Camping Baja's Best Beaches

The White Sands of Mexico's Pristine Peninsula
By Fred Jones & Gloria Jones
Evening on the beach in Baja
Evening on the beach in Baja

Beach camping is one of Baja's great attractions. The fascination of surf washing on to mile after mile of lovely white sand, the call of seabirds and the splashing of pelicans, the spicy salt-tinged ocean air, cool breezes, and seclusion draw people from all over the world to these beaches. Many are accessible only to four-wheel-drive vehicles, while others may be reached by boat alone. Getting to some constitutes high adventure. The brief survey that follows includes popular camping spots normally accessible by highway vehicles, including mid-size motor homes and trailers.

After crossing the border, the special necessities you bring with you become more precious. In the cities of Baja you can find almost anything if you have the time to shop, but asking and searching can be time-consuming. In our experience it is easier to bring items that are hard to find, saving and conserving them by using greater care than we might have at home — would that we could bring this frame of mind back with us.

Unless you have a great deal of experience backpacking in the desert, we do not recommend backpacking in Baja. If you get too far away from the car, even in the mountains, you may encounter a water problem. It is easy to forget that this is an arid peninsula with limited water resources; finding them may take local knowledge. It is also dry and can be numbingly hot, especially during the summer months. Our overall recommendation is that you visit during the rest of the year.

Keep in mind that conditions in Baja change frequently. The campgrounds are in a continuing state of flux. New ones pop up and existing ones disappear as they are taken over for other types of development. Heavy rains may wipe out a road temporarily or even permanently. Never go off the beaten track without checking locally on whether your particular vehicle is suitable for driving on that terrain at that particular time. Nothing is more miserable than getting stuck or breaking down in a remote spot. Remember that there has always been an unwritten code among locals and tourists alike that you aid anyone in trouble.

That much said, the Baja possesses many miles of some of the most lovely and unspoiled beaches in the world. The water is warm and gentle, the scenery much like it was before Cortiz arrived. The loveliness and tranquility are unsurpassed.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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