The Best Camping Near Los Angeles, California

The Best Camping Near Los Angeles, California

From the San Gabriel Mountains to the iconic Los Angeles beaches, camping near Los Angeles means taking advantage of recreational opportunities both on land and at sea. Campgrounds near Los Angeles pack world-class amenities, unbeatable convenience, and gorgeous views into one exciting setting.

Los Angeles, California
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About Camping Near Los Angeles

Activity options abound when you stay at campgrounds near Los Angeles, whether you prefer outdoor recreation or downtown adventures. Take a hike at Griffith Park, relax on the beach, cast a line, or enjoy the countless restaurants and beer gardens downtown. Los Angeles camping trips can be the perfect way to get away from it all, or a doorway into a bustling downtown experience – the choice is yours!

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Los Angeles Camping FAQs

The City of Angels and movie stars, Los Angeles might be a bustling metropolis, but tucked in its edges are some of the most tranquil and beguiling wilderness areas the country has to offer. As the second largest city in the United States, Los Angeles has a fair amount of folks who have a hankering for getting outdoors. Camping is one of the best ways to let the stresses of modern living melt away in the quiet atmosphere. Here are all your questions answered about camping near Los Angeles, California.

What’s the best time of year to go camping in Los Angeles?

The city is dry and arid much of the year. Temperatures range from the low 50s to high 70s throughout the year and almost never dip below the high 40s. While you might picture Los Angeles as precipitation-free, the city actually does see some rain during the winter months from October to March, particularly January and February.

The best time to go camping in Los Angeles is in the shoulder months of March to May and September to November. Rainfall is low and temperatures are balmy, mild, and perfect for camping. Pitch your tent in one of the nearby national and state parks, better yet on a beach, and let the cool wind flow through your tent, sans rain fly!

What should I pack for camping near Los Angeles?

Packing for camping near L.A. means you’ll need to prepare for potentially hot and dry conditions and sometimes rain, especially if it’s an El Niño year. Here are a few things to bring for your epic camping trip near Los Angeles.

The Heat of Summer

In recent years, Los Angeles has seen more intensely hot summers with temperatures climbing past 100°. Always bring an adequate amount of water, electrolyte replacement, and sun protection. Cooling buffs are a great way to shield your neck from the sun and keep cool.

Sturdy Shoes

Much of the terrain around L.A. is rocky and sandy. Bring sturdy hiking sandals or boots to prevent slipping on the city’s beautiful hiking trails.

What are the top outdoor activities near Los Angeles?

Get in touch with your inner-disco diva by roller skating the night away or cruise on a catamaran into the sunset. Whatever you choose, Los Angeles is an outdoor-activity mecca. Here are some of the best things to do in the City of Angels.


Taking a sunset cruise on a catamaran is a fun way to get a different perspective of the city and enjoy the bountiful Pacific Ocean. Dolphins might swim alongside you and, if you’re lucky, whales might make an appearance.


From trekking up to the famous Hollywood Sign to exploring the Griffith Park trails, there are plenty of places to get moving and take a hike.

Roller Skating

Roller skating in Southern California is practically a rite of passage for Golden State wannabes. Head to the Moonlight Rollerway or the Venice Beach Boardwalk for the best places in the city to lace up your skates.


For adrenaline junkies, Los Angeles is a great place to take flight and paraglide your way over the dazzling Pacific with an intense vantage point of the city below.

What major sights should I see in Los Angeles?

From star gazing to catching a glimpse of the iconic Hollywood sign, Los Angeles is truly a city for dreamers. Here are some of the best things to do while camping near Los Angeles.

Griffith Observatory

In the shadow of Mount Hollywood lies a historic observatory overlooking Los Angeles. Perched on a precipice on the outskirts of downtown is the best place in L.A. to see the stars and sprawling city below. From spotting Saturn’s rings to getting a better grasp on the Big Bang Theory, and free admission to boot, this is an absolute no-brainer!

Hollywood Sign

Ever keeping watch over the City of Angels, the Hollywood sign is a classic feature of the Los Angeles skyline. With several trails ranging in difficulty that lead up to its vantage point, a hike to the Hollywood Sign is a must on a camping trip near LA.

Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood is your chance to experience the movies you love and know, in person. Cast a spell in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter or run from a T. Rex in Jurassic World. This is as close you’ll get to your favorite characters coming to life!

Aquarium of the Pacific

Come face to face with ocean dwellers in L.A.’s Aquarium of the Pacific. Squirrely sea otters, a shark-infested lagoon, and lackadaisical jellyfish come together to create one of the most stunning aquariums in the U.S.

Dodgers Stadium

Home to none other than the Los Angeles Dodgers, Dodgers Stadium sits in the heart of Los Angeles and is a great way to spend an evening in fall, watching the boys in blue play ball!

Santa Monica Pier

An iconic image of American summer, the Santa Monica Pier features the colorful Pacific Park Ferris Wheel, delicious eateries, and even a small roller coaster. Laze on the beaches near the pier or walk to its end for a picture-perfect sunset, sinking into the Pacific.

Hollywood Walk of Fame

Showcasing Hollywood’s most famous actress, actors, and musicians, the Hollywood Walk of Fame is a must for the movie lovers and celebrity fans. With over 2,700 stars to see, you’ll be transported back to black and white films and the Hollywood of old.

Are there any national parks or state parks near Los Angeles?

Los Angeles plays host to scores of picturesque landscapes and jaw-droppingly beautiful campsites. Uncover Native American history at Topanga State Park, stand in the presence of giants in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park, or pitch your tent on the beach on Catalina Island. With hundreds of incredible natural wonders to explore, here are the best national and state parks to visit when camping near Los Angeles.

Topanga State Park

(35 minutes)

Nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains, Topanga State Park is one of the closest wilderness areas near downtown Los Angeles. With over 11,000 acres of scrub woodland and a rich Native American history, this is a great place to learn more about the wilds near L.A.

San Bernardino National Forest

(1 hour)

Hiking up Mount San Bernardino, along a stretch of the famed Pacific Crest Trail, is one of the joys of visiting this scenic national forest. The Deep Creek Hot Springs are a particular favorite in the shoulder seasons of spring and fall. Snowy conditions in winter can make hiking prohibitive, so be sure to check the weather before heading out.

Catalina Island

(1 hour by ferry)

Confusingly, Catalina Island is a part of the Channel Islands but not a part of the national park. Still, this is one of the best places to experience the natural world near L.A. Hiking the Trans-Catalina Trail is a favorite for backpackers as it traverses almost 40 miles across the island’s steep hills. Camping on the beach around a campfire with a herd of buffalo in the distance is no doubt the highlight of a visit to Catalina Island.

Channel Islands National Park

(1 hour, 20 minutes)

A necklace of five islands dotting the coast off of Los Angeles is home to one of America’s most densely biodiverse natural environments. Called the “Galapagos of North America,” the Channel Islands are a celebration of lighthouse capped peaks, thick kelp forests, and breaching gray whales.

Joshua Tree National Park

(2 hours)

Prickly and almost alien, the Joshua tree is Joshua Tree National Park’s claim to fame. Aside from getting a good look at these strange botanical wonders, explore the area’s diverse cacti, go rock climbing in the rugged terrain, and sleep under a quilt of stars.

Death Valley National Park

(4 hours, 30 minutes)

Welcome to Death Valley National Park, the hottest place on Earth—literally! The hottest temperature ever recorded was in Death Valley’s Badwater Basin in 1913, clocking in at 134°. Despite its downright scorching and frankly deadly summers, Death Valley is an incredible place to go stargazing and watch the sunrise over the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

(4 hours, 30 minutes)

Located over four hours north of Los Angeles, Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks are well worth the arduous journey. Your long drive outside the city will be rewarded with an assembly of giant redwood trees soaring into the sky, including the famous General Sherman. Note heavy snows inundate this region of California in winter, making camping and hiking difficult.

Where are the best places to eat near Los Angeles?

With almost 4 million residents to feed and another million visitors a year, LA boasts thousands of amazing restaurants. Here are just a few of the best places to eat near Los Angeles.


Ready for a fancy night on the town in La La Land? You’ve come to the right place. Holbox is a dedication to the head chef’s Yucatan heritage and serves up elegant renditions of Mexican classics. Using only the most fresh seafood, Holbox offers classics like ceviche de camaron, pulpo asado, and baja shrimp tacos.


If you’re looking for the classic American diner atmosphere with delicatessen delights, you’ve found it! Langer’s is world-famous for its pastrami sandwich. Cheese blintzes, potato pancakes, and russian dressing are also staples. Shhhh, don’t tell the New Yorkers!

Randy’s Donuts

Yes, this is the place with the pink donut on top! Serving the Los Angeles community its coffee and donuts since 1952, Randy’s specialty is the butter crumb raised donut. Yum!

Park’s BBQ

L.A.’s Koreatown is the largest Korean immigrant community in the United States and home to the best Korean food this side of the Pacific. Park’s BBQ specializes in none other than Korean BBQ. Try specialties like kimchi pancakes and spicy black cod, with USDA prime beef the star of the show.


Serving North Mexican cuisine from the state of Sonora, Sonoratown specializes in carne asada and homemade tortillas. Pick your mesquite-cooked meat and have it prepared in tacos or quesadillas, your choice!

What are some camping mistakes to avoid when camping near Los Angeles?

Our fragile ecosystems are at risk now more than ever to encroaching human population and pollution. Global warming also has a part to play, and our natural environments aren’t as predictable as they used to be. Here are a few mistakes to avoid when you’re camping near Los Angeles.

Fire Safety

Wildfires have become a sad, annual reality for many Californians. Always follow fire safety signs which are usually posted as you enter national and state parks or other wilderness areas. If you’re unsure if you can have a campfire, always consult local park rangers who are the most knowledgeable about the park’s conditions. One of the few places in California that typically allow campfires is the secluded Catalina Island, just off the coast.

Mountain Lions

Mountain lions roam the hills just outside of Los Angeles and have been known to attack and even kill humans and small pets. Keep small children and pets close to you while hiking in mountain lion habitat. If a mountain lion attacks, always fight back.

Ocean Safety

The Pacific Ocean is a wild and potentially dangerous body of water. Rip currents, found just off the beach strip, can be fatal to even the strongest of swimmers. Swim in locations with a lifeguard on duty and follow the posted safety flags on beaches.

What wild animals might I encounter while camping in Los Angeles?

Despite Los Angeles’ title as second-largest city in the United States, the city and surrounding areas are actually home to a lot of wildlife. Some of the animals you might see while camping in Los Angeles include squirrels, mule deer, opossum, pelicans, cormorants, quail, and even red-crowned parrots! Wildlife that lives on the outskirts of town include mountain lions, desert cottontails, roadrunners, kangaroo rats, and ringtails. Frolicking in the ocean just offshore are dolphins, gray whales, sharks, bat rays, garibaldi, and green sea turtles, just to name a few.

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