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  • Trevor Morrow
  • "What are some memorable places to camp within a 5 hour driving radius of Los Angeles?"

Trevor Morrow

Los Angeles

What are some memorable places to camp within a 5 hour driving radius of Los Angeles?

I'd like to plan a memorable 2-night camping trip this summer for my group of friends. We're willing to drive and are open to staying in a variety of environments (desert, forest, beach, etc.). Any recommendations? 

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2 Answers

  • Susan Johnson

    top answer by

    There is so much to see within a 5 hour driving radius -- so let me see if I can help you out. These are in no particular order. :)

    1. Mammoth Mountain - this is an amazing all-season destination that is about 4-5 hours from LA. You can camp, bike, ski, hike, fish, swim, climb, hot air ballon, zip line, etc and/or drink all day and chill out. Check out visitmammoth.com

    2. Palm Springs - 2 hours from LA, this is a great place to go and stay at a fancy hotel ( The Parker, Palm Springs , La Quinta Resort & Club), go to different festivals, hike around in the desert, or just lay by the pool.

    3. Joshua Tree National Park - I've had a bunch of friends go and camp in Joshua Tree and love it. I've never personally been but it sounds cool.

    4. Big Bear Mountain - If you want to do the mountain thing but Mammoth is too far -- try Big Bear. It's an all-season destination with lakes and trails, and skiiing the winter -- but it's only 2 hours from LA.

    5. Lake Arrowhead - Another 2 hour drive. If you're going to Big Bear -- stop in Lake Arrowhead and check out the scenary. IMHO, It's a little kitschy but cute nonetheless.

    6. Temecula Wine Country - Surprisingly SoCal has it's own little wine region. If you want to go wine tasting and hit up a unique spa ( Glen Ivy Hot Springs Spa , this is a quick trip from LA.

    7. San Onofre State Beach - If you're into surfing and camping on the beach, San Onofre is an option. Lots of my friends who surf will go down and camp in their car or in a tent and surf in the morning. It's a bit unusual too because you'd be surfing right near a shut down nuclear power plant. #lookoutfor3headedfish

    8. Malibu - If you don't want to drive too far, you have hike, camp, surf, and celeb site see and wine taste all in Malibu. Not too exotic but fun.

    9. Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort - (personally one of my favorite spots in CA) -- I don't think you can camp here but it's an all inclusive resort that has everything. Fishing, skeet shooting, horse back riding, etc. It's really geared towards families but the land is magical. Rolling hills, big oak trees, cows roaming everywhere. I would search for a camp ground near here and then camp at night, and wine taste during the day. Also, if you're up this direction, stop at Olsen's Danish Village Bakery & Coffee Shop for some killer danish pasteries.

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    • Trevor M.

      Trevor M.

      Hi Susan, Great suggestions, thanks very much! I'm glad you mentioned Alisal because I'll be staying there for the first time at the end of October for a wine event and I'm really looking forward to it. I'll definitely try and swing by Olsen's for a danish! I've surfed/camped at San Onofre (haha #lookoutfor3headedfish that's for sure). And I've stayed in a house in Joshua Tree but haven't camped there yet. I've only gone north for wine, so I haven't yet been to Temecula but it's definitely on my list. I've been thinking about Mammoth and Big Bear for awhile now, so they might take the cake on this one! California is the best! Thanks for the tips. · (1 likelikes)

    Mentioned in this answer:

    1. Mammoth Mountain (region)
    2. Palm Springs (attraction)
    3. The Parker, Palm Springs (hotel)
    4. La Quinta Resort & Club (hotel)
    5. Joshua Tree National Park (park)
    6. Big Bear Mountain (attraction)
    7. Lake Arrowhead (city)
    8. Temecula Wine Country (attraction)
    9. Glen Ivy Hot Springs Spa (attraction)
    10. San Onofre State Beach (neighborhood)
    11. Malibu (city)
    12. Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort (hotel)
    13. Olsen's Danish Village Bakery & Coffee Shop (restaurant)

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  • Annemarie Dooling

    answered first by

    I'm planning a National Parks trip and there are a bunch within driving distance of LA. Yosemite National Park has the most options, with in-park camps like Curry Village , but Sequoia National Park has their own High Sierra Camp as well. At Death Valley National Park you'll find the Stovepipe Wells Village . Mendocino National Forest is supposed to be gorgeous in the fall and features a few rugged camping sites. And though it's six hours away, not five, Zion National Park has camping on-site too (but you need permits to reach many of the summits).

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    • Trevor M.

      Trevor M.

      Fantastic list, thanks so much Annemarie. I hadn't thought of Mendocino National Forest, but I just researched it a bit and it looks incredible. Also, I would LOVE to camp at Zion -- I'll plan a longer trip around that. · (0 likelikes)

    Mentioned in this answer:

    1. Yosemite National Park (park)
    2. Curry Village (attraction)
    3. Sequoia National Park (park)
    4. Death Valley National Park (attraction)
    5. Stovepipe Wells Village (hotel)
    6. Mendocino National Forest (attraction)
    7. Zion National Park (park)

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