Baja Camping: A Complete Guide

This post was updated February 2023

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Baja California Mexico is our favorite road trip in the world (so far)! Traveling the scenic, winding roads of the Baja Peninsula is a camper life adventure you definitely need to experience. Baja California is a camper’s paradise, and in this Baja travel guide I’ll share everything you need to know about Baja camping.

What’s in this Baja Camping Guide?


Why Baja camping is a camper life dream

Most people living the camper life love beautiful scenery, cheap campsites, and meeting nice people. After spending over two years RVing North America, Tom and I agree that Baja California offers the best of all three.

The scenery in Baja cannot be matched. As you’re driving the Baja peninsula you will experience the huge surf of the Pacific Ocean, the unusual plant life of the Baja desert, and the flat, mirror-like lagoons of the Sea of Cortez.

Cheap and free camping is simple to find in Baja. You will have your pick of spectacular oceanside boondocking spots and affordable campgrounds.

We met so many lovely people in Baja- locals and travelers alike. The locals are friendly and welcoming to visitors, and Baja road trippers tend to be a friendly, laid-back bunch. Of all the places we’ve traveled, we found it easiest to make new friends in Baja.


Where is the Baja California Peninsula?

Baja California Mexico is located in Mexico just south of California and Arizona. The Baja Peninsula is bordered by the Pacific Ocean on its west side, and the Sea of Cortez on its East side.

You can cross the border from the United States into Baja at Tijuana, Tecate, or Calexico.

When Should you Visit Baja California?

Baja is best visited in the fall, winter, and spring when it is comfortably warm and dry. In these seasons you can expect very little to no rain and temperatures in the 80s with very little humidity.

In the summers Baja becomes extremely hot with temperatures inching into the 100s Fahrenheit and with high humidity.

Recommended Camping Gear for a Baja Road Trip

Baja is extremely camper friendly, and camping is the BEST way to see this beautiful region. In order to get the most out of your trip you’ll want to have a few specific items that will make your Baja travel more comfortable.

Heavy Duty Tent Stakes or Rebar

Whether you’re tent camping or traveling Baja in your camper, it is a good idea to carry heavy duty stakes with you. Baja can get VERY windy, and wind speeds can reach up to 50mph at times.

If you want to put up a tent, canopy, or shade structure you will want to secure it with heavy duty stakes and extra guy lines (for shade structures). This will ensure your campsite can handle the winds when they pick up.

Sand Tracks or Burlap Bags

Campsites in Baja will often be right on the beach, so you need to be prepared in case your vehicle gets stuck in the sand!
Sand tracks are long, plastic platforms that you place in front of (or behind) your tires when you’re stuck. The friction of the sand tracks allows you to pull out of the soft sand.

Alternatively, ask your local coffee shop or grocery store for two burlap sacks (coffee and potatoes are often delivered in these). Burlap sacks can be used in the same way you would use the sand tracks to get yourself out of the sand.

Sand tracks are likely easier to use than burlap sacks, but far more expensive.

A Shovel and a Bucket

These are two must-have items for camping on the Baja peninsula! Since you will be doing a lot of beach camping, you will often find yourself camped on dramatically un-level ground.

You can use the shovel to dig out holes to help level your camper, OR if you are tent camping the shovel can be used to create a flat pad for your tent.

The bucket can be used to move sand and/or water, and is also nice to have for washing dishes, clothes, etc.

We like to use this collapsible bucket because it is lightweight and easy to store.

An Inflatable Kayak or Stand-up Paddleboard

While this certainly isn’t required gear for Baja camping, it would be a real shame to camp on such beautiful bodies of water without having some sort of water craft.

Regular kayaks are expensive and hard to transport so Tom and I did a lot of research, and chose a Sea Eagle inflatable kayak for our Baja adventures. We absolutely LOVE our Sea Eagle kayak, and we take it out any chance we get.

Read our complete review of the Sea Eagle kayak here.

Another awesome option for getting out on the water is a stand-up paddleboard! We tried these out a few times in Baja, and more recently in Oregon, and they are FUN. I think they’re a lot easier to learn on than a kayak, and they provide more flexibility- you can stand, sit, lay down, and even swim off of a paddleboard.

R.E.I. carries a number of high quality inflatable paddleboards,
check prices and reviews here!

UPDATE: We purchased inflatable standup paddleboards for winter 2021-2022 in Baja, and they were awesome! For camping trips in Oregon they are quickly becoming our go-to over the inflatable kayak!

Brittany Wittig photographing mountains at sunrise, and the words "How to Leap without frying your nervous system"
Would you LOVE to travel full time, but are struggling with actually TAKING the leap (maybe you feel the timing isn’t right, or you’re worried about whether full time travel will actually work for you)? 
Check out my powerful masterclass “How to Leap (without frying your nervous system). In this class I share my exact process for deciding to leap into travel, AND how I supported my nerves through the leap so I could create the beautiful life I now live! (Just click the photo above to access the class!)

ioverlander Smartphone App

This app is free and by far the most useful tool you will find for camping the Baja peninsula. Anyone traveling Baja can add to the information in this app, and Baja travelers use it a LOT.

ioverlander will show you GPS coordinates and traveler reviews for campsites, gas stations, and tons of other services you may need while traveling Baja.

RV Water Line Filter

This is a filter you can attach directly to the hose that fills your water tanks, and we always carried one with us in Baja. You definitely don’t want to drink the water in Baja, and this filter is a good precaution to keep your water tanks relatively clean.

IMPORTANT NOTE: We did not drink the water that we used this filter on. Instead we used our tank water for showering, washing, etc. We did not want to put unfiltered water into our tanks, but I would not trust this filter to clean the Baja water enough for drinking.

For our drinking water we stopped at water purification shops where we filled large 7-gallon jugs with purified water.

The Best Baja Campsites

There are hundreds and hundreds of campsites in Baja! Here we are going to list just a few of our very favorites after spending two winters camping up and down the Baja peninsula.

La Jolla Beach Camp- Punta Banda

Located just south of Ensenada on the Punta Banda peninsula, La Jolla Beach Camp offers oceanfront RV sites with electric for just $15/night. These were the best sites we could find near Ensenada, and while they are a bit expensive for Baja, the campground is clean and well-kept.

The beach in front of La Jolla Beach Camp has a thermal spring that runs under the sand, and at low tide you can actually dig yourself a hot tub to sit in!

Simply grab your shovel and walk barefoot on the wet sand until you feel a warm spot. Dig there, and you will see that the hole begins filling with hot water!

Rancho Santa Ynez- Cataviña

Between Punta Banda and Guerrero Negro, you will drive through the otherworldly Cataviña desert. Cacti as big as trees, giant boulders, and Dr. Seuss-like plants will tower over you as you wind your way through this extremely beautiful area.

When you reach the town of Cataviña you will see signs for Rancho Santa Ynez. This is a beautiful little campground with plenty of shady spots to set up camp. You’ll pay $5/night for this gorgeous spot, and there are very basic cold showers available in the ranch house.

Be sure to stay up late enough to stargaze, as the stars in this spot are the brightest I’ve ever seen anywhere!


Malarrimo RV Park- Guerrero Negro

Guerrero Negro is located about halfway down the Baja peninsula, and while it is quite an ugly, no-frills town, it is the best place to stop for food and supplies as you make your way south.

Our favorite place to camp in Guerrero Negro is Malarrimo RV Park. The sites are small and level in a gravel lot with water and electric hookups. The real reason to stop here, however, is the awesome Mallarimo seafood restaurant. They offer a wide variety of delicious seafood plates.

If you are tent camping there are no great options in Guerrero Negro. While you could rent a camping spot at Mallarimo, you may want to spend a little more and rent one of their hotel rooms instead.


Camping Petates- San Ignacio

Many RV travelers will stop at the popular, highway-side Rice and Beans RV Park near San Ignacio. However, we  found Rice and Beans to be very uncomfortable- nothing more than a concrete lot with bright floodlights that stay on all night.

Instead, we always stay at the serene Camping Petates. Located on the San Ignacio river, this little campground is a peaceful stop. You can basically make a campsite wherever there is space, and we usually camp right on the river under shady palm trees.

Our dog, Indy, loved swimming in the cool river, and you can easily launch your kayak or paddleboard. The toilets are very basic bucket flush, and there are no showers, but at only $4/night this is still a great deal.


Huerto Don Chano’s RV Park and Campground- Mulegé

Mulegé is the gateway to the mind-blowing beauty of Bahía Concepción, an inlet of the Sea of Cortez. It’s a lovely little town where you will want to stop for supplies and showers before making your way the beachside camping on Bahía Concepción.

Our favorite place to camp in Mulegé is by far Huerto Don Chano’s. This family-owned park is clean, well-kept, and features shaded RV spots with water/electric in a charming banana orchard. Some of the sites even feature hammocks and shade structures.

For $10/night you get a campsite and access to bathrooms with flush toilets and hot showers.


Playa Santispac- Bahía Concepción

For RV campers in bigger rigs, Playa Santispac is quite possibly the most picturesque campsite you will find anywhere in North America. With beachfront campsites on a beautiful, turquoise lagoon, Playa Santispac is an RVer’s dream come true.

This huge, flat beach campground can accommodate even the biggest big rigs, though there is usually an assortment of RV, campervan, and tent campers occupying the campsites.

Playa Santispec’s sites cost $10/night, but may be less for tent campers. There is a restaurant and cold showers on site, making this a very convenient camping spot!


Playa Coyote- Bahía Concepción

One of the most spectacular campgrounds in all of Baja, Playa Coyote, features waterfront campsites lining a picturesque lagoon where whale sharks, dolphins, and other marine life are frequently spotted.

Grab one of these campsites for $10/night and you will find yourself with the most spectacular beachfront view you could ever imagine! This is a great spot for tent campers since many sites include a palapa (small hut for shade).

An added bonus is the friendly and social community of travelers who gather on Playa Coyote, where you will have no trouble making new and lasting friends.


Rancho Ecologico Sol de Mayo- Santiago

This campground is a true Baja hidden gem. We visited here on a whim, after reading a few reviews on Ioverlander, and it ended up being one of our favorite spots in all of Baja!

The campground is a very simple, shady area in the woods, and you can pull in anywhere to set up camp.

The real reason to visit here is the short hike from the campground to a series of beautiful, crystal clear, freshwater springs.

The first spring you come to is the most popular, and has a 20 foot waterfall cascading into a beautiful, deep freshwater pool. You can jump from the rocks next to the waterfall into the pool.

If you keep hiking along the trail, past the first spring, for a couple miles you will find several freshwater springs lined with huge, flat rocks. These springs are the perfect place to spend an afternoon swimming and sunbathing on the rocks!

This spot is pricier than most Baja campgrounds because the area is an Ecological Reserve that  requires admission. It seems to vary depending on your negotiation skills, but we paid $6/night per person to camp here.

Los Frailes- Cabo Pulmo

On the very southern end of the Baja peninsula, on the Eastern coast you will find Cabo Pulmo, the home of the best scuba diving and snorkeling in Baja. It’s a slow drive down a bumpy dirt road to reach Cabo Pulmo, but it is absolutely worth it!

Many of the beaches near Cabo Pulmo feature excellent swimming and snorkeling opportunities. Try to purchase a mask and snorkel in Mulegé long before you get to Cabo Pulmo, because the prices are MUCH better in Mulegé!

Our favorite spot to camp near Cabo Pulmo is a beach called Los Frailes. You can basically pull in anywhere that looks open, and it is free to camp!

The snorkeling off the Northern edge of the beach (near the rocks) is excellent, and you will see plenty of colorful fish. Walk up and down the beach just to the south of Los Frailes to see rays, dolphins, and occasionally even whales!

The BEST Place in Baja California to Visit (and camp)!

We saved the very best for last! The best place in Baja California to visit is Ojo de Liebre, which is just south of Guerrero Negro.

Every winter thousands of gray whales migrate to this lagoon to mate and give birth. Camping here is very cheap at just $5/night, and in the peak migration months of late December to March you can see whales jumping, spouting and swimming right from your campsite!

The campground at Ojo de Liebre is also located right next to the launching point for gray whale watching tours, which I HIGHLY recommend. For $50/person you will spend hours in a small boat in the lagoon, and you can expect to see whales up close and personal (they often rub against the boats)!

For more information about this incredible camping experience check out our blog post about camping on a gray whale lagoon!

Baja California, Mexico is our favorite spot in the world to camp, and we hope this guide helps you set out on your own Baja camping adventure!

For more information about Baja check out our Baja budget post, and read our Baja road trip guide!

We do not recommend taking an RV caravan tour to Baja and here we explain why.

For the best guide book on Baja
check out this Moon Guide, we use it extensively when we travel the Baja peninsula.

Want to read more about our travels? We traveled North America for over two years in a Toyota Motorhome! 

Last winter we spent 6 months traveling Southeast Asia with nothing but carry-on bags!

And every summer we return to the USA to attend all our favorite festivals, including Burning Man!

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31 thoughts on “Baja Camping: A Complete Guide”

  1. My spouse and I want to travel trailer camp in Baja. I found many camping sites in the areas you mentioned. I never see where you can make a reservation. Is it all first come first served? If so did you experience many ‘no vacancies’?
    Thank you

  2. Hi Mary! Great question! Yes, the vast majority of campsites in Baja are first come, first served. We rarely ran into "no vacancy" issues.

    There were a few times when the only campsites left were mediocre so we decided to drive to the next closest camping area. Luckily, in Baja there are TONS of camping areas so it’s easy to head to the next spot if one campground is full.

    Pro tip: If you are having trouble finding a spot to camp, pull over and ask a local for advice. Most people speak at least minimal English in Baja, and I do recommend having a spanish/english dictionary with you. The people in Baja are very friendly and are generally happy to point you in the right direction!

  3. Hi Brittany, when driving on the sand, did you need to let air out of your tires? We have a 24 ft Class C.
    Thanks! Vicki

  4. allison lacey burns

    your reviews are all encompassing ! i’m so excited to have found my new direction in life ! have bought an old airstream (26′) , remodeled it & want to live a beach life . it’s been so depressing to look for a place to go ! (so. florida was my main focus). as the cold creeps in , i’ll be leaving so. carolina for one of your favorite destinations (don’t know which yet) & i cannot wait !!! thank you thank you thank you !!

  5. Not mentioned here is that during the high season November-March most of those camping areas esp around Bahia Concepcion are FULL of large RVs so it is a misconception that they are isolated and/or uncrowded.

  6. Hi Mary, thanks for taking the time to comment.

    Nowhere in this guide did I state that the campgrounds around Bahía Concepción were "isolated and/or uncrowded". In fact, in each of my reviews of that area I specifically note the community of travelers that you will meet there.

    Also, every single one of these photos was taken during the November- March high season over the course of multiple winters spent there. I think it would be a misconception to state that all of these campgrounds are "FULL of large RVs".

    Yes, you will be camping near other travelers, but I can only think of one instance when we had to leave a camping area because there was nowhere we could camp.

    Camping near other travelers in no way changes the fact that the campsites in Baja, and particularly those on Bahía Concepción are absolutely stunning.

  7. Hi Vicki! Yes, if you are going to drive on sand you’ll want to let some air out of your tires. This will help you get through spots that aren’t as hard packed. It’s a great idea to travel with a tire inflator so you can easily re-inflate them!

  8. Hi Allison! Congratulations on your new Airstream! Those are such cool campers! And thank you for your kind comment, I’m so glad you’re finding this information helpful.

  9. Hi Brittany,
    My wife and I are in beginning stages of planning a road trip to Baja. We’re debating about the rig to take but not sure about the roads, access and mobility versus camping comfort? What would you recommend? We’re considering our full size 2wd van pulling a 23-25′ trailer or just the van.

  10. Hi Peter! That’s a great question, and I think it really depends on a few things…

    If you’re planning to only visit a few spots in Baja and stay down there for a long time (over a month) then you may want to bring the trailer.

    However, the trailer will definitely limit you a bit if you want to visit lots of different locations.

    Can you camp in your van? If so then I’d probably recommend just bringing the van your first time so you can easily explore lots of different areas of Baja.

    Once you’ve been down there you’ll likely want to return, and you may find a spot where you’d like to return with the trailer.

    Also, while a trailer that size is definitely doable, you’ll want to be careful not to drive into small towns with it (park on the outskirts and walk in) because the streets get TINY in many of the towns in Baja.

    If you do decide to bring the trailer, the following campsites that I listed above would definitely work for you: La Jolla, Malarrimo, Playa Santispac (this one’s the BEST for large rigs, it’s gorgeous), and you would also be able to camp on Ojo de Libre where the gray whales migrate.

    Hope this helps! 🙂

  11. Hi there! Great tips – Do you have advice with renting a camper van in Los Cabos? We’re flying there in March for a week and are really intrigued with the notion of roadtripping in the south end of Baja. All we have is our flights booked and are exploring our options for something ‘a little different’, however I haven’t been able to find much for options with campervan rentals, any experiences/advice you can share with that is most appreciated.

  12. I think this is the site I saw some “ramps” for getting unstuck…etc. I looked these kind of things on the internet for sale and got quite an education! My question is do you prefer the ones you drive on or the ones you strap on to the wheels? I’m going down for my annual exploration trip from Ensenada in a couple of weeks cris / crossing the peninsula….about a 3 week trip.

  13. Hi Paul! Yes, sand tracks are awesome to have on Baja back roads and beaches. We prefer the ones that you drive up onto (and it seems the majority of campers we run into also have the ones you drive onto). Here is a link to the sand tracks that we recommend:

    Happy travels, and thanks for the comment!

  14. Hi Danelle! Unfortunately I don’t have much experience with camper rental in Los Cabos. Cruise America does RV/camper rentals out of San Diego that can be driven through Baja, and I know that there is at least one camper rental company in La Paz. One suggestion may be to call a couple of the major RV parks in Cabo and see if they could refer you somewhere.

    Tent camping is also awesome along the Baja coast, so you could consider bringing camping equipment and renting a regular vehicle instead.

  15. Planing on going camping inbaja for a month. Question : How old of a vehicle can I get away with to enjoy the trip —— new vehicle , 50,000 miles or over a 100,000 engine. Also , 2010 , 2015 or newer. Thinking of mechanics helping me with problem thinking of a mini van or ford transit. Thanks

  16. The great thing about Baja is that there are LOTS of mechanics all over the peninsula, and they are very comfortable working on older vehicles. Plus the cost of repairs down there is a lot cheaper than in the states. We’ve driven a 1998 Nissan Frontier with 125k miles down to Baja for a month (this was in early 2020). We didn’t break down, but we knew that if we did it would be easy to find a mechanic.

  17. Thank you for all your great information! We are one month into our first truck camping trip in Baja and sites like yours have given us the information and courage we needed to do it. Been to many of your favorites and still plan to visit some more. We appreciate the research and sharing!

  18. Hi Mary! We haven’t run into trouble with any critters. In fact, we never saw a single snake in all our desert and forest camping!

  19. Amazing spots thanks for sharing.
    Planning a trip from san Diego to La Paz in late October early November, most likely by myself. Got a Tacoma and RTT and planning to do light off roading along the way to find cool camp spots and beaches, can I camp pretty much anywhere on beaches etc.? Is it safe? Anything to watch out for?

  20. Hi Mitja! I highly recommend the app ioverlander for finding camping spots in Baja. It’s free, and it will show you lots of cool, off-road spots. You can camp on most beaches, just watch for signs that post otherwise. Sometimes you’ll be camping on a beach and someone will come to collect a camping fee. In Baja certain families have jurisdiction over certain beaches so this is generally legit if someone wants you to pay to camp. We’ve always felt very safe in Baja, and we’ve met tons of solo travelers (both male and female) over the years who were having a great time. Just be sure that you know how to avoid getting stuck in sand, and that you know how to get yourself out if you do get stuck. Getting stuck in sand is the #1 problem travelers run into down there!

  21. We will be traveling to Baja in January in our Class B.
    We understand the water situation and always use the filter you recommended. Our Tank is +/- 26 gallons. Question: can we fill our onboard tank at a water purification station?

  22. We are thinking about bringing our 18′ boat to fish in the gulf and towing it behind our Winnebago View. Is this a reasonable idea and are there ramps for backing a boat to the water. How is the fishing?
    Thanks, Warren from Boise

  23. Hi Norman! Yes. Basically every RV park/ campground that caters to RVs has either a dump station, or full hookups. If you stop by a campground and they don’t have a dump station they can usually tell you the closest place to find one.

  24. Hi Warren! Yes, lots of people tow their fishing boats to Baja. There are boat ramps in the beach towns and cities, but since we don’t tow a boat I couldn’t give you specific advice around it. I would recommend checking out the Baja Nomad forum:

    On that forum you can connect with other fisherman for firsthand advice on bringing your boat!

  25. Hi Donald! Yes! Most of the water purification stations have hoses that they can pull out to your RV if you park right in front. We did this whenever possible, since the purified water is VERY affordable, and then we didn’t have to worry about contamination.

  26. Hi, my family is planning a trip all the way down to Cabo this January in a pop up camper.
    My question is
    Do you think it’s too windy for a pop up camper ?
    Thank you !

  27. Unfortunately I’m just seeing this! There are times when the wind is VERY intense, 50 mph gusts easily. So it really depends on what the pop-up can handle. I would read about the specs on their pop-up, and let them know Bahia de Los Angeles probably will not work for them, because the winds can gust up to 70mph there, and it’s almost always really windy.

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