Carlsbad State Beach


Carlsbad State Beach, or what the locals call Tamarack Surf Beach, is a long expansive beach that is perfect for any van or RV nomad looking to spend the day on the beach. It allows you to park your van alongside Carlsbad Boulevard and stare at the ocean. It offers surfing, fishing, volleyball courts, restrooms, showers, and everything else. 


Carlsbad State Beach stretches for a few miles along Carlsbad Boulevard State Route 21. It is one of my favorite beaches to hang out on for the day.  The beach offers swimming, surfing, scuba diving, fishing, and paddleboarding.

Brochure: San Diego Coast State Parks Brochure

It can be a little confusing, but there is a South Carlsbad State Beach. This is where the main campground is located, and it’s around 3 miles south of Carlsbad State Beach.


Within Carlsbad State Beach, there are a few beaches. There are sidewalks and paved paths that traverse the entire length between all the beaches and offer an excellent place to run or walk. 

  • Robert Frazee Beach is the northern section
  • Tamarack Beach is the middle section
  • Carlsbad Beach over the estuary bridge to the south


Carlsbad State Beach is a west-facing beach break that has consistent surf. Summer is the best time with Southwest swells, and the winds are normally offshore.

There are a few companies that offer group or private surf lessons. This is a good place to learn to surf.


The majority of parking is located on Carlsbad Boulevard between Cherry and Hemlock Ave and south past the estuary bridge. There is a parking lot at Tamarack and Carlsbad Ave, but it fills up quickly and doesn’t allow RVs.

There is also a small parking lot located at Oak Avenue and Ocean Street at Robert Frazee Beach. It has a small park that has benches that overlook the ocean.

  • Free Parking along the Carlsbad Boulevard
  • Parking Lot Hours: 5:00am- 10:00pm

It’s a privilege to have Carlsbad State Beach for our enjoyment, so please practice Leave No Trace principles.


  • The beach is located on Carlsbad Boulevard, Highway S21 at Tamarack in Carlsbad between Pine Ave and Cannon Rd.

References and Links:


San Elijo State Beach

San Elijo State Beach is a good place for any van or RV nomad looking to visit or camp at the beach. The beach is long and wide and is a good place to go surfing. The campground offers many campsites from hookup to dry camping. There is a shower, restroom, and visitor center.

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