It’s camping season! There’s nothing better than spending a summer weekend soaking up the natural beauty of Southern California on a camping trip in the woods. Here in SoCal we are blessed with wonderful scenic campgrounds nestled within national parks and forests. Take your pick from a variety of campsites that will get you away from the hustle and bustle of the city and land you in a woodsy hideway surrounded by towering trees. Here are 10 campgrounds to consider when you’re planning that outdoorsy getaway.
1. Middle Lion Campground -- Ojai
No reservations are required at this small campground in Ventura County. However, with only 8 campsites to choose from, the spots fill quickly. What makes this campsite so rustic? This spot is tucked away under a canopy of trees in the Los Padres National Forest and is located next to a stream. Note that there is no drinking water or shower facilities, so pack accordingly.
2. Arroyo Seco Campground -- Los Padres National Forest
Another great spot in the Los Padres National Forest to set up camp is at the Arroyo Seco Campground. This location is easily accessible to scenic trails that will take your breath away with views like you've never seen before. The trail through the Gorge is a must to experience while you're here. All of the campsites have a BBQ, fire pit, picnic table and benches. Hot showers are also available.
3. Laguna Campground -- Cleveland National Forest
Only an hour outside of San Diego, you will find Laguna Campground located in the Cleveland National Forest. During hot summer months this spot is perfect as plenty of pine and oak trees provide a wonderful shady canopy to protect you from the blistering heat of the sun. This campsite is rustic, but not TOO rustic as there is access to showers and restrooms at the campground.
4. Idlehour Trail Camp -- Altadena
If you're looking for a campground where you can hike deep into the woods to get there, this is a great spot to consider. The hike to this site is between 10 and 13 miles, depending on which trail you take. Pack plenty of water as the heat is extreme in the summer. Once you reach the campground you'll be treated to a remote campsite with a wood burning stove so you can heat up that can of chili you packed. Make sure to reserve a campsite prior to hiking in, so you can make sure you have a place to pitch your tent once you arrive.
5. Los Prietos Campground -- Santa Barbara
You'll be close to all sorts of outdoorsy activities when you set up camp at Los Prietos. For hiking, you have access to the 2.5 mile Aliso National Recreational Trail that starts at the campsite. For water enthusiasts, the Santa Ynez River is only a half mile from the campground.
6. Hoegees Camp -- San Gabriel Mountains
To find Hoegees Trail Camp, you'll be treated to a lush 2-mile hike in the forest before you reach the remote campsite nestled in the woods. Grills, picnic tables and restrooms are all located onsite. Reservations are not taken at Hoegees, so be prepared for plan B if all the sites are already in use once you arrive.
7. Moro Campground -- Crystal Cove State Park
For a primitive camping experience at Moro Campground in Crystal Cove State Park, be prepared for a 3-mile hike to reach the campsites. It can be a strenuous uphill hike to reach the designated camping area, but once you arrive you'll be treated to a rustic experience that will take you away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
8. Santa Cruz Campground -- Channel Islands National Park
How about pitching a tent underneath a eucalyptus tree on a remote island? Head to Channel Islands National Park for a camping trip that will make you feel like you've entered another world.
9. Black Mountain Group Campground -- Riverside County
This campsite is located in a heavily forested area nestled within San Bernardino National Forest. This group campground can accommodate up to 100 guests, so it's the perfect spot for a large gathering or for that family reunion coming up this summer. Fire rings, picnic tables and restroom facilities are located at the campsite.
10. Paso Picacho Campground
Paso Picacho is known for providing a clean campsite within Cuyamaca Rancho State Park in a breathtaking natural area with a canopy of towering trees. You'll feel far removed from civilization, while having the comforts of a fire pit, hot showers and nearby restrooms at this well maintained campsite.
Where are you planning to go camping in Southern California this summer? With so many campgrounds to choose from, it’s hard to know which spot to pick. To find out which campsites are still available, head over to
Reserve America to book a reservation for an epic SoCal camping experience.