Perhaps you’re an avid RV beach camper, or it’s your first time, and you’re wondering what to expect. It can be difficult to find all the information you need to work out what it’s like to park your RV on the beach. Luckily we’ve created this guide for that exact purpose, giving you all the answers you need in one place!
RV beach camping is a fantastic experience but differs from woodland camping. You need to consider where the high tide mark is, if your RV can drive across the sand, if you need to pay extra camping fees, and if the weather or wildlife will affect where you can park.
Below we talk you through all these considerations and look at the best ways to keep sand out of your RV, what essentials you don’t want to forget, and which RV-friendly beaches are the best.
RV Beach Camping Guide
Below is all the information you need to start RV Beach camping, including things to consider, how to keep sand out of your RV, essentials to bring, and some of the best RV beach camping our country offers.
Things to Consider
Let’s take a look at some considerations you need to note before setting off. This includes what hookups you might need and whether your RV is suitable for driving across the sand.
Before setting off on any RV adventure, ask yourself, what hookups do I need? Electricity, water, or sewage? Perhaps your RV is self-contained, but eventually, you’ll need to top up somewhere.
Always check what beaches offer, including what electrical outlets they have available. Does it offer 30 amp or just 50 amp?
2. Camping Fees
If you’re planning to stay at an RV park, you’ll likely be paying a nightly fee. However, if you’re primitive RV camping, you may be lucky and not pay anything.
It is important to note that although some primitive camping spots will not charge a nightly fee, they may still charge a beach parking permit or park entrance fee.
You can know more about primitive camping in my extensive guide to primitive camping.
3. Beach Laws
Many beaches have individual governing laws. While some states, like Texas, have prohibited public camping, others will allow public camping (on beaches) with the exception of following a few rules.
Laws on beaches may prohibit the type of alcohol you can drink, if you can set off fireworks, how many nights you can stay, or even if pets are allowed. Check the laws before you set off.
Tides are a major consideration whenever you’re camping directly on the sand. Always ensure you’re parked above the high tide mark. You don’t want your vacation to get ruined because your RV got stuck.
Not only should you be aware of high tide marks, but also changes in tide. Be sure to check the tides religiously.
Alongside dangers with the tide are dangers with the weather. Heavy rainfall at the beach can affect how stable your RV is on the sand and affect tides, especially if there’s a storm.
Make sure you check wind strength. Strong winds can break RV awnings, sweep your belongings down the beach or even (worst case scenario) flip your RV entirely.
6. Driving on the Beach
You’ll also need to think about driving on the beach before departure. Ensure your RV has enough power or grip to cross the sand.
The best way to check this is to research the type of sand you’ll find on individual beaches. You’ll be able to tell if it’s soft or hard-packed and whether the weight of your vehicle can manage it.
7. Dumpsters and Recycling
Dumpsters and recycling stations can feel like a given, but making assumptions like this lead to litter dumping in places it doesn’t belong.
Check ahead to see if dumpsters are available at the beach or if you must pack extra litter bags.
8. Size Limits
Size does matter, and you don’t want to be caught out when you try to squeeze your RV into a tight spot. Make sure you check size maximums before arriving.
You’d be surprised by how many beach spots are relatively small.
Be considerate of the wildlife. Beach camping can take you to some wild, secluded spots, and we must remember that these spaces are home to wildlife, particularly on beaches.
Make sure you park your RV below the dunes. Dunes house many diverse and fragile ecosystems.
10. Nearby Stores
Be aware that there may not be a store nearby. Beaches can be located on islands or isolated coves, and it’s better to be prepared than have to cut your trip short.
If you need a store nearby, choose a beach with this.
11. Open and Closing Times
It’s not uncommon for many beaches to close during the winter season. This is usually due to colder temperatures, unpredictable weather conditions, and increased employee absence.
Especially over the Christmas period. It’s best to check if and when RV campgrounds on beaches are open. They may only be open from spring till the end of summer.
12. Read Reviews
Last but not least, read recent reviews. The most up-to-date information on the conditions of beaches is usually in reviews.
It’s helpful to know if construction is happening nearby, what parking on the beach is like, or if a new fee has been introduced.
How to Keep the Sand Out?
The sand can be a real nuisance, especially when finding it inside your RV. Make sure you use these handy tips to keep your trailer sand-free.
1. Separate Towels And Separate Shoes
Take a towel for the inside of your RV and one for the beach. The same goes for a separate pair of beach shoes and shoes to wear around the campsite/RV. Make sure you keep both shoes and towels separate.
2. Outdoor Rug or Doormat
An outdoor rug or doormat is also a great idea. It’s a great way of keeping sand out and acting as a good reminder to rub your feet.
The bigger the mat or the rug, the more sand you’ll likely take off before entering.
You probably already have a broom for keeping the inside of your RV clean. Take a broom that is just for sweeping sand.
You can either focus on using it just outside or keep it specifically for removing sand inside. If the broom isn’t hitting the mark, invest in a small portable vacuum.
4. Clothes Line
A clothesline is another cheap trick to keeping the sand where it’s meant to be. Outside!
Any beach clothes or towels can be popped on this line to keep them firmly out of the way of non-sandy belongings.
5. Use An Exterior Shower
Most RVs have an exterior shower that can be fully utilized during a beach trip. Use this to wash your feet or even shower outside after a swim in the sea or a day at the beach.
If you don’t have an exterior shower, fill up a plastic tote and use it to keep your feet clean.
Essentials You Can’t Forget
An RV beach camping guide wouldn’t be complete without a list of essentials we know you can’t leave without. This ranges from all the sun protection you’ll need to strollers and coolers.
1. Sun Protection
By sun protection, we mean the whole hog, from beach umbrellas, sunscreen, sunglasses, beach tents, sun hats, awnings, and even a canopy or gazebo. Sunburn could ruin your trip, so prepare for it all!
2. Beach Furniture
Essential beach furniture you don’t want to forget includes beach chairs, camping tables, and a BBQ. Enjoy your beach trip by spending as much time outside as possible.
There are some other beach essentials you should carry. I’ve covered them all in my article on beach essentials to pack in your bag.
It’s also important to take a cooler. You may have a refrigerator inside your RV, but a cooler is much more convenient at the beach.
Ensure you put some frozen ice blocks inside or pop in some frozen drinks that’ll defrost to keep it cool all day.
4. Beach Activities
Make sure you pack for the activities you can expect to encounter. This could include a surfboard, goggles, snorkel, fins, buckets, shovels, and maybe even a small inflatable pool.
If you plan to watch wildlife, pack a pair of binoculars!
A stroller, a cruiser, or a beach wagon will make transporting your gear across the sand much easier.
Especially if your RVs are parked a little distance from the shoreline, a wagon makes it easier to move around the beach with all your gear without having to move the whole RV.
A Little Beach Inspiration
Lastly, what’s a beach guide without a little bit of inspiration? From the Texas Gulf Coast to the north shores of Hawaii, here are 10 of the best RV-friendly beaches along the U.S. coast.
1. The Texas Gulf Coast
The Texas Gulf Coast offers 350 miles of pure coastal bliss. Along this stretch of coast are plenty of spots for luxury, basic, or primitive RV camping. It really does offer something for everyone!
For a resort vibe, check out some of Jamaica Beach or Bolivar Peninsula parks. For cheap, primitive camping spots, check out Mustang Island State Park or Padre Island National Seashore.
2. Assateague Island State Park, Maryland
Assateague State Park is sandy, ocean heaven. The park offers both bay and ocean drive-in sites, and campers must reserve a spot from spring to fall.
No hookups are available here, so make sure you come prepared. However, each site has a picnic table and fire pit!
3. Sea & Sand RV Park, Oregon
As you drive along Highway 101 of Oregon’s coast, you’ll come across the beauty that is Sea & Sand RV Park.
Fantastic ocean views, great fishing, and even the chance to spot some gray whales, what more could you want? Rates range from $59 to $94 a night, but we think it’s worth it for the convenience of the place.
These prices even include free WIFI!
4. Henderson State Park, Florida
Henderson State Park offers a stay on a picturesque beach with rolling dunes and warm waters.
The park offers 60 campsites that can accommodate RVs of a maximum length of 60ft with an option to pull through or back in.
You’ll have access to water and electricity here (30 and 50-amp), but you will not have access to a sewage station. There is, however, a dump station on site where you dispose of waste.
5. Hunting Island State Park, South Carolina
Hunting Island is a barrier island located approximately 15 miles from Beaufort. Attracting millions of visitors yearly, the island’s beach offers stunning views across the ocean.
The park offers 102 RV camping sites with electricity and water, although sewage will have to be wasted at the dump station (which they have!).
With a playpark at the campground, this RV park is super family-friendly.
6. Grand Isle State Park, Louisiana
Grand Isle State Park is just off the Gulf of Mexico, so prepare for warm waters and island vacation vibes. It’s a wonderful setting and particularly popular for kayaking and fishing.
The campsite offers electricity and water. The only drawback to this wonderful site is that you cannot camp directly on the sand and have no view of the sea.
Also, Grand Isle is currently closed due to Hurricane Ida damage, but we hope they’ll be back soon!
7. Skidaway Island State Park, Georgia
Skidaway Island State Park in Georgia is equally as gorgeous. Offering camping under oaks and maritime forests, this spot is perfect for anyone who likes the beach nearby but not outside.
RV sites come with electricity and water; if you’re lucky, some even contain sewage connections. For beach access, hit up Tybee Island nearby.
8. Cape Disappointment State Park, Washington
Hugging the Pacific Ocean, Cape Disappointment offers 2,023 acres of camping along the Long Beach Peninsula. A fishers paradise, Cape Disappointment offers both fresh and saltwater fishing.
The park has 50 full-hook-up sites and 15 partial hookup sites (electricity and water). Reservations are available through the park, and fees range from $30 to $45 a night. What a bargain!
9. North Shore, Oʻahu, Hawaii
You can’t beat Hawaii’s beaches, and North Shore in Oʻahu is no different. Hosting some of the biggest surfing competitions in the world, North Shore gives off laid-back, happy summer vibes all year round.
For RV camping, check out Swanzy Beach Park, which offers great views! There are only 9 RV camping sites, so get in quick. There are no hookups available here, so be prepared.
10. Malibu Beach, California
Malibu RV Park on Malibu Beach offers views of some of the most stunning sunsets. The RV Park offers everything you need: hot showers, a laundrette, a dump station, and a convenience store.
The Park offers both mountain and ocean-view camping sites, as well as full hookups at each site. This is the perfect spot in California if you need more luxury!
Before you set off on your beach RV adventure, it’s always good to consider what camping at the beach will be like, whether that includes checking if you can drive on the beach, if the size of your RV will fit on the beach, or what wildlife you’ll be encountering.
As well as exploring these considerations, this guide provided some beach inspiration, a list of essentials to take, and how to keep that pesky sand out of your RV.
Whichever beach you plan to visit, always check tides and the weather, and don’t forget to pack in, pack out! Happy RV-ing!