Beach Camping 101 Preparing For A Vacation In Paradise

Expert Advice

Beach Camping 101

Our very first RV trip was to the Outer Banks in North Carolina, and we have returned to those same beautiful beaches many times over the past 6 years. Beach camping is an annual tradition for our family. Even though we love hiking in the mountains and kayaking on lakes, there is something about sun, waves, and sand that relaxes and rejuvenates us more than anything else.

The key to enjoying a great beach camping getaway is being prepared for the elements. Sand, water, sun, and wind can ruin your camping experience if you do not have the right gear. This beach camping guide will ensure that you can enjoy paradise when you park your RV at the shore.


Sand has ruined many beach camping trips by getting into every nook and cranny of the RV.  Here are some ways to keep the sand on the beach where it belongs:

  • Always pack separate beach and bath towels to avoid bringing sand into the RV. Hang up beach towels outside and bath towels inside.
  • Do not allow any shoes in the RV. Keep a small tub of water by the door to rinse feet before coming inside.
  • Invest in a nice outdoor rug and broom. Sweep off the rug daily.
  • Use the outdoor shower if your RV has one. If not, bring a splitter and attach an extra hose to the water spigot at your campsite for a quick rinse off.
  • Bring separate beach and camping chairs. Once you are showered and changed, you will want to sit around the fire without getting sandy again.


If you don’t bring the right gear for splashing in the waves, you may find yourself shopping in one of those expensive sundry stores. Here is what you need to bring:

  • Always pack at least two swimsuits. No one likes putting on a wet suit for an afternoon swim.
  • Invest in quality rash guards that will protect you from the sun. They will also ease the sting while you practice your professional body surfing moves.
  • Make sure you pack a clothesline to hang up those wet bathing suits and towels. We adore the ones that attach to the RV.
  • If you have younger children, pack an inflatable baby pool. Often the surf may be too rough or the water too cold for the little ones. Splashing in a baby pool on the beach will keep them happy for hours.


The sun may feel like heaven when you first arrive, but if you don’t pack the proper protection you might be calling it quits after a few days at the beach. Stay safe and stock up on these items:

  • Sunscreen will be much more affordable when you buy it at home rather than in an expensive tourist shop. Make sure you get a water-resistant, high SPF.
  • Make sure everyone in the family has comfortable, breathable hats that can be worn all day.
  • Invest in a pop-up shade room that will offer shelter from the sun while still allowing you to enjoy the view and the breezes.
  • Bring an umbrella or two for shaded breaks while hanging out on the beach.


Although ocean breezes can keep you cool, often the winds whip up without warning along the coast. Here are some tips for making sure your belongings don’t take flight.

  • Never leave your RV awning extended while camping at the beach. We have seen many RVs lose their awnings in a single, sudden gust of wind.
  • Pin everything down. Stake those outdoor carpets, clip on the tablecloth, and put the napkins in a caddy.
  • Beach umbrella anchors are an inexpensive way to ensure you don’t end up chasing your umbrella down the shoreline.

We definitely pack a lot more gear when we are heading out on a beach camping adventure. But we find that being prepared means we enjoy our time in the sun instead of feeling beaten down by the elements. Once you have your base camp set up, there is only one other item you will need: an ice-cold drink with an umbrella in it.

Jeremy Puglisi

The RV Atlas

Jeremy and Stephanie Puglisi are the co-hosts of the weekly RV Atlas and Campground of the Week podcasts and the RV Atlas blog. They are also the authors of See You at the Campground: A Guide to Discovering Community, Connection, and a Happier Family in the Great Outdoors, and Where Should We Camp Next: A 50 State Guide to Amazing Campgrounds and other Unique Outdoor Accommodations, and the Acadia National Park Adventure Guide. After buying their very first pop-up camper more than 10 years ago, Jeremy and Stephanie caught the RV bug in a big way, and now spend over 70 nights a year in their travel trailer with their three sons, Theo, Max, and Wes, and sweet Maggie the pup. You can follow along on their adventures (and misadventures) over at RV Atlas.