Camping Sunset State Beach

The beach is right over this hill.
Click to reserve your stay.

Sunset State Beach is one I frequent as it is open year round, there are facilities, and beautiful serene beaches.  You can pay at the kiosk at the camp entrance and it is $35.  If you reserve online you will save the hassle of hunting for an open spot and the chance you will not find a spot for the price of $8.50.
You can reserve online at Reserve America and it will cost you $43.50. There is a tent only section, so if you plan on sleeping in your vehicle make sure you have a back-in spot reserved. I thought the tent only site would be cheaper, but it appears to be the same price on the website.
Wooden plank trail to the top of the ridge.
 I arrived at my camp site at about 4 pm.  I set up camp and went for a little hike along the beach.  I knew I wanted to spend more time at the beach than the peak so I went to the peak first. It was very windy so I didn't spend much time there. 

It was all downhill to the beach from there.  With the exception of the small dune hill by the picnic area. Once you come over the hill you see the ocean.  It was mostly cloudy and slightly windy.  The light made patterns over the water and made the horizon look an ominously grey. The sun felt good and there were very few people on the beach.  I laid in the sand for about an hour listening to the surf. 

The ocean over the crest.

Ah.. da sea!

Removed part of my hardtop
 to enjoy the clouds.
Cold dark night. Perfect for a campfire.
I was in the mood for an afternoon nap so I went back to camp, popped open the roof, and took a nap for an hour and a half.  I woke up just in time for sunset, but it had become so cloudy that there was no obvious sunset.  Just grey to pitch black. There were no stars or moon so I decided it would be fun to try and take some low light exposures. 

I tried to go back to the beach after dark and get some night shots of the waves but it was so dark I couldn't get a quality photo of anything along the way so I turned back to the warmth of camp.  
I sat in the dark cold night comforted by the fire, and ate my packed dinner.  A chicken thigh and a turkey and swiss sandwich. 
Enjoying my campfire.
About 11 pm I was getting pretty tired and the fire was dying down so I decided to call it a night.  This is the part that separates camping from a day trip.  These are some of the longest coldest miserable nights you will experience.

Camping is not all about pleasure and comfort. It is about changing your experiences up a little.  It is a new perspective on what is.  When I was younger I would go camping once a month, it was a spiritual sort of thing for me. The nice thing about the miserable camping trips is that it makes you appreciate your home more. 
My "tent"
This night was not that bad.  I fell asleep in the Jeep with the windows cracked and fell asleep listening to the sound of crashing waves being carried in a pleasant cool salty breeze.  Unless I am physically exhausted from the days activities it is always kinda hard to fall asleep the first night out. I laid in bed until a little past midnight before turning in.  I woke up once to some fighting squirrels, and tossed a few times through the night.   I woke up at the break of dawn to a slight drizzle.  After going to visit the bathroom I pulled my hat down over my eyes and snoozed until about 8:30 feeling refreshed. 
Lifeguard tower.
I decided that I would take a morning walk along the beach before heading back home. It was a cloudy morning and the beach was fairly quiet.  There were plenty of birds enjoying their breakfast of sand critters, and a few anglers trying to catch some surf perch. 

Below are a few more pictures from my adventure...

Enjoying the waves.
View from the beach.

Nap time.

My Jeep tent.

Homemade cargo net keeps items
 like phone and flashlight accessible.

Bathrooms and showers provided.

A little information on the preserve.

Pillars from what used to be a pier?

Camp right before I leave.

Ranger patrols the beach.  (wish they were my tracks.)