Are you a novice camper? Or a pro? Tent camper or luxury RV? Regardless of which most suits your outdoorsy style, here are some camping at the beach tips.

Just think about waking up next to the pounding surf, breathing in that ocean air, and feeling that unparalleled connection with nature? Make your next beach camping trip a roaring success with these indispensable tips.

Camping Prep

As with any camping trip, you’re going to need the basics. Tent, tarp, sleeping bag, cooking tools… you know the drill. One helpful trick of the trade that applies especially well to beach camping. Bring along a dustpan and brush. When all those visitors go in and out this will be indescribable. Another helpful piece of gear is sand stakes. These handy little tools are meant to hold their ground on loose surfaces, saving you a lot of potential tent frustration.

Before You Pitch the Tent

Before pitching your tent and building your bonfire, be positive that you are well away from the reaches of the water when it hits high tide. Familiarize yourself with the tides ahead of time and organize yourself accordingly. It may be tempting to set up shop right near the water, but you’ll be singing a different tune when all your possessions wash away after a particularly aggressive wave.

Think About the Environment

Bodega Bay CampingWhile they may be pretty to look at, sand dunes tend to house vulnerable vegetation that is easily (and negatively) affected by human interference. The Bodega Bay area has a lot of delicate areas that have no access. Respect that! Feel free to admire the dunes and marvel at their general awesomeness but for their sake and yours, keep your hands, feet, and everything else to yourself.

Beaches are beautiful and your job, as a camper, is to help keep them that way. As with any campsite, you are responsible for your garbage and should be mindful of this when planning your trip. Cans and bottles are a hassle to transport and need to be brought back out so try to avoid using them in the first place. Consider packing some extra-large freezer bags to use as trash receptacles—just remember that you need to take them with you at the end of your trip. Some parks provide you with garbage bags so find out beforehand whether the spot you’re going to offers this service. Be sure to check ahead to find out if there are any restricted items you should just leave at home.

Enjoy your camping trip and take lots of great photographs!

Learn more about Sonoma County campgrounds here…

More things to do in Bodega Bay here…