Waking up on the sand and watching the sunrise over the water are some magical things you can experience when you camp on the beach. But don’t worry, you don’t need to splash out on beach campsites anymore because we’ve got you covered in this article explaining where you can camp on the beach for free in the US.
You can camp on beaches for free throughout Texas, whether you like Magnolia Beach or Bolivar Flats. You can also find free camping spots in Georgia, North Carolina, Washington, Tennessee, or Louisiana. Pack up your tent or RV, and you are ready for a beach camping adventure.
Below we give you the best free camping spots on the beach. Just remember camping on the beach demands preparation and flexibility. As long as you’re ready to relocate when the tide gets high, you’re ready to enjoy this sandy bliss.
15 Free Beach Camping Spots Throughout the US
Below are 15 free beach camping spots throughout the USA. We offer beach camping in Texas, Tennessee, Louisiana, Washington, North Carolina, and Georgia.
We give you an idea of what the environment on the beach is like and what activities you can expect.
1. Padre Island National Seashore, Texas
Padre Island is located on the Gulf of Mexico and is a sanctuary to over 380 birds and the Kemp’s Ridley Sea turtle.
You’ll need to pay an entrance fee to enter the island, pick up your free beach permit, and be ready to camp. Free showers are provided at the park’s headquarters, and your doggy is allowed to join you!
2. Little Tybee Island, Georgia
Twenty miles out of Savannah is the stunning Little Tybee Island. Little Tybee is for the explorer, offering golden dunes, salt marshes, and hidden creeks.
Camping anywhere on the island is free, whether you fancy a beach one night or forest the other. This is pure primitive camping, with no facilities available on the island.
3. Magnolia Beach County Park, Texas
Located inside a sheltered bay, offering stunning waterfront views and a picturesque sunrise. Magnolia Beach is free to RV and tent campers.
The hard-packed sand makes it safe to drive along the beach to where you would like to camp, and showers and toilets are available at specific campsites.
There are quieter campsites in the south if you prefer something less crowded.
4. North Beach, Padre Island National Seashore, Texas
Another great spot on the Gulf of Mexico. North Beach offers clear, warm water for the perfect swimming conditions. An entrance fee is required to access the beach, but tent camping is free for 14 days.
With flush toilets and showers, you don’t have to forfeit all creature comforts when camping here. Campfires are also permitted!
5. Forest Road 29, Washington
Beach camping doesn’t necessarily have to be on a sea shoreline but can also include lakes. Forest Road 29 offers a more sheltered beach camping experience, where you can camp beneath the trees.
It’s free to RV’s and tents offering a variety of camping spots to suit your needs. Since this spot is on a lake, bugs are more common, so don’t forget the mosquito repellent.
6. Bryan Beach, Texas
Bryan Beach is the perfect spot for someone that likes beach strolling or star gazing. You can camp here in an RV or tent for no charge.
It is an underdeveloped camping spot, so it retains its natural beauty; however, this does mean you will struggle to find electrical hook-ups, water, or restrooms. It’s worth it for the sublime views of the sea.
7. Rutherford Beach, Louisiana
Rutherford Beach is known for its birdwatching and shell collecting. Offering a relaxing vibe with good canoeing and kayaking trails. Free camping is permitted on the beach for RVs and tents.
Rutherford Beach is a popular camping spot that can get very crowded, so we recommend coming here in a quiet period or getting to the beach early to find a good spot.
8. Bolivar Flats, Texas
The Bolivar Flats is a shorebird sanctuary where visitors enjoy seeing protected birds and wildlife. Parts of the Flats demand a permit to camp on, but others are free.
Keep your eyes peeled because signs will let you know where it’s free and where a permit is required. The Flats can get seriously windy, so make sure you peg down that tent!
9. Cape Lookout National Seashore, North Carolina
Cape Lookout is the place to make memories. The seashore offers a variety of activities, from surfing to fishing. Free camping is permitted, but there are no designated campgrounds.
Several locations throughout the park are out of bounds for camping, so double-check before you pitch up. Amenities such as restrooms and water are open seasonally throughout the year, so plan accordingly.
10. Haterius Park, Texas
Haterius Park has beautiful views of the bay-side water. The advantage of the park being so quiet is that wildlife sightings such as pelicans and dolphins are quite common.
The park is free for campers and is well maintained. The park remains clean because campers are expected to leave it the way they found it, so make sure you take all your rubbish with you.
11. Port Aransas, Texas
Port Aransas offers pure holiday vibes with white sandy beaches and warm waters. The site offers primitive camping apart from several dumpsters and porta-potties.
We’ve mentioned beach driving permits and entrance fees, but to camp at Port Aransas, you’ll need a beach parking permit.
Be aware that you are limited to a three-night stay, and high winds can raise tide levels.
12. Jackson’s Island, Tennessee
Jackson’s island was the film site for Big Fish, so you can spot some of the famous scenes from the movie. It’s another beach lake camping deal, so you have the option for more shelter in the tree line.
There are a variety of free campsites on the coast of Jackson’s island with concrete tiles for your tent and fire rings. However, there are no restrooms or water available, so prepare accordingly.
You are allowed up to a 14-day stay here!
13. Matagorda Jetty Park, Texas
Matagorda Jetty offers numerous fishing opportunities throughout the park. The shoreline can be dangerous so be prepared for strong currents and waves.
Matagorda is free to tent campers, but if you’re planning to bring an RV, you’ll need to purchase a driving on the beach permit. You can camp for a maximum of 72 hours at a time.
14. Long Point, North Carolina
Long Point is a more secluded beach camping spot that offers good fishing and miles of nature trails. A playground and wildlife pond also makes this a family-friendly camping spot.
Small RVs and tent camping are permitted for free for up to 14 days here. The site includes showers and washrooms!
15. Boca Chica Beach, Texas
For the primitive camper, Boca Chica Beach gives you the chance to catch some surf or watch some birds. Located on the Gulf of Mexico, Boca Chica has free camping for both RVs and tents.
The only downside is that accessibility to the site is not always guaranteed, depending on tidal levels.
We hope this article gives you a variety of free beach camping spots throughout the US. Whether you prefer birdwatching, surfing, or beach strolling, these spots offer something for everyone.
Always remember to leave the beach as you found it. That way, it will retain its natural beauty.