself is quite large is its 62-acres with over a mile of white sandy beach. The northern side of the beach does not provide camping but rather is used for daily activities such as volleyball, surfing, sunbathing and hiking.

The southern end is designed strictly for camping as the water in front of the campground is rough and not ideal for summer water activities.Though, at night, the views are amazing, especially if you have the beachfront campsite. If you’re a fan of the starry sky, reserve your camping spot early.

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What’s there to do in Doheny Beach?

Best Camping in Doheny - South Side

The Surrounding Area
Untitled by Sergei Gussev is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Doheny Beach is the main attraction when coming to the city of Dana Point. The beach is protected by the state of California and goes the extra mile in making sure it’s protected and kept clean. Though, this doesn’t mean visitors cannot enjoy all that it has to offer.

Doheny is a day-use surfing beach at the northern end, including a five-acre lawn with picnic facilities and volleyball courts. Aside from the typical summer activities, there’s also a historical and cultural site, interpretive exhibits and aquariums.

Whether you’re coming with friends or family, there’s plenty of things to keep everyone of all ages occupied.

Camping in San Clemente

Where can I camp in San Clemente?

San Clemente State Beach

Best Camping in Doheny - San Clemente State Beach

San Clemente State Beach
San Clemente State Beach sunset by vicki watkins is licensed under CC BY 2.0
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The San Clemente State beach is favorite for people who are wanting to camp in San Clemente. It’s designed for tents, RVs, and trailers, so everyone has the opportunity to enjoy this campsite. The campsites are divided nicely, allowing you enough privacy from your neighbours.

The campsites have great access to sun, so you won’t be cold sitting in the shade. Though there are no beachfront campsites, there’s a lovely trail which takes you right to the beach. Once there, on the north side, you can take a walk to the San Clemente Pier.

If you’re wanting to head into town, it’s a short drive and you’re connected to restaurants, shops and activities. Overall, though it’s not beachfront, the location is amazing for those who still want to be connected to regular amenities.

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San Mateo Campground

Best Camping in Doheny - San Mateo Campground

Exploring the Area
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Another campsite not far from San Clemente is San Mateo. It’s located 2 miles inland from the beach, so, if you’re not opposed from not being right on the beach, then this campsite is great. You’re placed a little more in nature, however, you can still access the beach by foot or car.

If you have children, you’ll probably have to drive to the beach. The campground is very clean and organized. It comes with your basic necessities such as water hook-up for RVs/trailers, restrooms, showers and picnic table. However, if you’re needing Wi-Fi, sewer hook-ups, then this isn’t for you.

Surrounding the campsite are a variety of trails which makes it great for those who want to mix it up and go for hikes as well as relax on the beach. It’s still located close to shops and restaurants, approximately 2 miles away. .

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San Onofre Bluffs Campground

Best Camping in Doheny - San Onofre

San Onofre Beach
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The San Onofre Bluffs Campground is another great option if you’re considering to stay in the San Clemente area just south of Dana Point and Doheny beach. This campground is a little more rugged and great for those that prefer traditional camping.

The beach is situated below the campground where you’re able to swim and surf as pleased. The beach is extremely close to the campground, so you’ll have no problem going there by foot. You have six natural dirt trails which will take you directly to the beach which are cut into the bluff.

This campsite is particular are very popular for surfers, swimmers, kayakers and fishermen due to the proximity of the beach from the campground. The campground itself comes with basic amenities such as toilets and showers.

The sites are very simple, yet each one has its own picnic table and fire pit. The tent sites have trees between each of them and give you enough privacy from your neighbours.

There are no RV hook-ups, however, there are three free dumping stations. If you’re wanting an ocean view, there are some sites which have them – they’re from site 100 to 115.

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What is there to do in San Clemente?

Best Camping in Doheny - San Clemente

San Clemente Sunset
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Just a little south of the Doheny State Beach is San Clemente. The city itself is highly influenced by Spanish Colonial style architecture and has the slogan, “the Spanish Village by the Sea.”

A couple miles down from Doheny State Beach, San Clemente has a Mediterranean feel in comparison. Though Doheny and San Clemente share the same coastline, they’re quite different in style. It’s well-known for its ocean and mountain views.

Since this is a beach town, the best thing to do in this area would be to head to the beach. They have amazing surfing, scenic piers and boardwalks as well as playgrounds for children. If you want to take a break from the beach, you can also check out the San Clemente coastal trail or farmers market.

Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park

Where can I camp in Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park?

O’Neill Regional Park Campground

Best Camping in Doheny - O'Neil Regional Park Campground

Exploring near O’Neill Regional Park Campground
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Also known as Arroyo Campground, the O’Neill Regional Park Campground is situated in the middle of 4,500 acres of Live Oak canyons and Trabuco. If you’re interested in spending time at the beach but also surround yourself with pristine and peaceful nature, then this is definitely an option to consider.

It’s a 30-minute drive to Dana Point on the coast, so, you’re well connected to the beach life without having to deal with late-night disruptions. The campground offers 79 campsites for RVs, trailers and tents. The campsites are beneath a canopy of oaks and sycamore trees which give it an authentic atmosphere.

It also offers 8 group campsites as well as an Equestrian campground for those who enjoy horseback riding. The campground is fully equipped with all the necessities you need for both tent and RV/trailer. You’ll also be able to hike a various number of scenic trailers that go around the campground.

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Live Oak Grove Campground

Best Camping in Doheny - Live Oak Grove Campgroundv

Exploring near Live Oak Grove Campground
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Right in the middle of the wilderness park is the Live Oak Grove Camp. It’s situated in jaw-dropping wilderness as the camp is surrounded by Live Oaks. Though it’s not overly bushy, rather, there are enough trees for proper shade without comprising a stargazers chance to view the clear night sky.

Bird watching is also another great activity at this campsite if full of wildlife. You may encounter wildlife such as desert cottontails, opossums, long-tail weasels, mule deer, bobcats and mountain lions. There’s also a short trail which you can hike easily as it’s only 1.5 miles long.

The campground supplies your basic necessities such as toilets, picnic tables, grills and drinking water. Though this campground isn’t super close to the beach, it’s a great option if you’re looking for versatility or quiet nights away from beach parties.

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Ortega Oaks Campground

Best Camping in Doheny - Ortega Oaks Campground

Adventuring in Ortega Canyon
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Compared to the other campgrounds that we’ve mentioned here, the Ortega Oaks is a private one rather than a state campground. The Ortega Oaks is a smaller campground on 35-acres of land. Nevertheless, regardless of the size, it’s a great place to set-up camp.

There are spacious RV sites with full hook-ups as well as tent sites for individuals or large groups. The entire campground is nestled in the national park. On the property, you’re able to go hiking for miles as well as horseback ride. This campground is a little different than the other because it also has a swimming pool, games room and clubhouse for movie night.

In addition, there’s also free Wi-Fi access – definitely a more luxurious way to camp. Yet, though you’re provided all these luxuries, you’re still right in the middle of nature.

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What is there to do in Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park?

Best Camping in Doheny - Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park

Exploring near Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park
100_0403 by David Buranich Jr. is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Though you may love the beach, perhaps you don’t want to be camping too close to it. Sometimes, it’s nice to have a mix of both the forest and coast. Well, the Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park is really close by and less than a thirty-minute drive by car.

This wilderness park is an 8,000 acre protected wilderness preserve that’s situated among rivers and the sandstone canyons of the Santa Ana mountains. There is a variety of wildlife and vegetation that only grows specifically in this area such as the Coastal Live Oak tree.

In this wilderness park, you’re able to explore on nature walks with a Ranger-guide, attend Naturalist programs, bike, birdwatch, horseback ride and camp. Since it’s close to many beaches from Doheny beach, Newport Harbour and Salt Creek beach, you’re able to venture around and explore a bit of the California coastline.


What a great collections of campgrounds. Are you going with a large group? Find out my choices for the best 10 person tents.

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