4 Best Places to Camp in San Diego

Throughout most of the country, the weather may be turning a little too chilly to go camping, but not in San Diego. Here it’s sunny all year round and the temperatures are mild and comfortable in autumn. And the natural camping grounds near La Jolla and San Diego offer truly breathtaking views, from mountains to islands. Here are a few of our favorite suggestions:

Mount Laguna

Located an hour’s drive away from La Jolla, the Cleveland National Forest on Mount Laguna offers splendorous natural views, but it’s not too far removed from modern conveniences. You can reserve a camp spot at Laguna Campgrounds or Burnt Rancheria, or you can make a spontaneous camping trip by staying at Boulder Oaks. You can enjoy all the quintessential camping activities here, from hiking to biking, backpacking or gathering around the campfire. There’s also a nearby lodge where you can find all the camping supplies you need.

San Elijo State Beach Campgrounds

Why have a traditional camping vacation when you’re in San Diego? Just half an hour north of La Jolla, you’ll find San Elijo State Beach, with its beautiful waters, warm sand, and plenty of campgrounds. While many beach campgrounds require RVs or trailers, tents are just fine at San Elijo. Every campsite has a picnic table and fire pit, and of course there’s the shore within reach. There are also faucets on several sites and there’s a nearby Seaside Market so you’re never too far away from the conveniences you need to be comfortable.

Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve

Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve is a popular campsite for those who are already visiting San Diego and want to get away from the bustle of the city and explore nature for a bit. There’s a beautiful lake frequented with mallard ducks and perfect for a fishing excursion. You can gather around the fire pit and look out past the shoreline at the calming natural scenery. There are playgrounds for kids, making this a terrific campground for the whole family. And when you’re done with the lake, you can enjoy the swimming pool on the grounds as well.

Just south of San Diego in Bonita, California, Sweetwater Summit is so beautiful it’s not just used as a campground — it’s used as a wedding venue. But you can pitch your tent or RV here, too, and go hiking, horseback riding, or enjoying the view of the peaceful pond. There’s a playground for kids, as well. This park is a delight to visit for a day even if you don’t stay for the night.

It may seem contradictory for us at the Bed & Breakfast Inn at La Jolla to talk about campsites in the area, but who’s to say you can’t enjoy both? Many visitors enjoy a night or two of camping and then spend the rest of their trip in a hotel. Others might find themselves faced with rain on the day they planned to go camping. If that’s the case or whatever your reason might be, book direct with us and we’ll price match & give a 5% discount.

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