Summer Hacks: Beach Camping

Getting around the laws that make overnight seaside camping frustratingly difficult

beach camping regulations fishing seaside fire sand

    Photo: Dudarev Mikhail

Embraced by the sound of crashing waves, awash in indescribable sunsets, camping on the beach can be a blast. It can also be real pain in the butt when it comes to getting around oddball regulations and restrictions. Here's how to find those loopholes in the law:

Regulation: No camping
Workaround:
Go fishing
On Cape Cod and North Carolina’s Cape Hatteras, you can stay out all night—as long as you’re fishing. Clamp Bass Pro Shops’ PVC Coated Rod Holder ($5) to your 4x4 so you can relax in the bed and still have a line out.

Regulation: No tents on the sand
Workaround:
Reserve an oceanfront campsite
Many coastal state parks have a few choice sites just off the beach. Every site in the Sandspur Loop at Bahia Honda State Park, in the Florida Keys, will make you feel like you’re in the Maldives ($36 per night). In California, campsite 64 in 24-acre Jalama County Park, 170 miles north of L.A., is as good as the Golden State gets ($23 per night).

Regulation: No rental RVs
Workaround:
Go to Texas
Most National Seashore beaches don’t allow rental RVs. Padre Island, outside Corpus Christi, permits them along the first five miles of white- sand beaches south of park headquarters. Snag one from Cruise America (from $150 a day).

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