Best Campsites Near OC – CBS Los Angeles


(credit: Thinkstock)

With all the condos in Orange County, camping might not be the first thing you think of when you think of this part of the state. However, you don’t even have to leave the county to find great campgrounds. Whether you want to hike, bike, or just relax away from the hustle and bustle of Orange County, these are great places to visit on your next camping trip.

Photo credit: ocparks.com

Photo credit: ocparks.com

O’Neill Regional Park

30892 Trabuco Canyon Road
Trabuco Canyon, California 92678
(949) 923-2260
www.ocparks.com/parks/oneill

O’Neill Park is an interesting place to say the least because it hardly feels like you are in Orange County. If you head east on the S18 you will pass a biker bar which is not far from the park. O’Neill has excellent hiking trails, children’s playgrounds, and plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors without crossing the county border. Camping is also allowed all year round, which is a major advantage. Check the website for registration and registration details.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Doheny State Beach

25300 Doheny Park Drive
Dana Point, California 92629
(949) 496-6172
www.parcs.ca.gov

If you are going to be camping, you might as well camp as close to the beach as possible. You can’t get closer to the beach than some of the camping areas in the southern half of the park. While you are at it you can enjoy surfing or fishing in the waves. Of course, taking a walk on the beach is always a fun activity. This park is especially popular for the Doheny Blues Festival and July 4th.

(credit: Mastercamper S./Yelp)

(credit: Mastercamper S./Yelp)

Blue Jay Campground

Main Divide Road and Ortega Highway (74)
Elsinore Lake, CA 92530
(858) 673-6180
www.fs.usda.gov/generalinfo/cleveland

Lake Elsinore is not far from Orange County, but it certainly is. That being said, Lake Elsinore is good for several things. Namely, it’s good for skydiving and camping without having to stray far from Orange County. In addition, this campsite is ideal for observing nature during beautiful hikes. While enjoying the great outdoors, be sure to protect your pets as coyotes are prevalent in these areas.

Related: The best campgrounds around Orange County

(credit: irvinelake.net)

(credit: irvinelake.net)

Irvine Lake

4621 Santiago Canyon Trail
Silverado, CA 92676
(714) 649-9111
www.irvinelake.net

Known as the home of the annual Hootenanny Music Festival, Irvine Park is in Orange County, but it seems quite removed from the regular OC activities. As such, it’s a great place to go camping with the family, especially if you want to fish. Fishing is open until 4 p.m. on weekdays and later on weekends. Camping costs $ 25 a night for up to four people, and boats are available for hire. This campground is located in a very dry and open area, so the rules for campfires are quite strict. See the site for more details.

(credit: parks.ca.gov)

(credit: parks.ca.gov)

San Onofre State Beach

Old Highway 101
San Clemente, California 92672
(949) 492-4872
www.parcs.ca.gov

San Onofre has long been a popular beach – so popular in fact that it was mentioned by the Beach Boys in “Surfin ‘USA”. It is a popular spot for surfers, kayaking enthusiasts, and bird watching enthusiasts. Beyond that, you can also see whales at the right time of year in this park. As the perfect place to get away from it all without having to go very far, the cycle paths and hiking trails are a major attraction here.

Related: Best Outdoor Gear Stores in OC

Gary Schwind is a freelance writer covering all things Orange County. His work can be found on Examiner.com.


Sally J. Minick