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Best Places to Go Camping in Southern California

Two camping tents, one green, one orange set up on hill top. Wonderful view of ocean in the Crystal Cove state park.From the magnificent redwood forests and dramatic bluffs to desert landscapes, the Golden State boasts dozens of spectacular places to experience nature in all her glory. Los Angeles residents won’t have to venture far to roll out their sleeping bags. There are 14 National Parks within a day’s drive of the city.

Whether you’re planning an epic hiking adventure or a weekend getaway, here are some of the best camping destinations in Southern California.

#1: Leo Carillo State Park

This dog-friendly park is less than a 2-hour jaunt from L.A. You’ll find it in Malibu, right off the Pacific Coast Highway. Leo Carillo State Park has 130 campsites – all with direct beach access and amenities galore. The pretty beach is great for surfing, beachcombing, exploring tidepools and there are several well-marked backcountry trails. You can even pick up food items and sundries at the on-site store.

#2: Serrano Campground

Enjoy the picturesque beauty of Big Bear Lake at this popular campground, nestled in the San Bernardino Mountains. Serrano has 93 single and 16 double campsites that are spacious and shaded by tall pines and juniper trees. This is an excellent spot for fishing, mountain biking, boating and of course hiking. Serrano is a family-friendly campground with RV hookups, firewood sales, interpretive trails, picnic tables, restrooms and showers.

#3: Crystal Cove State Park

Located in the Newport Beach region between Laguna Beach and Corona del Mar, Crystal Cove National Park (pictured above) has three miles of stunning coastal beachfront and 2,400 acres of wilderness. For a rustic experience, there is tent, bluff and RV camping offered at the park’s El Moro Canyon. This campground is rarely crowded and has clean facilities, restrooms and showers. Those seeking a bit more luxury should opt for one of the beautifully-restored historic oceanfront cottages, built in the late 1930’s.

#4: Blair Valley Campground

With more than 500 miles of scenic trails, Anza Borrego State Park provides the perfect backdrop for off-roading, rugged hiking and primitive desert camping at the Blair Valley Campground. There are no designated campsites and visitors must pack in and haul out all of their food, potable water, firewood and gear. Plan your visit for the Fall or Spring, when the temperatures are mild. For an off-the-beaten- path camping experience, this place can’t be beat.

#5: Idyllwild Campground, Mount San Jacinto

Idyllwild is surrounded by sweet-smelling pine trees and is the perfect place for those who want to avoid big crowds. Located in the high-altitude wilderness of Mount San Jacinto, this campground features amazing hiking, rock climbing, fishing and wildlife watching. Pitch your tent in one of dozens of campsites and enjoy a peaceful backpacking excursion. Amenities include restrooms, showers, potable water and picnic tables.

Camping under the stars, roasting marshmallows and exploring backcountry roads makes for a memorable experience, especially during the summer months. However, this family-friendly activity is not without risks. Accidents – whether at the campsite itself or en route – can cause serious injury or even death. When another party’s negligence is the cause of your injury, the law provides recourse.

An experienced California personal injury lawyer at Ellis Law can explain your legal options and determine if you have a claim for damages. Schedule a free case review in Los Angeles or any one of our 20 office locations by calling 1-800-INJURED today.

Resources on Camping in Southern California:

  1. Travel Channel, California’s Most Spectacular Camping Spots https://www.travelchannel.com/destinations/us/ca/articles/californias-most-spectacular-camping-spots
  2. San Diego Magazine, Great Places to Go Camping in Southern California and Baja http://www.sandiegomagazine.com/San-Diego-Magazine/April-2018/16-Great-Places-to-Go-Camping-in-Southern-California-and-Baja/