Beach Camping has its pros and cons. For Jim and me, it’s almost heaven. We’re currently parked on the sand at Brazoria County Beach near Surfside Beach, Texas. We like to head for this part of Texas as the weather starts to turn cold.
The Best Reasons to Beach Camp
There are lots of reasons to love camping on the beach. Here are just a few:
- Beach Camping is often free or very inexpensive. Free always works for us. Brazoria County Beach is one of those free beaches. Right next door is Surfside Beach. Camping in this beach requires an annual “beach pass” that costs $12/year and can be purchased at many of the stores in town. That’s not bad for up to 14 days of camping.
- Beach Camping is peaceful. There’s nothing quite like falling asleep to the roar of the waves. In fact, they actually sell tapes of ocean wave sounds to help with insomnia.
- You usually don’t have close neighbors. Beaches usually have lots of space for campers to spread out.
- You can park anywhere you like, assuming you pay attention to the tides. If you have neighbors that you don’t like, simply move down the beach.
- Depending on the time of year, enjoy a quick swim. There usually aren’t lifeguards on duty so always swim with a buddy. Rip tides are unseen hazards on many beaches and can catch you unaware. We see planes several times a day that fly over the coastline looking for sharks. If they see any too close to the shore they alert rangers and beaches will be closed.
- Not a swimmer? Walk barefoot in the sand and shallow water. It’s good exercise to walk in the sand and against the resistance of the water.
- You can cast your fishing line from the shore or a nearby pier. Be sure to purchase a fishing license first as they are required in most placed. There’s nothing like fresh fish for dinner.
- Did I mention how peaceful beach camping is?
The Ugly side of Beach Camping
It wouldn’t be fair not to tell you about the ugly side of beach camping. And there is an ugly side.
- Sand, sand, sand, everywhere there’s sand! It comes in on your feet, it comes in with your dogs, and it blows in your open windows. On this beach it’s so fine that it leaks from our vacuum cleaner bag when we try to vacuum it up. My face even feels sandy after a walk on the beach.
- Beaches are often windy and, sometimes, very, very windy. Too much wind makes relaxing outside uncomfortable, to say the least.
- Beach hair is the worst. The wind can really do a number on your hair. Now add that it’s a salty spray coating your hair. And, of course, you’re camping without any hookups so you’re somewhat limited on how often you can wash your hair without exhausting your water supply and filling your gray tank.
- The salty spray of the beach coats everything: Your car, your RV, your sunglasses. Everything! Salt can be very corrosive so you’ll want to wash your car and RV when you leave the beach.
- Like most dispersed camping areas, stays are limited to 14 days. You can’t live on the beach forever.
- Trash can be a problem. Like many dispersed camping sites, bad campers often leave their trash behind. Some of it blows in the wind. Some of it comes in with the tide. We always spend some time picking up trash whenever we camp on a beach. Please be a courteous camper and pack out all of your trash. Many public beaches, like Brazoria County Beach, have dumpsters or trash cans for your use. If we don’t take care of dispersed camping areas they will soon all be closed to campers.
- Partying people can also be a problem on a beach. Particularly in the warm summer months, people like to enjoy the beach for a day. They bring children, dogs, music, liquor, and . . . you get the idea. Sometimes it can get a little unruly. The good side is they usually leave when the sun goes down.
- The constantly changing tides can present a serious problem if you don’t pay attention. The tides roll in and out during the day depending on the stages of the moon. It’s extremely important that you are aware of high tides when you’re beach camping. You should also be aware that storms can cause the waves to pound higher than usual on the shoreline. During a storm at a different beach, we actually had another camper knock on our door at 1:00 a.m. We thought we had parked our two-wheel tow dolly in a safe place but it was floating away. Yikes! We learned our lesson.
- An usual problem on this beach was blowing sand. It literally blew out from around our levelers and tires. After a few days we had to move a couple of feet and reset our stabilizers.
Okay. It does seem like I’ve listed a lot more cons than pros when it comes to beach camping. But did I mention how peaceful it is? I’m listening to the sound of the waves crashing on the beach as I write this post. There’s nothing quite like it. We deal with the cons of beach camping in exchange for falling to asleep to the sound of the waves crashing, one after another.