Forest camping near San Diego with campfires

Enjoy year-round beach camping with sun, sand, and surf in America's Finest City.

96% (2040 reviews)
96% (2040 reviews)

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12 top forest campgrounds near San Diego with campfires

94%
(985)

Magical Harrison Serenity Ranch

22 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents67 acres · Palomar Mountain, CA
This land has been a community gathering space for the Native's Ceremony and Healing Space for over a thousand years. Feast your eyes upon the Matates and traces of the people that once gathered here so long ago.Upon the mid 1800's we had a Settler named Nate Harrison find this to be the ideal space, and he set up homestead here, and lived an amazing full life. He was to become the first African American to aquire land here in San Diego County, and his homestead remains to this day; studied by archaeology students to this day.Sensitive habitat and magic lies within our gates, and we must approach the mountain as we would any sacred space; with RESPECT.We welcome you to enjoy Nate's land and inspire who you are deep inside your heart.
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$60
 / night
96%
(174)

San Diego Canyon Creek

5 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents1 acre · El Cajon, CA
As you enter into our little oasis, you'll see why we want to share the space. It is a great environment to get away from the city or pass through on your road trip. The driveway enters down to our creek-side camping where a hammock under a tree awaits a quiet reader or a bird watcher. We have multiple species of song birds. It's just a 30 minute drive to the beach, or mountains, a short walk to the neighborhood park- equipped with a playground, or a five minute drive to a local ecological reserve containing multiple trails. If you'd like to hang out on the property, we offer a table and chairs with each campsite to lounge in while enjoying the fresh air and nature. In addition, we have a propane-powered fire pit, an outdoor kitchen with full amenities, including, hot water, a two burner stove, a toaster oven and a BBQ area. The bathroom now includes a flush toilet, sink and shower. Fun Fact: Harbison Canyon was named after John Stewart Harbison - aka the King of the Bee Keepers. He arrived with over one hundred colonies of bees in 1874 and within 7 years he became the worlds largest honey producer. Today there are just a few bees in the area.
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$42
 / night
96%
(772)

Splitrock Farm and Retreat

46 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents101 acres · Fallbrook, CA
About Splitrock Farm and Retreat Far Away, Close to Home For more information... Visit our website www.splitrock.camp Instagram page @splitrockfarmandretreat. Tag your photos #splitrockfarmandretreat #SplitrockFAR #farawayclosetohome Or, contact the Camp Host through Hipcamp direct message or the direct line 760-645-5431. Splitrock Farm and Retreat started in January 2021 after a global search of a place to set roots, live off the land, and create an amazing place for recreation, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Splitrock Farm Splitrock was part of a 160-acre avocado farm that prospered from 1970 to 2017, generating over 1million pounds of avocados per year until the previous owners switched off the water in 2017. Ben purchased 101 acres in 2021 with plans to harvest the dead avocado trees for firewood and replant with organic, sustainable crops such as grapes, citrus trees, and flowers. Splitrock Retreat Splitrock's attraction comes from its unique groves, magnificent granite boulders, and sweeping vistas. Mixed within the avocado groves are several ancient groves and solitary trees that include 200 foot tall pines, hundreds of old oaks, and soaring palms. Freckled throughout the hillsides are thousands of humongous granite boulders, offering a prehistoric feel to the landscape. Above all, Splitrock offers unrivaled views. Over 40 miles of coastline includes views to Point Loma, the Carlsbad power station, and the Pendleton Hospital. To the northeast are views of near 11K foot snowy peaks of San Jacinto and San Gorgonio, with rolling hills of De Luz and Fallbrook in the foreground.
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$36
 / night
94%
(136)

San Diego Mountain Lodge

43 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents40 acres · Santa Ysabel, CA
San Diego Mountain Lodge is a beautiful escape to nature sprawled out over 40 acres on a breathtaking spot that we call Hideout Mountain in Santa Ysabel, CA. Multiple experiences are offered: -- glamping in our vintage camper trailers, -- RV sites with full hookups and incredible views of Lake Henshaw -- campsites, -- luxury camping in our remodeled cabins (studio, 1br, and 2br cabins) each with different amenities ranging from full kitchens, wood burning fireplaces, large outdoor decks and private fire pits. Gather and share ideas with fellow guests at our community firepit and picnic tables. What makes Hideout Mountain a magical place? #1 on the list are the stunning views as far as the eye can see of Lake Henshaw and the valley and surrounding mountains. We also have a one-of-a-kind, world renowned restaurant and bar on the property: Josie's Hideout Saloon, open on weekends with live music. We are located just a few minutes drive away from downtown Santa Ysabel and Julian, with easy access off Hwy 76.
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$29
 / night
99%
(211)

Reid Ranch

5 sites · RVs, Tents3 acres · Vista, CA
Reid Ranch is located in North County less than 10 miles from the beach. You will have your own site with a private fire pit uniquely placed in the natural Granite rocks. Your experience will be one of a kind. So many activities near by. Close to numerous breweries and great wineries. I have lived in San Diego for over 30 years so I can give recommendations to the best of what San Diego has to offer. Downtown is a 45 minute drive or you have access to the train nearby. We have 2 hold tubs that can be added on that over look the coast. Located in the Mar Vista Valley only eight miles from the Pacific Ocean. We enjoy the best weather in the world. The ocean breeze along with gorgeous sunsets adds to the experience. Our private fire pit nestled in the granite boulders is truly one of a kind. We hope you come experience our slice of heaven for yourself soon.
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$65
 / night
86%
(18)

Skyrocket Ranch

9 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents20 acres · Temecula, CA
Welcome to The Skyrocket Ranch, a truly enchanting destination nestled on 20 acres of picturesque land in the hills of Temecula. Our property invites you to experience a harmonious blend of tranquility, natural allure, and convenient access to city amenities and renowned wineries. Set along the serene banks of Sandia Creek, our ranch provides a serene oasis where you can unwind and reconnect with the outdoors. Venture outdoors to explore our expansive grounds, revealing lush orchards and captivating views at every corner. The presence of charming rural luxury homes enhances the appeal and exclusivity of this remarkable location. A highlight of your stay here is the chance to observe wildlife thriving in its natural habitat. Keep an eye out for graceful deer, vibrant birds, and other captivating creatures that make our property their home. Nature enthusiasts and photographers will discover endless inspiration in this environment. While our land offers a peaceful escape, it's also conveniently proximate to the city and renowned wineries. Immerse yourself in Temecula's vibrant Old Towne, where you can indulge in delectable cuisine, explore local boutiques, and immerse yourself in the thriving arts and culture scene. For wine aficionados, a short journey will lead you to world-class wineries, inviting you to relish award-winning vintages amidst breathtaking vineyard vistas. Whether you're seeking a tranquil retreat, an adventure in nature, or a wine-tasting escapade, The Skyrocket Ranch offers an ideal launchpad for your next exploration. Awaken to the soothing sounds of nature, breathe in the invigorating country air, and embark on an unforgettable journey right from our doorstep. Book your stay at The Skyrocket Ranch and discover the magic of this extraordinary destination. We eagerly await the opportunity to welcome you and share the captivating beauty of our land.
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$120
 / night
92%
(137)

Ohana Goat Ranch and Campsite

1 site · RV, Tent41 acres · Fallbrook, CA
Learn more about this land:Shaded and private camping with the most affectionate and friendly goats you will ever meet! Enjoy the mindfulness and peace of just sitting and watching these sweet creatures graze, ruminate and snuggle. You can hike and have a picnic anywhere on our 41 acres of rock gardens and oaks in the hills of Fallbrook. Our resident pack goats Segovia and Lassen will bring your gear!!! There are caves in the rocks and when the spring is flowing there is an underground waterfall! In the evenings you'll be transported to what sounds like a rainforest as the peacocks and toucans of our neighbor Emerald Forest Bird Gardens start singing.Santa Margarita Preserve is just a few miles away. You can go for a hike and dip your feet in the water.Bring your bikes-Road or Gravel. There are greats roads in the area and miles of easements for gravel bikes. Check out @ohana_goat_ranch for more photos and updates to the space.
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$80
 / night
94%
(8)

PATTI OAKS

5 sites · RVs, Tents3 acres · Bonsall, CA
Located in Bonsall, Ca. This 3 1/2 acres is nestled in a little canyon surrounded by a little bit of everything. 100+ year old oaks, little pond , waterfall , flowers and peace. Established in 1985 , Patti oaks was built for retirement and you'll feel that way when you experience it. Located centrally , about 30 minutes from oceanside, temecula, Escondido, , Carlsbad , San Diego wild animal park, wine country, legoland, etc. With coastal weather year long. You've got to see to believe. Neighbors say it feels like they're not even in Bonsall.
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$70
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100%
(8)

Sunset Escape

6 sites · RVs, Tents5 acres · Julian, CA
Come enjoy 5 acres of beautiful trees and wildlife. Be one with nature in these peaceful and tranquil surroundings. You can walk, hike, bike, and admire everything Julian has to offer. The property is 10 minutes from Lake Cuymaca and 20 minutes from the quaint and historic town of Julian where you can enjoy shops, restaurants, and the famous Julian Apple Pie. There are some great nearby hiking trails and we are very close to Cleveland National forest. Plan a family stay, couples retreat, or solo camp out to relax and recharge your batteries.
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$60
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(2)

Manzanita Hill

3 sites · Lodging, Tents8 acres · Julian, CA
The perfect blend of a relaxing mountain getaway with access to nearby local attractions and restaurants! Manzanita Hill offers private camping with proximity to tourist and recreational opportunities. Located on over 8 acres of mountain woodlands, Manzanita Hill boasts of spectacular views of the Spencer Valley and the hills of nearby Santa Ysabel Preserve East. Manzanita Hill is just: - a five minute drive to antique shops, cideries, farm stand, bakeries and restaurants at Wynola Junction. - 10 minutes from historic Julian township, an old gold mining town. - A scenic 10 minute drive up Wynola Road to the Volcan Mountain Preserve trailhead, Menghini Winery, and apple orchards. - 15-20 minutes to Santa Ysabel for Julian Pie Company, Dudleya Bakery, Santa Ysabel art gallery, access to Sant Ysabel Preserve and Interpretive Center, and more! Manzanita Hill Homestead, an early 20th century structure is under going a revival to modern homestead and community space. The surrounding woodlands are receiving some TLC in the form of habitat restoration with an emphasis on forest health and wildfire prevention. There is one adventure trail onsite and a community fire pit (allowed during winter and spring, when high winds are not forecast).
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$60
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83%
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Far Side Wilderness Camp

2 sites · RVs, Tents10 acres · Fallbrook, CA
Take a step away from the modern world and immerse yourself in nature at our beautiful Farside Wilderness Camp. Located in the picturesque backcountry of Temecula, this 10-acre wilderness are is nestled in the midst of a lush native Californian riparian forest. Surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature, this secluded getaway is the perfect place to get away from it all and relax. Discover the joys of the simpler life at our Farside Wilderness Camp.
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$120
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100%
(125)

Glamping in San Diego’s Backcountry

6 sites · Lodging1 acre · Mount Laguna, CA
Alter Experiences LLC is a glamping & nature travel company based out of San Diego, CA. We're dedicated to creating meaningful experiences in nature & getting people outdoors. Our glamping sites are located in the Cleveland National Forest - Mount Laguna, CA. Our plush tents are nestled in the high mountain forests of San Diego's backcountry - sky islands where pristine nature & wild-life thrives. These are some of the most remote & biologically diverse habitats in all of Southern California. Our sites are handpicked to offer you a truly nature immersive experience. We strive to create the most comfortable outdoor experiences, even at our most remote locations. We take all that's fun about traditional camping & combine it with modern comfort & state of the art equipment. We offer various accommodation styles depending on location. Our Tentsile tree tents are definitely the most popular - a lightweight tree house that uses 3 anchor points to create a "living space" suspended between trees. Our elevated tree tents bring a whole new dimension to camping. Our plush & cozy bell tent was designed with the ultimate comfort in mind! It feature all the amenities you can expect at a hotel - therapeutic mattress, buddy heater, quality linens and more. The provided kitchen comes fully outfitted with everything you need including; hot chocolate, tea, spices and multiple cooking tops. All you need to bring is your cooler and food! Open fires are allowed (weather permitting) and bundles of wood are sold at $8. There are a network of trails to explore nearby, as well as Lake Cuyamaca and the historic town of Julian. You can choose from various restaurants, breweries wineries and we also have two hard cider locations, as well as various other attractions and activities. We also offer mountain bike rentals right from the campsite. Glamp with us and discover all the beautiful and natural wonders of our San Diego Backcountry.
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$150
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Forest camping near San Diego with campfires guide

Overview

It's easy to enjoy the best of the southern California lifestyle in sunny San Diego, just 30 minutes north of the California-Mexico border. A multicultural metropolis, it’s also blessed with a rich history, natural beauty, and more than 60 beaches and 70 miles of coastline. Mild temperatures and sunny weather makes it ideal for year-round camping and outdoor recreation. Numerous camping options within San Diego county and nearby make it easy for campers to spend the night under the stars, fall asleep to the soothing sound of the surf, or wake up under a canopy of trees.

Frequently asked questions about camping near San Diego

Can you camp overnight on the beach in San Diego?

Yes, you can go beach camping in San Diego in certain areas, but camping in the sand is pretty much forbidden on public land. Still, bluff-top beach campsites and RV spots can be booked at South Carlsbad State Beach and San Elijo State Beach, while Silver Strand State Beach offers only RV camping with water and electric hookups. It is illegal to sleep overnight at Mission Beach. Find more beach camping near San Diego.

Where can you camp for free in San Diego?

Most dispersed BLM camping near San Diego is free, but some campsites do require a fee, and Leave No Trace principles always apply. Cleveland National Forest allows permitted, dispersed camping, and within Anza-Borrego Desert State Park near Julian (a 2-hour drive from the city), Fish Creek and Blair Valley Campground are popular primitive camping spots.

Are San Diego County Parks open for camping?

San Diego County Parks are open for camping, as are California state parks near San Diego like Cuyamaca Canyon State Park and Palomar Mountain State Park. Within San Diego County, you can go camping at nearly a dozen regional parks, including William Heise County Park, Agua Caliente County Park, and Guajome Regional Park, all of which have either camping cabins or tent campsites.

Where can I buy camping gear in San Diego?

San Diego is home to a number of camping goods stores, where you can buy camping supplies, backpacking gear, and RV essentials. Big names include REI in Clairemont, Walmart, 5.11 Tactical off of I-8 in Mission Valley, and Big 5 Sporting Goods (near Old Town), all in addition to the locally owned Nomad Ventures in Escondido. TopoTerra is a downtown San Diego outpost for camping gear rentals.

Is car camping legal in San Diego?

Car camping is illegal on San Diego city streets. Different from temporary camping, the city has a "vehicle habitation ban," meaning it is illegal to sleep overnight or live in a car in San Diego. It’s also illegal to park an oversized vehicle or RV overnight (between 2 and 6am) on public San Diego streets without a permit. Your safest bet for car camping in San Diego is in designated camping areas, like a private Hipcamp campsite just outside of town.

Can you camp anywhere in San Diego?

No, you cannot camp anywhere in San Diego County (even if car camping or backpacking), but camping is allowed in San Diego in some state parks, on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land, and on some private lands where you can find professional campgrounds, RV parks, or Hipcamps.

Where to go

San Diego and Coronado

Stay close to downtown San Diego at a private camping, glamping, or RV park, like the family-friendly Campland at Mission Bay. Across San Diego Bay, Silver Strand State Beach offers RV sites near Coronado, and further inland, Sweetwater Summit Regional Park has campsites with hookups and an aquatic playground. Stay in a floating cabin, or lakeside tent or RV site at Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve, or head near the border, where the Tijuana River Valley Regional Park offers campground, yurts, and a diverse ecosystem. For a unique experience, camp overnight in the San Diego Zoo.

Encinitas, Carlsbad, Oceanside, and San Clemente

Head north along the coast for endless waves, sandy stretches, and the ultimate beach camping experience, with several public oceanfront camping options. Many beach campgrounds are situated on bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and offer great ocean views and water access, along with picnic tables, fire pits, restrooms, and camp stores. Options include the popular San Elijo State Beach near Cardiff, South Carlsbad State Beach, San Onofre State State Beach, and San Clemente State Beach. In Oceanside, camp with your RV at Harbor Beach.

Julian

For a camping trip getaway in the mountains, head inland to the gold rush town of Julian. Go hiking and biking along the extensive trail network at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, or play in Lake Cuyamaca, with spacious camping spots at Green Valley and Paso Picacho. William Heise County Park offers tent camping, RV camping, and cabins, while you can enjoy a high desert camping experience at Vallecito County Park. Nearby Anza-Borrego Desert State Park offers hundreds of miles of trails, great stargazing, and developed, primitive, and dispersed campsites. For forests and wilderness camping, head north into the Cleveland National Forest.

When to go

San Diego's mild weather and many sunny days make it a year-round destination. It's especially busy over the summer when everyone flocks to the ocean and beaches, and the city hosts numerous festivals. Visit in spring and fall to escape the crowds, but still enjoy nice weather. Spring is also a great time for wildflowers in nearby Coronado, Carlsbad, and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Expect some rain showers and cold ocean water in winter.

Know before you go

  • Although San Diego has a public bus and trolley system, you'll want a car to get around easily, especially to venture further up the coast or inland.
  • Beach campgrounds are very popular, especially in summer, so book campsites well in advance. 
  • Be aware of fire restrictions and bans. Some beaches do not allow campfires.
  • Bring or rent a wetsuit if you plan on being in the water in winter.
  • Pets are prohibited at many San Diego beaches and park trails.

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