South Carlsbad State Beach (Review)

plate of food by the beach

This one was a long time in the making.  This past weekend we camped up at South Carlsbad State Beach, but actually booked this all the way back in December!  Was it worth it? Let’s find out…

So we’ve done car camping before – a couple times last year in fact – but this had a different feel to it, maybe due to how many campsites are at this location (200+).  The spots are more or less the same, aside from the RV spaces, but there are a couple of things we wish we knew going into this:


cars and bus on road
cars on sandy ground
  • It’s 100% worth it to have an ocean front campsite. We knew this going in, and is part of the reason for the long booking lead time.
  • Some spaces are separated with shrubbery, some aren’t.  We had shrubs on one side be were exposed on the other and we did have neighbors.  We would have liked a little more privacy.
  • There are limited ways onto the beach down below, so make sure you’re a comfortable walking distance from a staircase.

The campsites were pretty spacious, despite the quantity, however we did have our neighbor’s children encroaching a little too far into our space on some occasions.  Similarly, I played in the street in bit while I flew my kite, which drew some compliments from passers by.

man and trees during daytime

We wanted to catch some beach time, so we threw some beers in a backpack and head on down.  I’m not sure if you’re allowed to drink on the beach (probably not) but there wasn’t anyone down there monitoring the situation.

Unfortunately the tide was quick to change and we were forced back up to our campsite, where we prepared some food.

woman on stairs by the beach
Seeing as it was car camping, we wanted to take advantage of our food/cooking situation, and decided to make a pizza (peperoni & onion).
I’m originally from New Jersey and could eat pizza every day and not get tired of it; basically I’ve had a lot of pizzas.  This was one of the tastiest pizzas I’ve had in a while.  There’s something special about cooking with cast iron over an open fire….mmm!
preparing pizza on a cast iron pan
cooking pizza on cast iron pan in open fire
cooking pizza on cast iron pan in open fire during sunset
decorated and uncooked pizza on cast iron pan

Our timing was impeccable, as we got to enjoy the fruits of our labor to a great sunset, although no green flash.

sunset by the beach with blue sky
sunset by the beach with orange sky

We only had a one night reservation, so we had to vacate the campsite by noon the next day.  Luckily that was more than enough time to wake up and cook a delicious breakfast!


All in all, will we go back? Yes I think we will.  It’s close to our neighborhood (only 45 minutes) and offers all the car camping luxuries and a great view. 

plate of food by the beach
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