A trip to the beach is always something to look forward to, and many beachgoers are content with a day trip to indulge in some sea and sand. Perhaps you have thought about extending your stay by camping overnight or even just considering bringing a tent to keep you sheltered from the wind or strong sun on a summer’s day at the beach. Maybe you have been wondering if this is possible or permitted.
Pitching a tent at the beach with some adjustments to keep it secure is certainly possible. At most beaches, there will be no issues with pitching a tent for daytime use, but you will need to check local regulations and permit requirements if you intend to stay overnight.
How can you securely set up a tent at the beach? What do you need to check for before setting up your camp? Read on below to find out the answers.
Setting up your tent at the beach is possible, but if you’re used to camping in the woods or on other terrains, you’ll likely need to adjust your normal camping style.
Sand is a notoriously difficult surface to set up a tent securely on, and beaches tend to be very exposed to the wind and other elements, potentially making for rough camping conditions.
Here’s what you need to know when you’re setting up your tent at the beach:
Try to select a spot that’s relatively flat and clear of any rocks that may be just under the sand’s surface. Keeping some distance from the ocean should be for your own benefit and the environment.
Make sure you’ve checked the tides and weather conditions. You won’t experience a pleasant trip if you hastily relocate your camp in the middle of the night due to incoming tides or fierce weather.
Our best tip is to find a friend or family member to help you.
It will be much harder to get anything set up correctly if you have to do it alone, especially as a sea breeze could easily blow your tent away from under you.
Another matter is firmly fixing your tent to the sandy terrain of the beach. Given the shifting nature of the sand beneath, it may be more challenging than it usually is to anchor down your canvas home.
Normal tent stakes are useless on the beach when staked into the ground as normal since they don’t provide the grip they usually do when hammered into the soil.
Circumnavigate this problem by digging at least a foot deep to bury the stake. Then you can fill it with sand to give it more security.
Or beach campers can opt for the following alternatives:
- Sandbag anchors can be filled with the material that’s most readily available to you at the beach (sand), and use the weight of this to hold your tent in place.
- Beachgoers on rocky beaches can similarly use rocks to keep everything secure.
Also, consider investing in some long and brightly colored guy lines. The extra length allows you to dig deep into the sand with your stakes to give your anchors extra firmness.
The bright colors will help you see the guy lines in contrast to the sand and help them remain visible at night when there’s most risk of tripping over them if you need to make a bathroom trip outside.
We’ve established that getting your tent set up at the beach is certainly possible, even if you have to make some adjustments. Whether this is legal or not is another matter entirely, however.
Certainly, most beaches have no issues with beach tents or canopies being used as a shelter from the sun or the elements for the day, but pitching a tent to sleep in overnight is another matter entirely.
In the US, while you can pitch your camp on beaches in some states, others don’t permit it.
You can read more on the beach camping laws in the US in my article on the same.
Generally, camping on the beach is only tolerated at designated camping spots, so you can’t just pitch your tent at any beach that catches your eye.
The most important thing to remember is that laws and local regulations vary greatly from place to place.
You will need to check before you waste time unpacking all your gear only to find that you’re in a spot that does not allow for campers or requires the purchase of a permit beforehand.
23 US states have a sea border. Some states are more camper friendly than others.
For example, although Florida has miles and miles of wonderful coastline and balmy waters, it is not particularly welcoming to campers, and it is, in fact, illegal to camp overnight on the beach in most places.
On the other hand, states like Alaska and Maine offer ample opportunities for beach camping in picturesque locations.
Once you’ve checked the local regulations at your trip destination and have any permits that may be required, take note of the following tips to have the most enjoyable beach camping trip possible.
1. Choose a normal tent over a beach tent
Although they may sound entirely appropriate for beach camping, in reality, while beach tents may be good enough for some shelter on a sunny day on the sand, they won’t pass well on an overnight trip.
With a tendency to be lightweight, a beach tent won’t be ideal for withstanding potentially windy conditions.
I’ve covered more on this in my article on are beach tents good for camping?
2. Keep it weighed down
If you follow the advice above, your tent should be able to withstand most sea breezes.
However, it is worth keeping some of your heavier gear in your tent just in case, particularly if it’s your first-time beach camping, to ensure you don’t put too much strain on your guy ropes and anchors.
You can find more useful information in my article on the beach camping for beginners guide.
3. Protect the door from the wind
While this may be a challenge since the wind could switch direction at any time, try to position your tent so that the door is sheltered where possible, as this should help reduce the noise disturbance you get during the night.
4. Bring a doormat
As a final, simple tip, bring a mat to keep outside the tent door.
Sand is frustrating at the best of times, and when it’s in your sleeping bag, getting into all your nooks and crannies, it will be particularly unpleasant.
While a doormat won’t stop everything from getting it, it should help prevent miniature dunes from building up in your sleeping area.
I’ve covered these and many more tips in-depth in my article on beach camping tips.
Beach camping offers a unique and enjoyable experience but requires careful planning and preparation.
Ensure you select a suitable location, secure your tent with appropriate anchoring methods, and abide by local regulations and permit requirements.
With these considerations in mind, you can relish the opportunity to sleep under the stars, lulled by the sound of crashing waves, and wake up to stunning ocean views on your next beach camping adventure.