The best place to camp on the beach in California
If you like sand, sun and relaxation, then you’ll love this amazing spot to camp on the beach in California. Thornhill Broome State Beach is not only a local favorite, it’s a destination fit for the whole family that doesn’t disappoint. So, here’s everything you need to know.
As a Utah native, visiting the beach–let alone camping on it–is a bit of a novelty. That’s why when a local from Los Angeles recommended camping at Thornhill Broome State Beach, we jumped at the chance. Here’s a few tips and tricks to camp on the beach in California.
Book your reservation in advance
Thornhill Broome Campground is in Point Mugu State Park just north of Malibu. You can book your reservation up to six months in advance. During the summer months, these spots fill up completely. There are multiple first come first serve spots as well. If you show up around 8 a.m., you can probably get a spot. We were driving from Utah so we didn’t want to chance it.
When you book your reservation online, search for Point Mugu State Park. Thornhill Broome will show up as an option after you enter your travel dates. At $35 per night, its a steal of a deal. They accommodate tent camping and camping trailers. We brought our 30-foot fifth wheel trailer. About half of the people camping there were in tents and the other half were in camping trailers.
Facilities available at the campground
Chemical toilets and dumpsters are spaced out along the length of the campground. This is especially important for individuals planning on tent camping.
Although there are no showers available on the campground itself, your reservation allows you to use the showers at Sycamore Canyon Campground which is just a couple miles down the road. Its kind of inconvenient but available nonetheless. For a dollar you can purchase coins at the entrance to take a hot 4-minute shower.
Water spigots available
About every 20 feet, there are water spigots spaced out along the entire length of the campground next to the road. We borrowed a long hose from one of our camping neighbors and used the spigot to fill up our water tank in our rig during our stay. It worked great. Keep in mind that there are no showers to hose off after a day of playing on the beach.
Also, there is a turnabout with a spigot at the entrance of the campground that allows camping trailers to fill up with water when they arrive. This is really nice and convenient.
Each campsite has its own fire pit and picnic table. It’s awesome! There are no ground fires allowed. We loved roasting hot dogs and s’mores on the beach. I would recommend bringing some lighter fluid and kindling though. The humid air made it really difficult to start a fire.
We brought along our dog, Ruby. There were quite a few campers who brought their dogs as well. The only stipulation is that aside from cleaning up after your dog, you are required to keep your dog on a leash at all times. We let our dog loose for a little bit to jump in the waves and the lifeguard gave us a warning.
Windy in the afternoons
As you camp on the beach in California, it gets really windy from about 2 p.m. until about 7 p.m. We would just play on the beach all morning and then go sight seeing in the afternoon. There is a great sand dune just down the road from the campground that is a fun place to visit. There are also multiple public beaches along Highway 1 that you can explore as well.
There is a paved road next to all the campgrounds and a fence opposite that. It’s perfect for taking a ride down and safe for adults and children alike. We didn’t realize this but we plan to bring bikes the next time. There were lots of other campers who brought their bikes and we were totally jealous.
Lifeguard on duty
Everyday during the summer, there is at least one life guard on duty at this beach. It’s nice knowing there is someone keeping an eye out for our safety. There are a total of three life guard stations on the beach.
No public day use allowed
One of the best parts of this campground is that there is no public day use allowed on this beach. Only the campers with reservations can enjoy the beach. It’s basically your own private beach. The gates open at 8 a.m. and close at 10 p.m. so make sure you’re not out too late. You are also welcome to leave the campground before 8 a.m., there are just tire spikes as you leave.
My husband was casting his fishing pole out on the water every day. He caught a surf perch, stingray, leopard shark and a couple other types of fish. It was so much fun.
There is also tons of wild life. Every single morning you can see dolphins and sea lions swimming close to show. We loved it so much.
I hope this blog post was helpful. Let me know in the comments below if you have any other questions. I hope your next adventure when you camp on the beach in California is a fun one!
Related link: Road trips with kids: Dos and don’ts