Where to Camp in Southern California

August 23rd, 2018 by

couple starts a fire while camping in the wilderness

If the bustle and grind of Los Angeles is bringing you down and you need a way to leave it all behind, at least for a day or two, how about grabbing the tent and hitting the campgrounds? Camping in Southern California is inexpensive, doesn’t take a lot of planning, and is a great way to recover your sanity over the weekend. If that sounds good to you, check out our top picks for scenic campgrounds in the SoCal area and get back to nature and back to you.

Angeles National Forest

Just a stone’s throw from Burbank is the pristine wildlands known as the Angeles National Forest. Measuring more than 1,000 square miles and home to more than 40 campgrounds, including Crystal Lake, visitors can relax and soak in the sun without the distractions of the outside world intruding.

Leo Carrillo State Park

Just 1.5 hours from Glendale, Leo Carrillo offers campsites with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, plenty of amenities, access to hiking trails, and even a little general store in case you leave something important at home.

San Mateo Campground

Located in San Onofre State Beach just 1.5 hours south of Burbank, the San Mateo campground is a popular choice for surfers who want to be within walking distance of the waves. Located just a stone’s throw from Camp Pendleton, it’s also a good choice for family members visiting troops nearby who want a more rustic place to stay than the Four Seasons.

Hollywood RV Park

If you’re not huge on roughing it but still want to get out of West Hollywood, former Balboa Park offers a unique slice of Hollywood history. The park features murals, live entertainment, dedicated hook-ups, and a unique feel that make it well worth fighting North Hollywood traffic to experience.

Joshua Tree

Stunning desert vistas make for challenging drives and some of the best camping in the area. Enjoy a wild night sky free from light pollution and take in the universe while you listen to the coyotes sing in the distance. Spring is a popular time for catching the wildflowers in bloom and enjoying long hikes before the summer heat sets in.

Escape the Sprawl and Enjoy Natural Beauty

While green spaces and environmental awareness are on the rise in Los Angeles, and projects like Hollywood Central Park go a long way towards providing a much-needed respite from the urban jungle, sometimes, you just have to run away to find yourself again. Choose one of our top picks, or leave your own in the comments, and let us know where you find the best camping in Southern California.


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