Free Camping Near You
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Whether you’re looking for a free camping spot locally or want to plan a free camping road trip, we’ve got you covered! To discover campsites near you, you may just use your smart phone’s GPS feature, or you can use our trip planner to plan your journey from point A to point B. Our camping community delivers the most up-to-date and accurate free camping information accessible. It might be difficult to locate free campgrounds. Freecampsites.net makes it simple to find a campground. We provide you with a straightforward, map-based search engine for finding free and inexpensive camping spots.
- This is a platform for you to share campsites and camp spots that you have found on your own.
- By sharing camping knowledge openly, we can all save time and money by researching campgrounds in less time and spending more time camping as a result.
- Thank you for returning and informing us of your findings!
- The greater the amount of knowledge you have, the better informed your selections are.
- Often, we feel, the most beautiful and quiet camping spots are those that are provided free of charge.
- You are the legal owner of these lands, and you have the right to utilize them.
- We hope you will enjoy camping in the same manner as we do.
- There are currently a sufficient number of Wal-Mart and truck stop directories available.
- Intergalactic Data has graciously supplied next level hosting for this website.
How to Find Free Camping Near Me – Campendium
When it comes to hundreds of camp places around the United States and Canada that don’t charge a dollar for camping, who can argue with the saying “the best things in life are free?” Discover all you need to know about free camping, including what it is, where to locate it, and what you’ll need to bring with you.
What is free camping?
It is permissible to camp for free in your RV or tent in a spot where you are not required to pay a fee for your stay. The majority of free campsites are located outside of established campgrounds. Free camping is sometimes referred to as boondocking, rustic camping, dry camping, and scattered camping, to name a few variations. The fact that free camping areas are available attracts some campers simply because they are free.
However, others may find additional benefits to free camping sites, such as the pleasures of camping without amenities, the option to camp farther away from other people than can be found in a campground, and the remote nature of many free campsites, to be particularly appealing.
What do I need to camp for free?
Because most free campgrounds do not provide any facilities, you’ll need to be prepared when you visit. If you’re camping in a distant, wild region (such as a National Forest or on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) property), you’ll need to bring the following items in addition to your RV or tent.
- Water for drinking and washing
- Garbage bags
- Food storage containers
- And other supplies. Toilet paper and a shovel
- A set of camp chairs and a table Permits (if any are required)
A working grasp of Leave No Trace principles, including how to properly dispose of garbage, is required for camping ethically in free campgrounds. Unless you’re camping in a remote location with no access to facilities such as a restroom or a waste disposal facility, it’s probable that you’ll have to make do with what you have on hand.
Where can I find free camping?
The United States and Canada are replete with opportunities for free camping, but not all of this free camping is made equal. When it comes to free camping, there is a vast range of options for convenience, beauty, and fun to be found anywhere from Walmarts to national forests.
National forests are public properties that are maintained by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service. National forests exist in practically every state in the United States, and while not all of them permit dispersed camping, many of them (particularly in the western United States) do. In addition to RVs and trailers, tent camping in a national forest is an excellent option. The majority of national forests that allow scattered camping have a 14-day stay restriction, however this might range from as little as one day to as much as 30 days in other instances.
What’s the extra bonus?
Drive a few minutes out of the park, drive into a peaceful location in the national forest, and take in the peace and quiet of nature.
How to Find Free Camping in the National Forest on Campendium
- Make use of a text search to narrow your focus on the region you’re interested in. Choose “National Forest” as the category. Choose “Free” as the price.
Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
Land management is the responsibility of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which is largely responsible for managing land in the western United States, particularly open desert environments. The Bureau of Property Management (BLM) oversees land that is used for a variety of purposes, including recreation, grazing, logging, and resource extraction. Generally speaking, free camping on BLM lands is limited to 30 days, although it might be shorter or longer depending on where you are. RVs, vans, and tent campers are welcome on BLM land, which is sometimes (but not always) accessible by road.
It pays to conduct some preliminary study ahead of time to know what you might encounter.
How to Find Free BLM Camping on Campendium
- Make use of a text search to narrow your focus on the region you’re interested in. Choose “BLM” as the category
- Choose “Free” as the price.
Other Public Lands in the United States and Canada
National forests and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land are the most popular areas to locate free camping in the United States and Canada; however, other types of public lands in the United States and Canada provide pockets of campsites in different states and regions. State parks, city parks, and county parks all have free camping spots that are occasionally available. Entities such as water management districts, trust lands, and conservation areas fall under this category. Smaller government departments in the United States, such as the Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation, also operate a few campgrounds.
Reading reviews on Campendium and contacting the organization that operates these free campsites will assist you in determining whether or not they are a good fit for your needs.
How to Find Free Public Land Camping on Campendium
- Make use of a text search to narrow your focus on the region you’re interested in. Then choose the category “All Public Lands.” Choose “Free” as the price.
This search function is now available in Canada! Who’s up for some free camping in British Columbia this weekend?
Even in Canada, this search function is functional: In British Columbia, who’s up for a little free camping?
How to Find Free Overnight Parking on Campendium
- Make use of a text search to narrow your focus on the region you’re interested in. “Parking Lot,” “Street Parking,” and “Rest Area” are the categories to choose from. A purple “P” will be placed on the map to indicate the location of these camping areas. Choose “Free” as the price.
Why spend money on camping when there are over 2,800 free campsites listed on Campendium? If you’re looking for a little adventure, a little isolation, or simply a way to stretch your travel budget, take the plunge and check out the free camping opportunities available near you on your next vacation.
Your Complete Guide to Free Camping Across the Country
BannerOak, a firm with extensive experience in the field of headgear, has provided this article to you. Their trucker hats are the ideal accessory for discovering free camping opportunities in your area. It may feel as though free camping is as scarce as Big Foot these days. With a growing number of people venturing outside in search of fresh air and dark sky, both the number of people and the cost of parking are rising. The majority of national park campsites charge $30 or more for a single night’s stay in their facilities.
But free camping is available, and the benefits of free camping extend far beyond the financial aspect.
National forests offer protected areas of free camping if you’re prepared to put in the effort to find a decent location to pitch your tent.
With experience and research, finding free camping becomes easier and easier.
What is Free Camping?
Camping for free, boondocking, or scattered camping are all terms that effectively indicate the same thing: days spent in an area with minimal or no facilities and with no camping costs attached. You may have to move outside of your comfort zone if you’re used to picnic tables, fire rings, and toilets. Dispersed campsites with prepared tent pads and fire rings are available in some locations, but not all of them. Please accept my heartfelt congrats if you have found one of these sites. Your quest for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow has just been completed.
There are a couple of ground rules to follow.
Free camping laws might differ from one location to the next, so check with ranger stations for information on stay limits, fire restrictions, and where the greatest locations could be hiding before setting up camp.
Where Can You Camp for Free?
The United States Forest Service is in charge of managing 20 National Grasslands and 154 National Forests in the United States. There are a total of 193 million acres of public land in the United States. National Forests are simple to see on Google Maps; they’re often the green, shaded regions that span enormous swathes of land in the middle of nowhere.
On the United States Forest Service website, an interactive map displays hiking routes, camp locations, ADA accessible areas, and more, making it simple for users to choose a general area to park their campervan or pitch their tent for the night while on vacation.
Bureau of Land Management
The Bureau of Land Management is responsible for the management of one in every ten acres of land in the United States. This includes land in the Dakotas, Utah, Alaska, and California, among other locations. BLM land comprises some of the most underappreciated expanses of landscape in the United States. BLM land receives 75 percent fewer tourists than the National Forest System and 80 percent fewer visitors than the National Park Service, according to statistical estimates. The 245 million acres scream out for to be discovered and explored.
What to Consider When Looking for Free Camping
If you’re prepared to put in the time and effort, you can locate some very unique locations. Free camping, on the other hand, comes with some duties. Fees are what pay for the upkeep of campgrounds, therefore if they are not collected, the area will most likely not be maintained as frequently as it should be. As a camper in this area, it is your responsibility to reduce your environmental effect. Always leave your site in the same condition that you found it. This is the fundamental tenet of the Leave No Trace(LNT) philosophy, and it is very crucial for preserving wild places in their natural state.
Some broad rules for Leave No Trace practices are as follows:
- If you’ve packed it in, it’s time to pack it out. It is preferable to travel on durable surfaces (rock, gravel, or dry grass). Fill the holes with human feces 6-8 inches deep and place them at least 200 feet from water sources. You should leave plants and other natural items in the same condition as you found them. Keep flames small, burn them down to ash, extinguish them completely, and then spread the cold ashes.
Since it has already been established, while camping for free, there are few conveniences to take advantage of. This includes more than just plumbing and power; it also includes water, picnic tables, and fire rings. Prepare for meals by packing foldable chairs and a table, and always remember to carry enough of water, especially if you’re camping in the desert.
In rural areas, dispersed camping is sometimes found near the end of, or beside, uneven, pothole-ridden roads that don’t see much traffic. Visiting a lonely piece of property in the woods? Before you go, check the local government website for regulations. The National Parks Service (NPS), the United States Forest Service (USFS), and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) all keep up-to-date information on road closures in their respective jurisdictions. You should feel secure in your vehicle’s ability to handle whatever terrain you may encounter.
Other Uses in the Area
Another thing to consider is who else is using this space. Mineral extraction, logging, oil extraction, hunting, grazing, and other operations are carried out on BLM and USFS lands. Because BLM and USFS territory frequently borders private or National Park Service area, understanding where your boundaries are might help you avoid getting a ticket or being cited for trespassing.
Maps and GPS
If you’re traveling through a dense forest or desert, there’s a good possibility you’ll lose cell service. Especially in an age when we are too connected to everything and everyone, this may sometimes be the driving reason behind the decision to check out to the middle of nowhere in the first place.
Make sure you are prepared with an Atlas or a map of the region, just in case something happens. It is possible to go lost on a backroad with no cell phone coverage, which might spoil your free camping trip forever!
Other “Camping” Options
The phrase “boondocking” is frequently used to refer to parking and sleeping in areas that would not normally be considered “campgrounds,” while “boondocking” may also apply to any location where you camp without access to an RV connection system. Most RV campers and “vanlifers” who routinely travel long distances and need a place to park and sleep rely on these boondocking possibilities for their accommodations. Prepare ahead of time by checking in with companies, or go in and speak with the management to ensure that you are respecting the guidelines.
However, if you are knowledgeable enough about where you are permitted to park for the night, you will not be need to breach the law.
The majority of casinos provide overnight RV parking with no facilities. Casinos are ideal because of their buffet offerings and complimentary beverages (coffee and soda, of course). Most casinos also provide new customers with credit to use on the machines, which is ideal for those of us who need a little assistance from our companions.
Check with each rest place to be sure. However, while not all rest places allow overnight camping in their parking lots, a large number do. Check with your state’s Department of Transportation ahead of time to avoid any problems later on in the process. In most cases, signs are posted at each parking lot stating that overnight parking is prohibited and that hourly parking limits apply.
In addition to providing showers and facilities, truck stops are a popular stop for travelers on long road trips. Showers will cost you a few dollars, but they’ll be well worth it after a few days in the bush, I promise. Many truck stops also include dump stations for RV waste tanks, which is convenient for RVers.
Walmart offers free camping, so this wouldn’t be a comprehensive list without include it. For years, Walmart was the go-to place for RVers and vanlifers who were in a pinch. Walmarts, on the other hand, are not all created equal. The corporation has changed its policy to let each individual store to pick whether or not to provide free camping space. Calling ahead to find out will spare you a hassle, as well as the inconvenience of a 3 a.m. tap on the door. Check out our guide to free camping at Walmart for advice from Shari and Hutch, who live in their camper for the most of the year.
To put it another way, this effectively implies that you may live at Cracker Barrel, which for some may be a dream come true to work there. You are only permitted to stay for one night at a time. What is the most evident advantage? Breakfast, lunch, and supper are all available right outside your door.
Resources for Free Camping
- The Dyrt’s Guide to Free Camping in National Forests
- The Dyrt’s Guide to Free Camping in Oregon
- The Dyrt’s Guide to Free Camping in Nevada
- The Dyrt’s Guide to Free Camping in the Pacific Northwest
- Free Camping in California: A Dyrt’s Guide
- Wyoming Free Camping: The Dyrt’s Guide to Finding It
- The Dyrt’s Guide to Free Camping in Florida
- The Dyrt’s Guide to Free Camping in Florida
- Map of the United States Forest Service
- Boondockers Welcome
- The Mandagies’ guide to free camping
- Freedom in a Can: The Best Way to Find Free Camping
This post is provided to you byBannerOak, whose snapback trucker hats are the ideal complement to any free camping vacation.
- Dispersed camping
- Boondocking: A Guide to Free RV Camping
- Lander, Wyoming
- Camping in Utah
- Camping in Arizona
- Camping in Northern California
- Grand Canyon Camping
- Dispersed camping
- Boondocking: A Guide to Free RV Camping
- Lander, Wyoming
- Camping in Utah
- Camping in Arizona
- Camping in Northern California
- Grand Canyon Camping
- Boondocking: A Guide to Free RV Camping.
Where to Camp in California
Take a look at the top camping spots in California. California’s natural beauty ranges from its deserts to its woods to its beaches; all of it is waiting for you to discover.
There are tent camping and RV park campsites, as well as hidden treasures and cabin rentals, available in this section. You’ll discover some of the top campsites and camping spots in California listed here.
Hidden Camping Gems in California
Are you interested in learning more about what California State Parks have to offer? Do you want to locate a rustic or solitary hideaway to relax in? Consider visiting one of our top-rated hidden gems or camping spots in California that are off the main path. Discover your new favorite camping spot. Del Valle State Park, CADel Valle Regional Park, a member of the East Bay Regional Park District, is nestled in a valley surrounded by oak-covered hills and is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike.
The lake is surrounded by 4,316 acres of magnificent terrain, which may be used for hiking, horseback riding, and nature research.
Anthony Chabot State Park is located in California.
A magnificent year-round public campsite with miles of hiking and horseback riding paths, it is a must-see.
Best Beach Camping Spots in California
Are you looking forward to some sun and surf? In addition to more than 1,100 miles of magnificent coastline, California is a great place to go camping on the California sand. Don’t forget to bring sunblock with you! Kirk Creek Campground is an oceanfront haven, with each site offering a breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean. It provides a wide range of activities for leisure and enjoyment to visitors. More information may be found here. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park runs from the Big Sur coastline to neighboring 3,000-foot hills, and it is the largest state park in California.
- More information may be found here.
- More information may be found here.
- More information may be found here.
- Exploring the tidepools, coastal caves, and reefs on the shore is also a possibility.
More information may be found here. Hiking along the three kilometers of gorgeous sand beaches at San Onofre State Beach is a must. The park is particularly well-known for its surfing opportunities. More information may be found here.
Best Camping in California
Do you want to know where the greatest camping spots are located? Consider checking out our list of the best campsites and camping locations in California. From amazing facilities to nearby local activities, these parks will give you and your family with a memorable camping trip. Located in Orange County, this park’s mile-square stretch of green fields provides a pleasant respite from the rush and bustle of daily life in the region. Make use of the superb sports facilities or take some time to stretch your legs and enjoy the scenery.
A unique chance to witness nature in all its grandeur throughout the year is provided by this, Orange County’s largest park, which is situated in a wilderness environment.
This peaceful park, surrounded by the rolling hills of rural Yorba Linda, located at the foot of the Anaheim Hills and near to the diverse fauna of the Santa Ana River, is the ideal urban retreat for those looking to get away from it all.
Roberts Cave State Park, which is located near Wilburton, provides gorgeous campsites and a variety of family-friendly outdoor adventures.
Chickasaw National Recreation Area – Sulphur
In Sulphuri, the Chickasaw National Recreation Area is a camping paradise with a plethora of activities such as hiking trails, swimming holes, bike trails, boating trails, and more. Water flows across travertine terraces in this park, creating spring-fed swimming holes and rippling waterfalls all over the place. Spend the day boating or simply resting on the beaches of Lake of the Arbuckles, which is renowned as one of Oklahoma’s top fishing lakes. Visit the Travertine Nature Center to learn about the local fauna and hike through wooded paths that lead to mineral springs, picturesque bluffs, and even a resident buffalo herd.
Three campgrounds, The Point, Guy Sandy, and Buckhorn, are located inside the park and provide electric and water connections as well as rustic tent campsites for people and families to camp in comfort.
It also has a playground for the kids.
It also has a playground for children.
Beavers Bend State Park – Broken Bow
Beavers Bend State Park, which is located along the gently flowing Lower Mountain Fork River and close to Broken Bow Lake, provides unrivaled camping and hiking options. Pack your belongings and travel to one of the ten tent campsites that are dispersed across the park. At the Beavers Bend region, tent camping may be found in five campgrounds, the majority of which are located on the northwest bank of the Lower Mountain Fork River. As the sun rises beyond the horizon, get up early and take in the spectacular sight of mist rising from the surface of the river.
- For tent camping with plenty of family-friendly amenities, consider the Dogwood Campground, which has a picnic area, children’s playground, and a trout fishing area.
- A sandy swimming beach, a miniature golf course, and a paddleboat rental facility are all within walking distance.
- Rent a canoe or kayak from Beavers Bend River Floats, which is situated within the park, and take a leisurely float down the two and a half mile-long river journey.
- You’ll find rocky outcroppings and sandy bars dotted around the region, making it an excellent spot to stop and cool down in the ocean over lunch.
- The Hochatown Area, which is located just north of the river along the beaches of Broken Bow Lake, has excellent camping choices in five more campsites, which are named Hawk, Deer, Coyote, Eagle, and Blue Jay.
In addition to being close to the lake, each of these campgrounds offers breathtaking views of the setting sun while you toast marshmallows over an open fire.
Greenleaf State Park – Braggs
Greenleaf Lake is directly across the street. Greenleaf State Park, located in the beautiful mountainous scenery of northeastern Oklahoma, is a hidden gem that offers countless opportunities for family enjoyment. The little ones will be thrilled by an 18-hole miniature golf course, a lake bathing beach, a playground, and children’s activities, while mom and dad will appreciate the hiking trails and free pontoon boat trips. After a long day of touring, gather the family around a bonfire to relax and take in the tranquil surroundings.
Lakeview Campground offers a variety of amenities, including two multi-use centers, a playground, picnic area, nature hut, boat ramp, and comfort station with hot showers and laundry facilities.
Trailhead Point Campground, located on an 18-mile trail system that includes a swinging bridge across a cove of Greenleaf Lake, is an excellent choice for those who enjoy hiking or mountain biking.
Sequoyah State ParkFort Gibson Lake – Hulbert
Sequoyah State Parkis a tranquil peninsula surrounded on three sides by the crystal-clear waters of Fort Gibson Lake, making it an ideal location for your next camping vacation. Within the park, there is an abundance of wildlife, and a nature center allows campers to get an up-close and personal glimpse of some of the park’s critters. Early in the morning in Sequoyah State Park, you could discover your tent surrounded by grazing deer or wild turkeys, which would be a pleasant surprise. Camping in the Creek, Choctaw, and Paradise Cove campsites is convenient, with water and power connections, showers, picnic areas, and boat ramps available for guests’ use.
Paradise Cove Campground, which is surrounded by the Eagle Roost Trail in Sequoyah State Park, is a favorite destination for hiking enthusiasts.
Guests at the Sequoyah Riding Stables may take a horseback tour of the gorgeous park, or they can explore the 2-mile paved route that winds its way through the park.
A restaurant within the park’s resort provides campers with an alternative to the traditional campfire food.
Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge – Lawton
Additionally, the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge is home to free-range prairie dogs as well as elk, deer, longhorn cattle, and buffalo. The refuge is also the location ofMount Scott, one of Oklahoma’s most notable mountains. At the refuge, visitors may engage in practically every type of outdoor activity, including hiking, fishing, rock climbing, mountain biking, birding, and many other activities. Guests staying overnight can do so at the Doris Campsite, which is the only public campground on the refuge.
Doris Campground is open year-round.
All campsites are equipped with a grill, a fire ring, and a picnic table for your enjoyment.
The campground’s strategically placed comfort station, which has flush toilets and showers, is a welcome sight. Fishing in the pure waters of the quiet lake, hiking and boulder hopping on the rocky landscape, or telling ghost stories over a campfire beneath the stars are all possibilities.
Illinois River – Tahlequah
There are sixty miles of flowing river on the Illinois River near Tahlequah, Oklahoma, with shaded tree overhangs, gentle rapids, a rock bottom, and crystal clear waters to enjoy. A range of lengths and watercraft options are available to guests on this Class II river, making it suitable for both beginners and experienced paddlers. Relax in a canoe, raft, or kayak while taking in the breathtaking beauty of the river, strolling along the banks, or fishing in the abundant fishing holes available.
Tent and RV campsites are available along the banks of the picturesque river, provided by a dozen or more float trip outfitters and tour operators.
The services provided by each outfitter differ, but the majority of them include pick-up and drop-off transportation for clients rafting down the river.
Ouachita National Forest – Hodgen
Located on 352,000 acres, the Ouachita National Forest offers spectacular views, hiking, bicycling and horseback riding paths, as well as opportunities for hunting, fishing and even hang gliding. In addition to the Billy Creek Campground, Cedar Lake, Cedar Lake Equestrian Camp, and Winding Stair Campground, the public has access to four other campgrounds. Billy Creek Campground includes 12 campsites, each of which has a picnic table as well as a fire pit or a grill for cooking. Campers can use a vault toilet and two water spigots that are located nearby.
- There is a varied range of experiences available at these campsites, ranging from the basic to the ultra-modern.
- The property is surrounded by mature trees, and it also features a boat dock and fishing pier on the grounds.
- The Cedar Lake Equestrian Campground will be a hit with both of you.
- Nearly 100 miles of horse trails and modernized facilities for both horses and riders are available at this enormous camp.
- There are four double campsites and 23 single campsites available, as well as a comfort station with flush toilets and warm showers on site.
Return to the camp, which has five tent pads, a table, a fire ring, and a toilet, for a chance to reconnect with nature and spend some peaceful time alone.
Boiling Springs State Park – Woodward
Boiling Springs State Park is a must-see destination for campers of all stripes, offering a spectacular display of timber, lakes, and streams among the otherwise sparse vegetation found in northwestern Oklahoma’s semi-arid climate, making it a must-visit for everyone. This prairie oasis just outside of Woodward, named after the natural “boiling” spring that greets visitors at the welcome center, offers a unique and rejuvenating camping experience with plenty of hiking and wildlife-watching opportunities.
Two group camping options are available at the White Tail and Spring Hill campgrounds: 40 RV sites and 12 tent campsites, as well as two options for group camping.
Explore a little further away from camp on the Scout Trail, which winds its way around beautiful Shaul Lake, or hike to the shores of the North Canadian River on the River Trail, which starts at the well that bears the same name.
Black Mesa State ParkNature Preserve – Kenton
Black Mesa State Park is particularly well-suited for adventurous campers, but don’t let that put you off: this incredible place is a must-see for everyone who wants to experience some of the most magnificent scenery Oklahoma has to offer. Featuring 25 tent sites, 29 RV sites with water and electric hookups, picnic facilities, boat ramps, trout fishing during the season, a playground, restrooms with showers, and a group camp with 12 bunkhouses, this high plains paradise at the tip-top of Oklahoma’s Sooner State offers plenty of opportunities to make the most of your camping trip.
The annual Perseid meteor shower, which occurs in August each year and is visible from Black Mesa, attracts astronomy enthusiasts who come to witness one of the most amazing light shows on the planet.
Robbers Cave State Park – Wilburton
However, Robbers Cave State Park is better recognized today as one of the state’s prime camping destinations. The park has a storied past as a hideout for legendary outlaws such as Jesse James and Belle Starr, but it is also one of the state’s premier camping destinations. You may pitch your tent right next to picturesque Lake Carlton or Lake Wayne Wallace, or farther inland at the Dogwood or Deep Ford campgrounds, or choose one of the 86 primitive campsites that are tucked away along hidden pathways for a true wilderness experience.
Are you looking for something a little different?
Get away from it all and sleep in a primitive yurt complete with a queen bed and a couch sleeper. No matter where you choose to rest your head, you’ll surely want to take in the spectacular views of the undulating foothills of the Sans Bois Mountains that can be had from the peak of the Cave Trail.
Other Great Places to Camp Across Oklahoma
To find out more about Oklahoma camping and campsites, please visit ourCamping website, where you’ll discover images, videos, further articles, and listings for more than 400 locations where you may enjoy camping in the state of Oklahoma.
Weekend getaways: 7 great camping sites within driving distance of L.A.
These days, it’s a little more difficult to enjoy the vast outdoors. According to the 2019 North American Camping Report from Campgrounds of America, the number of Americans who go camping has increased by 22 percent over the last five years, and a record 78.8 million people, many of them younger and more diverse, identified as camping households last year, a new high. According to recent trends, a fifth of them choose shorter excursions that are less than 50 miles from home, particularly for first-timers or families with small children.
- Here are seven locations that provide a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of city life – yet they’re not too far away from the metropolis.
- Do you yearn for something rustic and remote?
- Pacifico in the Angeles National Forest, this stunning and little-known hike-in campground is ideal for travelers who are prepared to make the effort to go the long trip.
- This area was severely damaged by the Station fire in 2009, but it has recovered with the help of grasses and wildflowers.
- There are 10 distant, basic campsites with picnic tables, fire rings, and a portable restroom near the summit of the mountain that are accessible only by foot.
- There is no running water (bring your own), and there are no garbage facilities (pack it out).
- The route: From the 210 Freeway, head north on Highway 2 for nine miles (follow diversion signs around the closure at Red Box Road), then turn left onto Angeles Forest Highway for 12 miles until you reach the intersection with Santa Clara Divide Road at Mill Creek Summit.
There are no automobiles allowed on the final ten miles; you must trek or bike six miles to the posted gate and another four miles on a dirt road to reach the campsite, which is six miles away.
MOLLY McCLURE, 7 years old and from Monrovia, is camping with her father, Kyle, at Crystal Lake campsite.
(Photo courtesy of Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times) Crystal Lake Recreation Area and campsite are ranked third out of five.
(Photo courtesy of Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times) Crystal Lake Recreation Area and campsite are rated 5 out of 5.
The campsite, which is located 50 miles northeast of Atlanta and nestled in the woodland at 5,500 feet above sea level, provides access to an extensive hiking and biking trail network with excellent forest views.
Crystal Lake, the site’s namesake and the only naturally formed lake in the San Gabriel Mountains, lies right across the road.
There are no boating or swimming opportunities, however the lake is stocked with fish (state fishing permit required for 16 and older; go to buy one).
On weekdays, there are 50 campsites available, while on weekends and holidays, there are around 100.
Pit toilets, fire pits, picnic tables, and spigots with running water are all available at the campground.
There are also three cabins available for rent ($110 a night; (626) 910-1029).
Information: Crystal Lake Recreation Area (bit.ly/crystallakecamping); visitor center manned entirely by volunteers (bit.ly/crystallakecamping).
to 4:30 p.m.
a state park located in Crystal Cove In Orange County, this campsite will provide you with a sense of being away from it all, despite the fact that you’re on the edge of a massive urban region between Corona del Mar and Laguna Beach.
Interpretive activities, including as guided hikes, tidepool excursions, and geology presentations, are also available at the site, among other things.
One of the most popular (and difficult to reserve) places in the California State Park system is Crystal Cove Historic District, which has historic rustic coastal houses on the shore that have been around for generations.
There are restrooms and showers accessible.
The journey: The campsite is located at 8471 N.
Information: Crystal Cove State Park (bit.ly/crystalcovepark); reservations (Reserve California, reservecalifornia.com); further information: As the sun sets over their campground at Malibu Creek State Park in Calabasas, Sarah Raich, from Munich, Germany, and her son Kolja, one, take a time to relax and enjoy each other’s company.
- (Photo courtesy of Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times) 3 / 8Declan Beck, left, his brother Colson, and their buddy Dayna Monbello take a trip to Malibu Creek State Park, which is located in Calabasas, California.
- (Photo courtesy of Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times) Climbers make their way through the rock pools in Malibu Creek State Park, which is located near Calabasas.
- (Photo courtesy of Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times) In front of their tent at Malibu Creek State Park near Calabasas, two young men named Jason Bennett, 21, left, and Jackson Wooten, 22, both from Nashville, pluck their guitars.
- (Photo courtesy of Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times) Malibu Creek State Park is the fourth stop on the list.
- Hikes through the forest lead to the Rock Pools (easy) and Century Lake (moderate), which are both excellent places to cool down.
- The park was briefly closed following the disastrous Woolsey fire in November, but the charred parts have already recovered and become lush and green.
- What you need to know: the cost is $45 each night.
The impetus: The campsite is located at 1925 Las Virgenes Road in Calabasas, approximately 35 miles north of downtown Los Angeles.
Bolsa Chica State Beach is a popular destination for campers who enjoy roasting marshmallows over an open fire in the evening.
Schaben / Los Angeles Times) 2 / 9At Bolsa Chica State Beach in Upland, Caleb Rocha, 10, left, Joanna Rocha, 4, Gabi Rocha, Natalie Rocha, 6, and David Hernandez of Upland gather around a fire to create s’mores as the sun sets.
Schaben / Los Angeles Times) In the evening at Bolsa Chica State Beach in Huntington Beach, a group of beachgoers congregates around a campfire and a tent to enjoy the sunset.
Schaben / Los Angeles Times) 4/9Camper Jason Row of Beaumont, Texas, sits in his beachside trailer at Bolsa Chica State Beach in Huntington Beach with his dog, Willie, as the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean.
Schaben / Los Angeles Times) The 5th of September, a man plays street hockey along the bike path in front of the Campground for the Bolsa Chica State Beach.
Schaben / Los Angeles Times) Sixty-nine-year-old Richard Burden, of Diamond Bar, watches as his wife, Jacquie Burden of Diamond Bar, tosses a bean bag during a corn hole game with their children in front of their beachfront RV space at the Bolsa Chica State Beach Campground.
Schaben / Los Angeles Times) Bolsa Chica State Beach is a popular destination for visitors.
Schaben / Los Angeles Times) Eighth and ninth-graders Tyler Davis and Deborah Conner of Costa Mesa prepare s’mores over an open fire in front of their beachfront RV at the Bolsa Chica State Beach Campground on August 9.
Schaben / Los Angeles Times) / 9A spectacular sky silhouettes beachgoers at Bolsa Chica State Beach as the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean.
Schaben / Los Angeles Times) The 5th destination is Bolsa Chica State Beach.
Volleyball (there are nets), bicycling on an easy 8.5-mile paved path, and touring the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, a natural bird preserve with a visitor center, are some of the other activities available on the island.
What you need to know: Inland, the cost is $55, while the beachside cost is $65 per night.
Fire rings are among the amenities.
Reserve at Reserve California (reservecalifornia.com) or Bolsa Chica State Beach (bit.ly/bolsachicacamping); Bolsa Chica State Beach (bit.ly/bolsachicacamping); Bolsa Chica State Beach (bit.ly/bolsachicacamping); Bolsa Chica State Beach (bit.ly/bolsachicacamping).
(Photo courtesy of Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times) Two-sixths of a mile from Mountain Oak campsite.
(Photo courtesy of Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times) Cole Howarter, 9, and Caleb Divine, 8, explore the Mountain Oak campground in this photo taken on 4/6.
(Photo courtesy of Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times) The sixth of six campfires at Mountain Oak campsite are being surrounded by people.
Visit this seasonal location for the tranquility of Jackson Lake, which is situated at 6,400 feet in the midst of big shade oaks, as well as ponderosa and sugar pines.
Swim, canoe, and catch your lunch and dinner are all possibilities (California fishing license required).
Hiking paths, campfire rings, drinking water, clean toilets, and a grocery shop with firewood are available at the park’s 17 campsites (5 of which require reservations in advance, 12 of which are first-come, first-served).
The impetus: In Valyermo, at 22223 Big Pines Highway, there is a campsite that is approximately 85 miles northeast of Los Angeles.
The Hopson family camp at Dockweiler State Beach in Playa del Rey for the first time in ten years, with 30 members of their family present.
(Photo courtesy of Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times) 2 / 6Camper trailers line the shores of Dockweiler State Beach in Playa Del Rey, filling the campsite.
(Photo courtesy of Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times) 4 / 6Camper trailers line the shores of Dockweiler State Beach in Playa del Rey, filling the campsite.
(Photo courtesy of Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times) 6 / 6Joe Leyva, 65, and his granddaughter Leia Leyva, 9, stand in front of their tent, which is decorated with an American flag, at Dockweiler State Beach in Playa del Rey, California.
“I’ve been coming here all my life,” Joe said, while camping with three generations of his family in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
RVers who want to drive up and get to the beach as quickly as possible should take note of this.
What you need to know: Sites range in price from $55 to $65 per night.
The impetus: Located at 12000 Vista Del Mar in Playa Del Rey, the campsite offers a variety of amenities. The following information is available: Dockweiler Beach State Park (bit.ly/dockweilerrvpark), reservations may be made up to 90 days in advance (it is presently booked through September).
The tent sites at Lake Perris are not equipped with water or electricity, yet they are among the most picturesque in the park. Campers in tents and modest travel trailers are welcome at these locations. The size of the parking pads varies depending on the site, but they can often accommodate two to three mid-size automobiles per space. Every site is equipped with a picnic table as well as a fire ring with a grill. Despite the presence of shade trees, it can get quite hot during the summer months, making the use of additional shade canopies strongly advised.
- There are no water or power hookups available at these locations!
- People: Each site can accommodate up to 8 people of any age, and each site has its own bathroom.
- Extra cars will be required to pay use fees upon arrival.
- If the trucks or trailers are either excessively broad or excessively long, the tent sites may not be able to accept three license plates.
- There is no off-road parking or additional parking available.
- Every vehicle that enters the park is required to pay use fees.
- A camper’s stay at Lake Perris SRA during peak season (June 1st through November 30th) is limited to 15 consecutive nights during the summer months.
Prices and Reservations
|Camping Fees||Tent/Trailer Sites(sites 1-88, 354-432) 1 car free||Senior Tent Site(Over 62 years)||Disabled Discount(Discount passrequired at check in)||Extra Vehicle(3 veh. max per site)|
|Includes 1-motor vehicle||$35.00||$33.00||$17.50||$10.00|
Only cash and credit cards will be accepted. Checks are no longer accepted at Lake Perris State Recreation Area (SRA). Reservations: Reservations are highly suggested for summer weekends and summer holidays due to the high demand throughout the summer season. The campsites at Lake Perris are designated by site number. This implies that when you make a reservation, you are actually booking a specific site number on the property. Site modifications are not likely to be accessible throughout the summer months, and they will not be completed over the course of vacation weekends.
(For example, if you check in on Saturday afternoon and check out on Monday, you will be responsible for boat lauch costs for the days of Saturday, Sunday, and Monday).
Boats such as sailboats, kayaks, canoes, and other hand-launched vessels are exempt from paying launch fees unless they utilize the boat launch facility.
If you plan to bring a boat, please see our boating information page for more information on boating at Lake Perris. If you don’t have a boat, please see our boating information page for more information on renting one.
Handicap Sites and Discounts
Cash and credit cards are the only methods of payment accepted at this location. At Lake Perris SRA, checks are no longer accepted. Reservations: Reservations are highly suggested for summer weekends and summer holidays due to the large volume of visitors during this busy time of the year. Site Specific Camping is available in Lake Perris. This implies that when you make a reservation, you are actually booking a specific site number in the campground. Weekends and holidays are not likely to be available for site modifications in the summer, and they will not be completed.
Example: If you arrive on Saturday afternoon and depart on Monday morning, you will be responsible for boat lauch costs on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday morning.
Unless they utilize the boat launch, sailboats, kayaks, canoes, and other hand-launched vessels are exempt from paying launch fees.
If you do not plan to bring your own watercraft, please see our general boating information page.