This is our favorite West Coast campground. Super convenient, adjacent to everything, on an iconic Southern California surfing beach. It can get hectic during holidays but during the off-season it is Valhalla. This is especially true for the beach sites. We stayed the limit twice with no discount whatsoever, $35/night despite relentless attempts at bartering, last winter and spring on two stays culminating with the New Years or Easter holiday. Beach sites do not offer sewer (duh - beach) but offer weekly drainage service for $10. Sites across the street from the beach with full hookups are like living on a main street with a beautiful view. Traffic is surprisingly plentiful but unnoticeable from beachfront sites. The bluff sites are close, very close, you will get to know your neighbor, but the views are spectacular and the traffic unnoticeable. Any other site is like camping on I-5, seriously, literally on I-5, with a high speed rail line for a buffer. The staff is nice and accommodating, but it is difficult to understand the placement system since one cannot reserve a particular site. We came back once from a day out to find a neighbor right next to us on an otherwise empty beach. We were also scheduled to move a couple of times, but they worked it out and we did not have to move. We did, however, ask to be moved to the north end of the beach during the King Tide, and they could not have been more accommodating. Considering the mega-campgrounds in San Diego where campers cannot fully extend their awnings without intruding in their neighbors' space for $70/night, and the CA state campgrounds that charge $60 for "premium" beach sites, San Onofre is a bargain. It has indoor and outdoor showers, two laundry rooms, a workout area, a commissary and exchange, gas station, and a library hidden in plain sight off the freeway near San Clemente, and it has the beach. The beach is alive with dolphins, avians, seals, whales, amphibians - the Marines landed one morning, views of Santa Catalina on clear days, and the entertaining antics of surfers, many of whom we got to know as they walked between beaches. The Marine gate guards are polite, respectful, and make entry uncomplicated. It really is a fabulous place.
Fabulous place! When we called the reservation system they had a special price deal going on and we paid only $20 a night. The RV sites are literally on the beach (I'm not kidding) and also directly across a small street from the beach. You can toss a rock into the surf from most of the sites. We loved this place.
THE ROAD IS FIXED AND YOU NO LONGER HAVE TO ENTER THROUGH THE SAN ONOFRE STATE PARK ENTRANCE!! California beach camping doesn't get any better than this if you like the beach at your doorstep. It's hard for me and my family to go any place else because it just doesn't compare. If you want a beach front site where you're literally on the beach or if you would rather be back off the beach a little, you have the choice (beach sites go fast). The bluff sites on top have spectacular views of the ocean as well. For as crowded as the facility gets because of its popularity, it's clean. I would rather tell everyone this is a horrible place to camp so it wouldn't be so hard to get in but I just can't. For peak times, you really do have to be right on it if you want a spot. It fills up fast in the summer and on holiday weekends. It's close to EVERYTHING if you want to make a day trip someplace in So. Cal. Commissary is right up the street and so is the exchange and the gas station. It's also close to freeway entrance to the 5 freeway. This is seriously the best military camping spot around if you love the beach. My only complaint is this- The reservation policy is ridiculous at times and very hard to get if you don't call the day you're allowed according to your military status. I hate that you're allowed to sponsor up to 3 spots. I feel this allows too many non-military folks to utilize the park which leaves no space available for the people it was designed for - MILITARY PERSONNEL AND THEIR FAMILIES. I would say 75% of the people in the park camping are not military and are there as a guest. So 2 out of 3 campsites are non military guest most of the time. I am guilty of using the sites for friends as well because you become everyone's best friend once they know you have access to such a great place to camp but we are always on site with them. I don't think they police this policy to make sure the host is actually there with the guest they check in. I would definitely support a change if they did decide to change this policy and allow 1 guest versus 2 like most other military camping facilities still do. This would free up the spots and make the awful task of getting a spot here a little easier. Also, a word to the folks who camp in tents and for those who throw up extra tents on their sites along with your RV. There is a 10 dollar per night fee for each additional tent. I think that is high. So if you have 5 tents on your site, the first one is the main tent and the other 4 you have to pay 10 bucks each for. That's an additional 40 buck per night for your site!!! Most people are not aware of that especially if you have all tents on your site. So, there you have it. I still love this place and go back every chance I get. Love it.
We loved it being from Arizona. The cost could have been lower being a military facility but being compared to the civilian it was the same as Good Sam. I would like to have warned about the open air showers lol. I survived. I paid to much for the washing machine no sign live and learn. Other than that sitting and watching God's nature at its finest was the best 2 weeks ever. The Warners, Tuscon AZ
On the beach with wonderful view. First time here since 1996 and the upgrade of the park is great addition. Have already made plans for next trip. Commissary, exchange, and service station with propane near by. Well managed and maintained facility. Thank you
This time stayed in one of the cottages. It was very nice. Check-in is at 1500, check-out at 1000, which doesn't give you much fun time in the mornings since you have to clean up and mop. The cottages are neat and clean, at least the one I was in. When you get your cottage assigned you get a check list and a walk through with an employee. Nothing much has changed since my last update. Still a beautiful beach. the restrooms clean and the MP's patrol quite often. There are a lot more rocks on the shore from the last time I was there.90% of the shore has rocks on it. Come here to relax not to boogie board. Very hard to walk on the rocks. Del Mar is the place to go for good sand and boogie boarding.
NICE FACILITY, WE PARKED ON THE BEACH, BUT THERE ARE LOTS OF SPACES TO SUIT MOST EVERY ONE, BUT BEING IN APRIL I'M SURE THE SELECTION IS MUCH BETTER THAN MID SUMMER. CAMP PENDLETON IS A HUGE FACILITY, BUT FROM THIS FAM CAMP THE PX, GAS STATION FAST FOOD, COMMISSARY, ETC. JUST A LITTLE MORE THAN A MILE AWAY. A PERFECT PLACE TO GO SIGHT SEEING FROM!! OR JUST RELAX ON THE BEACH!! TOM & BONNIE
We tent camped on the beach and only had water, no electricity and were charged $25 per night, so I guess the price has gone up. It is a beautiful beach and each space had a fire ring and a picnic table. We really enjoyed building a fire each evening. We were there for a weekend and there were plenty of kids/teens and they were loud but quieted down about midnight. During the week, it was quiet. The showers and toilets were walled in, but were somewhat open to the elements at the ceiling. This was ok, but when the cold wind blew, it was uncomfortable. There was a small laundry right near the beach. The commissary exchange and the library were a short drive from the campsite. The library had wifi which could be accessed from the parking lot. The exchange had everything one needed to build a fire, including fire wood. The base is close to the attractions in San Diego, so it is a perfect place to stay while touring the area. Camp Pendleton is huge and we got lost a couple of times and called the MP desk and they were able to give us excellent directions.
Visitied for a couple days this week, going back for a week next month & 2 weeks in June. Location on the beach is great. The only less than excellent marks are for restroom/bath facilities and laundry. shower/toilet house is basically "open air". There is a roof over the actual facilities but the showers are are open to the elements except for a shower curtain. There is a wall around the area so that there is protection from "prying eyes" but not cold, wind, or rain (in the unlikely event that there is rain in the area). Be sure to wear shower shoes in the entire facility as the cement floors are slippery. Cold, wind & possible fog are givens at most CA beaches even in the summer. Be sure to have a jacket/sweatshirt as it can be really cold and windy even in the summer. The sun may be hot but the shade can be cold. The laundry area has seen better days and the price is on the high side for on-base facilities. There is plenty of sandy beach for all in a prime surfing area of SoCal. Bluff sites are best for 5th wheel as they are back in the the view is to the back. Some RVs went front-in instead of back-in and took the water and electric under the rig so that they still had the view. There is no specific dog area and little grass for them but they are welcome except for the actual beach. Nice, friendly staff. The positives outweigh the negatives by far.
Our favorite! Five stars here, one down the road at Del Mar. Good management, relaxed but sensible rules, two hosts, easy check in. Extraordinary beach loved by surfers and strollers and viewers. "Beach front" is in two categories; 50 amp, water, but no sewer on the sand with shrub dividers and rolling surf all day and night. Larger rigs will fit in most. Across the road but facing the ocean are sewered sites, but more suitable to MH's since the 5ers backend view is against a ice plant bank. Up on the high section are no sewers but large views and pavement and views for both MH's and 5's but the frequent trains can be heard if not bothersome.
Great RV sites just steps from the beach...some spots were right down by the Pacific...beautiful ocean views! Easy access from I-5. Good W/S/E hookups and a variety of campsites to accomodate just about any rig. Quick, friendly check-in. Satellite shopping with convenience store and gas station close by. Overall, great California beach/camping experience in a relaxed and secure military setting...high marks for San Onofre Recreation Beach.
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