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Best Camping Trip Destinations from Los Angeles

City life can be attractive and enjoyable, but everyone needs a little peace and quiet every once in a while. From a lovely nightlife scene, concerts, theme parks, and nature, Los Angeles has many ways to entertain! LA has plenty of ways to see and experience nature, from stunning walks to waterfalls, and that also includes camping! Here's a list of the best places for camping near LA!






Angeles National Forest:


Let's start with one of LA's closest camping choices, the National Forest of Angeles! It's just about 45 minutes to give or take outside of the city and there are over 40 campgrounds. It's a lush, green forest, plus it's just a hop and a skip from Pasadena.


Campsites are first-come, first-served, and you do have to pay for parking while it is free to enter. In the Angeles National Forest, like Adam's Pack Station near Chantry Flats, which has been in operation since 1936, you can find waterfalls, trails, and everything else in between!


Malibu Creek State Park:


You will explore the stunning and expansive Malibu Creek State Park along the PCH coast! You are bound to find the perfect hike for what you taste, with over 15 miles of paths that follow streams, go through sycamore groves, and end in breathtaking views. You should pre-book for these campsites, so that is recommended just in case it fills up.


There's a major volcanic body of water to go swimming in and they also have a great Summer Campfire Sequence for the kids. It's the ideal weekend camping getaway, just about an hour away (maybe more if you live further east)!


Leo Carrillo State Park


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


Glamping is at its peak. Hike a road, visit the beach just across the street, or discover tidepools, caves, and reefs. There are 130 campsites and they have token-operated toilets, one of the handy facilities!


Lake Arrowhead:


Lake Arrowhead is less than 2 hours away and before you get to Big Bear, actually. In town, there are restaurants and stores, but the campsites are also great, and although some are for tent camping, some can also accommodate a trailer or motor home. Dogwood is deeper in the forest, so you're going to be surrounded by lots of trees as opposed to the North Shore, where you're going to be near Deep Creek Hot Springs.


Big Bear:


Are you ready to drive to Big Bear Lake for another 30 minutes? Pretty good for you! This one is further down in the National Forest of San Bernardino and you can find campgrounds right on the river here! Pineknot Campground is highly recommended if you are looking for a spot for easy access to the best hikes. Alternatively, enjoy the sights and the lovely water!


Joshua Tree National Park:


Another of those campsites that make California so uniquely beautiful is Joshua Tree National Park. You'll see many of the trees the park is named after as you drive in, plus boulders that you can scale for incredible views, just be careful.


Be sure to turn all the artificial lights off at night and just look up at the stars because you're going to 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 take it all in! This is one of the best camping spots near LA! You can't miss this place!


Refugio State Beach:


Going back to the beach! Yes, if you head for the Santa Barbara area a little farther up the coast, you'll hit Refugio State Beach. This one is a little more of a planner, with just 66 campsites, and being able to book them 7 months in advance. You can literally see the Channel Islands, including Santa Rosa, Anacapa, Santa Cruz, and San Miguel, from this state beach.


You can hear trains at night just a head up, and there's even some tar found on the sand. To be able to get that off, make sure to bring baby oil! That may sound a nuisance, but it's so worth the view!


It's certainly one of the best places for camping near LA!


Mojave National Preserve


The Mojave Desert is a little farther away from the LA area, but still less than 4 hours away. You can always go on a short weekend camping trip and there is a portion of the National Preserve in California. You can also see places for horseback travelers!


The desert is famous for making a peculiar sound that almost resembles singing, as the sand rolls down the dunes. Kelso Dunes. Quite a rare experience and it's in our backyards literally! If the special qualities intrigue you, check out the lava cones and volcanic cinder flows as well. Temperatures can also shift dramatically, so make sure they are layered and ready!


Sequoia National Park


Do you know those trees bigger than skyscrapers? The redwoods in Sequoia National Park are the most likely ones. Here you will see a tree that has been turned into a house, Tharp's log, or Tunnel Log, another fallen tree that has now been pushed over.


Practically a museum of natural trees, it's only less than 4 hours outside LA! Kings Canyon National Park, which is quite a hiker's paradise, is nearby Sequoia. Occasionally, trails are closed for repairs and protection due to the numerous recent fires, so make sure to check before you embark on your trip.

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