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Southern California’s Best Campgrounds

Southern California’s best campgrounds can be found from the desert to the sea and way up in the mountains. There’s a wide variety to choose from and we’ve put to together a list of some of the best Southern California campgrounds. Best of all, CampsitePhotos.com also has high-quality photos of each campsite in all of the campgrounds in Southern California to help plan your next camping adventure!

Southern California Best Beach Campgrounds

If you’re looking to hit the beach, these Southern California campgrounds are our picks:

Silver Strand State Beach

Silver Strand State Beach Campground has 129 RV campsites in a ‘parking lot’ type layout and is right along the beautiful white-sand beach. All sites have water & electric hookups (50 amp). Self-contained camping vehicles (up to 40 feet in length) only (car or tent camping is not allowed). Camping fees include the self-contained vehicle plus 1 legally towed or towing vehicle per site.

Southern California's Best Campgrounds - Silver Strand

San Elijo State Beach

San Elijo State Beach campground has 165 campsites on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean in northern San Diego County. The campground has easy access to a large and beautiful sandy beach. Approximately 1/3 of the campsites are on the bluff with unobstructed oceans views. There are 26 campsites with full hookups including 10-15, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 101-108 and 111-116. The campground has restrooms with flush toilets and hot showers ($), a camp store, restaurant, amphitheater, dump station and also a ‘doggie beach’.

Southern California's Best Campgrounds - San Elijo

South Carlsbad State Beach

South Carlsbad State Beach Campground has 223 campsites (13 with full hookups) and 138 of the campsites (1-72 and 156-225) are located on a bluff overlooking the beach and Pacific Ocean. The maximum pad/RV size is 35 feet. The campground has a camp store (with firewood, food, drinks, gifts, supplies, board rentals, etc.), snack shop, amphitheater, hot showers, flush toilets and drinking water. There’s also a snappy dump station ($). Group camping is also available (tent only, no RVs or trailers).

Southern California's Best Campgrounds - Carlsbad State Beach #49

San Clemente State Beach

San Clemente State Beach campground has 159 campsites (72 with full hookups) and is located on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Southern California. There are also 5 vintage trailers for rent and 2 group campsites  available (50 people per site). Individual campsites can have 2 vehicles and 8 people per site.  Campground amenities include an amphitheater, flush toilets, hot showers, a gift shop, dump station and picnic area. There’s also two trails to the beach, a ranger station and visitor center.

Southern California's Best Campgrounds - San Clemente State Beach

Doheny State Beach

Doheny State Beach Campground has 121 campsites and is located right on the beach in one of the premier Southern California coastal areas. There are 33 premium beachfront sites and all can accommodate tents, trailers or RVs (up to 35 feet). Group camping is also available (4o people). Amenities include drinking water, flush toilets, hot showers ($) and a dump station.  There’s also an amphitheater, beautiful 5-acre picnic area (with pavilions, tables and BBQs), volleyball court, walking trails and ranger station. The camp host also sells firewood.

Southern California's Best Campgrounds - Doheny

Leo Carrillo State Park

Leo Carrillo State Park campground has 135 campsites for tents, trailers and RVs (up to 31 feet) just a smidge inland from from the beach. There are 46 campsites with electrical hookups.  Hike and bike campsites are also located close to site #1, and the group campsite (up to 50 people) is located at the back of the campground. Amenities include flush toilets, outside showers, a camp store, drinking water and additional day-use parking. Firewood is also available for sale at the camp store.

Southern California's Best Campgrounds - Leo Carrillo Creek View

Pt. Mugu State Park – Thornhill Broome

Thornhill Broome Beach Campground is in Point Mugu State Park and has 69 primitive campsites stretching for two miles along PCH and right next to the surf of the Pacific Ocean. All Thornhill Broome campsite pads are listed as being 31 feet in length and 12 feet wide. Vault toilets are available and there are a few roadside spigots for drinking water.

Southern California Best Desert Campgrounds

Southern California has some spectacular desert campgrounds, but it’s best to visit from October through April.

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park – Tamarisk Grove

Tamarisk Grove is a tree-shaded campground with 27 campsites for tents, trailers and RVs. There’s also a bike-in campsite. Campsites 4, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 22, 23, 24 and 25 also have small cabins available for rent. Each campsite has a table, fire ring, grill, shade ramada and paved parking spur. The campground also has a picnic area, campfire center, drinking water, flush toilets and hot showers.

Southern California's Best Campgrounds - Tamarisk

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park – Borrego Palm Canyon

Located within Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Borrego Palm Canyon campground has approximately 120 campsites and 6 group campsites. There are 51 RV campsites with electric hookups. Each campsite has a table, fire ring and grill. Several campsites also have shade structures.  The campground has drinking water, flush toilets, showers, an RV dump station, group camping and hike/biking camping.

Southern California's Best Campgrounds - Borrego

Joshua Tree National Park – Jumbo Rocks

Jumbo Rocks is one of the most popular campgrounds in Joshua Tree National Park. The campground has 124 campsites for RVs, trailers and tents that are situated among giant granite boulders. Several of the campsites require a short hike to the camping area. There some campsites that offer parallel parking for larger rigs. Each campsite also has a concrete picnic table, fire pit and grill. Amenities include vault toilets and there’s also an amphitheater. Water is not available, so bring your own.

Southern California's Best Campgrounds - Jumbo

Joshua Tree National Park – Indian Cove

Indian Cove is one of the largest campgrounds in Joshua Tree National Park with 100 campsites scattered among a wonderland of massive granite boulders.  There are also many rock climbing routes in the area. There is also a short interpretive natural trail and lots of rocks for amateurs to explore and climb. The campground does not have water (so bring your own), but you can fill up at the Ranger station. It does have vault toilets and a campfire center/amphitheater.

Southern California's Best Campgrounds - Indian Cove

Joshua Tree National Park – Hidden Valley

Hidden Valley campground is located in Joshua Tree National Park and not far from one of the parks main attractions, the Wonderland of Rocks.  The campground is open year round and has 44 campsites for tents, trailers and RVs.  All campsites are first-come, first-serve.  Each campsite also has a parking pad area (dirt), picnic table, fire ring and grill. The campground does not have water, but you will enjoy the comfort of vault/pit toilets.

Southern California's Best Campgrounds - Hidden Valley

Southern California Best Mountain Campgrounds

These campgrounds are our picks if you want to head up to the high country during the summer.

Crystal Lake Recreation Area

Crystal Lake Recreation Area Campground has 191 campsites and is located at about 5,600 feet in the Angeles National Forest at the end of Highway 39.  Campsites can accommodate tents, trailers and small RVs. Amenities include drinking water, vault toilets and an amphitheater. Hiking trails are also nearby. The Crystal Lake Cafe and Trading Post is next to the campground where you can grab a meal or load up on fire wood and supplies.

Indian Cove_087.JPG - Crystal Lake

Manker Flats

Manker Flats Campground is located near Mt. Baldy Village and has 23 campsites for tents, trailers and small RVs (up to 16 feet) set among large pine trees. A seasonal stream flows close to the campground. The campground is first-come first-serve and is open year round. It has drinking water vault toilets. Each campsite also has a table, fire ring and grill.

Southern California's Best Campgrounds - Manker

Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area

Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area (Mesa) Campground has 136 campsites for tents, trailers and RVs (up to 31 feet) on a hill above the lake.  Campsites 96 to 136 are full hookups. There are also 5 hike/bike campsites and 3 group campsites. Accessible (ADA) campsites include 26, 49, 66, 77, 80, 98, 99, 117 and 127. Amenities include drinking water, flush toilets, showers ($) and a dump station. Wi-Fi service  is also available 150 feet from the entrance kiosk. There’s also a marina that rents boats and has a store with supplies. A boat ramp is near the marina. Firewood can also be delivered to your campsite.

Southern California's Best Campgrounds - Silverwood

Dogwood

Dogwood Campground has 94 campsites in a heavily wooded area not far from Lake Arrowhead in the San Bernardino Mountains. The campground gets its name from the beautiful Dogwood trees, whose spring blossoms and fall foliage present spectacular displays. Campsites are mostly large and can accommodate tents, trailers and RVs. Dogwood campground also has an amphitheater, drinking water, flush toilets, showers and an RV dump station. Firewood is available for a fee from the campground host.

Southern California's Best Campgrounds - Dogwood

Serrano

Serrano Campground is located next to Big Bear Lake and has 132 single-family camping sites for tents, trailers and RVs. The campground is located within sight of and across the road from Big Bear Lake.  Fourteen of the sites are ‘double’ campsites.  There are 29 campsites with full hookups (30 amp). Group tent camping is also available. Amenities include drinking water, flush toilets, hot showers and a dump station.  A boat launch ramp is also located nearby the campground.

Southern California's Best Campgrounds - Serrano

Malibu Creek State Park

Malibu Creek State Park Campground has 63 sites and is located in a beautiful canyon about 25 miles north of downtown Los Angeles. Campsites can accommodate tents, trailers and RVs (up to 30 feet). Many of the campsites have shade and each also has a table, fire ring and grate. Campground amenities include drinking water, flush toilets, hot showers, a laundry and an RV waste station. You can also fish in the creek and hike the trails throughout the park.

Southern California's Best Campgrounds - Malibu Creek

Pineknot

Pineknot Campground has 47 campsites for tents, trailers and small RVs (up to 26 feet) in two loops at the base of Snow Summit Ski Resort Mountain.  It is a popular base camp for mountain biking on the slopes of Snow Summit. Amenities include drinking water and flush toilets. Firewood is also available for sale at the campground.

Southern California's Best Campgrounds - Big Bear

Holcomb Valley

Holcomb Valley campground is located at an elevation of 7,400 feet among a beautiful grove of large pine trees. The campground has 19  first-come, first-served campsites and is open year round (weather and roads permitting). The area typically gets heavy snow in the winter months. The campground has vault toilets, but no water.

Southern California's Best Campgrounds - Holcomb

Stone Creek

Stone Creek campground has 50 single-family campsites and is the largest campground at Mount San Jacinto State Park. The campsites can accommodate  tents, trailers and RVs.  Each campsite also has a table, fire ring and grate.  A few also have a food storage locker, but most do not. Mature cedar and pine trees provide ample shade and privacy between campsites. The campground also has drinking water and vault toilets.

Southern California's Best Campgrounds -Stone Creek

Idyllwild

Idyllwild Campground in Mt. San Jacinto State Park has 34 campsites for tents, trailers and small  RVs (24 feet maximum) set among tall pines trees. It is within walking distance of the town of Idyllwild.  Campground amenities include drinking water and flush toilets. Each campsite also has a table, fire ring and grill. Firewood is also available for sale from the camp host.

Southern California's Best Campgrounds - Idyllwild

Hurkey Creek

Hurkey Creek Campground has 130 single-family campsites for tents, trailers and RVs (up to 40 feet) set among a forest or large pine trees. The campground is located in the San Jacinto Mountains about 8 miles from the town of Idyllwild. It is also about a mile from Lake Hemet. Amenities include flush toilets, hot showers, a playground and large picnic area. Each also campsite has a table, fire ring and grill.

Southern California's Best Campgrounds - Hurkey

Palomar Mountain State Park – Doane Valley

Palomar Mountain State Park Doane Valley campground has 31 campsites for RVs (up to 27 feet) trailers or tents in the beautiful Cleveland National Forest. Almost all have of the sites have stairs either up or down to the camping area.The campground has a campfire center, flush toilets, showers, drinking water and overflow parking area. Camp roads and parking spurs are also paved. Doane Creek also runs past the campground and a few trailheads also start from the campground.

Southern California's Best Campgrounds - Palomar

Cuyamaca Rancho State Park – Paso Picacho

Paso Picacho Campground at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park has 85 campsites, 5 cabins (with beds, stove and light), 1 (tent-only / walk-in) group campsite and equestrian camping.  The campground is rather large and spread out with most campsites having good privacy. Amenities include a dump station, drinking water, flush toilets and hot showers. Firewood and ice are available for sale at the campground.

Southern California's Best Campgrounds - Paso

William Heise County Park

William Heise County Park is located a few miles from the historic mining town of Julian at an elevation of 4,200 feet in the Laguna Mountain Range.  This 929-acre park offers a great place to enjoy nature and wildlife. The campground has 104 campsites and 14 cabins. Group camping is also available. Amenities include drinking water, flush toilets and showers. There is also several playgrounds, picnic area, horse shoe pit and hiking & biking trails.

Southern California's Best Campgrounds - William Heise

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