Road Trip Camping: Pismo State Beach ~ North Beach Campground

We love to road trip for any reason!  Mainly because we get to see more of our surroundings and it's usually less expensive than flying a family of four anywhere.  Our latest adventure took us on a road trip to Pasadena for the American Hiking Society Board of Directors meeting.  Road tripping  allowed us to bring more of our regular car camping gear unlike our previous camping trip where we flew to Orange County.

This year we have been lucky enough to camp three times on California State Park coastal campgrounds: Half Moon Bay State Beach, El Capitan State Beach and now Pismo State Beach - North Beach campground.

The Campgrounds

In most of my previous beach camping California experiences, beach camping is not really camping on the beach! The campgrounds are usually near a beach but not on the sandy beaches, North Beach campground at Pismo State Beach is no different.  The one thing that stood out about North Beach was the SPACIOUS campgrounds!

Having spacious campgrounds are really great for car camping because we normally set up our mansion tent, but on this occasion we brought our backpacking tent which looked really tiny in our giant campground.  In the picture above, my husband is walking in the campground next to us (empty) and the neighboring camp was the 1st RV in the distance.  The large space did allow our kids to run around and climb trees without worrying about them running into the next campsite.

Almost everyone there had LARGE RV campers, except for us and a few other tent campers.  The tent campers were the minority but once again everyone turned off their generators at the appropriate times.  I have noticed that a lot of coastal campgrounds draw the RV camping crowds.  The RV campers at North Beach were very luxurious and people would lay out rugs, patio furniture, plastic flower decorations, etc.  There was a lot of glamping and comfort camping going on at North Beach.

Location: Pismo Beach, California - 80 miles North of Santa Barbara (Google Map & Campground Map)
Reservations: Seasonal on Reserve America, otherwise walk-up 1st come 1st serve
Daily Price: Off Season Walk Up Rate $25/Night - On Season check Reserve America
Facilites: Drinking Water, Restrooms, Showers, Fire Pit and Tables

North Beach

We arrived at our campsite just before sunset, so we quickly setup our tent and headed for the beach.  I love watching my California sunsets and we had been promising our children to play at the beach for a couple of hours, so we made sure we got there before the sunset.

Pismo State Beach ~ North Beach and Pismo Creek
There are two trails at North Beach campground: Beach Foot Trail and Meadow Creek Trail.  Beach Foot Trail is the path to the actual beach, not an actual hiking trail but a walkway to the beach that passes the campground amphitheater and bathrooms through a eucalyptus grove.  The Meadow Creek Trail (which we did not explore) heads off to the Monarch Butterfly grove and loops around the Pismo Beach Golf Course according to the map.

Beach Foot Trail and the Amphitheater

The sunset was gorgeous and even though it as quite chilly the kids splashed around in Pismo Creek and made sand castles until it became dark.  Dinner was at a Old Juan's Cantina less than 2 miles south of North Beach Campground, near the south end of Pismo State Beach - Oceano Campground.  Unless we are full blown car camping we usually eat out for dinner.  No mess or cleanup at the campsite.

The next morning we cooked breakfast before we headed out to the beach one more time.  The kids were going to be in the car for a few more hours before we arrived to our final destination in Pasadena, so we wanted the beach to tire them out.  We made more sand castles, found sand dollars, ran away from the waves and walked up and down the beach.

This year we have been camping quite often at California State Parks, especially along the California coast.  Even though I prefer a more rustic, out of the way campsites, I am truly enjoying my California State Parks this past winter and spring.

Have you ever had the pleasure of visiting one of California's great State Parks?

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Related Posts and Links:

  1. Chasqui Mom's California State Park Visits
  2. Pismo State Beach - California State Parks