Carlsbad State Beach Camping

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A Beach Wedding and Beach Camping

So this past March 2018, we decided to go camping at Carlsbad State Beach Campground in California.  We were attending a friend’s beach wedding in Oceanside, California first though. So, we packed our car with both wedding and camping supplies in order to attend their wedding first, and then on to beach camping after the wedding at Carlsbad State Beach. Two nights in a hotel and then two nights camping on the beach. To say the car was packed down was an understatement. We barely had room for us! Off from Arizona we left and arrived in Oceanside after about 6 hours.

oceanside pier california

The wedding was fun with most of our friends, us and the wedding party staying at the Marriott Hotel across the street from the Oceanside Pier.  It is a great central place to stay. You are in walking distance to the pier as well as the bars, restaurants, gift shops and a movie theater. The kicker is, they charge $30 a night for valet parking of which is the only parking available. If you don’t do that, you will need to walk some distance and leave your vehicle unsecured on a side road somewhere. There are homeless people throughout the area, but they seemed to not bother anyone, but good to know that parking is an issue in and around the area.

beach rain wedding

The wedding was unfortunately hit with rain. A last minute winter storm came off the ocean a few days prior and had frequent downpours, the worst one being exactly when the wedding was suppose to be.

Oceanside california beach wedding

The bride was so happy and in love, it did not phase her one bit and we all just stood under umbrellas. I recall there was a funny thing that someone said, “Most weddings you remember the reception and not the wedding… this wedding will be remembered!”. I thought that was so apt in the moment and true. Good times!

Carlsbad State Beach Campground Camping

We chose a late check out from the hotel. My wife called the manager and asked if it was possible, they allowed us to stay until noon versus 11 a.m. We did this because we were only about 20 minutes away from the campground and they will not let you go in or drive around inside the campground until 2 p.m. this allows the clean up crews to rake and straighten out each campsite after someone leaves by 11 a.m. This was spring break and it was not very crowded, but there was still a check in line of about 15-20 minutes long. I can only image the summer lines would be a lot longer.

carlsbad state beach campground site 43

Our campsite was ocean view. All of the sites sit on a bluff about 100 feet above the ocean. You will either have an ocean view site or the sites on the inland side which back to the pacific coast highway. It wasn’t too bad on the inland side, I just would stay away from being located too close to the bathrooms or trash dumpsters because of the smells. The bathrooms are clean and well stocked, as well as showers are in good condition. A shower in the morning was very refreshing. There are three main stairways down to the beach. You will need to carry stuff up and down the stairs, so think and plan ahead. Each campsite seemed to have a fire ring and a picnic table. The north end of the campground where we camped felt more like family and peaceful campers.

We camped in a tent, brought a pop up shader and folding chairs. I bought an air mattress and a pump that ran off the cigarette lighter. It made the sleeping better for sure! Being up on an exposed cliff, the wind can and does whip up sometimes. Bring heavy duty ground stakes and strong cord to tie down and off your tent and shader.

california beaches in carlsbad

carlsbad state beach stairs

playing on the california beach while camping

rock hunting on the carlsbad state beach

Spotting whales and dolphins off the coast in Carlsbad california

Sunset at Carlsbad state beach

Free little library on the beach

This was our first time beach camping. We would definitely do it again and are even thinking about getting a small pull behind trailer in the future. I normally camp in the mountains and forests of Arizona. This type of camping is better in some ways. No bugs, no dirt, just sand. We are hoping to do this at least once a year and 2-3 nights is plenty of time to enjoy this campground.

Things to maybe think about before you go…


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