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The best camping near Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

Discover the most magical spots to pitch your tent or park your rig on your next Santa Monica Mountains adventure.

100% (11 reviews)
100% (11 reviews)

Discover the wild side of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains.

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Community favorites near Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

Top-rated campgrounds reviewed by the Hipcamp community.

Top-rated campgrounds near Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

93%
(58)

Malibu Beach RV Park

298 sites 路 RVs, Tents20 acres 路 Malibu, CA
Malibu RV is set on a coastal bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Malibu, California. Founded in the 1970s, Malibu RV offers RV Sites, Van Sites and Tent Camping, a communal ambiance, and a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of your travels along the California Coast. Whether you are a digital nomad, a surfer looking to shack up for the night, or an adventurer looking for an extended stay, we would love to have you.
from
$45
/ night
100%
(13)

Malibu Mountain

2 sites 路 RVs, Tents13 acres 路 Malibu, CA
Welcome to Malibu Mountain, 13 acres of natural land at the crest of the Santa Monica Mountains. Bordered on two sides by national parkland, you will find peace and nature in abundance, along with incredible views across the Conejo Valley to the Topa Topa mountains. The Backbone Trail is at the end of the driveway, with the trailheads to Echo Cliffs (rock climbing) and Sandstone Peak just a few minutes drive up the road. PCH is 12 minutes down the mountain for quick access to Malibu beaches and surf spots. The campsite is extremely private and well-insulated from other humans. There is a small community of homes nearby, the closest being about 1/8 mile away. The neighbors are all up on the mountain for the same reasons- peace, serenity, nature, open space, fresh air, and starry skies. Wake up to watch the sun rise over the hills and the mist burn off in the valley below! We purchased the property for our family as an escape from the noise and hustle of modern life. The property is fully off-grid, and someday we'd love to build a cabin and small farm. It's truly an oasis tucked up in the hills.
from
$75
/ night
94%
(347)

Arber-Moore's Ranch

6 sites 路 RVs, Tents22 acres 路 Oak View, CA
Beautiful natural campsites in the Valley of the Moon (Ojai Valley). Our sites are within an eighth of a mile of walking, running, biking, and riding trails from Ojai to the beaches of Ventura. On many days you can experience Ojai鈥檚 famous pink moments. You can hike the trails above Ojai, boat, eat, or picnic at Lake Casitas. Travel to nearby Ventura to shop, fish the pier, or take a deep sea fishing charter or Island charter to Whale watch or fish around the Channel Islands. Please note the aerial view of the camping area recently placed by Hipcamp is NOT AT ALL REPRESENTATIVE of the current camping sites and shows a photo that is many years old when the site was merely land. That photo is without any of the existing amenities or improvements. The actual sites are all Larger than Federal Park and Statepark guidelines, with averages of 20'x30' for campsites and 20'x40' for a long RVCampsite. We have planted many young trees and continue to plant trees and native shrubs around and near the sites. We have picnic tables, table coverings, fire pits, and camping rugs/footprints. There is also an outdoor shower, a shower tent with hot water, and an upgraded porta-potty with a sink. Note: During times when high heat is predicted, we strongly recommend that our Hipcampers bring pop-up shade tents or canopies for their sites. The Hipcamp is adjacent to our working ranch, and any photos of old sheds, trucks, a wood lot, or other equipment are NOT on the Hipcamp, but you will drive past that property to get to the separate Hipcamp area. Wineries, Farmer's Markets, Craft Breweries, dispensaries, and more are within 10 to 15 minutes of our site. Our location allows moments when you may see Hawks, Owls, Geese, Swallows, Robins, Bluebirds, and more. We offer both tent and RV camping. The Majority of our Guests love it here: "Vivian and Dave were exceptional hosts! Easy to contact and find our way to their property. Also gave us a plethora of places to go and things to do in the Ojai area. The area was open and spacious, and many trees and upgrades were in the works to make future stays more user-friendly. Big pluses were the shower and toilet facilities鈥攎uch appreciated !!"
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$69
/ night
100%
(13)

Camp RainDale

3 sites 路 Tents30 acres 路 Santa Paula, CA
There is a road that leads to the site when you enter the gate the road runs between the stream and the mountain there is 1 Camp site to choose from so far. Many more on the way and you can ask if you would like to camp somewhere else on the property and we can work it out. The site runs along a flowing stream consisting of paths from camp to stream. There are many trees enclosing the entire camping area and, activities to do like playing horseshoes in the horseshoe pit.
from
$30
/ night
Booked 1 time

WIldflower Ridge

2 sites 路 RVs, Tents11 acres 路 Topanga, CA
Pitch your tent in the shade of a sprawling Sumac tree, enjoying views of the mountain side. Be intoxicated by the scent of vibrant purple sage surrounding you on all sides. Be enchanted by the abundance of wildflowers in every direction. Catch views of Black Walnut and California live oak trees.聽Relax in our hammock and take in the beauty of the mountain. Eat by camp at our picnic table with chairs to lounge in. Take a nap in the tree on our treehouse platform.聽Access a private hike with a 360 degree view featuring Topanga Canyon, Pacific Ocean, Catalina Island, and San Fernando Valley.聽Dog friendly :)
from
$55
/ night
79%
(26)

Firefly Ridge on Sky High Drive

1 site 路 RV, Tent1 acre 路 Ventura, CA
Enjoy your own private, wild mountain top covered in protected California Oaks with 360掳 unobstructed views of nature. 10 minutes inland from the Beach in Ventura. 20 minutes from the center of Ojai. Quiet, dark skies! Off grid. Raw land. Rugged environment. There are multiple flat areas on which to pitch a tent - one grassy area right above where you park that can fit two small 2-person size tents or a few different spots on top of the hill (although the top is a bit rocky, so you鈥檒l be more comfortable with a sleeping pad). The trail up to the top of the mountain from the parking spot is a bit STEEP and takes about 2-3 minutes to walk up to the top (where the best views are). The parking spot can fit a van but no larger vehicles. Pay very close attention to not block the neighbors鈥 driveways at any time. Our land comes as-is, it is a not a formal 鈥榗ampground鈥, so *WILD CAMPING* rules apply - respect the land, pack in-pack out, no trash left behind. No toilet, so come prepared! (Critical - you leave with *everything* you鈥檝e come with. No digging holes to potty.) The road up to the top of the mountain is essentially a one lane paved road, with some hairpin turns. Google Maps tells you 鈥測ou have arrived鈥 slightly before you reach the parking space that you can see in the pictures. Please also note in the pics that the parking space is flat once you鈥檙e fully in it, but there is a slight angle where you pull in, so longer vehicles may not park perfectly flat. Try to arrive *before sunset* - a few campers have had trouble finding their way in the dark as there are no street lights up there. No open fires or BBQs!! Full fire ban in effect! Be ***extremely*** careful, this region is a High Fire Risk and needs to be protected. Protect these ancient oaks! (Enclosed gas portable stoves / pits ok when used with caution.) Dogs ok on leash but can never be left alone or allowed to bark in excess. No parties or loud music 鈥 we have neighbors surrounding us around the mountain top, please *be respectful* and quiet by 10pm. They keep an eye on the place for us and we will hear from them if they are upset about noise, fires or dogs and they will call 911 if there is an immediate hazard or disturbance. Please text us with any questions or issues. Thanks! *Alas, refunds will not be given if the issue is that you didn鈥檛 read the description fully - some not-so-kind folks seem to be trying to game the system by complaining about things that are clearly stated and/or pictured - eg, that it is a mountain top / ridge, that there are neighbors at the bottom of the hill, that there is no toilet, etc.
from
$30
/ night
100%
(4)

Beach Cottage A

2 sites 路 Lodging1 acre 路 El Segundo, CA
This is a sweet beach cottage with one or two bedrooms that is close to town and super close to the beach. I offer bikes, Jaccuzzi and parking for a small car. This is the place to rest after camping and waiting to take a flight from LAX or just relax at the beach. This is not a camp spot but a lush garden area with trees, vines and flowers. Also, this is a non smoking property for all types of smoke and no vaping.
from
$138
/ night
Booked 2 times

Green Oak Retreat

2 sites 路 Lodging23 acres 路 Topanga, CA
Indulge in the luxury of glamping with our exquisite tent that offers a captivating ocean view. Thoughtfully furnished with a king-sized bed, a cozy table for two, and convenient amenities like a coffee maker and filtered water. Accessible via a scenic 15-minute hike, the well-maintained trail features steps where needed. Immerse yourself in the outdoor experience with a hot water outdoor shower equipped with soap, shampoo, and conditioner. For added convenience, a VIP porta-potty awaits with running water, lighting, and a fan. The Setton, nestled in an enchanting oak grove, promises an unforgettable stay with a breathtaking ocean vista at the top! 馃彆锔忦煂
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$175
/ night
92%
(77)

Nomad-NeXus @ArtFarm Nature Space

35 sites 路 Lodging, RVs, Tents12 acres 路 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
from
$48
/ night
98%
(64)

AntFarm LA

6 sites 路 TentsLos Angeles, CA
NOTE: THIS IS A PARK AND HIKE-IN TENT-ONLY STAY. You must park by street and hike-up. You will not sleep in vehicle/RV.My wife and I聽built this place with the help of our 2 toddlers, our friends, and our team of shovels.聽
from
$40
/ night
96%
(83)

Camping @ Quail Run Ostrich Ranch

8 sites 路 RVs, Tents62 acres 路 Lake Hughes, CA
Run by three generations, our ranch has been in our family for more than 70 years. We opened our doors to the public in 2014 to help support feeding our animals, bred and rescued, after the Powerhouse Fire almost burned us out. We鈥檝e survived a county quarantine(2018-2019), the COVID Lockdowns (2021-2022), the Lake Fire (2020), and the Hurricane Kay burn scar debris flow and flood (9/11/22), depending on hard work and strong family and community bonds. In addition to camping and educational tours, we host private and community events, grow & sell produce and eggs, hatch and sell chicks, rescue ratites, and support the local bee population (which gives us RAW honey to sell), and are working to open a private U-pick-by-appointment orchard. We are all animal lovers, and conservationists, and try to do our part to ensure our children inherit a healthy and viable world. This is our home where we live, work, love, and play. We enjoy sharing our space with visitors who we hope learn about ostrich and make some great memories.
from
$20
/ night
90%
(34)

The Lodge at Deer Creek

2 sites 路 RVs, Tents25 acres 路 Malibu, CA
At The Lodge at Deer Creek you'll be nestled between mountains and the pacific ocean. Surround yourself with nature and its music on this 25 acre ocean view property. Grab a surf or paddle board and head to the beach or zen out amongst the greenery. Grocery, restaurants, and retail are a beautiful drive along the coast.
from
$75
/ night

The best camping near Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area guide

Overview

About

The Santa Monica Mountains take up a huge chunk of the coastline east of Los Angeles, preserving the beauty of the wilderness located only a few miles from the urban sprawl of the big city. If you鈥檙e in Southern California, you have every reason to come to this National Recreation Area, get away from the light pollution and the congested highways and drink in the mountain coastline.

When to go

The best time to visit the Santa Monica Mountains is during the spring and fall when temperatures are mild and the natural beauty is at its peak. Summer offers longer days for exploration, though it can be quite warm. Winters are cooler and may present the perfect opportunity for serene hikes, albeit with shorter days.

Know before you go

  • Check for alerts on current conditions before your visit to stay informed about any closures or safety information.
  • Accessibility varies across the park, so plan ahead to ensure the areas you wish to explore meet your needs.
  • Remember to pack out all trash and respect wildlife by observing from a distance.
  • Cell service can be spotty, so download maps and information ahead of time.
  • For any inquiries, the park's contact number is 805 370-2301, available during standard office hours.

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