The 15 Best Camping Spots in California!

California’s numerous national parks, beautiful mountains and stunning beaches mean that the Golden State is filled with prime camping spots. Take a look at a mere 15 of California’s best camping spots. Whether you prefer cooler mountains, sunny beaches or the unique landscape of the desert, you’ll find that there’s a spot close to nature’s best trails. 

1. Jalama Beach, Lompoc, CA

Jalama Beach is far from creature comforts but still offers plenty of amenities for the 98 campsites that include RV sites with hookups, tent sites and seven cabins, along with a general store, showers and even a restaurant if campfire cooking isn’t your thing. 

2. Big Basin Redwoods State Park, CA

The oldest state park features rolling trails, waterfalls, old growth trees and numerous natural wonders. You can bring your family pet or enjoy the animal life that dwells in the area.

3. Kelso Dunes Trail, Mojave Natural Preserve, CA

Camping in Kelso Dunes is pretty rough and tumble, but the sand dunes that make sounds and surround you are worth a night or two of discomfort.

4. Buckhorn Campground, La CaƱada Flintridge, CA

Not far from a swanky Los Angeles suburb, camp out amongst beautiful pines. The campground is first come first serve and filled with trails to explore.

5. Pinnacles Campground, Paicines, CA

Rocks, woodlands, caves, trees and more trails and natural wonders fill the natural area surrounding the campground, which includes a general store and a swimming pool open during select parts of the year.

6. Cold Springs Campground, Sequoia National Park, CA

Open during the summer months, Cold Springs Campground is remote and surrounded by mountainous wonders along with trees and flowing river but close enough to civilization to enjoy a shower and a pie.

7. Kirk Creek Campground, Los Padres National Forest, Big Sur, CA

Located on a bluff, Kirk Creek Campground overlooks the Pacific Ocean, offering inspiring sunrises and sunsets. Within walking distance to beautiful beaches, trails lead everywhere from waterfalls to mountain meadows.

8. Calico Camp, Yermo, CA

Sleep over in a ghost town to enjoy the quiet kitsch of the silver mine in the desert landscape. 

9. Sabrina Campground, Inyo National Forest, Bishop, CA

Located in the John Muir Wilderness area with access to mountain lakes, you can also head to Lake Sabrina Boat Landing Café for pie and burgers when camp cooking loses its fun. 

10. El Capitan Canyon, Santa Barbara, CA

El Capitan isn’t your usual campground. One of the first to ride the wave of luxury camping, El Capitan Canyon features everything from a heated pool to spa services, including massage. The price is closer to a five-star hotel, and accommodations include cute cabins, yurts and canvas safari tents. 

11. Lake Arrowhead, Arrowhead, CA

Lake Arrowhead in the San Bernardino National Forest is a perfect spot to get away from the crowds of Southern California for a weekend of fresh air in the great outdoors. There are campgrounds with varying levels of accessibility and amenities.

12. Crystal Cove State Park, Laguna Beach, CA

Camp out on a bluff overlooking the sea or check out more primitive spots. Either way, be prepared to enjoy some of the best dining in Laguna Beach because open fires aren’t allowed in the park.

13. Tehachapi Mountain Park, Kern County, CA

For a fall camping trip, Tehachapi Mountain Park is at its best. Two different campsites make it possible to choose from cabins or pitching your own tent to enjoy a variety of hiking and horseback riding trails.

14. Leo Carrillo State Park, Malibu, CA

For an overnight getaway, locals head to Leo Carillo State Park to camp under sequoias and wake up across the highway from the beautiful beaches that make Malibu one of the most beautiful spots in the world.

15. Mesquite Spring Campground, Death Valley National Park, CA

Make a reservation well in advance to check out some of the desert’s most spectacular sights that are nearby the Mesquite Spring Campground, including Scotty’s Castle, a Spanish-Moorish mansion, Ubehebe Crater and Eureka Dunes, California’s tallest sand dunes.

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