Doheny State Beach’s Campground Unveiled: Your Gateway to Coastal Camping Bliss!

Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, California, provides a memorable camping experience for those who love the outdoors and the beach. In this blog post, I’ll talk about why Doheny State Beach Camping is a great place to visit, focusing on its beautiful views and the different activities you can do there.

Quick Overview of Doheny Beach Campground in Dana Point

FeaturesActivities & RecreationCampground DetailsAdditional Information
Located in Dana Point, California, with a mile-long sandy shore divided into surfing and family-friendly areas.Offers surfing at the northern end and is ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and picnics in the southern section. Volleyball courts and picnic areas available.Over 100 camping spots, including tent and RV sites without sewer or electricity hookups. Equipped with modern amenities like hot showers, restrooms, and a dump station.The Dana Point Harbor nearby provides fishing, boating, paddleboarding, kayaking, and whale watching opportunities.
Known for its beautiful ocean views and peaceful atmosphere.Environmental education programs, including guided nature walks and talks on marine life and conservation efforts.33 beachfront camping spots available, offering direct access to the sand and ocean.The Dana Point Headlands Conservation Area offers hiking trails with coastal views. The city hosts events like the Festival of Whales.
Popular for its well-maintained campground and variety of recreational activities.Surfing enthusiasts and families alike find the beach suitable for their interests.The campground is popular, especially during summer, so advance reservations are recommended.Booking early is advised to secure a preferred camping spot. Bringing essential camping gear and supplies is crucial for a comfortable stay.
Ideal for campers who enjoy waking up to the sound of waves and having direct beach access.The campground offers a family-friendly environment with convenient access to beach activities.Each campsite comes with a fire pit and a picnic table. Dry camping emphasizes a traditional experience with no hookups.Pets are allowed in the campground with restrictions. Restrooms and coin-operated showers are available for convenience.

Beautiful Location and Scenery

Doheny State Beach, with its mile-long sandy shore, is known for its beautiful scenery. The beach has two main parts: the northern area for surfing and the southern area, which is great for families, swimming, and picnics. Campers can enjoy amazing ocean views and the calming sound of the waves, making it a peaceful place to relax.

Doheny state beach campground right on the sand
Doheny State Beach campground right on the sand

Campground Details

The state beach offers a well-maintained campground with over 100 camping spots, including both tent and RV sites. 33 of the spots are right on the sand. There is no sewer or electricity hookup. However, the campground is equipped with modern amenities such as hot showers, restrooms, and a dump station, ensuring a comfortable stay for all.

Activities and Recreation

Doheny State Beach is a playground for various activities. Surfing enthusiasts will find the northern end of the beach particularly appealing, while families can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing in the calmer southern section. The beach also has volleyball courts and picnic areas, making it ideal for group activities. Additionally, the Dana Point Harbor, located nearby, offers opportunities for fishing, boating, paddleboarding, kayaking and whale watching.

Environmental Education

The state beach is not just about recreation; it’s also an educational hub. The Doheny State Beach Interpretive Association conducts regular programs and events, including guided nature walks and talks on marine life and conservation efforts. These activities offer campers an insightful look into the local ecosystem and the importance of preserving such natural habitats.

doheny beach campground beachfront spot
Doheny Beach Campground beachfront spot

Nearby Attractions

Beyond the beach, Dana Point offers a variety of attractions. The Dana Point Headlands Conservation Area provides hiking trails with breathtaking coastal views. Moreover, the city hosts several events throughout the year, including the Festival of Whales, which celebrates the annual migration of the California gray whale.

Tips for a Great Camping Experience

  • Book Early: The campground is popular, especially during summer, so it’s advisable to make reservations well in advance.
  • Be Prepared: While the campground offers amenities, bringing essential camping gear and supplies is crucial.
  • Respect the Environment: As a protected area, it’s important to follow all rules and guidelines to preserve the beach’s natural beauty.

My Experience Camping at Doheny State Beach

Doheny campground
Camping with the kids at Doheny Beach

I’ve camped at Doheny State Campground a few times, and let me tell you, getting a spot right on the sand is tough! You have to be on the ball, trying to book it six months in advance, and that means waking up super early. Sometimes, you might get lucky with a cancellation, but it’s rare.

camping with kids at doheny state beach campground
Kids just love playing in the sand
Evening at Doheny campground
Beautiful evening view at our Doheny Campground
roasting marshmallows at Doheny campground
roasting marshmallows at Doheny campground
bonfire at our campsite at Doheny
Bonfire at our campsite at Doheny
marshmallow roasting at Doheny campground
Marshmallow roasting
doheny campground

I’ve stayed both at a beachfront spot and in the middle of the campground. The campground isn’t big and the sites are small and close to each other, but if you score a beach spot, it’s totally worth it.

Doheny campsite in the evening
Doheny campsite in the evening

Each campsite has its own fire pit, and you’re just steps away from the ocean. Having a spot on the beach is way better, especially if you’re camping with kids.

making a bonfire at Doheny campground
Making a bonfire at our campground

They can play in the sand and the ocean for hours, which is a big win. The campground is all about dry camping, so no hookups.

doheny beach campground not right on the sand
This was our Doheny beach campground that was not right on the sand but no one was behind us and it felt quite secluded. This spot is facing San Juan Creek
our spot at doheny beach campground that was not on the sand
This is also a great spot at Doheny campground if you don’t get the beachfront spot. This site is on the right of the campground. You’ll be facing San Juan Creek. Kids had plenty of fun at this site as well.
our camper at doheny state beach campground

I didn’t need to use the public bathrooms since my camper had everything, but they are there if you need them. Since there are no power hookups at the campground, it can sometimes get noisy with people running their generators.

kids playing doheny state beach
Doheny beach

One of the best parts of camping here is the evenings. Sitting by the bonfire, roasting marshmallows, and watching the sunset is just amazing. And falling asleep to the sound of the waves? Super soothing.

biking at Doheny campground
Biking around the campground and Dana Point

Waking up and having my morning coffee while looking at the ocean was the best way to start the day. I’d definitely go more often if getting a reservation wasn’t such a hassle.

I always take my bike when I go camping there. You can bike to San Clemente Pier or head over to Dana Point Harbor and Baby Beach. At Baby Beach, you can rent a kayak or a paddleboard, which you can take around the harbor. There are also some good restaurants and coffee places near the harbor. But honestly, most of the time, it’s just nice to relax by the ocean.

sitting by the water at Dana Point
Biking around Dana Point and taking pictures

Each camping reservation covers one primary vehicle. Additional vehicles are allowed at an extra cost​. Doheny State Beach Campground, located at 25300 Dana Point Harbor Drive, Dana Point, CA, 92629, offers a range of amenities and parking options for campers and day visitors.

Doheny campground map
This is a Doheny campground map. I’ve been to the middle, beachfront and San Juan Creek view spots. The beachfront sites are my favorite. The creek view sites are my second favorite. The middle spots are okay.
  • Fire Pits: Each campsite comes equipped with a fire pit, perfect for those evening campfires and marshmallow roasting sessions.
  • Pet Policy: Dogs are allowed in the campground, but there are restrictions. They must be kept on a leash no longer than six feet and are not allowed on the beach. It’s important to always clean up after your pets and ensure they don’t disturb other campers.
  • Restrooms and Showers: The campground provides restroom facilities with flush toilets and coin-operated showers. These facilities are maintained regularly for cleanliness and convenience.
  • Picnic Tables: Each campsite has a picnic table, allowing campers to enjoy meals outdoors with the beautiful beach as a backdrop.
  • Dry Camping: The campground offers dry camping, meaning there are no hookups for water, sewer, or electricity. This emphasizes a more traditional camping experience.
  • RV Accessibility: While there are no hookups, the campground is accessible to RVs. There are specific size limitations, so it’s advisable to check the maximum RV length allowed before booking.
  • Water Access: Drinking water is available at various points throughout the campground.
  • Dump Station: For RV campers, there is a dump station available, which is essential given the lack of sewer hookups at the sites.
  • Activities and Recreation: Apart from beach activities, the park offers a variety of recreational opportunities, including volleyball courts and easy access to bike paths and walking trails.
  • Park Store: There is a camp store where you can purchase basic supplies, snacks, and souvenirs.
  • Day-Use Facilities: For those not camping overnight, there are day-use areas that offer beach access and picnic facilities.
  • Parking Restrictions: Vehicles are not allowed on the sidewalks or in the picnic areas for loading or unloading. They must use designated parking stalls.
  • Extra Vehicles: A second and third overnight vehicle is allowed at $15.00 per night per vehicle. The second vehicle may park in the campsite if space permits, while the third vehicle needs to park in the South Day Use lot.
  • Day Use Parking Fees:
    • Autos, Vans, and Motorcycles: $3.00 per vehicle per hour (minimum of 2 hours), or $15.00 per vehicle for normal day-use, and $20.00 per vehicle for summer day-use.
    • RVs (25 feet in length or under): Day-use parking is $15, and hourly parking is $3/hour (minimum of 2 hours).
    • RVs (over 25 feet in length): Oversized day-use parking is $30.
    • Busses: $50.00 (10-24 passengers) or $100.00 (25 or more passengers).
  • Payment Methods: Fees can be paid in exact cash or by credit card (except American Express) at the kiosk or automated pay machines
me on the beach
About the author

Hi, I'm Kat, the adventurous spirit behind TasteCaliforniaTravel, your guide to the hidden wonders of California. Having called California home for the last 15 years, I am thrilled to take you along on my journey and share the adventures that this incredible state has to offer.

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