The Ten Finest Locations to Camp in Southern California

This visitor put up is by Monica Chapon, a California-based desert fanatic:

California has all of it: mountains, seashores, deserts, and every little thing in between.

California is without doubt one of the few areas on the planet that homes many various climates in shut proximity. And no space of the state is sort of as various as Southern California.

It’s fully doable to go to the Pacific Ocean, snow-capped mountains, and the dry rugged desert all in a single day. No matter local weather you’re within the temper for, you will discover it. For individuals who like tenting, this implies an infinite number of surroundings to get up to on any given day.

From seashores to deserts to mountains, listed here are the ten greatest locations to camp in Southern California.

1. Alabama Hills Nationwide Scenic Space

Simply superb.

The Alabama Hills Nationwide Scenic Space sits on the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. This visually beautiful stretch of land options giant easy boulders haphazardly scattered in entrance of the snow-capped jagged peaks within the distance.

Alabama Hills is Bureau of Land Administration (BLM) land. For campers, this implies free dispersed tenting among the many rocks and foothills.  Remember, although: there are not any outhouses or trash bins, neither is there any potable water. Convey your personal breakfast or take a brief drive to close by Lone Pine for provisions. This whole space is a “pack it in, pack it out” location.

My favourite place to arrange store is in between the rounded rocks, which creates some privateness and a few one-on-one time with nature. Campers can start their morning with a dawn hike or an epic picture op at Film Street.

2. Leo Carrillo State Park

Leo Carrillo State Park, one of the best places to camp in Southern California, offers ocean views like this.

For seashore lovers on the market, that is simply probably the greatest locations to camp in Southern California.

Leo Carrillo State Park sits simply off of the PCH (Pacific Coast Freeway), in northern Malibu. Again nation trails climb the hills behind the campgrounds, some quick and simple and a few lengthy and tough.

There are 130 campsites within the state park; they value $45 per evening, and plenty of are shaded by towering sycamore bushes. The grounds provide facilities like flush bogs, working water, and showers. Reservations may be made as much as six months upfront.

Leo Carrillo additionally provides a 1.5-mile stretch of seashore proper throughout the road that’s nice for swimming, browsing, and stress-free. My private favourite options are the tide swimming pools and coastal caves shaped by the dramatic cliffs, and the secluded nature of this pocket seashore.

3. White Tank Campground

White Tank Campground leads to this iconic Arch Rock in Joshua Tree.

Tucked within my all-time favourite Joshua Tree Nationwide Park sits the White Tank Campground. Nestled among the many typical giant granite boulders within the northern finish of the park, all 15 campsites are first-come, first-served. That is simply probably the greatest locations to camp, not simply in Southern California however in the whole American Southwest.

A $15 payment have to be pay as you go at an entrance station. There is no such thing as a water obtainable for ingesting or washing, so convey lots! Notice: The campground sometimes closes in the summertime as a result of extreme warmth of the desert.

White Tank is considered one of my favourite spots for 2 causes. First, the long-lasting Arch Rock hike originates from this very spot, so it’s straightforward to entry at dawn. Moreover, it’s situated in one of many darkest sections of the park and so provides fabulous stargazing.

4. Pineknot Campground

Pineknot is tucked away in a densely forested space of the San Bernardino Nationwide Forest at Huge Bear Lake. It’s a well-liked vacation spot for these searching for a break from busy metropolis life.

The campground has 48 websites with quick access to a number of scenic mountain trails. It’s outfitted with fireplace rings, picnic tables, and bear containers at every web site to pack away meals. Firewood is on the market for buy. With flush bogs and ingesting water offered, campers are set for a weekend within the woods. Campsites are $31 per evening.

Huge Bear Lake provides enjoyable water actions, like canoeing and boating, and is a pleasant change of tempo from the ocean views Southern California is known for. The water may be chilly, although, so it’s not the very best place for swimming.

5. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

anza borrego

An hour and a half east of San Diego, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is a hidden gem. It’s not probably the most well-known park to these coming from outdoors of California, however for me it’s one other desert staple.

In contrast to most locations in California, tenting at Anza-Borrego doesn’t require planning six months upfront: campers can plan a spontaneous weekend getaway right here and know that they’ll get a campsite! It is because Anza-Borrego provides free dispersed tenting. And the park is huge, so it by no means feels crowded. Actually, I’ve not often seen one other camper round me.

Remember, although: for those who go the dispersed route, there are not any facilities. Pack it in, pack it out. Make sure you convey greater than sufficient water for ingesting and washing.

That is one other locale recognized for unbelievable stargazing. In the event you’ve by no means seen the darkish sky full of 1000’s of glowing stars from the center of the desert, add this to your bucket listing.

6. South Fork Campground

This campground is located on the bottom of the San Gabriel Mountains within the Angeles Nationwide Forest. It’s a hidden gem tucked between towering canyon partitions. Shaded inexperienced mountain climbing trails are plentiful in these mountains.

South Fork provides 21 spacious, first-come-first-served websites. Every comes outfitted with a fireplace ring and a grill. There is no such thing as a water obtainable right here, so plan forward. Vault bogs are offered on-site.

This space has sadly skilled some closures as a result of current California wildfires, so make sure you examine the standing earlier than making the drive.

7. Jumbo Rocks Campground

Sitting on the Jumbo Rocks at Joshua Tree.

Jumbo Rocks Campground, centrally situated close to many displays and trails, is one other common but primitive spot in Joshua Tree Nationwide Park.

The large rocks have been shaped hundreds of thousands of years in the past and have been smoothed into their distinctive shapes by the wind. Creatures like lizards, rattlesnakes, and scorpions may be discovered residing amongst them.

There are 124 particular person campsites, set on a flat, sandy floor, in between the boulders. Websites are solely $20 per evening. No water or showers are offered. Additionally, the city of Twentynine Palms is just 12 miles away, so meals and water can simply be bought outdoors the park.

Reservations are required from September to Could. In the event you choose to order a spot upfront quite than go away it to likelihood, like at White Tank, then Jumbo Rocks is perhaps for you.

8. Ricardo Campground

The stunning red cliffs near the Ricardo Campground, one of the best places to camp in Southern California.

One among my favourite under-the-radar spots for tenting may be discovered between the dramatic cliffs of quiet Pink Rock Canyon State Park, which provides some beautiful mountain climbing and tenting that can remind you of the orange rocks of Arizona or Utah.

The Ricardo Campground has 50 primitive campsites with potable water, pit bogs, fireplace rings, and tables. Tenting is on the market on a first-come, first-served foundation solely; no reservations are accepted. Whereas I’ve by no means seen this campground refill, I’d arrive early on vacation weekends to be secure.

Campsites value $25 per evening. Further automobiles are $6 every. Self-registration and fee is required earlier than organising your camp.

I extremely advocate this spot; it’s probably the greatest locations for tenting in Southern California, for certain!

9. Gap-in-the-Wall Campground

The rugged Mojave Desert floor.

The Mojave Nationwide Protect is an enormous however lesser-visited park within the California desert. With a great deal of Joshua bushes, tall sand dunes, and rugged mountains, this can be a good spot to spend a weekend tenting.

There are two designated campgrounds right here, however my favourite is Gap-in-the-Wall. There are 35 campsites there, with services like pit bogs, potable water, fireplace rings, and picnic tables. Every web site is first-come, first-served and prices $12 per evening.

The rationale I choose Gap-In-the-Wall is twofold: First, it’s decrease in elevation and has higher highway entry, so you may attain these websites with out four-wheel drive. And second, I like the volcanic rock partitions surrounding it.

10. Furnace Creek Campground

The Furnace Creek Campground in Loss of life Valley Nationwide Park is the most well-liked campsite within the park for a cause. It’s centrally situated, with comparatively quick access to lots of the highlights. The Golden Canyon badlands, Artist’s Palette, and the Badwater Basin salt flats, that are the bottom level in North America, are a brief drive away.

Furnace Creek is the one campground within the park that accepts reservations upfront. Weekends and holidays can promote out, so plan your journey early, or think about weekdays as a substitute. The 136 campsites have ingesting water, picnic tables, and flush bogs. I like to recommend visiting over the winter months, as this may be one of many hottest locations in California.

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