If you’ve never had the pleasure of camping on a beach, then you need to plan a beach camping trip—stat! Bonfires by the water, falling asleep to the sound of crashing waves, and being treated to sunrises and sunsets like you wouldn’t believe.
There’s no doubt about it: camping on a beach is an incredible experience—yet it’s also a little different than your typical camping trip. Here are a few factors to plan for on your beach-side camping adventure.
Keep Your Eye on the Tide
If you’re lucky enough to stake out a spot by the ocean, don’t just pitch your tent anywhere—or else you risk waking up to water seeping into your tent as high tide creeps in. Look for the high tide line—debris from the ocean, like seaweed, is a telltale sign of where you can expect the water to come. Give yourself plenty of room by pitching your tent a way’s up from the high tide line to avoid surprises.
Be Mindful of Your Waste
Whether you’re camping on the ocean, a lake, or a river, the water in front you is home to some fragile ecosystems. Dumping your waste carelessly is a beach camping faux pas, so mind your manners: know how to dump essential waste correctly, and always carry out your trash. Camp toilets should be dug at least 100 feet away from the water, and the hole should be at least 6 inches deep. Avoid using dish soap—rubbing with sand usually does the trick.
Keep Your Belongings Organized
Stuff sacks and zippered plastic baggies are your best friends when it comes to camping on the beach—that’s because sand can get everywhere. To avoid the presence of sand in every single belonging that you brought with you, keep everything organized and properly stored in separate compartments. This especially applies to food: trust us, there’s nothing worse than take a big bite of oatmeal that is unexpectedly gritty.
Camping on the beach can get a little soggy, even if there isn’t a single cloud in the sky. Fog, mist, humidity, and ocean spray can dampen your stuff, so be sure to put a waterproof fly on your tent. During the day, lay damp clothes, sleeping bags, and other items in the hot sun to dry them out.
Don’t Forget Your Sleeping Pad
Sand might seem like the perfect soft surface for slumber—but its lumpiness and bumpiness can actually be quite uncomfortable if you choose to forego a sleeping pad. Remember, not all beaches are sandy—you’ll be doubly thankful to have a good sleeping pad if you happen to set up camp on a more rocky, rugged beach.
Master the Tent Take-Down Shake-Out
When it comes time to taking down the tent, pull out the pegs and unzip the doors. Lift the tent in the air, flip it on its side so one of the doors is facing down, and shake it like a Polaroid picture. You’d be amazed at how much sand can amass into all of the tent’s nooks and crannies. Have a buddy help you roll up the tent to put it away so that you don’t have to lay in down in the sand and negate the efforts of your shake-out.
Maintain a “No Shoes in the Tent” Policy
Keeping sandy shoes on the outside of the tent will make the previous step that much easier. Of course, when your campsite comprises of soft sand, it’s tempting to go barefoot. Go ahead and peel off your shoes—just be sure to dust your feet very carefully before setting foot inside the tent. Bonus: it’s an exfoliating treatment that would challenge the services of any spa.