Best Places for Camping in Los Angeles

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Camping in Los Angeles | Campsites in LA

Bordered on three sides by desert mountains and by the Pacific ocean on the other side, Los Angeles is a picturesque camping destination with lavish sites along hiking trails. You can rent furnished Swiss tents with modern amenities and patios. While camping in Los Angeles, explore the national forest, waterfalls and canyons that offer sightseeing opportunities and places to light up a memorable bonfire.

Here is the list of 16 Best Places for Camping in Los Angeles

1. Malibu Creek State Park

Malibu Creek State Park
4.5 /5

Malibu Creek State Park is a park in It just 25 miles from downtown Los Angeles. Malibu Creek State Park offers several recreational activities such as hiking, bird watching, fishing, mountain biking, rock climbing, horseback riding, and more. There are around 15 miles of streamside trail through oak and sycamore woodlands on chaparral-covered slopes. On the trail along Malibu Creek, you can enjoy some spectacular views, including scenic pools and volcanic rock gorges. One can also have views of the Las Virgenes Valley and Malibu Canyon.

Hours : Sunrise to Sunset
Parking fees : All day – $12 per car, 3 hrs – $9 per car, 2 hrs – $6 per car, 1 hr – $3 per car.

2. Refugio State Beach

Refugio State Beach
4.5 /5

Refugio State Beach is a state park in California. It is around 20 miles west of Santa Barbara. Refugio State Beach offers opportunities for outstanding coastal fishing, hiking, and picnicking. Beautiful palm trees planted around Refugio Creek to give a magnificent look to the beach and camping area. The visitors can use the wheelchairs without any cost to access the park. Refugio State Park offers abundant outdoor recreation activities like boating, fishing, hiking, geocaching, kayaking, picnicking, surfing, swimming, and much more.

Wheelchair Accessible : Yes
Hours : 8 A.M. to Sunset
Entry : $10 for each vehicle (covering additional vehicles)

3. Lake Arrowhead

Lake Arrowhead
4.5 /5

Lake Arrowhead is a private lake in the San Bernardino Mountains of San Bernardino County, California. It is surrounded by the San Bernardino National Forest. Lake Arrowhead is an astonishing, restful, and picturesque mountain resort paradise. Lake Arrowhead is known as 'The Alps of Southern California'. It features many outdoor recreational activities for all the seasons of the year, including hiking, bicycling, fishing, picnicking, water & snow skiing, and much more.

Open : Daily from Sunrise to Sunset
Admission : $12 for 13 yrs & older and free for children 12 & below.

4. San Mateo Campground

San Mateo Campground
4.0 /5

San Mateo Campground is a campground in San Onofre State Beach. San Mateo campground is at a short distance inland from the 3.5 miles of beaches lying within the San Onofre State Beach area. A 1.5-mile trail connects this campground with a top-notch surfing site called Trestles beach. The San Mateo stream flows just east of the campground towards the edge of the ocean, forming a riverbank and

Wheelchair accessible :  Yes
Hours : 6 A.M. to 10 P.M. daily
User fee : Walk-in camping - $10 and RV Camping (general user) - $45

5. Mojave National Preserve

Mojave National Preserve
4.5 /5

Mojave National Preserve is a National park in the Mojave Desert of San Bernardino County, California. It is situated between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. With the passage of the California Desert Protection Act by the U.S. Congress, this Preserve was formed in October 1994. Mojave National Preserve features serenity and seclusion from city rush & noise. The Mojave has an expanse of 1.6 acres featuring cinder cone volcanoes, sand-dunes, wildflower fields, and big Joshua Tree forests.

Hours : Open 24 hours from Sun to Sat 
Entry : Free

6. Big Sur

Big Sur
5.0 /5

Big Sur is a rocky and mountainous region & state park in the Central Coast of California between Carmel Highlands and San Simeon. Big Sur is known for its marvelous scenery. Big Sur takes pride in being the longest and most scenic stretch of undeveloped coastline in the adjoining United States. This place is one of the most beautiful coastlines throughout the world. It is an isolated stretch of road, that is a noble national treasure that demands extraordinary procedures to protect it from development. The seventeenth macOS update, macOS Big Sur, was named after this area.

Day Use fee : $10 per car (valid at all California State parks until sunset)
Hours : 8 A.M. to Sunset

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7. Leo Carrillo State Park

Leo Carrillo State Park
4.5 /5

Leo Carrillo is a State Park in Los Angeles County, along the Malibu Coast, California. The park is on the Pacific Coast Highway, 28 miles northwest of Santa Monica. It was established in 1953, and it is managed by the California Department of Parks & Recreation. The park is named after Leo Carrillo (1880-1961), who was an actor, preservationist, and conservationist. For around eighteen years, Leo served on the California Beach and Parks Commission. Leo Carrillo State Park has about 1.5 miles of beach for recreational activities like swimming, sunbathing, surfing, fishing, and beachcombing.

Hours : 8 A.M. to 10 P.M. (no entry after 10 P.M.)
Parking fees : All day – $12 per car, 3 hrs – $9 per car, 2 hrs – $6 per car, 1 hr – $3 per car.
Wheelchair Accessible : Yes

8. Mammoth Mountain

Mammoth Mountain
4.5 /5

Mammoth Mountain is a lava dome located within the town of Mammoth Lakes, California. It is situated in the Inyo National Forest of Madera and Mono Counties. It is home to a large ski area, mainly on the Mono County side. Mammoth Mountain Ski Area is a large ski resort in the Mammoth Mountain area, in the Inyo National Forest.

Hours : 8 A.M. to 5 P.M. daily
Beginners Tickets : Adults (23 to 64 yrs) - $79, Young Adult (13 to 22 yrs) - $65, Child (5 to 12 yrs) - $32, Senior (65 to 79 yrs) - $65

9. Big Bear Lake

Big Bear Lake
5.0 /5

Big Bear Lake is a mountain Lake & recreational area situated in the heart of Southern California. It lies close to Phoenix and Las Vegas. The Big Bear Lake is a gem of the San Bernardino National Forest, renowned for remarkable fishing, kayaking, hiking, snowboarding & skiing, mountain biking, and much more. Big Bear Lake is one of the ideal places for camping. There are just so many activities to do. It has many hiking trails, and during the summer, visitors can swim and enjoy boating. Boat rentals are available at the site.

Daily Adventure Pass : $5

10. Angeles National Forest

Angeles National Forest
5.0 /5

Angeles National Forest is situated in the San Gabriel Mountains & Sierra Pelona Mountains, principally lying amid Los Angeles County. It was formed by Executive Order in 1892. It is spread over 700,000 acres of land and is the backyard playground to the vast metropolitan area of Los Angeles. In the Angeles National Forest - San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, visitors can enjoy hiking, biking, camping, off-roading vehicle travel, fishing, picnicking, winter snow skiing, and many more activities.

Open : Mon to Fri from 8:00 A.M. - 4:30 P.M. 
(Closed for lunch from 1:00 to 1:30 P.M.)
Admission : Forest Adventure Pass Daily - $5 per day, Forest Adventure annual pass - $30 yearly.

11. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
5.0 /5

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is a vast desert park in Borrego Springs, California. It is the largest state park in California with about five hundred miles of dirt roads and 12 wilderness areas. The park has many miles of sandy hiking trails and wildflowers fields with trees & thorny cacti plants that offer an exclusive experience of the California Desert. It is situated on the eastern side of San Diego County, with some portions extended to Imperial County in the east and Riverside County in the north.

Hours : Visitor Center is open Oct to May from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. daily and only open on weekends and holidays in summers
Wheelchair Accessible : Yes
Entry :  Free (except some areas in the park that require the day-use fee of $10 from Fri to Sun)
Dogs Allowed : Yes

12. Idyllwild

Idyllwild
4.5 /5

Idyllwild lies in the San Jacinto Mountains, California. The town is nestled amid tall pines, sweet-smelling cedars, and super-sized rocks. The surroundings embrace a small-town-like cozy atmosphere. Visit and experience the peaceful ambiance of Idyllwild in nature's lap. Away from the city crowds, traffic jams, & noise, this town is perfect for a break from the busy city life, to relax & rejuvenate yourself. Idyllwild is an ideal place for all sorts of hiking, from the quick day hikes for weekends to long overnight hiking trips.

13. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
4.0 /5

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park is a National Park in California. These are two national parks lying side by side. They are magnificent National Parks with sequoias, mountains, and waterfalls. The Sequoia National Park was formed in September 1890, and it is spread over an area of more than 631 sq. mi. The Kings Canyon National Park was formed 50 years later after the establishment of the Sequoia National Park in 1940, and it has an expanse of around 722 sq. mi.

Wheelchair accessible : Yes
Open : Sunrise to Sunset

14. Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park
4.4 /5

Joshua Tree is an American National Park in Southeastern California, in the east of Los Angeles and San Bernardino. It is located in Riverside County & San Bernardino County, California, and is forty miles apart from Palm springs. This National Park was formed in October 1994. It is an extensive & protected area of around 3,200 sq. km. in Southern California with uneven rocky formations and an arid desert landscape. Joshua Tree National Park is named by the Mormon Settlers, who visited the area in the mid-1800s after the bristled & twisted Joshua trees found in the region.

Open : 24 hours a day, round the year
Admission : (7-day permit): Individual entrance - $15 per person, Motorcycle - $25 per motorcycle, Vehicles - $30 per vehicle, Non-commercial groups (16 passengers or above) - $15.

15. Ensenada

Ensenada
4.5 /5

Ensenada is a port city of the largest municipality in Baja California, Mexico, on the Pacific Coast south of Tijuana. This city on a beautiful coastal stretch is famous for its wine-producing region, wildlife, beautiful scenery, and water sports. It is locally known as La Bella Cenicienta del Pacífico (Meaning as 'The Beautiful Cinderella of the Pacific' in English). On this renowned seaside gateway, you can enjoy the splendid views, the attractive harbor, surf the waves, or tour some of the finest vineyards of Mexico.

16. Los Padres National Forest

Los Padres National Forest
4.5 /5

Los Padres National Forest in the United States' National Forest in Southern & Central California. The United States Forest Service administers this National Forest. It covers most of the mountainous land along the California coast from Ventura to Monterey, extending inland. This forest is California's second-largest National Forest that has an expanse of around 220 miles across the picturesque coast. Los Padres National Forest features streams, rivers, beaches, & mountains. Most of the land area of this forest is rocky and steep mountainous land along with the Santa Lucia, San Rafael, La Panza, Santa Ynez, and Sierra Madre ranges.

Hours : Mon to Fri from 8:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. (closed Sat & Sun)
Forest Adventure Daily Pass : $5 per day (applicable on certain activities
Parking : $10 (applicable to certain areas)

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