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“Bluff Sites: No Privacy, No Oceanview, Freeway Noise”

San Onofre State Beach
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Attraction details
Owner description: Popular with swimmers and surfers, this state park features 3.5 miles of sandy beaches.
San Diego, California
Level 6 Contributor
94 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 125 helpful votes
“Bluff Sites: No Privacy, No Oceanview, Freeway Noise”
Reviewed July 20, 2009

We were able to get a spot for a night of tent camping. The campgrounds along the beaches fill up fast in the summer and are booked up in advance. It seems it may be easy to get a Fri night spot if you live close by and don't mind one night of camping.

We have camped at Carlsbad State Beach and was expecting this place to be similiar. There are 2 areas for camping, bluff sites and a separate site called San Mateo. We camped at a bluff site.

There is no privacy when camping here, you are right next to people and everyone can see you. Try to get an end spot in a section if possible. There really isn't a view of the ocean, you can see it in the distance, especially if you are in the higher numbered spots. We had spot 117. Our spot was also exposed to freeway noise. Some of the other spots have higher bush lines on the other side to hide the freeway. When we were leaving, we tried to determine if any sites would be better and determined sites in the 50s and 60s might be better. These sites weren't exposed to the freeway and may have had a better oceanview.

You can get down to the beach by walking on the several trails. We were in between trail 5 and 6. 5 was a steeper trail. The beach is popular for surfers and there are lifeguard towers at the end of each trail. Walk in either direction away from the trails if you want to get away from some of the crowd.

There are flush toliets and showers on the outside of the toliets. Showers for mostly rinsing off sand. 2 sinks are at each restroom area, no soap or towels.

I love camping and would consider camping here again if no other campgrounds are available, but I definitely prefer Carlsbad! I wouldn't recommend this place to anyone tent camping that enjoys space and privacy and quiet.

7 Thank FreqTravelers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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123 reviews from our community

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English first
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“A Jewel!”
Reviewed November 5, 2008

Decided to see what San Onofre was all about after a court battle was won to keep the far end of the beach free for naturist use. Using the directions from my handy guide book, "The World's Best Nude Beaches and Resorts" I found the beach with no problems. Despite seeing a no nudity sign (not true) I visited on September 15, 2008. It's a short walk down trail 6, then to the far end of the beach but boy what a treat when you arrive! Friendly people, beautiful surf, unique shore line, all au naturel…a girl can't ask for much more than that! Would visit again in a heart beat.

8 Thank Carmen699
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, CA
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Absolutely one the the worst places to camp”
Reviewed January 9, 2008

My friends and I made reservations for this campsite through the reserve America website. Their description of the place said somthing along the lines of beach view camping with ample space, etc. As such we were pretty excited to spend a weekend camping by the beach. Boy were we surprised when we finally arrived. Our camp site was nothing more than a large parking lot and their idea of beach view was nothing more that a few glimpses of the ocean that you could see from behind some tall brush. Furthermore, the beach itself was a good two miles away from the camp site. To make matters worse, all the camp sites at this park run right next to a railroad track which in turn runs next to a freeway. So forget about any thoughts of hearing the waves crashing on the beach. Instead you'll hear the constant whizzing of the cars passing by with the occasional frieght train which in our experience tended to pass by just in time to wake you up in the middle of the night. The actual site where we put up the tent was so small that our medium sized four man tent would not fit completely and we had to ask permission from our neighbor to use a bit of their area.

While all of the above shortcomings may be things that you can deal with, the Nazi-like park rangers left a bad taste in our mouths to never want to set foot in this park again. I don't know what caused the rangers at this park to have such a bad attitude, perhaps they were dealing with punk kids all day. Regardless, their attitude toward us and most of other campers was very rude and unprofessional to say the least.

In conclusion, unless you have a sound proof RV and a very thick skin, don't bother with this park. If you like beach camping try the campground in Carpenteria, CA, it is a much better place to camp.

8 Thank Lovetocamp22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Beautiful beach with nude option”
Reviewed August 4, 2007

The first time I went there, I walked down from the first parking area around the power plant to the other end. Eventually I reached the nude area. I found it to be a beach where you can take very long walks. The nude area stretches in to the Camp Pendelton area. You may be asked to go back north if they are having a military function. When it ends everyone goes back. Rather than walk a very long way back on the beach, I went to the top where the last parking areawas. People were nice enough there that I got a ride back to the first area with little trouble. You do have to go down to the beach but nothing like black's beach descent. The people at the nude area take care of themselves to some degree in keeping things civil. Gawkers are not made to feel welcome if they stare to much. Several men ran one off when he sat and made their wives uncomfortable. This was the first place I ever saw people surfing nude. Is it better than black's-why compare. They are both nice. One suggestion. Get there early-by 9 am-if you want to get a parking space near the nude end. They fill rapidly. The eye candy at this beach is wonderful. A clean, beautiful beach that stretches for miles.

20 Thank dm5401
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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