All About LA Guide to LA Health + Fitness Travel

Best LA Camping Spots Near LA

City life can be alluring and fun but every once in a while everyone needs a little peace and quiet. Los Angeles has plenty of ways to entertain, from a lovely nightlife scene, concerts, theme parks, and nature! From beautiful hikes to waterfalls, LA has a plethora of ways to see and experience nature and which also includes camping! Here is a list of the best camping spots near LA!

Angeles National Forest

Let’s start off with one of the closer camping options in LA, the Angeles National Forest! It’s only about 45 minutes outside of town give or take and it has over 40 campgrounds. The forest is luscious, green, plus it’s just a hop and a skip away from Pasadena.

Campsites are first come, first served, and while it’s free to enter, you do need to pay for parking. Waterfalls, trails, and everything else in between can be found at the Angeles National Forest including Adam’s Pack Station near Chantry Flats that’s been in business since 1936!

Malibu Creek State Park

Coast up the PCH and you can discover the beautiful and vast Malibu Creek State Park! With over 15 miles of trails that follow streams, go through sycamore groves and end in stunning views, you are bound to find the perfect hike for what you’re taste. For these campsites you can reserve in advance, so that is recommended just in case it fills up.

There’s a large volcanic body of water that is a-okay to go swimming in and they even have a Summer Campfire Series that’s perfect for the kiddos. Only being about an hour away (maybe more if you live further East), it’s the perfect weekend camping getaway!

Leo Carrillo State Park

Malibu is not lacking in nature and camping spots, Leo Carrillo State Park is also just about an hour and a half away and all you have to do is drive up the PCH. There are 130 campsites, plus a store located on the campground and token-operated showers!

Glamping at it’s finest. You can hike a trail, hit the beach, which is just across the street, or explore tidepools, caves, and reefs. There’s 130 campsites and one of the convenient amentities, they have token-operated showers!

Lake Arrowhead

Lake Arrowhead is a little under 2 hours away and before you actually get to Big Bear. There’s restaurants and shops in town, but the campsites are also amazing and while some are for tent camping, some can hold a trailer or motor-home as well. Dogwood is deeper in the forest, so you’ll be surrounded by lots of trees versus North Shore where you’ll be in close proximity to Deep Creek Hot Springs. 

Big Bear Lake

Willing to drive another 30 minutes to Big Bear Lake? Good for you! This one is further in the San Bernardino National Forest and here you can find campgrounds directly on the water! If you’re looking for a spot to be for easy access to the best hikes, Pineknot Campground is highly recommended. Otherwise, enjoy the sights and the beautiful water!

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is another one of those campsites that makes California so uniquely beautiful. As you drive in you’ll see plenty of the trees the park is named after, plus boulders which you can climb for stunning views, just be cautious.

At night be sure to turn off all artificial lights and just gaze up at the stars because you’ll be able to see a lot more than in LA and all you have to do is drive about two and a half hours to soak it all in! You can’t miss this place, it’s one of the best camping spots near LA!

Refugio State Beach

Back to the beach! Yes, if you head a bit further up the coast to the Santa Barbara area, you’ll hit Refugio State Beach. With only 66 campsites, and being able to book them 7 months in advance, this one’s a bit more of a planner. From this state beach you can actually see The Channel Islands which include, Santa Rosa, Anacapa, Santa Cruz, and San Miguel.

Just a heads up you may hear trains at night, and also there is some tar found at the beach. So be sure to bring baby oil to be able to get that off! That may sound like a nuisance, but the view is so worth it!

It’s definitely one of the best camping spots near LA!

Mojave National Preserve

A bit further out of the LA area but still less than 4 hours is The Mojave Desert. You can still go for a quick weekend camping trip and The National Preserve portion is in California. You may even see sites for travelers on horseback!

Kelso Dunes, is what the Desert is famous for creating a unique sound that almost resembles singing, as the sand is rolling down the dunes. Quite a unique experience and it’s practically in our backyards! If you’re intrigued by the unique qualities, also check out the lava cones and volcanic cinder flows. Temperatures can change drastically as well so make sure to be layered and prepared!

Sequoia National Park

You know those larger than life trees that are so gorgeous you want to cry? Those most likely are the redwoods of Sequoia National Park. Here you can see a tree that’s been made into a home, Tharp’s log, or even another that’s fallen that is now driven through, Tunnel Log.

Practically a natural museum of trees, it’s still less than 4 hours outside of LA! Neighboring Sequoia is Kings Canyon National Park, which is quite truly a hiker’s paradise. Due to the many recent fires, occasionally trails are closed for maintenance and safety so be sure to check before heading out on your adventure. 

Want to get your feet wet when it comes to nature? Before you go camping, check out The LA Girl’s best Waterfall Hikes.