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Best Camping Spots In Southern California

Tamarisk Grove Campground Anza

The 10 Best Camping Sites In California

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is one of the largest and best state parks in California, encompassing over 600,000 acres. The best time of year to visit Anza-Borrego is between October and May, when the 100-plus-degree summer heat subsides.

One of the best campgrounds in the park is the Tamarisk Grove Campground. It’s also one of the most developed campgrounds within Anza-Borrego and is centrally located within the park. Campsites and cabins are both available. Visitors will want to bring their own water, though drinking water is available for purchase.

Moro Campground Crystal Cove State Park

Off the Pacific Coast Highway just north of Laguna Beach, Crystal Cove State Park encompasses miles of stunning beach and the vast inland expanse of Moro Canyon. This combination of canyon hiking trails and a stunning shoreline make it a popular spot for all types of activity, including camping at the park’s Moro Campground.

The nearly 60 sites at Moro Campground sit atop a bluff overlooking the ocean. This expansive coastal panorama is quite spectacular, especially come sunset. It can also potentially lead to very windy conditions on blustery days.

Coin-operated showers and running water are available at the campground, and more primitive camping spots are found at the hike-in-only sites at Lower Moro Campground.

Address: 8471 North Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, California

+ Amazing Spots For Camping In Southern California

Camping in Southern California is one of the best outdoor, social distance activities available. Lakes, mountains, and beaches a multitude of campgrounds in Southern California offer an incredible array of places to match the season and everyones interests. With vacations being cancelled and people worried about gathering in groups, camping is the in thing to do! Below is a collection of our favorite campgrounds in Southern California that we will continue to update as we come across more.

If you have some favorites that we have missed, please share them with us as we would love to check out more off the beaten path sites around the state.

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Furnace Creek Campground Death Valley National Park

While camping in a place named Death Valley might not sound too appealing, the stark desert landscape of the largest national park in the contiguous states is far from inhospitable.

The Furnace Creek Campground is one of the most accessible campgrounds in Death Valley, with the park’s most prominent visitor center located nearby. Some of the prettiest spots in Death Valley are near Furnace Creek, including the Golden Canyons and the inspiring Zabriskie Point.

Two other popular campgrounds are also in the Furnace Creek area of the park, including the Sunset Campground with 270 sites available. It’s rare for all campsites to fill up in Death Valley National Park. Most campgrounds in Death Valley National Park, including Furnace Creek and Sunset, have running water and flushing toilets available.

Camping Near Me: Round Valley Campground Mount San Jacinto State Park

11 Of The Best Camping Spots in Southern California

Round Valley Campground is a primitive hike-in campground spectacularly located at 9,750 feet above sea level, en route to the summit of Mount Jacinto. You can expect to find 28 first-come first-served campsites where you can pitch your tent to spend a wonderful evening under the stars. Basic pit toilets are available, but you will need to carry in everything you need, including drinking water. You need to apply for a Wilderness Permit and plan a meal that does not require cooking as no fires are allowed at this campground. Round Valley provides an excellent backcountry camping experience with access to great hiking and rock climbing as well as wildlife watching.

Round Valley Campground, Mount San Jacinto State Park, Idyllwild, CA 92262, Phone: 951-659-2607

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Lake Casitas Recreation Area11311 Santa Ana Rd Ventura Ca 93001

Lake Casitas offers over 400 sites with camping options ranging from Basic Hookup Sites on dirt pads to Executive Hookup Sites featuring a 40 concrete pad with water, electric, and sewer hookups. Families will also appreciate the on-site playgrounds though the nearby Casitas Water Adventure remains closed for the summer 2021 season. Reservations are available online.

Lake Perris State Recreation Area

Lake Perris is a massive reservoir in the Inland Empire of Southern California, approximately 11 miles southeast of Riverside. It’s the southernmost reservoir of the California State Water Project. And alongside its storage capacity for nearby desert communities, it offers abundant recreation.

Boating and fishing are two of the most popular activities at Lake Perris. The reservoir is well known for its largemouth bass. The lake has a 200-boat limit, which is reached throughout the summer. Advanced launch reservations are available.

Camping is also wildly popular at the State Recreation Area. Lake Perris has over 350 campsites spread throughout five campgrounds. Different accommodations are available at each campground, with some featuring paved RVs spots with full electric hookups. Reservations are also recommended throughout the summer.

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Beach Camping In Southern California

Only a small percentage of visitors to Southern California insist on camping instead of booking rooms at the many resorts and hotels near the ocean. Those who prefer camping and are lucky enough to get a spot in one of the 14 campgrounds on the Socal coast will be rewarded with one of the best experiences.

Few of these campgrounds allow camping right on the sand, but most are close enough to walk to the beach. Some are only for recreational vehicles and dont allow tent camping period. Others have spaces for tents, but none of the Southern California campgrounds are tent camping only.

Read about each campground and adjacent beach to learn rules like where campfires are allowed and where dogs can be walked. Reservations are highly recommended as these limited camp spots are highly coveted especially in the summer months.

Traveling north of Socal? Check out our list of beach camping in California.

Camping In Socal: Mesa Campground Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area

Best Places to Camp for Free in California

Reserving a camp site in the Mesa Campground is one of the best ways of ensuring that you get to enjoy all the recreational activities in the very popular Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area . Your campsite at Mesa Campground is suitable for tents or RVs and includes a picnic table, grill, and fire pit and you can have a hot shower at the nearby restrooms. The recreation area offers a wide range of water activities, including boating, water-skiing, swimming, fishing, hiking, and cycling. From January to March you can join a Bald Eagle Barge Tour, and wildlife watching is a popular activity all year round.

Mesa Campground, 14651 Cedar Circle, Hesperia, CA 92345, Phone: 760-389-2303

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Serrano Campgroundsan Bernardino National Forest Ca

Serrano Campground is located within walking distance of Big Bear Lake which means your family will not run out of things to do. Get ready for some active days with fishing, boating, water sports, hiking, bird watching, and more. The campground offers more than 100 sites for both tent and RV camping, each equipped with tables and campfire rings with grills. The site also has flush toilets and showers.

Redwood National & State Parks

Why you should camp here: Forested campgrounds nestled among rare redwoods in a remarkable ecosystem.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best season: Spring, summer, fall
  • Campsite types: Tent, RV, trailers, car camping
  • RV hookups: No

Every year visitors flock to Redwood National and State Parks to marvel in the sheer magnificence of the tallest trees in the world the redwoods.

The coast redwood ecosystem is as old as it is unique. The towering trees provide plentiful shade and cooler temperatures for an array of species, including us.

Grab your tent and plan a visit. There are four campgrounds in these parks to choose from, including the popular Jedediah Smith Campground. This campground is nestled among old-growth redwoods along the Smith River with access to restrooms and hot showers.

Hikers and backpackers alike are drawn to the Summit Lake South Campground.

Located in Lassen Volcanic National Park, this campground is conveniently located near several trailheads. Its within walking distance of Summit Lake, and the closest campground to Lassen Peak Trail.

This campground offers vault toilets and drinking water with food lockers to stash your yummy goods from hungry predators. Catering to the tent crowd, Summit Lake South Campground features a secluded tent-only loop so tent campers can find solace among their kind.

Why you should camp here: Enjoy access to the pristine waters of Lake Tahoe while slumbering among the pines.

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Montecito Sequoia Lodge Sequoia National Park

This lodge is right at the Giant Sequoia National Monument. It offers you access to acres of national service forest land and the Sequoia National Park, and the Kings Canyon National Park. Its an all-inclusive experience where your food, lodging, and activities are all covered.

Since the part sits at an impressive 7,400 feet above sea level, youll wake up to pristine mountain vistas and views and feel like youre completely separated from the rest of the world. The Montecito Sequoia Lodge is a hikers paradise, with an exclusive lake on-site and plenty of trekking through the sequoia groves.

Enjoy spending time together as a family, or take advantage of their complimentary child-care for children between 2 and 18 years old. At family camp California, you can stay for six nights and enjoy plenty of watersports, horseback riding, and special events.

Skylake Yosemite Camp Wishon In Sierra National Forest

11 Of The Best Camping Spots in Southern California

SkyLake Yosemite Camp in the Sierra National Forest gives you glamping with a twist. You and your family will stay in a bunk-house with all of the amenities that youd expect from home, just located right in the heart of the Sierra National Forest. Spend your days relaxing on their private dock, enjoying great buffet-style food, or having plenty of fun in their recreation room.

You can try your hand at horseback riding, arts and crafts, or kayaking. As with any great camp, there are traditional outdoor favorite activities like archery and horseshoes available too. SkyLake Yosemite Camp has a climbing wall, nightly campfires, and entertainment, and every meal is included.

If you want to experience the best of camping but dont want to have to worry about doing the dishes or paying a penny extra for food, SkyLake Yosemite Camp is the place for you.

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Blair Valley Campground Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is among some of the most famous and revered landmarks in California. Camping there is at an absolute premium and one of the most sought after in the state. Blair Valley Campground is located south of Joshua Tree off of Highway 52 and is a boondocking site meaning it is free to camp there.

This site is not as well-known as some of the neighboring campgrounds in the area. It is a little bit more off the beaten path and would definitely be under the roughing it category of camping. However, if you are searching for the seclusion and bliss of the desert, this might be the right choice for you.

There are no reservations to be made since it is a first come-first served type of situation. That fact is both a pro and a con of this kind of camping. You can see the location of this remote camping location by going here.

Since Blair Valley Campground is more bare-bones than some of the other sites we are covering, it doesnt have a lot of the same amenities. There are no RV hookups, and most of the trails are quite rough. If you come prepared, though, this shouldnt be a problem.

The most prominent landmark at this campsite by far is Joshua Tree. However, the site is located in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Wilderness. This area is still an incredible location in the state and an excellent way to get your desert fix any time of the year.

Pismo Coast Village Rv Resort

Location: 165 South Dolliver Street, Pismo Beach

Amenities: Heated pool, laundry facilities, restaurant, arcade, bicycle rentals, fire ring, general store, playgrounds, wheelchair accessible, restrooms

Activities: Mini-golf, basketball court, shuffleboard, ping-pong, horseshoe pits

Fees: $59$76 per night

Number of sites: 400, maximum vehicle length 45 feet

Dogs allowed: Yes, on-leash

Reservation required: Yes

A one-of-a-kind RV camping spot in Southern California, Pismo Coast Village RV Resort is an award-winning, nationally recognized 26-acre getaway. Nestled near Pismo Beach, the resort provides 400 full-hookup sites, each accompanied by complimentary Wi-Fi and cable TV.

Aside from offering a full selection of amenities to make your visit as memorable as possible, the RV resort also provides guests with everything from pinball and photo booths to a swimming pool and bike rentals. With Pismo Beach Pier only walking distance away, this Pismo Beach RV camping spot is a prime place to enjoy a weekend of coastal relaxation.

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Idyllwild Arts Camp Family Week Idyllwild

If you and your family are artistically inclined, Idyllwild Arts Camp is a great place to spend your vacation. This camp embraces environmental stewardship and multiculturalism and encourages independent thinking. Although you will still find standard camp activities at Idyllwild Arts Camp, there are plenty of other things with an artistic slant to keep you and your kids occupied.

Their arts and crafts classes focus on plenty of different disciplines and mediums, and youll learn about the history of art as well as how to perfect your technique. There are excellent hiking trails right around Idyllwild. You can chill out by the pool and enjoy lectures and family-friendly live performances in the evening.

Stay for seven days and six nights to recharge your batteries. Since this highly specialized camp offers a unique experience, you will have to book ahead to get a good spot.

Best Camping In Southern California: Fern Basin Campground

5 Easy Overlanding Areas in Southern California – Disperse camping sites in Socal

It is the ultimate camping spot in Southern California who likes to stay in the lap of nature far from the busy city life. Locating in a grove of mixed oaks and shrubs, Fern Basin Campground offers a quiet and peaceful atmosphere at a height of 6300 feet.

There is a beautiful RV park along with only 23 campsites for your tent that makes it a less crowded campground in Southern California. There are decent spaces to park your RV. If you are a new RV owner, you must know what to carry as essential motorhome accessories.

Visitors can enjoy hiking on the that leads to San Jacinto peak. The granite peaks, alpine forests, and mountain meadows offer visitors a high-country experience. Other outdoor activities include biking and fishing. Wildlife viewing is also nice here. Campers can go on a strenuous hike to Devils Slide and chilled out in the nearby Idyllwild town.

Tipsdont forget to bring some sprayFern Basin Campground

Nearby Attractions: Marion Mountain Trail that leads to wilderness camps and connecting to Pacific Crest Trail, Black Mountain Scenic Area, Mount San Jacinto State Park, and its Panorama Point Trail, Lake Fulmor Picnic Area and trail, Idyllwild Nature Center, Humber Park, Indian Mountain OHV Trail

Best Campsites: 12, 13, 14, 15 and 20.

Address: Marion Mountain Rd, off Azalia Trail Rd, Highway 243, 6 miles north of Idyllwild

Fees: $10 per night, perfect for those looking for cheap camping in Southern California

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Malibu Glamping Lotus Belle

Location: Zuma Sanctuary, Malibu

Malibu Glamping Lotus Belle is a gorgeous Los Angeles glamping spot located at Zuma Sanctuary. Boasting dramatic ocean views, the two Lotus Belle tents offer a wonderful getaway from the hustle and bustle. Here, you get to sit back and relax in a gorgeous natural setting with towering palms concealing you from the city.

Both sites are equipped with outdoor showers, a bathroom, barbecue and yoga decks, and even a place for you to relax in a hammock under the trees. The glamping spot is within walking distance of Malibus best beaches, including Leo Carrillo State Beach. Glamping near Los Angeles cant get much better than this.

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Beyond its volcanic terrain, Lassen’s impressive 160,452 acres feature stunning alpine lakes and meadows dotted with gushing waterfalls. Set up camp at one of seven seasonal campgrounds, like the popular Manzanita Lake, which includes tent sites and spiffy camping cabins, or Butte Lake, which offers the most seclusion. Summit Lake South Campground sits in the middle of the park, at the southern edge of Summit Lake, with picturesque views and access to the water. Dont miss the 2.3-mile roundtrip trek to Kings Creek Falls it traverses a lush meadow and leads to dramatic, 30ft cascades. Sadly though, the park is currently closed due to the Dixie Fire.

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Easy & Fun Camping On Catalina Island

Most of Catalina Islands campgrounds are very easy to access. There are several campsites right on the ocean that you can effortlessly walk to, such as Two Harbors and Hermit Gulch. Parsons Landing and Black Jack Campground require a moderately difficult hike or kayak to access. To visit the inland campgrounds, vacationers can book a Safari Bus reservation while booking their campsite.

September is the best time of the year to go camping because its right after the summer peak. Also, the weather is still amazing for going into the water. If youre planning a family vacation, late June to early July is a great time to come to the island. Its a quiet time that is still surrounded by beautiful weather.

Booking a campground on Catalina Island is very easy and requires very little planning. You can literally secure a last-minute trip online and still get an amazing campground. Two Harbors Campground is the only campsite you should consider booking ahead of time. Even then, this really only requires four to five months of planning, as opposed to one year of camping trip planning to other Southern California destinations.

Catalina Island is the only accessible destination within Southern California that offers the island camping experience of a lifetime, making it a compelling place to pitch your tents.

Enjoy island seclusion and experience the best camping in Southern California by making a reservation on board Catalina Express!

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