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Camp on These Top Beaches

Beaches are a favorite place for swimming, surfing, and soaking up the sun. Did you know you can also camp on the beach? Grab your tent and sleeping bag and get ready to fall asleep the sound of waves crashing! Here are a few places in the United States where you can camp oceanside.

P.J. Hoffmaster State Park, Michigan

Take in the beauty of Lake Michigan at P.J. Hoffmaster State Park, which has three miles of shoreline, hiking and skiing trails, and a popular climb that leads to the top of a sand dune and observation deck with stunning views, according to the Pure Michigan tourism website. Travelers can also enjoy swimming, hiking, nature-watching, and interpretive nature programs. Face masks are required in indoor public spaces, and travelers are asked to practice social distancing and bring hand sanitizer.

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Hunting Island, South Carolina

Hunting Island boasts five miles of shoreline, a lagoon, and ocean inlet, according to the Beaufort, South Carolina website. Hunting Island State Park is the state’s most popular state park and has more than one million visitors each year, the South Carolina State Parks website stated. Known for its natural beauty and wildlife, it also offers one of the state’s only publicly-accessible lighthouses. Climb to the top, 130 feet high, and you’re treated to a gorgeous panoramic view of the coast. Hunting Island has more than 100 campgrounds. Beachside camping is permitted on the north end of the state park, near the ocean.

See for camping reservations and additional information.

Assateague Island, Maryland and Virginia.

The 37-mile long island is perhaps best known for the wild horses that inhabit it. How the feral horses came to live in Assateague is still unknown, according to the National Park Service (NPS) website, however, they are most likely descendants of horses brought to the barrier islands, like Assateague, by mainland farmers in the late 17th century. Today, the horses formed two herds, one that lives on the Virginia side and another on the Maryland side.

Other Assateague Island highlights, according to Frommer’s travel guide, include the Assateague Island Lighthouse, the Chincoteague Pony Center, and the area beaches. The beaches in both Maryland and Virginia sides of the island are open for normal recreational activities, according to the NPS website.

Camping is available only on the Maryland side of the island, but campers have lots of options! There are oceanside drive-in and walk-in options, including for tents, trailers, and recreational vehicles, bayside drive-in for tents, trailers, and recreational vehicles, and two campsites for horse camping! In addition to camping, visitors who get a permit can also drive on some sections of the beach.

Sonoma Coast State Park, Sonoma County, California

Sonoma Coast State Park is one of the state’s “scenic attractions,” the California Department of Parks and Recreation stated. Travelers can look forward to the Sonoma Coast’s long beaches, secluded coves, rock bluffs, colonies of harbor seals, and opportunities for surf fishing and beachcombing. The state park is 17 miles-long, consisting of several beaches.

Camping is open again at Sonoma Coast State Park, although group campsites are closed. Picnic areas and congregating high-use areas are also closed. Visitors are advised to practice social distancing and stay at least six feet away from others. Parties, including picnics and parties, are not allowed, and visitors will be asked to leave if there are too many people to allow for social distancing, according to the Parks website.

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