Start packing the nylon and get ready to cast a line, we’ve stumbled across the best beach camping spots in NSW, complete with uninterrupted views of good old fashioned Mother Nature.
Now don’t expect wifi, room service or cute chocolates left on your pillows; but do expect early morning swims, no crowds, the sunrise from your tent and all the wildlife. Just note, COVID-safe conditions are now in place for camping around NSW, so some of these sites now require you to book and pay a small fee. Make sure you check in with what’s happening via the campsite's website or NSW National Parks.
Here are the best spots for beach camping in NSW.
Myall Lakes National Park
You’ll find this famous campground located inside Myall Lakes National Park (one of the most beautiful areas in NSW to watch a sunset). You’ll be sorted for activities with swimming, fishing, boating, snorkelling, and scuba diving all on the cards here. There are only five campsites on the island and very basic facilities (so bring lots of fresh drinking water with you). You’ll also want to make sure you book and pre-pay before heading to Broughton to secure your spot (and our suggestion is to try and score one of the spots on the elevated wooden deck). Being an island too, it’s only accessible by boat. If you’re not captaining your own, pre-arranged transfer services are available.
Trial Bay Gaol Campground
Arakoon National Park
Trial Bay Gaol Campground is the type of beachside camping in NSW that dreams are made of. You’ll be spoiled with epic facilities at this one, with some powered sites available, camp kitchens (with cooktops, fridges, freezers and microwaves), laundry facilities, flush toilets (a true luxury), barbeques, the Trial Bay Kiosk, drinking water plus hot showers as well. Nearby, you’ll want to make sure you tick a swim at Front Beach, a walk on the Bridle Trail and a hike to the top of Captain Cook’s lookout off your list.
Diamond Head Campground
Crowdy Bay National Park
This mega beach campsite is loaded with 75 different campsites to land (all perfect for tents, camper trailers and caravans). Here, it’s all about the ocean views and black pillars of Spilt Rock. There are a number of beautiful walking trails around the area too—a local favourite is the 4.8km Diamond Head Loop Walk. If you’re a morning person, it’s also worth noting that Diamond Head Beach gets all the salty sea spray at dawn, which makes walking along the beach at sunrise pretty damn magical.
Woody Head Campground
Bundjalung National Park
Woody Head is an underrated beachside camp spot on the North Coast. The beauty of this campground is that it has 94 campsites all protected by bushland and picnic tables literally a few metres from the shoreline (yes, breakfast here is next level). There are a couple of rock platforms, rainforests and shallow reefs that are worth checking out and a designated group camping area for when you’re keen to bring your whole crew up the coast.
Waking up on the beach is never a bad idea. Ever. Grab your tents and sleeping bags, The Farm, as the locals call it, is a coastal reserve and top surfing beach with stunning views in all directions. Plus, if you’re up for a little adventure, there’s non-stop solid surf, and picnic areas giving you 360-degree views of Killalea, fishing and plenty of hikes to do.
Wake-up to the incredible surrounds of Bouddi National Park, which means the sounds of wildlife and gentle breeze through the treetops. Just a short drive up to the Central Coast, The Putty Beach campground (located in the national park) is just a few steps away from the sandy shores but still feels like a bush camping spot. By the way, it’s a top spot to swim in rock pools, fish and hike. And we highly suggest you do the Bouddi coastal walk (yeah, it’s ten times better than Bondi to Bronte), which takes you all the way to Gerrin Point lookout. On the side, mobile coverage exists at this campground which means you’ll be able to spam everyone with those coastal views.
Just north of Bateman’s Bay, Durras is a campsite like no other with the main beach pretty much stretching as far as the eye can see. You could probably explore it for an entire weekend (and we think you should). Because the shores and rocks stretch so far, you’ll be in for some insane sunset views and perfect conditions for kayaking every day. This is one of NSW's best secret campgrounds so you’ll only ever share the beach with a handful of people and take it from us; bicycles are the way to go when it comes to making your way around. There’s a large widescreen outdoor TV theatre to watch movies on, and they also offer a “kangaroo guarantee”, meaning if you see no kangas, you get your money back. We almost hope you don't see any so you score a free camping trip.
Pitch a tent right near The Basin lagoon, famous for its refreshing waters, picture-perfect views and turquoise water. This is one of Sydney’s most popular beach camping spots and for a damn good reason too. Fires are permitted (but only in designated wood BBQ or fire pits), which means s’mores will definitely be happening. You can get to The Basin campground only by ferry from Palm Beach Wharf.
Coledale Beach gives happy campers like yourselves fantastic views of the waves and is sandwiched between rocks, which means you can set up camp without the Wollongong winds. Coledale is the ultimate spot to live on the beach for a few days, with a heap of water sports and activities to do, plus dolphins and whales make regular visits year-round. And if you’re keen to bring your furry friends, Sharkey's Beach located to the south is an off-leash dog-friendly beach.
If you’re after pristine, uninterrupted views that kind of look like you spent all your dosh and jetted off to the Maldives, this one’s for you. Honeymoon Bay campground is set in a picturesque location in Jervis Bay. Camping space is available on a first-in-first-served basis and in peak summer, the campgrounds are allocated by ballot. But it’s totally worth it to score some front-row seats to the white sands and clear water of this private enclosure by camping at this NSW gem.
You get two for the price of one at Patonga. Cue a beach on one side and a creek to explore on the other. And there is no shortage of amenities with the Patonga campsite, which means access to electric BBQs (because there’s nothing worse than uncooked sausages), hot showers, a laundromat, tennis court hire and a nearby fish and chip shop (for when you burn the sausages). This secluded little bay lies at the mouth of the Hawkesbury River and has powered and unpowered sites up for grabs.
Booderee National Park
So. Much. Wildlife. Booderee National Park is ideal for bird watching (should you ever want to see a Tawny Frogmouth or two), whale watching, fishing, hiking, kayaking, swimming and diving. There are various camping sites depending on your setup; Green Patch is ideal for families and small groups; the grassy area at Cave Beach is a popular spot for surfers; and if you like a campground with facilities (by that we mean you’re a fan of taps and such) Bristol Point caters for you and is suitable for large groups too. Boating or kayaking gives you easy access to some great little beaches past St Georges Head, as well as some stunning views of the sea cliffs as you pass Cape St George lighthouse. You’ll also want to spend some time at Murrays Beach to spot all of the marine life.
Looking to get away on the cheap? Here are the best free camping spots in NSW.
Image credit: Luis Muzquiz, Luke Bender, Şahin Yeşilyaprak, Robert Bye