Small tent camping at night

Whether you’re looking for last-minute camping ideas for the long weekend or planning ahead for the summer, here are some suggestions for you to check out.

If you’re not up for camping but still want to spend some time in the great outdoors, hit the trails! There are many nearby, but you can start by checking out the SMMN Rec Area below.

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

Note: Most NPS trails & parks are open, a few remain closed due to Woolsey Fire damage. NPS trails and parks are open except for Zuma/Trancas Canyons, Peter Strauss Ranch, Rocky Oaks, Arroyo Sequit and the Backbone Trail from Corral Cyn to Kanan.

Current trailside campgrounds located on the Backbone Trail include: Musch Trail Camp at Topanga State Park camp (hike-in, spaces for 8 tents), Danielson Ranch at Point Mugu State Park (group campground only), La Jolla Valley Hike-In is 0.5-miles off of the BBT, located in Point Mugu State Park (only 3 tent spaces).

Walnut RV Park

Northridge – Call it Urban Camping! Walnut RV Park has a long history before it became an RV Park. It started as a farm in the 1960s, with the city coming up around them. “Because we are an Urban Park, we adopt everything around us and make it our own – Camping Hipsters.” Find all the city amenities you need nearby – Farmers Market, Northridge Fashion Center for shopping, movie theater, dining, and a 24-hour gym. It’s the best of both worlds!

Hollywood RV Park

Van Nuys – This RV park has been family-owned since 1976 and has a unique specialty. They “cater to the movie industry, traveling nurses, hospital patients and overnight guests touring Los Angeles.” It’s located near Hollywood, Burbank, and DTLA.

Soledad Canyon RV & Camping Resort

Acton – It’s a combination of a traditional campground and resort-style amenities. Enjoy beautiful views, picnic areas, the “largest swimming pool in the west,” and it’s only 15 minutes from shopping centers. Cabins and cottages are also available. This camping resort is part of Thousand Trails.

Dogwood Family Campground

Lake Arrowhead – You’ll find this campground 20 miles northeast of San Bernadino in the San Bernadino National Forest. There are 87 reservable site (no first come first served sites). Activities and amenities include hiking trails, RV hookups, fire rings, firewood sales, interpretive trails, interpretive programs, picnic tables, showers and restrooms, camp host, and dump station. Accessible. It’s 15 minutes away from Lake Gregory (with boating, fishing, and a water slide park). Lake Arrowhead Village, with its fine dining and quaint shops, is only 5 minutes away.

Lake Piru Recreation Area

Ventura County – Located in the Los Padres National Forest next to the Sespe Condor Sanctuary (less than an hour away from Los Angeles).

Lake Piru offers level tree-shaded camping sites, clean restrooms, coin-operated hot showers, with a fully stocked store to meet most camping and boating needs. Motor homes, trailers, and truck campers are welcome. Lake Piru has paved roads, tree-shaded sites, and a dump station.

There is also a day-use and picnic area with lots of grass space, a playground, picnic tables, wooden awnings, a horseshoe pit, and a 9-hole disc-golf course.

California State Parks

You can find information plus make reservations for any California State Park at

Malibu Creek State Park is one of the parks with camping you’ll find on the site. Malibu Creek is made up of more than 4,000 acres and has “15 miles of trails with a creek, rock pool, lake, chaparrals, and many trees. Visitors can enjoy hiking, biking, swimming, and fishing.” 

Mother and young son holding hands while walking on a trail toward the woods and mountains.

Hike-in Camps

If you want to get away from the daily grind, hike-in campgrounds allow you to even leave your car behind. You’ll park at a trail entrance and hike your way to camp. So pack your easy-pitch tent and fill your backpack with the necessities!

See Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area for more hike-in options.

Gould Mesa Trail Camp

Gould Mesa Trail Camp is a hike-in campground located 2 miles from Ventura Street on the Gabrielino Trail. Being only a few miles away La Canada-Flintridge, it offers a quick-respite for the weary hiker. Those choosing to start in Altadena near the Jet Propulsion Laboratories will walk through riparian groves along a tranquil steam surrounded by steep ridges. The trek to Gould Mesa Trail Camp is 5.1 miles round trip with 300 feet of elevation change. Camps are first come first served, so plan ahead.

If you’d like more information on the San Fernando Valley or Los Angeles, or to have help looking for your next home, please feel free to reach out! I’m happy to help, no obligation.

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