These 10 Rustic Spots In Southern California Are Extraordinary For Camping
It’s camping season! There’s nothing better than spending a summer weekend soaking up the natural beauty while tent
camping in Southern California 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 hideaway surrounded by towering trees. Here are 10 secret camping spots in Southern California to consider when you’re planning that outdoorsy getaway.
1. Middle Lion Campground -- Ojai
19786 Forest Rte 6N31, Ojai, CA 93023, USA
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. (Editor's Note: This campground is temporarily closed due to the closure of Hwy 33)
2. Arroyo Seco Campground -- Los Padres National Forest
47600 Arroyo Seco Rd, Greenfield, CA 93927, USA
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.
Take a look at the scenic views you’ll find here:
3. Laguna Campground -- Cleveland National Forest
468 Los Huecos Rd, Mt Laguna, CA 91948, USA
Only an hour outside of San Diego, you will find
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
Idlehour Trail, Altadena, CA 91001, USA
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
111 Paradise Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93105, USA
You'll be close to all sorts of outdoorsy activities when you set up camp at
. 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. (Editor's Note: this campground is temporarily closed)
6. Hoegees Camp -- San Gabriel Mountains
Winter Creek Trail, Mt Zion Trail, Sierra Madre, CA 91024
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. (Editor's Note: This camp is temporarily closed)
Get an aerial view of this beautiful area:
7. Moro Campground -- Crystal Cove State Park
8471 N Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, USA
For a primitive camping experience at
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.
Get a closer look at this lovely campground:
8. Santa Cruz Campground -- Channel Islands National Park
Potato Harbor Road, Potato Harbor Rd, California 93001, USA
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
Black Mountain Truck Trail, Whitewater, CA 92282, USA
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.
(Editor's Note: This campground is temporarily closed)
10. Paso Picacho Campground
13652 CA-79, Julian, CA 92036, USA
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.
Have you been to any of these secret camping spots in Southern California? With so many campgrounds to choose from, it’s hard to know which spot to pick. If you’re looking for more places like this, here are several more of the
best camping spots in Southern California.
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The Natural Beauty of Southern California
What are the most incredible natural wonders in Southern California?
The most incredible natural wonders in Southern California include:
La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles. Thousands of plant and animal fossils have been found in this ancient tar pit.
Arroyo Tapiado Carrizo Badlands Mud Caves. This is the largest cave system in America and is located in the Anza Borrego Desert State Park.
The Trona Pinnacles. These rock spires look like something you might find on the surface of Mars.
Joshua Tree National Park. This is one of the most famous natural wonders in the state and is known for its unique tree species.
Discover more about the most incredible natural wonders in Southern California.
What are some bucket list natural attractions in Southern California?
Bucket list natural attractions in Southern California include:
Shaw's Cove at Laguna Beach. The rocky seashore here is full of tidepools filled with tiny ocean life and the views are gorgeous.
Vasquez Rocks Natural Area. The 25-million-year-old rocks jut diagonally out of the Earth in this amazing place.
Franklin Canyon Park in Beverly Hills. This is a quiet little spot where locals go to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Trail Canyon Falls in Tujunga Canyon. Take a 6-mile hike to some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the state.
Learn more about bucket list natural attractions in Southern California.
What are some natural wonders in Southern California that are free to visit?
Natural wonders in Southern California that are free to visit include:
Amboy Crater. This is a volcanic cinder crater that rises 250 feet above the surrounding Mojave Desert.
Thousand Steps Beach Cave in Laguna Beach. There are only 223 steps, however, visiting this place when the tide is low is a mesmerizing experience.
Kelso Dunes. This vast expanse of sand dunes resembles the Sahara Desert and when the Sands shift they create a deep, booming sound.
Bioluminescent Waves. During late summer and early fall, algae create an eerie glow at beaches in L.A., Orange County, and San Diego County.
Find out more about natural wonders in Southern California that are free to visit.
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