Thanks to the Golden State’s extraordinary climate and tempting topography, camping year round is a pursuit worth planning. But where is the best place to go when time is limited? The inimitable Southland has plenty of fine options, with the following five at the top of the list for in-the-know Angelenos who adore soaking up the great outdoors.

(credit: Charlotte A./yelp)

Buckhorn Campground
Angeles Crest Highway
La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011
(626) 574-1613
Get up-close-and-personal with the best that nature has to offer Southern California at this popular venue where you’ll enjoy the heady environmental aroma of pine and cedar. All this happens at 6,300-feet where three dozen campsites at the Angeles National Forest’s Buckhorn Campground afford the ideal place to set up camp. From there, the highly acclaimed National Recreation Trails beckon so get ready to take a hike or three during your getaway. Also, be sure to pack your bathing suit so you’re prepared for a refreshing dip in the nearby creek, a big plus in summer months.

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(credit: Lindsey D./yelp)

Table Mountain Campground
Table Mt. Road
Llano, CA 93544
(760) 249-3526
Offering serenity and solitude just outside charming Wrightwood, California, the 42-site Table Mountain Campground sits at 6,000 feet, availing awesome views of both the desert and the mountains along with the boundless benefit of unlimited fresh air. Fellow non-human campers include a myriad of bird species like the California condor as well as squirrel and deer while ideal camp sites can be found in the meadows and surrounding hills. From there, you can pursue your passion–be that hiking, biking or horseback riding–along hundreds of miles of marked trails.

(credit: Kelly W./yelp)

Two Harbors Campground
Catalina Isthmus
Two Harbors, CA 90704
(877) 778-1487
Twenty-nine miles across the sea from Long Beach via convenient Catalina Express, remote Two Harbors Campground towers above the Pacific with a variety of options for discerning outdoorsy types. Pick from sleeping pads and tents in which to savor sweet dreams under the stars in three different designated areas that come equipped with all you will need–from fire rings to camp stoves–in order to enjoy a peaceful holiday with the ambient sound of the ocean’s roar as your special companion.

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(credit: Jeremiah H./yelp)

Manker Flats Campground
Mt Baldy, CA 91759
(909) 982-2829
At the base of Mount Baldy in the magnificent San Gabriel Mountains, Manker Flats Campground makes for a sublime Southland retreat where advanced hikers will find nirvana. The most exciting trail takes you to the mountain’s summit for  unforgettable valleys and mountain views. However, if you want to stick by your camp site, choose to follow the San Antonio Falls trail, a 1.4-mile hike that delivers you to a magnificent multi-tier waterfall sure to make a big splash during your camping escape far away from the roar of your usual urban surroundings.

(credit: Yelp/Susan U.)

Leo Carrillo State Beach Campground
35000 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 92065
(805) 370-2301
For those wanna be campers who love the beach, choose this waterside campground that enables an abundance of splashy activities like fishing, surfing, swimming and cave exploring. If you’re looking to mountain bike, that’s an option at this site too since your temporary background in made up of the enchanting Santa Monica Mountains. Bonus: A small store operates right at the campground, convenient when in need of anything from fire wood to all kinds of nibbles. Score!

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By Jane Lasky