Beach Camping Tips: 26 Biggest Mistakes To Avoid

Beach camping tips for beach

We put together these beach camping tips to help you avoid some common mistakes people make when beach camping. Camping on the beach is one outdoor activity worth trying.

There is nothing more peaceful than to take a day off from your busy life and enjoy it with nature.

It is even better as a family. We can’t guarantee you will have an amazing experience after going beach camping, but it’s still worth giving it a try. Here are some top mistakes worth avoiding:


beach view
Photo by Anders Wideskott

26 Beach Camping Tips: Don’t Do This

You Don’t Research the Area

A Beach camping tip that often gets overlooked is make sure to research the area. Depending on where you plan on beach camping different places will offer different amenities. So, make sure to know what to expect beforehand.

For instance, San Mateo Campground in San Onofre State Beach offers fire pits, coin-operated indoor showers, and restrooms.

On the other hand, Channel Islands National Park has several islands that offer camping near the beach like Santa Cruz Island (very popular for beach camping).

However, this place offers no showers, no food places, no electricity, and has a no-trash-left-behind policy! There are no trash bins to throw away your garbage.

Moral of the story, get familiar with what to expect and where you plan on beach camping.

You Don’t Pack Enough Water

Here’s an important beach camping tip mistake people make – they don’t pack enough water for their trip! Water is an important component for us human beings. According to Mayo Clinic, it is said that 60% of our bodies are made from it.

From helping regulate body temperature to having fewer wrinkles. When you are keeping your body hydrated you help keep your skin elasticity.

Hence, fewer wrinkles and fine lines. So, make sure you are bringing at least a gallon if you plan on camping on the beach. Especially on those hot summer days.

You forgot the sunscreen

It’s often said that sunscreen should be used daily to help protect the skin from the sun’s harmful ways. Oftentimes, however, we often forget to put it on. Particularly when we are at the beach.

Make sure to pack it and wear it!

Your body will thank you for it. If you are not sure what type of sunscreens are good for you check out our 9 best vegan sunscreens to use. Not only are they safe on the skin, but are eco-friendly as well. 

You didn’t think of the mosquitoes

I’ll be honest, as a little girl growing, up I used to think mosquitoes only lived among the swamps and woods. I never thought that they actually love hanging out by the beach as well.

I had over 20 bites all over my body the first time I went beach camping. The frustrating part was that I never felt the mosquitoes biting me that night it was only when I had awakened that I felt the itch and soreness of my bites.

So, if you are planning on beach camping at night beware of dusk time. During this time you will see a lot of mosquitoes coming out. Be prepared to bring mosquito spray, don’t tell me I didn’t tell you.  

One of my all-time favorite mosquito sprays is the one ByRobinCreations: Vegan Bug & Mosquito Repellent Spray. My skin is sensitive since I have eczema so having natural ingredients while still driving away mosquitoes is a win-win for me.

You Don’t Plan For Any Injuries

Let’s be honest no one is ever thinking of getting injured at the beach? But, let me tell you it does happen! And if you’re not as clumsy as me, then most likely you never really experience accidents or injuries while beach camping, but it doesn’t hurt to bring along that First Aid Kit.

I mean who the heck gets cut while setting up a tent? Ha! Not that I would say to me, but man thank goodness for those bandages in that First Aid Kit I brought.

It also doesn’t hurt to get familiar with the area and see if there are any clinics or hospitals nearby where you plan on beach camping. 

You own the most pathetic beach tent out there

Are you prepared for the sun and wind my dear friend? Is your tent sturdy enough to sustain those strong winds or is it built with UV protection material to protect you from those hot summer days?

If not then get with the program! We put together the top 15 beach camping tents you can own. So, you have peace of mind when camping out by the beach. 

You didn’t think of bringing enough ice while beach camping

Ahh, those hot days! Most likely you’re on a budget or don’t trust food chains so you opt for a safer route – making your own food.

You got the bang for your buck along with the security of knowing how you prepared your food. However, don’t forget that ice!

Make sure you have enough ice that will help keep those perishable items cold until the next day or at least until you decide to eat it.

You didn’t pack enough food for the night while beach camping

So, you packed your food, but was it enough? Did you bring enough food, to begin with? If you are like me I pack cookies, chips, watermelon, and ice cream aren’t going to be enough for my tummy let alone if I’m camping more than a day.

I made the mistake of not packing any healthy foods that helped fill my stomach along with camping where there were no amenities except a toilet in Channel Islands National Park that I was one cranky camper!

Never again! I vowed not to do this again. Make sure you are providing enough meals for your body. Here are some 20 healthy snacks ideas you take to the beach

You overlooked the importance of toilet paper

Aww, yes toilet paper do I love you. It never really dawned on me how important toilet paper was until I took my first beach camping trip. Toilet paper helps with:

  • Runny Noses
  • Cleaning spills
  • Cleaning your glasses
  • Number one
  • Number two

These are just a few examples of how many uses toilet paper provides for us. You can have enough toilet paper. Avoid the mistake of not bringing toilet paper. Yes, toilet paper is your friend indeed.

You never expected to be bored you didn’t bring any books, games, to kill time

Nature is lovely, but I can’t stare at it all day. I need to keep moving. A body in motion stays in motion like the saying goes. If you are beach camping for a few days why not enjoy being active with the family a bit.

These 20 beach game ideas are perfect for the family. In addition, for some downtime make sure to bring a book.

Having the fresh air and natural lighting can help you catch up on that book, thus keeping you from becoming bored. You can thank me later.

No protection of your personal items from getting wet or sand

Anytime you are near water you might have a chance of getting your phone wet. I’m a perfect example. I wanted to take some epic shots of the sea caves as a first timer kayaking through the La Jolla Shores Cave.

The tour was amazing, so was the view, but coming back inland my kayak flipped over causing me to take a fall into the water. Sad to say that was the last of my phone.

So, the moral of this story is to make sure to carry a waterproof phone pouch along with getting a waterproof beach bag. The

3-pack Waterproof Underwater Dry Bag Protector offers easy screen touch and response that is ideal for the water and sand.

You didn’t bring an umbrella

A beach umbrella is a crucial item to bring if you plan on camping on the beach. Having a bit of shade while you are outside is nice.

Make sure to bring one that withstands the wind as well as protects you from the sun. We put together the top best beach umbrellas to buy for you, here

No beach chairs -to sit on

The same goes for bringing a beach chair to the beach. While being outside in the sun, it’s nice to have something to sit on.

A beach chair will provide you with shade, a place to put your drinks on, as well as keeping the sand off you. We put a guide together for you with owning the best beach chairs for the beach.

Your cooler isn’t built for your trip

Got your food packed for the beach? And do you have a sturdy cooler bag to store it? Nothing makes it less enjoyable than having your food and drinks be spoiled due to the fact that your cooler wasn’t sturdy enough to withstand the hot day. Some features to think about when opting for a good cooler are:

  • Sturdy
  • Waterproof
  • Pocket Features
  • Ergonomic
  • Storage

The YETI Tundra Haul Portable Wheeled Cooler is a top favorite among some for its durability along with the feature of having built-in wheels that make it easier to transport.

We put together the best 20-quart coolers for the beach. From the best ones to own to the less expensive that fit your budget.

You got no power bank

You forgot to bring a power bank. If you are out beach camping it’s important to have some form of contact in case you need help as well as let loved ones know where you will be going. Don’t let your phone go dead. Your phone can:

  • Be a flashlight
  • Take pictures and video
  • Allow you to text and talk to someone
  • Research things online for you
  • Be an alarm clock
  • Play music

These are just a few things that your phone can do. So make sure to bring a power bank to charge your phone, tablets, camera batteries, or even wireless headphones.

You forgot the trash bags

Trash bags can serve multiple purposes. For instance, you will have trash from eating, drying your hands or cleaning up spills.

A trash bag can be used to hold all your waste. The same holds true for storing things such as clothes, food, or other items. So make sure to bring one. Dispose of your trash correctly.

You didn’t plan for the night weather

The beach during the day can be warm, however, at night that’s a different story. Most often it becomes a bit cooler at night.

Make sure to pack a light jacket or sweater just in case it’s chilly. You don’t have to go all out either a blazer, cardigan, or denim jacket is just fine! 

Beach camping tips bring slim fit long blazer jacket
Chicloth Rosy Athletics Jacket for beach camping tips to bring
Beach camping tips to bring black jacket with pockets

You carry no moisturizer

Avoid the mistake of not moisturizing your skin. When you are having fun outside in the sun or end up swimming your skin is prone to be dry and burnt. Having lotion that carries aloe vera allows your skin to be replenished and soothed.

One of our favorite lotions is the Aloe Infusion Body and Face Moisturizer. It is made from 100% certified organic ingredients.

It’s suitable for all skin types. It is non-greasy and cruelty-free. Make sure to moisturize your skin after being in the sun. Your skin will thank you later.

Beach camping tips bring aloe vera lotion

You didn’t think of a sleeping bag

Sleeping on the floor is great for some, but not so much for others. So one of your beach camping tips is to bring one! Especially, if you feel you will be more comfortable using one.

It is important to note here that not all sleeping bags are designed to be the same. Some important questions you might want to know is:

  • Insulation Type: Down or Synthetic
  • Shape: Rectangle, Mummy
  • Material: Nylon,Polyester
  • Features: Pockets, Storage sack
  • Temperature Rating: 3-Season (+15° to +30°), Cold Weather (+15° and lower) or Summer (+30° and higher)

For instance, camping on the beach would make sense to opt for a sleeping bag that is built for the summer temperature along with a fill material that is breathable and waterproof. The OASKYS Sleeping Bag is designed to be lightweight and comfortable for those camping in the summer.

Beach camping tips are to bring a sleeping bag

You decide to camp near erosion

Beach erosion does exist! According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency some of the factors related to beach erosion are a result of: pollution, climate change, and habitat degradation. Never camp near the sea cliffs that have erosion!

They aren’t safe! The last thing you want is to have any sea cliffs falling on you.

beach tides
Photo by Graham Holtshausen

You don’t understand the importance of knowing the tides

The same holds true for camping near erosion cliffs as it does with the tides. Make sure you understand when the tide is highest or lowest at the beach.

Understand what it will look like that day camping. The NOAA Tide Predictions site is an amazing resource that allows you input a beach and see what the tides look like!

Be sure to check their site. The last thing you want to do is end up in the newspaper like these campers who woke up all wet from the high tide. 

No sandless beach blanket

Nothing beats sitting outside than having a blanket that not only protects you from getting burnt from the hot sand but as well as keeping it off.

The best sand less beach blanket overall we found to be was the Wildhorn Sand Escape Beach Blanket.

We tested it out and put together this guide of the pros and cons of this beach blanket. Learn more, here.  For those who are on a budget we also included some amazing sandless beach blankets that won’t hurt your wallet.

We included the best sandless beach blankets under $40 for you. Check out our list of the  top sandless beach blankets for you this summer

Beach camping tips to bring a sand escape beach blanket like Wildhorn Outfitters

You don’t see importance of a flashlight

Flashlights are your friend when it comes to being outdoors. They allow you to light up the way when you are walking in the night. They can be waterproof in case you end up dropping it in the water.

They can be used as an emergency signal for help. You can’t go wrong with the SeaSoft Detachable Flashlight Pocket Holder with Retractor nor the Olight S1R II Orange 1000 Lumen Compact Rechargeable EDC Flashlight both offer convenience and efficiency while beach camping.

By switching it on and off instead of yelling or waving for help. They can be bright! And another option often overlooked is that a flashlight can serve you as a self-defense weapon.

If you are ever being attacked you can smack them with it or blind their eyes. You may never need to do this, but I’m just saying you got options here!

SeaSoft Detachable Flashlight Pocket Holder with Retractor

You don’t bring any hats for protection

Can your scalp burn in the sun? Heck, yeah! Your head is just like the rest of your body is often not invisible to the strong sunlight rays.

It always amazes me how often we overlook this area. We say all the time protect your face, body, but never the head as well. Love your scalp and protect it. Bring a hat!

The best hats out there will offer UV protection as well as moderate coverage. A hat is even perfect for you when you go hiking on the beach as it allows you to keep your hair back from your eyes.

This Women’s Straw Hat Brim offers UPF 50 offers protection and is foldable. Beach camping tip verdict: protect your scalp!

You don’t bother with sunglasses

Ever heard of Pterygium or Pinguecula? These are eye damaged conditions that are a result of long exposure to the sun. Surfer’s eye known as Pterygium is often composed of pink flesh tissue that grows from the inside corner of your eye up to your eye. You don’t have to be a surfer to develop this.

Often people who develop this are those who are outdoors in the sun for an extended period of time. Protect your eyes and bring sunglasses!

The best sunglasses are those like Oakley and Ray-Ban that offer polarized protection and style.

Dragon The Jam 100% UV Protections Sunglasses ALL COLORS
beach camping tip having a bonfire
Photo by T.Q.

Things to do when beach camping

Not sure what to do while camping on the beach? We put together these few beach camping tips worth trying as a family or alone. 

**During the day: 

  • Pretty much given but go for a swim in the water
  • Does this beach have volleyball nets? If so then bring a volleyball
  • Get your heart pumping through soccer with friends and the family
  • Why not explore the sea below through snorkeling?
  • Kayaking anyone? It’s perfect arm workout
  • Whale watching or even dolphin watching
  • Paddle boarding and we got 6 tips on what to wear for it
  • Read a book 
  • Have at it with one of these 20 adult family games
  • Have at it with a board game
  • Walk along the coastline
  • Hike some trails 
  • Build a sand castle
  • Play your favorite jams
  • Bicycle along with the beach with a beach cruiser bike

**During the night:

  • Bonfires anyone?
  • Tell scary ghost stories 
  • Stargaze
  • Enjoy the night with sparklers – do pick up after yourself
  • Watch the sunset 
  • Bring your camera for night photography – sunsets are perfect shots
  • Watch a movie
  • Have a limbo party
  • Journal – Reflecting on how your day went be grateful you got to live another day  being grateful you got to live another day  ending the night with gratitude and peace
  • Bedtime Yoga 

**Note: Not all beaches will have the same amenities so make sure to research your area ahead of time to see what they offer.

Beach camping tips for beach
Photo by Ivan Rohovchenko

Beach Camping do’s and don’ts

We put together a list of some beach camping tips :


  • Read our 27 mistake tips before you head out
  • Make a beach camping list of all your top essentials you plan on bringing to the beach
  • Arrive before night – nothing is more confusing than setting up everything during the night
  • Make sure to store your food at all times – nothing is more annoying than having seagulls looking through your bag of food


  • Leave your trash behind – pick up after yourself
  • Take any seashells nor wildlife with you – studies show that ecosystems become damaged and endangered d damage ecosystems and endanger organisms that rely on shells for their survival
  • Don’t feed wildlife – there’s a reason why seagulls are bothering you
  • Don’t start a fire unless it is permitted among that beach. Avoid getting fined


What to bring for camping on the beach?

For the most part the bare essentials you really need when camping on the beach are going to be your tent, food, water, and sunscreen. You can be extra well prepared by bringing some of the items listed previous such as: beach games and ice.

One thing to note here is if you plan on bringing your dog along these are a few beach camping tips to consider:

  • Food and water
  • Leash
  • Poop bags – to clean up after it has gone to the restroom
  • Dog First-Aid Kit
  • Dog Bedding
  • Treats

How do you camp on the beach?

Camping on the beach is going to be a lot different than camping in the woods. That is why you need to prepare right for it. Make sure you got the right equipment and essentials. We hope the previous beach camping tips mentioned give you an idea of what to expect.

Can you sleep in a tent on the beach?

Yes, you can sleep in a tent on the beach. You would need to first research the area you’re interested in camping to see if it’s possible. For example, Paradise by the Sea in Oceanside does not allow tent camping.

On the other hand, Long Key State Park in Florida offers both tent camping along with RV so just make sure you know where you can or can’t camp in a tent.  

What is the best tent for beach camping?

The best tent for beach camping comes down to how it’s built along with what features it carries. For instance, having a UPF 50+ sun protection is a nice additive feature to help against the sun.

We put together a list of the top 15 best beach umbrellas for you.

beach sunset views
Photo by Quino Al


There you have it, our beach camping tips worth considering so you are more prepared. Remember beach camping should be an experience worth partaking with your loved ones or alone.

If you are interested in knowing what are the best beach campgrounds worth visiting we put together this list for you the best beach campsites in San Diego.

We hope these beach camping tips prepare you out there and let us know in the comments below what are some of your favorite beach camping places, until next time! 

Jess and Jeanette
About Jess and Jeanette

Jess and Jeanette are two sisters who created Unseen Beaches. This beach travel site was inspired by their family beach vacations while growing up. Helping you discover the best U.S. beach destinations worth visiting, staying, and eating.

unseenbeaches about us pic

Hi! This is Jess and Jeanette. Two sisters & beach travelers. We built this blog to share our travels in hopes of helping you plan your next beach vacation. Cheers! ❤️



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