Living life in the fast lane can get exhausting. When a free weekend presents itself you want to take advantage without having to research where to go. Lucky for you, we’ve done most of the leg work for you and found the best campgrounds within two hours of Los Angeles.
No one wants to spend that one free weekend in the car so picking places that are easily driveable was key. We also found a variety of places, some strictly for the RV folk, some that allow tenters and others that have cabins to stay in. Many of these campgrounds offer a variety of activities from playing in the ocean, hiking the trails or fishing in a small lake. There are so many great campgrounds in the south coast region of California from the central coast to greater Los Angeles and through Orange County and parts of the Inland Empire and Desert. Best of all is that they are campgrounds within two hours of Los Angeles!
Wanna have some fun on the way there? Here are our favorite road trip games:
Good ol’ Mad Libs.
Everyone loves Travel Bingo.
Games On The Go is pretty cool. It’s 50 games clipped to a little carabiner.
Emma Wood State Beach: Ventura, CAA unique beach on the central coast with moderate temperatures that are ideal for swimming, surfing, and fishing. It is a great park to explore, with the mouth of the Ventura River at the southeast end of the park making for some great wildlife viewing. If you are a history buff you will enjoy the crumbling ruins of the WWII coastal artillery sites. Emma Wood offers 90 RV only, primitive camping sites with a great ocean view. This is a campground for people who enjoy roughing it with no water, restrooms, electricity, fire rings or dump stations, so you’re going to need a good camping wipe to stay fresh and clean. If you are with a group, Ventura River Group camp does offer 4 developed sites with all of the regular camping amenities.
Santa Barbara Sunrise RV Park: Santa Barbara, CA
516 South Salinas Street Santa Barbara CA 93103
Price not available
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Flying Flags RV Resort & Campground: Buellton, CAA truly unique place to camp, from RV’s to Airstreams. We enjoy everything about this campground including amenities such as the pool, splash zones, and playground. Whether you are an RV’er or tent camper the sites are beautiful, grassy and spacious. With over 300 RV sites, you’ll be sure to find the one you want. There is also a great tent area with plenty of grassy space and restrooms/showers nearby. Mixed in the tent and RV sites are fully equipped cabins with wrap around decks, fire pits, and grills (check out our Guinness Marinated Steak Recipe). The six vintage Airstreams are so unique and have been completely restored, including all of the modern amenities. It is an unforgettable camping experience!
180 Avenue of Flags Buellton, CA 93427
Sep. 10- Jun 15
Sun. – Thursday
Basic/Basic Plus: $22-$26
Premium/Super Premium: $52-$62
Basic/Basic Plus: $22-26
Premium/Super Premium: $56-$58
Jun. 15 – Sep. 10
Basic/Basic Plus: $25-29
Premium/Super Premium: $58-$70
Basic/Basic Plus: $28-33
Premium/Super Premium: $66-$88
GREATER LOS ANGELES
Acton Los Angeles North KOA: Acton, CA
The Californian RV Resort: Acton, CAAlso located in Acton, the Californian RV Resort is a great place to get away from the congestion of the city in your RV. It is easy to get to and located in a quiet yet beautiful setting. Surrounded by horse ranches and the Angeles National Forest there are a ton of outdoor activities to be accomplished. There are hundreds of beautiful hiking trails to choose from at Angeles National Forest (learn 13 ways to make your hiking boots last). The Californian has a pool and spa providing entertainment for both kids and adults. If you are looking to head out with a group, they are very accommodating and also allow you to rent their clubhouse or pavilion.
Camp Williams Resort: Azusa, CAThis little campground has it all! Located in the San Gabriel Mountains, Camp Williams offers places to swim, fish, hike, dine and even pan for gold! They offer tent and RV sites along with one cabin for rent. What truly makes this place unique is the ability to tent camp right on the banks of the river (check out our trick to perfectly pack your tent). It really is a beautiful area and makes the trip just that much more relaxing. The facility has a great little cafe & general store plus running water throughout and shower facilities. Camp Williams gives you the feel of rustic camping without having to get too far from Los Angeles. For long term stays, they have mobile homes for daily rent as well as for purchase.
Castaic Lake RV Park: Castaic, CACastaic Lake RV Park is a great home base for any activities you want to do around area. If you’re leaving the city for the weekend you can enjoy Castaic Lake and all of the great water activities. Also, if you’re traveling and want to be close to L.A., but not to close, this is a perfect location. It is an urban setting but definitely stays quiet. They offer resort-like amenities that can be fun for the whole family such as a great pool and playground. The main draw is the 2,500-acre lake, which is great for both power water sports and canoeing or kayaking (a good quick dry towel will come in handy). With so many things nearby from mini-golf to championship golf courses the whole family can easily enjoy a weekend in their RV.
Leo Carrillo State Park: Malibu, CALocated right on the ocean Leo Carrillo State Park is a beautiful place to camp with the family, including your pet! There are so many things to do within the park, you may not fit it all in with just one weekend. The beach attached to the park has some great coastal caves to explore (check out our favorite headlamp). Along with the ocean activities such as surfing or swimming, there are some great hiking trails. There are multiple campgrounds within the park to choose from, all equipped with a picnic table and fire ring. There are also token-operated showers to keep you feeling fresh. We love this place because of the giant Sycamores that provide shade for the main campgrounds.
5000 West Pacific Coast Highway Malibu, CA 90265
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East Shore RV Park: San Dimas, CAThis is a great campground just 25 miles out of Los Angeles. A campground for both the RVer and tent camper with a ton of activities for adults and children. This is a large park that can accommodate the big rigs with over 500 paved, full hookup sites but also makes room for 25 family tent camping sites in separate rustic area. With green grass at every campsite East Shore is very inviting with a great pool and deck area to relax and watch the kids swim. Surrounded by Puddingstone Lake, there are never a shortage of water activities such as fishing, water skiing and swimming! We love its proximity to Bonelli Regional County Park with great hiking trails and picnic areas (check out one of our favorite hiking apps here).
1440 Camper View Rd., San Dimas, CA 91773
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Malibu Creek State Park: Calabasas, CAA beautiful state park just 25 miles outside of downtown Los Angeles, this is definitely urban camping at its best with 62 tent campsites and 8 RV sites, surrounded by the Santa Monica mountains and some great shaded trees. You don’t have to leave modern conveniences at home as the park is equipped with a fire pit and picnic table at every site along with flush toilets and showers throughout the campground. There are so many activities, from kayaking on Century Lake to hiking one of 4 great trails. If you are adventurous enough you can even get some rock climbing in! For the movie buffs, Malibu Creek is where the movie MASH was filmed and some props are still left behind.
1925 Las Virgenes Road Calabasas, CA 91302
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Malibu Beach RV Park: Malibu, CAWith all 142 RV Sites and 35 tent sites having either an ocean or mountain view there are no bad places to camp at Malibu Beach RV Park. It really is a beautiful area with activities for the whole family to enjoy from whale watching to surfing and hanging out on the beach. Being very close to Los Angeles it is a perfect quick getaway spot or ideal for people wanting to sightsee and take in the area attractions. One of the things we enjoy about this park is that every site has a picnic table and charcoal grill (check out 3 tips for cooking the perfect steak). The one drawback is that you will be camping pretty close to your neighbor, but the views are so stunning around you that we think you’ll forget about it quickly!
Saddleback Butte State Park: East Lancaster, CAIf you are truly looking to get away and back to the basics then you will love camping at Saddleback Butte State Park. Mostly used for tent campers, but RV’s under 30 feet are allowed. On the western edge of the Mojave Desert, this campground is primitive with no shower facilities (our favorite camp wipe will keep you fresh and clean). It does have flush toilets and water spigots. Although they do not take reservations you are usually able to nab a spot. They do have some great hiking trails that are around 2 miles long. The trails can be a bit strenuous, but when you get to the top you will enjoy a breathtaking 360° view over the Antelope Valley and east across the Mojave desert. It really is a beautiful place to camp.
43230 172nd St. East Lancaster, CA 93534
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Valencia Travel Village: Castaic, CAThis is truly a place for the RV enthusiast with 381 sites that can handle the big rigs. It is a premier RV resort with mature trees, grassy sites and plenty of activities to keep you busy. Probably not a fantastic place for kids but there is a kiddie pool and playground. In addition, there are 2 heated pools and a spa. Valencia Travel Village has all the amenities you can ask for with a convenience store, free WiFi, a dog park, and restrooms/showers. If venturing out you are very close to the town of Valencia and Magic Mountain Resort. With a few lakes nearby it is easy to get on the water and spend the day fishing or hit up one of the hiking trails.
Ventura Ranch KOA: Santa Paula, CASuch a unique way to camp at Ventura Ranch KOA! With numerous types of accommodations from the very rustic to deluxe. Stay in a tent, RV, Indian-styled teepee, cabin or even a glamour tent! The fun never ends with so many activities for adults and kids. Kids can participate in crafts or a huge jumping pillow, while the adventurous spirits can take on the zip line or the rock climbing wall. You’ll be having so much fun you may not even notice the beauty that surrounds you being at the foot of Topa Topa Mountain. We were so impressed with the accommodations, especially the glamour tent. It might not be considered “roughing it” but it sure is sweet and private.
Doheny State Beach: Dana Point, CADoheny State Beach is known for its great surfing and warm Pacific Ocean water. So if any of those things sound good to you, this is a great vacation spot. The campground is on the south side of the San Juan Creek and is a great 118 site facility. It is a really great campground from tent campers but can also accommodate RV’s. Overall it is a modern facility with a campfire center, restrooms, and showers. There are many activities to participate in from the typical water sports to some really great volleyball courts. If you are into marine life, on the way to the north end of the beach there are a few protected tide pools to snag a glimpse at some great sea life.
Orangeland RV Park: Orange, CA
Bolsa Chica State Beach: Hunting Beach, CAA popular place for surf fishing, Bolsa Chica is also a great little spot to RV camp with some sites that face the ocean. With a little under 60 RV spots, it makes for a more intimate campground. We love the campfire rings on the beach, it is a perfect way to end a night. Equipped with modern conveniences such as restrooms, showers and picnic tables this little campground stays clean and is easy to get around in. Being close to the ocean there are so many activities from the standard water sports to a great bike trail that connects to Huntington State Beach. This really is a great little place for a weekend getaway that is not too far from home.
Bonita Ranch Campground: Lytle Creek, CAThis is a quiet, shady campground that is optimal for relaxation. Ideal for both RVers and tent campers the campground has 3 different sections some with partial hookups and one offering full hookups and a large concrete patio for RVs. Being at the foothills of the San Bernardino National Forest, the scenery is breathtaking. Lytle Creek runs along the east edge of the park and offers some fun fishing opportunities. The Bonita Falls hike is also just a short distance up the canyon behind the park. If you are coming with a group, definitely take advantage of the BBQ pit area, a large 10′ pit with a winch to raise the grill. Just 60 miles from LA it’s ideal for a weekend getaway.
Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area: Hisperia, CA
Reflection Lake RV Park & Campground: San Jacinto, CA
Mount Jacinto State Park: Idyllwild, CALess than two hours from Los Angeles camp within the second-highest mountain range in Southern California. The area is beautiful and perfect for people who truly want to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. With over 54 miles of hiking trails to explore (permit required) you can sightsee until your heart desires. The park offers 2 drive-in campgrounds, great for RV and tent campers. Idyllwild offers 31 developed sites with restrooms and showers. For a more primitive experience stay at Stone Creek, offering 48 sites with only vault toilets. Also connected to the park is the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, which takes passengers from Valley Station to Mountain station.
Indian Oaks Trailer Ranch: Temecula, CAIf you like wine and want to camp in the heart of Temecula’s wine country, then Indian Oaks Trailer Ranch is the place for you! Used mostly by RVer’s, this is a great place to relax. Tents are welcome but may not fit in as well. Within the ranch is a great little lake, perfect for swimming, fishing or paddle boating. You don’t need a license to fish at the lake, which can come in handy. We love the huge outdoor BBQ the ranch has to offer. They do a lot of BBQ potlucks, which are always fun! Meals are oh-so-good cooked in the outdoors with oak chips. We like this park for its simplicity, as it is near plenty of attractions but is also a place to comfortably just sit back and relax in.
38120 East Benton Road Temecula, Ca. 92592
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Sams’s Family Spa & Resort: Desert Hot Springs, CA
Red Rock Canyon State Park: Ridgecrest, CALocated in the scenic desert cliffs, buttes and incredible rock formations, Red Rock Canyon State Park is a beautiful area to visit. Hiking is an incredible way to experience the desert, with miles of trails that meander through the dramatic landscape. The Ricardo Campground is truly rustic and tucked up against the base of the desert cliffs. Each of the 50 developed sites is equipped with a fire ring and picnic table. Although most people tent, you are allowed to bring in RVs, although there are no hookups. If you are ok with portable water, pit toilets, and no showers, then this is a great place! It can fill up on weekends and is a first-come-first-served campground.
Cathedral Palms RV Resort: Cathedral City, CA
Remember that the Zika virus still poses a threat to some campers. Learn more about who is at risk and how to prevent it here.