Who doesn’t love roasting marshmallows over a campfire, pitching a cozy tent and stargazing, or taking a hike just steps from a campsite with a great view? While many Los Angeles area residents head to distant locales to enjoy the natural environment, when time or money prevents a longer trip, there are still many great camping spots right here in Los Angeles County. From stunning ocean views to peaceful forests, here are some of the best places to go camping locally.
Leo Carrillo Campground
35000 W. Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90265
Just off Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu is sycamore-shaded Leo Carrillo Campground. With tide pools, a great surf break, and beautiful rock formations just across the road, this pet-friendly campground is the perfect spot for a beach vacation. Should campers tire of the white sand beach, trails lead from the campground to stellar back-country hiking. Named after actor and conservationist Leo Carrillo, the campground has 130 campsites, pay showers, and flush toilets.
Henninger Flats Campground
1750 N Altadena Dr.
Pasadena, CA 91107
Far-reaching views are the draw at Henninger Flats Campground. Here, campers get to enjoy the 360-degree panorama of greater Los Angeles from the beach to downtown. On clear days, Catalina Island can be even be spotted, too. This is a hike-in campground, requiring a 3 mile hike that takes campers to a visitor’s center, tree nursery, and 31 shady, no-charge campsites divided into three separate tiers. Vault toilets, fire rings, and drinking water are all free – and so is firewood, making this a camping trip that’s marshmallow-ready.
Angeles Crest Hwy.
La Canada Flintridge, CA 91011,
A peaceful spot at a high elevation, Buckthorn Campground offers a grand view of the San Gabriel Mountains from 6,300 feet up. 38 widely spaced campsites are nestled among cedar and pine trees, offering easy access to the 15 mile Burkhart Trail or two waterfalls, Buckthorn Falls and Cooper Canyon Falls, just two miles from the campground. A communal pit fire encourages evening socializing. The campground is equipped with vault toilets.
Horse Flats Campground
Santa Anita Canyon Rd.
Sierra Madre, CA 91025
With 25 campsites for tents or RVs, the aptly named Horse Flats offers excellent camping for humans – and their equine friends. The site has three hitching rails and small corrals, as well as tables, fire pits, and vault toilets. There’s also excellent access to two waterfalls with nicely deep pools for soaking, Hermit Falls and Sturtevant Falls; and a wealth of wooded hiking and riding trails.
Thornhill Broome Campground
9000 W Pacific Coast Hwy.
Malibu, CA 90265
For beach lovers, Thornhill Broom Campground offers the ultimate perk: a beachfront location. Located in Point Mugu State Park, tent and RV campers can set up close to the tide-line for spectacular sunsets and excellent shell gathering. It’s a good spot to watch dolphins, too. Nearby sand dunes provide vigorous hikes, but the true pleasure of this spot may very well be having seaside digs to bask in – the ultimate California dream. There are 62 campsites, water spigots, and vault toilets.