There’s something about camping that brilliantly suits surfing. Telling stories around a campfire after a day of fun waves has always been a big part of the lifestyle of the sport.
We have found the best campsites for surfing, where a simple zip of the tent can give you a view of some of the world’s best waves and most stunning coastal scenery.
Byron Bay, Australia
Although surrounded by beautiful bushland and wildlife, and little more than a quarter mile to stunning Clarkes Beach, this campsite is also only a few minutes’ walk from the center of Byron Bay in New South Wales. Over the crashing waves and singing kookaburras, you can (just about) hear the hiss of the cappuccino machines and the twang of live music coming from town.
Byron Bay is known as one of the best surf towns in the world (for good reason), and the pitches, caravans and cabins offer easy access to the area’s incredible waves. Tent sites start at $35 a night for two, proving that paradise can still come cheap.
Jalama Beach County Park, California
Located at the end of the twisting 14-mile-long Jalama Road, California’s Jalama Beach County Park has chunky, shifty, quality beachbreak waves that break right in front of the campground. Only an hour away from Santa Barbara, the 109 campsites (all overlooking the ocean or beachfront) are in high demand and operate on a first-come, first-served basis.
It offers basic amenities such as picnic tables and fire rings, but comes with a cool California vibe and great waves, especially in the mornings before the wind comes up. And if campfire food proves too much like hard work, head to the Jalama Beach Store & Grill for their legendary burgers.
Mundaka’s campground hovers high on the hill overlooking one of the best left-handers in Europe, but the wave tends to break mainly in winter.
However, with this Basque town packing more charm, tapas and party-per-person than any other surf town in Europe, you won’t need the river-mouth break to be working in order to have a great time.
The beachbreaks of Bakio are also only 5 miles to the south, while France is a two-hour drive to the north. The rates depend on the season, but you can either pitch a tent on the grass terrace for only $8 per adult a night or go for a two-bed bungalow for $75.
Hanalei Bay, Kauai
At 2 miles long, Hanalei is the largest bay on Kauai. The long half moon of golden sand is backed by 4,000-foot-high green mountains split by incredible waterfalls.
Camping is available at Black Pot Beach on the weekends at the bay’s eastern end near the pier, although a permit is required.
Here, the large grass lawn fronting the beach and the ironwood trees provide plenty of shady spots to relax. There are a number of world-class waves located within Hanalei Bay, as well great beginner waves, and Black Pot tends to be more protected from the large and dangerous winter swells.
Margaret River, Western Australia
Prevelly Caravan Park is located just a few minutes from the famous Margaret River Main Break, and its self-contained cottages, cabins, vans and campsites are set among a shady and spacious bush property.
Within 3 miles are some of the world’s best waves and some of Western Australia’s most stunning coastal scenery. There is also a general store and liquor store onsite. Campfires are allowed and your neighbors will often consist of grazing kangaroos.
If surfing and kangaroo watching isn’t your thing, immerse yourself in the nearby premium wineries, fine restaurants and spectacular forests. Again, prices are season-dependent, but you can get all this for starting at $9 a night per adult for a pitch.
French campsites as a rule are well maintained with great facilities and excellent cafés, pools and shops on site. Hossegor is about 100 miles south of Bordeaux in the Les Landes area of southern (Basque) France, and there are half a dozen campgrounds all within 1 mile of the beach.
The town itself is small but vibrant, especially in summer and fall, and it’s a melting pot for surfers from all over the world. It’s in these campgrounds, over croissants, baguettes and wine, that many friendships have been forged for life.
Raglan, New Zealand
A short walk from the world-famous surf of Manu Bay and Ngarunui Beach, Solscape is located on 10 acres of native bush at the foot of Mt. Karioi, with breathtaking views over the Tasman Sea in Raglan.
Solscape says the grounds are “designed as a place for rest, rejuvenation and playful inspiration, to nurture our connection with each other and the natural world.” It also hosts the Solscape Surf School, which can kit you out and provide the keys to the world-famous left-hand pointbreak at Raglan.