Sunday, June 16, 2024

Don't Miss

San Diego County Parks Camping

Bow Willow Campground Anza Borrego

Summer Camping Series 1986 Cuyamaca Rancho State Park

Sleep beneath the darkest sky and best stars in San Diego County.

Both my dog and I love exploring Anza Borrego!

Distance from San Diego: 1 hour 45 minutes | | Reservation: First come first serve | Amenities: fire rings, no RV hookups, vault toilets, shaded area, picnic tables, for rings, pet friendly

Why Camp Here: Anza Borrego is a stunning desert state park in eastern San Diego that boasts unbeatable stargazing, hiking trails, slot canyons, and giant metal sculptures of creatures rising from the sand. Its one of my all-time favorite places to camp in San Diego because its such a drastic change in scenery from the coastal city. Plus theres so much to explore!

I love Bow Willow campground because, with only 16 sites, you still feel like youre still remote. Its important to note that the campground doesnt always have running water, so always come prepared with drinking and all necessary water.

Pro Tip: In 2018, Anza Borrego was recognized as an International Dark Sky Community, which means the pitch-black skies offer the best stargazing in San Diego!

South Carlsbad State Beach Campground

There is nothing better than waking up to such breathtaking vistas of the Pacific Ocean. Because its close enough to the city to walk to get groceries or other necessities while still being remote enough to appear like youre away from the action.

South Carlsbad is the ideal location for camping with friends or family. From the South Carlsbad State Beach Campground, wooden stairs provide easy access to the beach.

Phone Number: 438-3143Address: 7201 Carlsbad Blvd, Carlsbad, CA 92008

About County Of San Diego Department Of Parks And Recreation


5500 Overland Avenue, Suite 410, San Diego, CA 92123, US

Mission Statement

To enhance the quality of life in San Diego by providing opportunities for high quality parks and recreation experiences and to preserve regionally significant natural and cultural resources.


The County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation strives to have a park and recreation system that is the pride of San Diego County. We offer camping, fishing, boating, hiking, picnicking, weddings, interpretive programs, nature study, volunteer opportunities, trails, senior centers, and youth programs. We serve a population of approximately 3,000,000 within 4,200 square miles. We have over 90 locations, including camgrounds, picnic parks, open space preserves, historic sites, community centers, teen centers, sports complexes, local parks and wetlands.

Recommended Reading: Best Tent Camping In New Hampshire

Where Can You Camp For Free In San Diego

Most dispersed BLM camping near San Diego is free, but some campsites do require a fee, and Leave No Trace principles always apply. Cleveland National Forest allows permitted, dispersed camping, and within Anza-Borrego Desert State Park near , Fish Creek and Blair Valley Campground are popular primitive camping spots.

New Camp Salton Sea State Recreation Area

Campsite Review: Guajome Park Campground

Camp on the starkly stunning shores of the largest inland seas.

The scenery in Salton Sea is stunningly eerie.

Distance from San Diego: 3 hours | | Destination Website | Amenities: RV hookups, toilets, showers

Why Camp Here: With 130 miles of shoreline, the Salton sea is one of the worlds largest inland seas and is a popular spot for camping, kayaking, and bird watching. Plus, the eerie landscape is one of the most unique in southern California and is a stunning photography destination.

There are a few campgrounds along the shore of the Salton Sea, but its generally agreed that New Camp is the best for its views, amenities, and proximity to the main trails and sites.

Read Next: 11 Best Places to Go Camping in California

Take your pick between waking up next to the beach, under a forest canopy, next to a lake, or in the desert or dont!

Thats the beauty of camping in Southern California!

Oh, and if you liked this article, be sure to check out all my free San Diego travel guides.

How useful was this post?

You May Like: Warren Dunes State Park Camping

Ryan Campground Joshua Tree

A campground light on amenities in a prime location for exploring the wonders of Joshua Tree National Park.

Dont miss out on Joshua Trees stunning night skies.

Distance from San Diego: 3.5 hours | | Destination Website | Guide to Staying in Joshua Tree | Reservations: Online only | Amenities: No RV hookups, vault toilets

Why Camp Here: Joshua Tree is one of the closest national parks to San Diego. Youll find a stunning landscape to explore and tons of things to do and activities in Joshua Tree. While Jumbo Rock is the largest and most popular campground in Joshua Tree, I prefer the smaller Ryan Campground.

While it does not offer amenities such as showers or drinking water, the camping area is gorgeous, intimate, and is close to tons of trails.

Pro Tip: When I know I wont have electricity for a while, I always bring a power bank like this one.

About Camping In San Diego

Below, you will find a comprehensive list of campgrounds located in San Diego County. For reference, I have added the approximate distance from Downtown San Diego.

You will find a mix of public and private campgrounds.

We tend to associate camping with tents. However, there are different types of camping. This list includes options for tents, recreational vehicles , and trailers. Notice some of the places mentioned here do not accommodate tents at all .

I am providing direct links to the campgrounds booking sites. When you see these links, it means that you can reserve in advance. In theory, you can forget about reservations and look for a place once you arrive at your destination. I advise against this during the high season and holiday weekends.

Camping is a great way to cut accommodation costs. Staying in a hotel in the San Diego area costs over $80 per night.

Don’t Miss: Camping World Rv Sales Colorado Springs

Camping In San Diego San Diego Metro Koa

My experience with KOA campgrounds has always been positive. This park is not an exception. Located in Chula Vista, it is in close proximity to all the fun stuff San Diego offers.

Well, that is if you leave the facilities at all. The park is equipped with amenities like a pool, gazebo, playground, kids club, jumping pillows, basketball court, leash-free dog park, bike rentals, showers, restrooms, and laundry. For additional recreation, there are activities such as laser tag, movies under the stars, cooking decorating, ping-pong, and craft classes.

Distance from San Diego: 10 Miles

Camping Region: Urban

Type of Camping: Tents, RVs, Trailers, Cabins

Number of Sites: Over 200, most are RV sites

Reservations: Yes, check availability here

Notes: Because of all the amenities included, except higher than usual camping rates

Is Car Camping Legal In San Diego

Summer Series 1986 Camping in San Diego County mountains

Car camping is illegal on San Diego city streets. Different from temporary camping, the city has a “vehicle habitation ban,” meaning it is illegal to sleep overnight or live in a car in San Diego. Itâs also illegal to park an oversized vehicle or RV overnight on public San Diego streets without a permit. Your safest bet for car camping in San Diego is in designated camping areas, like a private Hipcamp campsite just outside of town.

Read Also: Where To Go Camping In Minnesota

William Heise County Park Campground

William Heise County Park Campground is located south of Julian in the northern extremity of the Laguna Mountain Range. This 929-acre park is set in a forest of oak, pine, and cedar. Cedar Creek runs through the campground. In the winter the campground can have snow.

William Heise County Park Campground has trailer and RV sites , a separate tent camping area with 42 sites, and a group tent-camping area. They also have cabins. Many of the sites in the RV loop are side-by-side, while some are well-separated from one another.

William Heise County Park Campground Basics
William Heise County Park Campground Location: 4945 Heise Park Rd., off Frisius Dr., south of Julian
65 miles from San Diego – 1:20
Number of Campsites:
Labor Day weekend to Memorial Day
Max. People per Site:
1, plus one towed, extra vehicles $4
Pets: On leash, always attended, $1 per night
Park Information:
Reservations for William Heise County Park Campground
Reservations available: Reservations for William Heise Campground can be made up to 1 year in advance.
Maximum RV/Trailer Length:
Non-hook-up or tent only $24 Plus $5 reservation fee

Sycamore Canyon Campground Point Mugu State Park

Get all the natural beauty associated with the Malibu hills without the opulent price tag.

Beautiful Point Mugu Beach is just a short walk from the campground.

Distance from San Diego: 3 hours | | Destination Website | Amenities: RV access and dump stations, no RV hookups, flush toilets, hot showers , fire pits, picnic tables

Why Camp Here: Located in the rugged Santa Monica Mountains, Sycamore Canyon Campground offers access to the rolling hills and is also within walking distance to Point Mugu beach. The campground, dotted with sycamores and oaks, is a quiet and less crowded camping option than the more popular Malibu campgrounds farther south.

Pro Tip: Head down to Point Mugu beach for sunset and bring firewood to take advantage of a fire pit on the beach.

Recommended Reading: Best Tent Camping Oregon Coast

What People Are Saying About Fiddlers Cove Mari & Rv Park

Beautiful Park with a great view of the mari, hills and Corodo Bridge. Can hear the military nearby. Laundry and shower facilities with a convenience store on site are great. Beaches and shopping within minutes. Close to U.S.-Mexico border. Would stay here again. insalt54


Learn more on the locationswebsite!


  • Daily/Weekly/Monthly Rates: $55-$238/$434-$1
  • 548/Not offered # of RV Sites: 582 Full Hookups: Yes 30/50 Amp: Both Back-in/Pull-through Sites: Both Pool/Hot tub: Yes Showers: Yes Pets Allowed: Yes Cell Reception: Strong signal Free Wi-Fi Skatepark Waterpark

William Heise Campground Julian

Campsite Review: Guajome Park Campground

San Diego Countys most family-friendly campground.

After a hike, treat yourself to a pie from Moms!

Distance from San Diego: 1.5 hours | | Destination Website | Reservations: Online | Amenities: RV hookups, fire pits, hot showers , potable water

Why Camp Here: William Heise County Park Campground boasts 104 campsites as well as 14 cabins who prefer to sleep in a bed with a roof over their heads. The campground has all the amenities you could hope for, including horseshoe pits, making it the ideal camping experience for the whole family. Besides the hiking and mountain bike trails in the campground, you can also easily make a quick trip into the historical town of Julian to grab a famous pie.

Read Next: Julian is one of my favorite weekend trip destinations! Check out other weekend getaways near San Diego here.

Don’t Miss: Wild River State Park Camping

Camping In San Diego Guajome Regional Park

All the campgrounds previously mentioned are operated by the California State Parks. This campground is administered by San Diego County. This is my go-to place when I cannot find a campsite on the beach since it is located only 9 miles from the coast and offers easy access to Oceanside and Carlsbad.

The woodlands, lake and ponds in the park offer a serene landscape. The grasslands and bodies of water attract several bird species. Plus, fishing and fish feeding is allowed.

Amenities include restrooms, basketball court, dump station, fitness area, pavilion, picnic tables, playgrounds, coin-operated showers, soccer fields, and trails.

Distance from San Diego: 46 Miles

Camping Region: Inland but close to the beach

Type of Camping: Tents, RVs, Trailers

Number of Sites: 32

Reservations: Yes, check availability here

Notes: You can bike to Oceanside through a designated trail.

San Elijo State Beach Campground

San Elijo State Beach Campground is paradise on earth for those who enjoy drifting off to sleep to the sound of crashing waves.

There is no need to settle when you are in the perfect place with breathtaking beach views and plenty of space. Unrestricted ocean views of the 2-mile strip of coastline are available from one-third of the 26 bluff-top campsites.

Couples, beachgoers, vanlifers, and RV campers all enjoy this park, and it fills up quickly, so make your reservation as soon as possible!

Phone Number: 753-5091Address: 2050 S Coast Hwy 101 Cardiff, CA 92007

Read Also: How To Purify Water While Camping

Parks And Recreation Department County Of San Diego

  • Address5500 OVERLAND AVE
  • HoursOffice Hours: 8:00 am-5:00 pm, Monday-Friday
  • Area Served:San Diego County
  • Fees:Fixed fee depending on service
  • Application Process:Online Call for more information Walk-in for more information
  • Eligibility Requirements:Eligibility requirements vary depending on program or service. Call for details/more information. Reservations are accepted online, by phone or walk in at the Reservation Center or at the park Monday-Sunday, 9:30 am- Sunset.
  • Payment/Insurance Accepted:Please contact provider for accepted forms of payment.
  • Transportation:Not accessible by public transit

Tell us about the person you’re helping:

All comments are subject to review. If it’s decided that a comment is inappropriate then it will be deleted from the site.

About San Diego County Campgrounds

San Diego RV Parks and Camping In Julian Area #sandiegocamping #californiacamping #rvlife

San Diego County Campgrounds are designated locations that allow for temporary outdoor living, generally involving overnight stays in San Diego County, CA. Campgrounds may be publicly or privately owned.

You may contact a Campground for questions about:

  • San Diego County Public and Private Campgrounds
  • Campsites, tent sites, and cabins
  • San Diego County Campground amenities and facilities
  • Campground reservations and fees

County Office is not affiliated with any government agency. Third party advertisements support hosting, listing verification, updates, and site maintenance. Information found on is strictly for informational purposes and does not construe legal, financial or medical advice. does not provide consumer reports and is not a consumer reporting agency as defined by the Fair Credit Reporting Act . You may not use this site for the purposes of furnishing consumer reports about search subjects or for any use prohibited by the FCRA.© 2022 County Office. All Rights Reserved.

Also Check: Plastic Water Containers For Camping

Palomar Mountain State Park Campground

Are you looking to camp while avoiding summer hot temperatures? Palomar Mountain is located within the Cleveland National Forest at a 5,000 feet average altitude. Temperatures here are 20 to 25 degrees lower than coastal temperatures. Plus, it is a crowd-free zone.

I recommend accessing the area through CA-76 to take a look at the Mission San Luis Rey and the Pala Asistencia. Once at the park, you can hike, fish at the Doane Pond, drive to the Boucher Lookout Tower and visit the Palomar Observatory

Campground amenities include restrooms, showers, water, and a camp host.

Distance from San Diego: 70 Miles

Camping Region: Mountain

Type of Camping: Tents, RVs, Trailers

Number of Sites: 31

Reservations: Yes, check availability here

Notes: Chains are required during winter

San Diegos Best Beaches

With 70 miles of coastline, theres a San Diego beach for everyone

The sessions start with basics, such as how to choose proper footwear, safely scale slopes and respond to rattlesnakes and other local wildlife, said Jessica Geiszler, marketing and public outreach manager for the San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation.

Campers will learn how to put up a tent, use lanterns and light a camp stove. And participants will interact with ambassador animals including hawks or owls, she said. Capacity will range from about 20 people for a backpacking trip to 50 to 75 for a campground event, Geiszler said

We provide all the materials and transportation, including loaner tents, sleeping bags, cookware and other gear, she said.

A September event at Lake Morena County Park will introduce participants to fishing and kayaking, with all fishing gear and boats loaned out for free, said parks director Brian Albright. Other sessions will focus on specialized topics including astronomy and stargazing, backpacking for women, rock climbing and gardening.

Another initiative, Rad Regional Parks, will highlight each of the countys 23 regional parks over a two-year period, offering free parking, events and activities all month at the featured park.

Read Also: Camping World Georgetown Ky Hours

Cuyamaca Rancho State Park Campground

This mountain park has two campgrounds: Paso Picacho and Green Valley.

Two of the most notorious trail in the park, Cuyamaca Peak and Stonewall peak, start from the Paso Picacho campground. A creek runs through the Green Valley Campground, making it a great option for those who want to cool off on hot days.

Cuyamaca Lake is located a few miles away from the park. The California Wolf Center and Julian, the apple pie capital of Southern California are located nearby too.

Campground amenities include restrooms, showers, campfire center and picnic tables. Group and horse campgrounds can be reserved as well.

Distance from San Diego: 54 Miles

Camping Region: Mountain

Type of Camping: Tents, RVs, Trailers

Number of Sites: Paso Picacho 85, Green Valley 81

Reservations: Yes, check availability here

Notes: Chains are required during winter

William Heise Group Camping

Agua Caliente County Park Campground, CA

Group organizers may reserve a minimum of 10 campsites up to one year in advance of their stay. Call the Reservation Center at 565-3600 to make group reservations. Pavilion and/or kitchen facilities for one full day during the reservation period are included in the reservation at no additional charge.Fee: $100

William Heise Park Campground

You May Like: Mckinney Falls State Park Camping

San Onofre Bluffs Campground

This popular campground is part of the San Onofre State Beach. If you love surfing, fishing, sunbathing, cycling, kayaking, or birding, you have to include this campground in your bucket list.

And, if you are not a fan of these activities, you can use the campground as a base to explore the plethora of fun, nearby attractions. This is a historic area too hence there are no limits on what you can around.

The views from the trails above the bluffs are simply amazing. Make sure to admire the vivid sunsets while sipping wine in front of a bonfire.

San Onofre Bluffs Campground has several amenities like fire pits, restrooms, showers , sanitation stations, group campsite, and first aid area. A day-use area is located at the campgrounds entrance .

Distance from San Diego: 60 Miles

Camping Region: Beach

Type of Camping: Tents, RVs, Trailers

Number of Sites: 175

Reservations: Yes, check availability here

Notes: This campground is located south the line diving Orange and San Diego counties. Actually, a lot of people believe this is Orange County. The closest city is San Clemente , also known as the Spanish Village by the Sea.

Latest Posts

Popular Articles

Stay in touch

To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.