Where To Camp In Southern California

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It doesn’t require an expert to realize that we are indeed living in unprecedented (and often crazy) times. Most days, it can feel like life is moving at hundreds of miles an hour, and at some point, we all need to “unplug” and catch a breather. Camping is undoubtedly one of the best ways to do this, and Southern California is likely the best place to get the job done.

Southern California offers some of the most diverse camping experiences in The United States. Whether camping with ocean views, up on the mountains, or in vast deserts, Southern California has it all. Popular campsites include Jumbo Rocks Campground and San Onofre Bluffs Campground.

If you feel like it is about time to enjoy a break from the fast and often overwhelming pace of life, then look no further than Southern California as the perfect destination for a camping adventure. Whether you are ready to “rough” it or still need those comfortable amenities, you will undoubtedly find the ideal place to camp in Southern California.

Camping In Southern California

Southern California, or SoCal as referred to by many, is home to some of the country’s most beautiful topography and scenery. Indeed, Southern California is in the business of diversity. Just about any type of scenery or topography that you would like to be surrounded by can be found in the beautiful region of Southern California.

Southern California offers camping opportunities on some beaches. What better way to enjoy some peace and serenity than camping with the sound of the ocean all around you? Camping experiences in the mountains at 5,000 feet above sea level are available in SoCal, offering arguably the most scenic, secluded, and peaceful experience that one could ever have.

Perhaps you are looking for a camping experience that makes you feel like you are in another part of the world. Southern California is also home to some beautiful and remote desert lands in places like the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and the famous Joshua Tree National Park, offering an endless number of unforgettable camping adventures.

Indeed, when it comes to camping, Southern California has no shortage of incredible experiences, offering a seemingly endless list of possibilities for all kinds of camping. From RV camping to tent camping – or for the more conservative folk, glamping – Southern California undoubtedly has everything that you could ever hope for in a camping experience.

Preparing For Camping In Southern California

Before we dive into some of Southern California’s exciting camping sites, it would be worthwhile to offer you a few tips for preparing for a camping adventure in SoCal.

When choosing a campsite that you would like to visit, make sure to thoroughly research the area to know whether it will cater to the kind of experience that you are looking to have. 

As an example, some of the most exquisite camping experiences in the Southern Californian deserts do not offer any amenities. So, you will likely be highly disappointed upon arrival to find out that there is no place for you to have a shower, wash your clothes, or even fill a water bottle. 

Secondly, some campsites in Southern California require bookings to be made well in advance, so give yourself enough time to plan. Some campsites might even require permits. All in all, a simple yet effective key to having the best possible camping experience is to plan and prepare effectively. 

The Best Places To Camp In Southern California

Alright, without further a due, let us dive into a few of Southern California’s best campsites. As previously mentioned, SoCal is remarkable in that it has a seemingly endless list of camping possibilities. While we cannot list them all, we will show you the spots that you do not want to pass by that showcase Southern California’s diverse scenery and topography.

From ocean views to mountain tops and desert experiences, here are the best places to camp in Southern California:

San Onofre Bluffs Campground

Roughly sixty miles from San Diego, you will find the San Onofre State Beach, which is home to the exquisite San Onofre Bluffs Campground. This is undoubtedly one of Southern California’s best oceanside camping experiences, offering breathtaking views and the tranquil sound of the ocean. 

The San Onofre Bluffs Campground is popular among those with camper vans and RVs. There are areas within the campground where you will have access to showers as well as flushing water. Although the showers are coin-operated, so make sure to bring some change with you. 

Easy beach access, sunbathing, surfing, and even fishing are just some of the benefits that make San Onofre Bluffs Campground a camping experience not to be passed by. You’ll need to pay around $40 per night to camp here.

Jumbo Rocks Campground

The name of this campsite in the famous Joshua Tree National Park is relatively self-explanatory of the type of scenery that you can expect to see when camping here. Stunning rock formations formed over millions of years in a desert-like landscape will be the backdrop for a camping experience here. 

Both tent camping and RV or camper van camping is welcome here, however, note that there is no access to running water or showers here, so this camping experience is definitely better suited to those looking for a “rough and tough” camping feel. There is a small town only a few miles away where you can buy more food and water if necessary.

Camping at the Jumbo Rocks Campground will cost you roughly only $20 per night.

Cuyamaca Rancho State Park

For a more mountainous camping experience, the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park provides one of the best camping opportunities in Southern California. Along with being able to enjoy some of SoCal’s best hiking trails, your highlight of camping here will be the breathtaking views and the fact that you will be sleeping at roughly 5,000 feet above sea level.

Surrounded by lush oak forests and tranquil waters, a camping experience in the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park will be unforgettable. Bring a tent or, if you would prefer, use one of the campgrounds’ cabins that are furnished with beds, stoves, and picnic tables.

Camping at the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park will cost you roughly $30 per night.


All in all, Southern California is the place that you want to find yourself in for the perfect camping experience. Whether you’re looking to “rough” it in the desert, sleep on top of scenic mountains, or rest on the beach, Southern California has it all for you. Do not pass by on a camping opportunity in SoCal!