Desert camping near San Diego

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

93% (1118 reviews)
93% (1118 reviews)

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12 top desert campgrounds near San Diego

100%
(19)

Dutchman Canyon

7 sites · Lodging, Tents150 acres · Dulzura, CA
This 150 acre slice of heaven contains an isolated private ephemeral stream that has run the last two years from January to July. Located down a narrow bumpy dirt road off of Highway 94 Dutchman Canyon is at 1300 feet above sea level, The temperature in Dulzura remains nice year round. There are many Oaks, Sycamores, Eucylptus, Pepper and Pine Trees on the property. The fire road has been cleared to the top of the grade and a slight ocean view is available down the Otay Valley Road view line for hikers or mountain bike enthusiasts. A hiking trail has also been cleared to a stand of Eucylptus trees on the hillside with a pond area at their base on the west facing slope. The Dulzura winery is located across the valley and we are only 1/8 mile from the General Store of Dulzura. The Tecate Border crossing to Mexico is 10 miles south of the property. Located a few miles west of Deer Valley we have deer in the canyon year round looking for fresh water from the ephemeral stream. A 19th century concrete cistern holds water year round at one location in the stream bed.
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$35
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95%
(56)

Mystic Canyon Inn

4 sites · Lodging1 acre · El Cajon, CA
Our home is eclectic, country, relaxed and homey. We are conveniently located just 30 minutes from downtown San Diego and popular tourist attractions like Comic-Con, Balboa Park, the beautiful beaches and the world famous San Diego Zoo. 35 minutes east you will find beautiful Mount Laguna, Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, Pacific Crest Trail access and the town of Julian. About an hour east brings you to the desert, where natural beauty and recreation abound. 13 miles away, Viejas Casino boasts a beautiful outlet center. 4 miles away, Sycuan has a casino with entertainment and the golf resort of Singing Hills. Come enjoy the slower pace of the San Diego backcountry. If you are in the mood for a massage, Barbara is a therapist with amazing healing hands. (Please arrange in advance of your visit to ensure availability.) If you are a hiker and need a guide, Randy is an experienced Pacific Crest Trail hiker, who will be happy to assist with drop-off and pick-up in the local mountains, or whatever your hiking/backpacking needs are. Bikers of all kinds, frequently go by on Harbison Canyon Road, which is part of a larger biking loop. So, hike, bike or drive yourself to our little haven and say goodbye to the hustle and bustle! We enjoy talking to our guests, finding out about where they live and providing information on the local area. We do work during the week, but are usually around on the weekends.
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$74
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97%
(136)

Pool Ranch

5 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents30 acres · Borrego Springs, CA
Pool Ranch is for everyone. It's a place for life. A place where humans and nature are supposed to remember they are interconnected. It's a place for creativity and adventure. Friends, it's also a place to play pool in the desert. Welcome to our 30-acre off-grid homestead, within an international dark sky community and hub for nature-based activities. Step directly from our backyard into Anza Borrego, the largest state park in California. The goal of our ranch is to function as an evolving testing ground for living. Building Pool Ranch prioritizes materials and collaborations that celebrate the abundance of Ranchita, and neighboring rural San Diego communities. We want to actualize the true benefits of community. Our vision is to be an example and invitation for rural communities to create income through environmentally passive, and community centric eco-tourism. Take a peek, and share with us what you discover: https://instagram.com/poolranch
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$45
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(360)

Whiteside Mountain

1 site · Tent160 acres · Jamul, CA
160 acres of wild and private land at the top of a mountain. Bouldering, exploring, outdoor cold water shower, well drinking water, and pergola! 45 minutes from downtown San Diego and beaches but a whole different world!A single camp spot on the top of a mountain surrounded by 160 acres of no one else! Requires 4WD/high clearance AWD road to camp spot. Plenty of shade at spot with picnic area that is covered. Drinking water, sink and outdoor cold water shower. Bouldering (climbing), fire pit (seasonal), covered deck, hiking and VIEWS! Plenty of room and separate camp spots- lock the gate and you will have no visitors or onlookers. Single outdoor flush toilet with sink.  We provide a Propane stove - 2 burner, propane, toilet paper, dish soap and hand soap.  No COTS.Guests love it here "This was finally checked off of my saved list—my partner and I rented a 4x4 to get up there since our 2WD car wouldn't have made it in one piece. It was only a short drive from downtown San Diego and was super easy to navigate. Once we arrived the experience was TRULY MAGICAL. We had such an awesome experience exploring the property, birdwatching, hiking and some light climbing. Don't forget to check out the cave! The facilities were beyond expectations and we had a seamless experience. Steve was super accommodating and was great at communicating—he even gave us a small tour of the property! The sunsets and sunrises here were something out of a dream, we wish we could wake up every morning here. We will definitely be coming back soon!"
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$115
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95%
(259)

Saddle Up Camp

20 sites · RVs, Tents6 acres · Aguanga, CA
Saddle Up Ranch is a horse rescue that is ever growing. We have over 180 trees on the property (mostly beautiful flowing California Pepper Trees) and have gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains and horse pastures.We offer horseback riding, goat yoga, and goat milking. You can also volunteer and help care for the animals while you are here by feeding, grooming or simply petting them. TJ, our owner, is working her way through the race track. Our campsites are managed by Tony. He works closely with guests to expand our campsites. TJ and many of the guides volunteer hard hours to rehabilitate the horse and give them a good home. You should see how the animals flock to TJ. The ranch also has goats, pigs, chickens, dogs and cats. You can support our mission of rescuing horses by booking one of our horseback riding or other services! Thank you for your support! Guests love staying here: "Second stay and looking forward to returning again! <3 We were the only campers during the weekend, it was so serene. It gets very cold at night but the star filled skies are breathtaking. This time during our stay we had 3 kitty visitors and 3 dogs that rolled up to our camp multiple times, it felt like they were checking up on us. It was so cute. The sweet Aussie poked his head in our tent to say "you good?" haha It was so cute and they were extremely friendly and social! The black kitten stayed at our camp all night and cuddled on our laps by the fire. It was such a lovely experience. TJ and her crew have done an amazing job with this place, I don't have enough words to explain. Just see for yourself! You'll love it!! Can't wait to visit again!"
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$30
 / night
100%
(34)

Earthbag Tiny House

1 site · Lodging5 acres · Ranchita, CA
Learn more about this land:The Earthbag Tiny House is situated on 5 acres of undeveloped land and includes an earthbag/stone outhouse, earthbag hot tub for two and an earthbag pool. The property has a large shaded area for folks to be together and gather during the heat of the day. We also have a large charcoal BBQ grill and gas grill available for guests to use. This property is off-grid, but fully equipped with solar power, running water, and wifi. You will be walking distance to an expansive area of BLM land, multiple hiking trails, horseback riding, and jeep/ATV trails. We are just 1 mile from the famous Pacific Crest Trail and a 10-minute drive to access Borrego Desert hiking. The owner/host will be staying on the south-western most part of the property.We can't wait for you to come stay with us!
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$95
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100%
(213)

Birdsong Backcountry Retreat

8 sites · Lodging85 acres · Warner Springs, CA
Come experience the best that the San Diego backcountry has to offer on our 85 acre private nature retreat with it's miles of trails which take you thru groves of ancient Oaks, a monumental boulders maze, intoxicating sage, the most incredible sunset vistas and located just a couple miles from the North Mountain Wine Trail. the Pacific Crest Trail and the California Hiking and Riding Trail. The BLUEBIRD TINY HOUSE is one of 4 very private unique artisanal accommodations on the property. This vintage horse trailer was reimagined into a Tiny house by Lane and Laurie as a couples project in 2018 which they completely gutted and remodeled using beautiful natural materials , old fashioned wood cabinetry, handmade ceramic tiles and woven bamboo with fully equipped kitchen, quality linens, fireplace, AC, WIFI, smart TV. Bluebird Tiny House is tucked into a secluded forest meadow, named for the bluebirds that spend part of the year there and is a spacious feeling 320 sq ft. The spa-inspired bathroom features a hand-carved, wood vessel sink, eco-dual flush toilet,rain shower, and free-standing soaking tub with oak canopy view. The 40’ long deck spans the length of the secluded tiny house overlooking the forest to distant mountains and has alfresco dining area and plenty of furniture for cozying as well as hot tub sited for star gazing and firepit seating all within a large fenced yard to keep your fur babies close by. In addition, we have developed 2 forest therapy trails that will bring your ability to slow down and connect to nature to a whole new level and encourage you to try it using our MP3 forest therapy audio guide.. If you need to accommodate a larger group, check out Pinky's Nature Hideout which has a full kitchen, spacious living room, fenced yard for pets, corn hole, large deck and hot tub sited for star gazing, and firepit seating which overlooks the forest to distant mountains. It sleeps 4 people but the "Lounge" vintage Spartan trailer which is located behind the bunkhouse can be rented to sleep an additional 2 people and is only available to Pinky's guests. We provide guests the opportunity to really get away from it all in a untouched forest and chaparral setting with all the amenities one needs for a comfortable stay. In addition, we have developed 2 forest therapy trails that will bring your ability to slow down and connect to nature to a whole new level and encourage you to try it using our MP3 audio guide. Come getaway alone, with friends or family to our sweet little petfriendly glampsite CAMP CHESTER hidden under the oaks which features a vintage 1949 Canned Ham Tiny Trailer (sleeps 2 in a double and one on couch) , a 10 x 12 safari tent on deck w/queen bed, an outdoor kitchen with dining area and barista bar, bath house with hot water, rain-shower, claw-foot tub , compost toilet looking out to acres of sage and distant mountains and firepit. The owners are artisan builders and seasoned hosts who promise guests privacy and quiet. The camp is totally fenced for the safety of your pets and suitable for up to 6 people but sleeps up to 5 additional person(s) can bring tent. . It offers guests the opportunity to really get away from it all in a untouched forest and chaparral setting but offers all the amenities one needs for a comfortable stay. In addition, we have developed 2 forest therapy trails that will bring your ability to slow down and connect to nature to a whole new level and encourage you to try it using our MP3 audio guide. Camp Chester is a seasonal site and closed January thru March.
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$150
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94%
(27)

The Green Ravine & Trails in SoCal

1 site · RV, Tent20 acres · Fallbrook, CA
Learn more about this land: A relaxing 20 acres nestled within breathtaking mountain views, overlooking a lush ravine, rolling hills, and ocean breezes this Temecula community is a nature lovers dream. Endless natural terrain, pleasantly quiet for connecting with nature and rejuvenating your spirit. Santa Rosa Plateau trails for hiking, walking, and biking literally 7 minutes away! Only 20-25 minutes from the Temecula valley Famous Old Town, Shopping, Temecula Wineries, and California's largest Natural Lake, Lake Elsinore. Quiet, Secluded and Relaxing!! Thank you and enjoy our Lovely Southern California campsite! Cheers.
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$115
 / night
99%
(84)

Manzanita Village Retreat

1 site · Lodging20 acres · Warner Springs, CA
We are co-founders of Ordinary Dharma and Five Changes, and stewards of this land at Manzanita Village Retreat. Thirty years ago we were searching for a place where the land itself would be an active support in our of work facilitating workshops and retreats. We were looking for land that was within easy reach of San Diego and Los Angeles, while still being remote and far from the noise of highways. The land is infused with the presence of the thousands of people who have come here for transformation and renewal. We are now open to visitors from HipCamp -- we look forward to your visit Caitriona Reed and Michele Benzamin-Miki
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$80
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(39)

Montezuma Valley Campground

8 sites · RVs, Tents40 acres · Borrego Springs, CA
Learn more about this land: Welcome to Montezuma Valley Campground! We are excited to welcome you to our special corner of the world. About the property Our property is in the high desert above Borrego Springs at 4,300'. We border Anza Borrego State property which means you’ll be adjacent to plenty of beautiful open spaces. There are many trails in the park which lead to the desert floor from our fence line. On a clear day you can see the Salton Sea from the bottom of the property.  We have great access to nearby points of interest including Borrego Springs which is 20 miles away, Anza Borrego State Park which is adjacent to Julian at 40 miles away, Palomar observatory which is 40 miles away and Cuyamaca Lake which is fantastic for fishing only 45 miles away. If you need to pop into town for any supplies or services you can access Borrego Springs (20 miles away), Julian (40 miles away), Ramona (45 miles away), and Temecula (50 miles away). We have 3 horseshoe pits and 9 frisbee golf baskets for recreation onsite and we have incredible dark skies for excellent stargazing. You may see many different forms of wildlife including mountain lions, coyotes, foxes, bob cats, racoons, badgers, and rattle snakes. You will see many rabbits, squirrels and tons of birds of all kinds! We are really the perfect location for those who love the outdoors! Owners live on site but we like to greet, meet, and then leave you to your stay! Please reach out if you have questions or concerns though. About the listing Our listing is for tents, vans and truck campers, trailers, or RV’s and we can accommodate rigs up to 25ft in length. A few of our 5 sites are pull through sites on dirt and may require some leveling. All sites are dry camping only as we do not have any hookups, though there are two bathrooms and water available in a centralized area on the property.  You can expect High desert and scrub brush environments. Any vehicle should be able to access our property but 4-wheel drive vehicle might make it a little easier to access areas on the outside perimeter of the property. While staying with us you can expect some noise from coyotes, raven….wind and a little highway traffic on s22. Each site will accommodate up to 6 people. Amenities listed below: -Picnic table provided -Two bathrooms available -Pets allowed -Potable water available via spigot -Trash bins available -Limited cell service, no wifi Additional details to note Fires are illegal in our area so please no campfires at anytime. Dogs must be leashed and please no barking + clean up after them. Quiet hours by 10pm please + low light since we are a stargazing area. We do not have a kitchen or cooking area so please BYO supplies. Check in is after 1pm and check out is by 11am.
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$30
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(2)

Sage Haven Ranch

4 sites · Lodging, Tents48 acres · Valley Center, CA
Nestled withing the picturesque landscapes of San Diego County, the Sage Haven Ranch offers a unique retreat for nature enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers. The expansive grounds are bordered by a pristine nature preserve, creating a serene haven for those seeking a harmonious blend of tranquility and adventure. As you enter the campground, you are greeted by the warm embrace of the oak trees and the gentle rustle of leaves in the breeze. The ranch, with it's rustic charm, provides a genuine escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The accommodation options range from traditional campsites to furnished tents, allowing guests to tailor their experience to their level of comfort. The highlight of this campground is its adjacency to a nature preserve, presenting a haven for local flora and fauna. Hiking trails accessible from the campground wind their way through the preserve, inviting guests to explore the ecosystems that call this area home. The trails vary in difficulty, accommodating both a casual stroll or an avid hike, with each path revealing breathtaking views.
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$50
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(51)

Clara Vista High Desert Retreat

1 site · Lodging30 acres · Ranchita, CA
This beautiful high desert retreat is a working artist's property with several stone and steel sculptures of the late artist,  Norm Hines,  available for viewing on the property. The guest cabin sits secluded on the southern ridge of Montezuma Valley, with spectacular views of Earthquake Valley and the distant mountains of Baja California and a short hike to Anza Borrego State Park. A gas fireplace in the cabin will keep you warm on those chilly winter evenings. Ideal for 1-2 people looking for solitude, stargazing and high-desert nature.  Cozy guest cabin with propane fireplace on 30 acre artist's retreat at 4000 feet elevation.  One mi. hike to NW boundary of Anza Borrego SP. Four mi. to PCT. Hiking trails to large plutonic rocks, breathtaking view south into Mexico. Private portable toilet, outdoor cold water sink, outdoor grill, small camping stove, teapot, full size bed,  Norm Hines sculptures on property for guest viewing. Great for bird watching, stargazing, desert solitude. 13 miles to Borrego Springs. 28 miles to Julian. Guests love staying here: "Tom’s cabin was the perfect weekend getaway to decompress and detach. The site offers all the amenities you need. There are multiple trails located around the property if you’re looking to get a little activity in. Otherwise just sitting and hanging out is about as peaceful as it gets. A great place to go if you don’t want to venture out too far. This place just might be my monthly weekend hideout. Thanks Tom for sharing such a beautiful place."
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$100
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Desert camping near San Diego guide

Overview

Welcome to Hipcamp, your go-to website for camping adventures! With over 1,100 options near San Diego, California that cater to desert terrain enthusiasts like yourself, you're sure to find the perfect spot. Looking for something budget-friendly? We've got you covered with options as low as $5 per night. For top-rated campsites, check out Down-to-Earth Ecoshire (552 reviews), The Lovelight Ranch (532 reviews), and The Desert Rose Collective (378 reviews). And don't worry about basic amenities, as our popular campsites offer potable water, trash services, and showers. Whether you're into climbing, wind sports, or paddling, you're sure to find the perfect outdoor adventure here. So grab your gear and get ready to explore the desert!

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