San Onofre State Beach is a rare 3,000-acre scenic coastal-canyon park with high environmental values and recreation use. The park includes three distinct areas: San Onofre Bluffs, San Onofre Surf Beach, and San Mateo Campground.
San Onofre Bluffs offers camping and day-use parking along Old Highway 101 adjacent to the sandstone bluffs. The beach below is popular with swimmers and surfers with six rugged dirt access trails cut into the bluff above. All campsites include a fire pit and picnic table. The campground offers cold outdoor showers and chemical toilets. No hookups are available however there is a dump-station.
San Onofre Surf Beach offers a world renowned and historical surf break. The beach is strictly available for day-use with no camping. Chemical toilets and a limited number of fire pits are available. ALCOHOL IS NO LONGER PERMITTED.
San Onofre - San Mateo Campground lies a short distance inland from the 3.5-miles of sandy beaches within San Onofre State Beach. A 1.5-mile Nature Trail connects the campground to Trestles Beach, a world class surfing site. San Mateo Creek flows just east of the campground outward towards the ocean creating key riparian and wetland habitats which host some rare and even endangered species. All campsites include a fire pit and picnic table. Hookup sites are available with electricity and water. Other amenities includes a dump-station, hot indoor showers, and flush toilets. Camping is available year-round.
San Onofre State Beach has two campground areas. We stayed at the 3 mile long beach campground along the ocean so that is the part I am reviewing. Campsites are small and close together. There are tons of bicyclists coming through all day right in front of the sites so watch out. If you have a dog, they are allowed on the trails and beach but only on trail 1 and 6. Most of the beach is pretty rocky especially by the water. We went on trail 1 and there were some spots that weren't too rocky. Trail 6 beach area is very rocky. You will likely want to bring some water shoes because of the rocks but also there are stingrays that you can step on and will hurt. You are supposed to shuffle your feet so water shoes should help. There are a lot of surfers here so it is a very good surfing spot. There are about two camp sections where you can see the ocean from your site and the others have a dirt hill directly behind. I don't believe they have showers as we didn't see any. A bundle of wood is $7 and is cash only so come prepared. The water was on the cool side but we were able to swim without a wet suit. I thought we would be able to hear the ocean from our site but we could not as it's apparently too far away (a small hike). We could certainly hear the trains though which zoom by on the other side of the road all day.