Southern California Beach Camping: Doheny Beach

Want to get away from it all while enjoying one of the all-time classic surfing beaches? Doheny State Beach is a beautiful campground located on the shores of one of Southern California’s most beloved beaches in the Orange County community of Dana Point. Unlike many of the beach campgrounds to in neighboring San Diego County, campsites here are not located on a bluff. About 30 campsites are literally on the beach!

Like most campgrounds, Doheny’s campsites are laid out in loops. The best sites are those fronting the beach. Large grassy areas make inland sites enjoyable as well. In fact, some campers prefer the inland sites because the grassy areas give them room to spread out while still being only steps away from the Pacific Ocean.

If you have an RV or trailer, several sites are designated RV/Trailer sites. The maximum trailer and motor home length that campsites here can accommodate is 35 feet. However, hookups are not available. Come with a full water tanks, fully charged batteries, and gas for your generator. An RV dump station and water filling station are available at the campground. Restrooms and shower buildings are situated throughout the campground. If you must have hookups, RV resorts with full hookups are nearby in the communities of Dana Point and Anaheim.

The Doheny State Beach campground is separated from the main area of Doheny State Beach where many music festivals and special events are held. This large day use area features a beach, five acre grassy area, and volleyball courts. If you’re planning on attending one of the music festivals, having a campsite down the beach is ideal as you can come and go as you please, while having a private site where you can take a break from the crowds.

Be sure to stop at the park’s unique visitor center where you’ll find a tide pool, five aquariums, and a natural history museum. Several small sharks are on exhibit at the visit center. If you want souvenirs, a gift shop is sure to please. Like many campgrounds, Doheny State Beach offers several programs such as campfire chats and junior ranger programs.

Surfing, volleyball, sand castle building, and bike riding are popular activities at the campground, though water quality at Doheny State Beach is often poor, especially after winter storms. Lifeguards and park rangers post warnings when water quality falls below specific levels.

If you tire of the sand and sun and want to participate in other activities, Dana Point Harbor is nearby as are many restaurants ranging from casual to upscale. Don’t miss the Ocean Institute if you are visiting on a weekend. This unique maritime complex features a tall ship and a variety of science and maritime exhibits.

Camping on the beach is a terrific way to get away from it all. Come to Doheny State Park prepared and you’ll have a wonderful camping adventure.