Desert camping in California

Hipcampers are spoiled for choice in California, where landscapes come supersized.

92% (13438 reviews)
92% (13438 reviews)

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12 top desert campgrounds in California

91%
(998)

Bridgeport Reservoir Campground

35 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents11 acres · CA
Bridgeport Reservoir is a lake at the lower end of Bridgeport Valley in Mono County, California. Its earth-filled dam was constructed in 1923 by the Walker River Irrigation District, along the East Walker River. The campground and marina was built I-don't-know-how-long ago, but it sure is nice! About Us: Welcome to Bridgeport Reservoir Marina and Campground. Join us for the classic camping and fishing experience with unique views of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. Within the Toiyabe National Forest, Bridgeport Reservoir Marina and Campground is conveniently located near two distinct hot spring areas. A true angler's paradise, the Reservoir has excellent trout fishing from spring through fall and is close by to multiple rivers for incredible fly fishing. A 35 minute drive on highway 120 will take you to the Tioga Pass Gate of Yosemite National Park. This gate is a great start to several different areas inside of the park that you may want to visit beyond that gate. Off-road enthusiasts would not have enough time in one visit to explore all of the 4x4 trails, abandoned mines, and sites in the area as well as the famous trail that brings you right to the Bodie Ghost Town. Climate and Ecosystem: At 6,400 feet (1,950 meters), this high desert climate has little to moderate tree coverage and gets hot during the days and cool at night. The conditions are much like Joshua Tree National Park or Alabama Hills camping area. During your visit, you will notice many flying insects that resemble mosquitos. These Chironomid are harmless and do not bite. On the contrary, the mosquito presence is very minimal. Swimming in the lake is possible usually between April to July.
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$27
 / night
90%
(45)

Bowen Ranch Hot Spring Camp Retreat

14 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents180 acres · Lake Arrowhead, CA
Relax and recharge at this 160 acre off the grid campground surrounded by beautiful natural desert scenery and mountain views, and located just a short hike away from Deep Creek Hot Springs. Set up your own tent and campsite or rent one of our furnished glamping tents to stay while on the property. Events welcome! Check out our private hot spring pool sites and private cold spring pool sites we have available. Property hosts up to 300 guests.
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$54.99
 / night
99%
(879)

Paradise Shores Camp

46 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents2 acres · Bridgeport, CA
We're a family owned RV Park & Campground located on the shores of Bridgeport Reservoir. Together with our crew, we're excited to welcome you into our newly adopted home. We believe in campfires, starry nights, good laughs, exploration, a deep sleep and an early rise. The mountains are a place to get back to basics, a place to explore, to breathe. So turn off your phone and turn on your senses. It’s important to us that our guests don’t feel they are renting a tent/RV site or a camper as much as they’re immersing themselves into the outdoor experience. You may just want to sit outside and read for days, enjoy campfires and eat s'mores. For more adventurous, there's a full slate of self-guided recreational activities, such as hiking, kayaking, fishing, ATVing, rock climbing, biking, natural water slides, stand up paddle boards, bird watching, available in the area. We do have modern conveniences such as wifi internet; however, we encourage our guests to “unplug” and immerse in the slow paced life instead. At Paradise Shores, we believe in protecting people, animals and the planet. We make sure that the majority of products we use at our camp is recycled, composted, or re-used. We prefer to use products that are produced in a sustainable way and avoid those that aren't. We are continuously reducing the amount of waste we generate and actively promote recycling of aluminum, plastic, glass, and cardboard. We pack our own recycling and haul it to the nearest recycling facility which is an hour away. We co-opt the drive with other activities to reduce waste. We don’t use individually packaged toiletries or one-use products. We use plant and planet friendly detergent. We're based in a desert. We share our precious water with the entire planet. With only 326 million cubic miles of water on the earth, the decreasing amounts of access to quality fresh water is alarming to us. We monitor how we use water in our day-to-day activities and are constantly working on ways to reduce our consumption of fresh-water resources. We hope you can help us maintain this greener camping! We hope Paradise Shores Camp becomes your home as it is ours. It’s located in one of the most spectacular areas in the world. We’re surrounded on three sides by the high Sierra Nevada Mountains. Yosemite National Park, Tuolumne Meadows, Mono Lake, June Lake, Virginia Lakes, and Twin Lakes, as well as the historic gold-mining town of Bodie, CA are all within a short drive from our place. We're proud to know this area intimately and are excited to share the secret spots with you. The excellent hiking/running trails including the Pacific Crest Trail, thousands of miles of ATV, dirt bike and mountain bike trails are accessible right from our camp or within a short drive from here. The surrounding terrain offers endless activities and unbelievable scenery in remote wilderness settings. Pet Policy All our RV & Tent sites are pet friendly and we allow up to two dogs per reservation for a small fee. We can also accommodate up to two four-legged campers in our pet-friendly Baja or Tatra trailers for a small fee, we ask that they stay off the furniture (beds, sofas etc.) and are not left in the rental unattended. We love dogs, but sadly won’t be able to accommodate heavily shedding pets that aren’t house trained. Additionally, our insurance will not allow "aggressive breeds" that include any mix of: Pit Bull, Rottweiler, Doberman, German Sheppard. Please pick up after your pup and use a leash when at the camp. Thank you in advance for your consideration and help in keeping our camp a mellow and enjoyable place for everyone.
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$36
 / night
99%
(4071)

Cuyama Badlands

29 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents164 acres · Cuyama, CA
If you've ever wondered what it might be like to camp on the moon, this is it. Completely removed from civilization and surrounded by a barren nature that is alive with the subtle presence of the universe. Seasonally, Spring wildflowers burst across the landscape. Cave paintings of Chumash Indians remind us of those who lived before us. This is where the deer and the antelope play. Our Carrizo Camp is surrounded by the Carrizo Plains National Monument. This is truly a get away from it all camping. That's it. You, the coyotes and your own private moon. Our Songdog Camps are sparsely scattered atop a 200 foot mesa that looks west over a valley offering stunning desert sunsets. Our Ranch House and Glampsites are available on occasion. This is our home but we love to share our life in the outback. We believe it will give you a better appreciation of life's simpler side. This land was sparsely populated by the Chumash Indian and is evident by the numerous cave painting that remain here near the Caliente mountain. In the era of the California Missions, this land was a part of the Spanish land grants. Currently the property is privately owned and is adjacent to large sections of publicly held lands.
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$20
 / night
98%
(169)

Mineral Springs Date Farm

10 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents20 acres · Desert Hot Springs, CA
Get cozy with your Private Hot Spring ( Just for you to use) . This is a working Date Farm that is above an aquifer with a natural mineral spring water well with Hot Springs mineral water at each site located on a private 20-acre Date Farm with Mineral Springs. **~18 minutes from Downtown Palm Springs. ** ~ 30 minutes from Joshua Tree **Perfect late-night check in** If you love traveling, nature, and adventure this place has features to help you maximize your travel experiences. Comfortable and right in the middle of the desert. Experience the best of both worlds.
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$55
 / night
94%
(169)

Camp Shady Meadow

34 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents33 acres · Blairsden, CA
There are so many fun activities available in the nearby Blairsden/Graeagle area (golfing, biking, hiking, fishing, autumn foliage...just to name a few). We have added two beautiful glamping tents to our already unique RV, travel trailer, and tent sites. The glamping tents are complete with carpet, a comfortable queen size mattress, luxurious linens, two homemade benches, and two camping chairs to enjoy a cool evening campfire with a view of the mountains. Please note: these glamping tents are for adults only; no children or pets. Thank you for understanding!
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$45
 / night
94%
(680)

Blue Sky Center

31 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents267 acres · New Cuyama, CA
1948- On January 1, 1948 a wildcatter named George Hadley, who had been oil prospecting in the valley for 10 years, made the first oil strike in the Cuyama Valley. Richfield Oil Company soon moved in and extracted nearly 300 million barrels of oil in just a few short years. To accommodate an exploding workforce in the early 1950s, the company built the town of New Cuyama, its infrastructure, public buildings, the Cuyama airstrip (L88) and all the industrial structures that are now home to Blue Sky. Richfield Oil Company, later merging with Atlantic Oil Company forming the Atlantic Richfield Oil Company (ARCO), created high-paying jobs, a safe and prosperous community, and developed schools, churches, and recreational areas for the employee-residents.1973- With dwindling production in the area and new discoveries in Alaska, Atlantic-Richfield Oil Company put the town of New Cuyama and its associated infrastructure up for sale. Word of an entire town for sale made its way to entrepreneur, Russell O’Quinn of the Foundation for Airborne Relief (FAR) and Mildred Dotson, a wealthy widow from Tulsa, Oklahoma. The two worked together to acquire the townsite and adjacent land. O’Quinn, an aviator, inventor, and test pilot, aspired to use the New Cuyama airstrip and facilities as a base for humanitarian relief and a non-profit trade school. Though not fully realized, FAR’s primary vision included utilizing converted military aircraft to airlift food and medical supplies to developing countries and global disaster areas. Dotson had loftier goals. Her plans included an 18-hole fly-in golf course, expansion of the Buckhorn Restaurant and Motel, and a 40- to 50-acre lake for amphibious landing and water sports. 1986- Another visionary, Harry Kislevitz, inventor of the popular design tool Colorforms® and founder of Future City/Villages International, sought to develop the site as a “City of Friendship,” an all-electric village of 5,000 earthen homes. The dwellings were to be designed by Nader Khalili, an Iranian-born architect who specialized in earthen structures, worked with NASA on prototypes for lunar homes and received an award from the United Nations for his work towards the development of low cost, sustainable structures for human shelter in impoverished and disaster prone environments. One 628-sq-ft Khalili prototype remains on the property today ("the Cantina"). Khalili went on to form the California Institute for Earth Art and Architecture, Cal-Earth, in Hesperia, CA.1993- Recognizing the transformative potential of clean, solar power and the attractiveness of a rural destination, entrepreneur Mike Nolan worked to develop the Solar Skypark and Big Sky Guest Ranch with Santa Barbara Architect, Barry Berkus. The Sky Park included plans for sixty-five fly-in residences on one-acre lots powered completely from clean, solar energy. The Big Sky Guest Ranch was intended to function as a clubhouse for Skypark residents complete with an equestrian center, a small subsistence farm, pool and plenty of enriching recreational activities. 2012- At the end of 2011, the Zannon Family Foundation made a long-term investment in acquiring the New Cuyama Airport property with the vision of rehabilitating the site to be a low-cost resource for programs and organizations working to advance sustainable living practices and technologies. Plans began soon after towards developing a framework and organization to develop the space and coordinate with prospective programs and institutions. In 2014 Blue Sky Sustainable Living Center ("Blue Sky Center") received 501(c)(3) not-for-profit status, endeavoring to reclaim this property for the public good. Today, Blue Sky Center provides unduplicated services and technical assistance to support small businesses and entrepreneurs as well as the local food system, with core work focused on community research and advocacy led by Cuyamans. Learn more on our website and consider supporting our community work with your donation or by hosting your next special event here!
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$35
 / night
92%
(110)

Aberdeen Resort

15 sites · RVs10 acres · Independence, CA
Learn more about this land:Relax at Aberdeen Resort! Enjoy Goodale Creek at camp and the amazing views of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. We have 10 Overnight Sites with the rest of the park being long term. Explore the many OHV trails, hike from the Park or head up to the many trailheads in the area. Fish Goodale Creek or head across the 395 to the gorgeous Owens River. Unspoiled and wild, the Owens Valley is spectacular and serene.
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$46
 / night
97%
(47)

Water front on Topaz Lake

7 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents4 acres · Topaz, CA
Learn more about this land:Beautiful lake front property on Topaz Lake , we have 6 rv sites to choose from on 4 acres .First come first serve . Bring your Rv or pitch a tent . Bring your whole family. We have kayaks and paddle boards . Fishing boat available to rent . Life jackets available and a peddle boat too ! Lots of float toys !!
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$50
 / night
94%
(679)

Historic Pioneertown Campground

70 sites · RVs, Tents6 acres · Pioneertown, CA
Pioneertown was built in 1946 as a movie set for Western movies, including the movies of Gene Autry, The Cisco Kid, Annie Oakley, Judge Roy Bean, and Buffalo Bill, just to name a few!Wild West re-enactment performances take place along Mane Street in Pioneertown on weekend afternoons, between early spring and late fall.Learn more about this land:Camp under the stars in historic Pioneertown! Pioneertown Corrals provides a unique setting for campers who want to spend their vacations or getaway weekends in this peaceful desert setting. If you like to ride the trails, barbeque, sit around a campfire, and stargaze in the evening, then you've come to the right place!Pioneertown was built in 1946 as a movie set for Western movies, including the movies of Gene Autry, The Cisco Kid, Annie Oakley, Judge Roy Bean, and Buffalo Bill, just to name a few!Wild West re-enactment performances take place along Mane Street in Pioneertown on weekend afternoons, between early spring and late fall.
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$30
 / night
99%
(362)

Juniper Spur Ranch

3 sites · RVs, Tents20 acres · Weed, CA
Welcome to Juniper Spur Ranch! Directions: GPS Juniper Valley Spur....this is a short culdesac road with a road sign at the entrance off Juniper Valley Drive. There is a green pipe rail gate at the end. This gate has a combination lock. You will receive the current combination code 2 days before your arrival. If you are turning onto a dirt road without a sign....you are on the wrong road. Juniper Valley Spur is my short culdesac road with a green pipe rail gate at the end. We have 3 RV sites available for campers to book. Please note that we do not have RV hookups for any of the sites. You will be parking on loose gravel and the sites are flat. We can accommodate most RVs/trailers, if you are uncertain about the size just send me a message. There is a portapotty in the hay barn cleaned regularly and a water spigot for non-potable water uses or for a quick outdoor shower with a handheld spritzer. It is not enclosed so you will need to be discreet. Pets are allowed at campsites #2 and #3 only. These campsites are farthest from the horses and dogs. Please keep dogs on leash at all times. Our property offers a beautiful view of Mount Shasta. Nature lovers, extreme sports enthusiasts, family vacationers and retirees, can all enjoy the vast recreational opportunities this area has to offer. Lake Siskiyou is about 20 miles south and offers a wonderful 7-mile hiking trail around the entire lake. Bring your horses too. I have a couple of electric-fenced paddocks for visitors.
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$50
 / night
92%
(101)

Nomad-NeXus @ArtFarm Nature Space

38 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents12 acres · Leona Valley, CA
Nomad-NeXus @ ArtFarm Nature Space offers the best of both worlds: Amazing Nature , bright stars and serenity , a fun creative vibe and good people and blazing fast internet connection for digital nomads and young entrepreneurs who are looking for a space to connect with nature and the world at large all at once, bridging the gap between Nature and Technology, Freedom and Community , hard work and inspiring moments with inspiring and positive people. ArtFarm Nature space is the perfect space for Digital Nomads and Creative entrepreneurs to immerse themselves in Nature while enjoying the benefits of an instant community of inspired people who love to connect, collaborate and create ! we would love to meet you
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$68
 / night

Dog-friendly getaways

Under $50

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Desert camping in California guide

Overview

Welcome to Hipcamp, your go-to resource for camping in the United States! If you're looking to explore the beautiful desert terrain of California, we've got you covered. With over 3,800 options available in California's desert region, you'll have plenty of choices to find the perfect camping experience. Whether you prefer pitching a tent, parking your RV, or staying in a cozy cabin, we have accommodations to suit your needs. Our top campsites, like Cuyama Badlands (1681 reviews), Down-to-Earth Ecoshire (552 reviews), and The Lovelight Ranch (532 reviews), have been highly recommended by fellow campers. You'll also find popular amenities such as toilets and campfires, along with activities like visiting historic sites, whitewater paddling, and hiking. With an average price per night of $45 and options as low as $5, you can find a camping experience that fits your budget. So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable camping adventure in the California desert!

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