Summer Fun at San Elijo State Beach

Monday, August 6, 2012

San Diego is a fantastic place to live. We have great weather and fun attractions. But, and rightly so, we're known for our beaches. We have miles and miles of coastline with spectacular views. We're very lucky that our family spends a full week every year at the San Elijo State Beach campgrounds. My husband's cousins hold a mini reunion every summer and we head to the beach every day they're here for boogie boarding, sand castles and s'mores.

campsite San Elijo State Beach

The campground has WiFi, Bull Taco restaurant, a full camp store and offers surf lessons. San Elijo is across the street from a 7-11, Starbucks, Jack in the Box and Subway. Also within walking distance are the Cardiff Seaside Market home of the famous Cardiff Crack (ask a local about it!) and VG's Bakery has some of the best doughnuts in San Diego.

Bull Taco San Elijo State Beach

Bring your bikes to the campground and you'll be able to get back and forth really easily to some of the nearby attractions and eateries. A few minutes north of the campgrounds on PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) is the community of Encinitas. Downtown Encinitas has great restaurants, bars and shopping. Get up early, go to Potato Shack Cafe for breakfast and share a manhole chocolate chip pancake. Head south on PCH to Las Olas Mexican Restaurant for happy hour.

The next community south of the campground is Solana Beach, also home to great shopping (on Cedros Avenue) dining and live music at The Belly Up Tavern. Have breakfast at The Naked Cafe or The Orange Blossom Cafe (try the lemon crepe) or some of San Diego's best pizza and craft beer at Pizza Port. Make sure you stop into Leaping Lotus for souvenirs and gifts.

beach camping San Elijo

Camping at San Elijo is really one of the best things San Diego has to offer, especially in terms of summer fun. The access to great stretches of beach, really good local restaurants and unique shopping can't be beat. Here are six things you should know before booking a campsite at San Elijo State Beach.

Tips for Camping at San Elijo Sate Beach in San Diego

beach campfire San Elijo

1. Book early! The online reservations go live at midnight in January. Campers wait up till all hours to jump on sites they like. The summer months fill up really fast but you can always take a chance on a walk up reservation for a site that may have had a last minute cancellation.

sandcastle San Elijo

2. If you can, walk the campground, or have someone do it for you. Some sites are definitely better than others. We usually have 5-6 tents on one site and need to make sure we've got one of the largest lots. Decide ahead of time if you want an ocean view, need to be near the showers, want to be close to the stairs leading down to the beach or near the mini amphitheater.

3. Stingrays and jelly fish are pretty common on that stretch of beach. Make sure you know first aid for those types of stings.

sunset San Elijo

4. There aren't really any banks or ATM's nearby (except for 7-11) so have plenty of small bills on hand for shower tokens and Bull Taco.

5. Be prepared for pests. Squirrels are a menace. All your food should be in plastic totes with lids. Go to the dollar store and buy several of the largest ground cinnamon containers you can find. Sprinkle it on the ground around your site to help keep ants at bay.

6. The campground has covered up the electrical outlets outside the bathrooms. Invest in some type of solar or backup chargers for your devices or be prepared to schlep your things across the street to Starbucks to juice up everyday.

Since I leave the campground at night to sleep in my own bed, veteran campers probably have better tips than these.

What is your best advice to prepare for a camping trip?

This is post six in a series of sponsored posts for the San Diego Honda Dealers Association.   


  1. One of my favorite Staycations! We usually rent an RV to stay there, so the squirrels were never an issue. VG Donuts and Las Olas(best nachos anywhere) were childhood staples! I am oozing with envy at your time at San Elijo! Thanks for sharing and Good for You! xoxo

    1. If we had an RV, I know I would enjoy my time there more. Four walls and a private potty make a huge difference!


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