This is one of our favorite campgrounds. There's lots of trails and quite a bit wildlife: squirrels, deer, turkey, and even some mountain lions and bears. The lake is wonderful and usually very mellow. Kayaking and fishing are both nice at Lopez as well. No cell reception, not for us on Verizon anyways, but you can drive about 1/2 mile down the road for it.
I grew up going to Lopez since we lived in Santa Maria so maybe I’m biased. Unlike many other campgrounds on the central coast which are a little pricy and have you feeling a little packed like sardines- not so here. There are many types of sites to pick from; tent, rv, group, cabin. Of course we have our favorite “loops” and site within those. The full hookup sites are priced reasonably and you have a good amount of space between you and your neighbor (some are better than others). You are about 15 mins from the beach or 20-30 mins from SLO. The lake has good fishing. The marina store is well stocked with food and tackle. If you go during the summer there are water slides available for an extra charge. There is also an obstacle course and zip line- also an extra charge. I would recommend checking this place out.
Lopez lake campground is a pretty area surrounding a nice lake. There is an abundance of wildlife. I came here back in May and the bountiful rain this year led to an abundance of green vegetation. It’s a really nice, clean , and large campground. It wasn’t too crowded but with a water park, bar, and restaurant all on site, I am sure that it must be very crowded during busy season. It’s a great place fishing and for families but I personally prefer a little more solitude in my camping experiences. Staff was very friendly as well.
Campsites are close to each other but was a great place to take the boat and fish all day. Weather stays relatively warm out by Lopez so it’s nice all year round. If we get more rain lake would be really nice
Lopez Lake Recreation Area is 15 minutes behind the “Village” of Arroyo Grande, CA.
Lopez is a frequently visited spot for us - We generally camp in a primitive site the back of the Squirrel Loop of the park. The Squirrel Loop is not a lakeside loop (you cannot see the lake at all from here), but we have found it to be one of the quieter, less trafficked campground in the park. The Squirrel Loop is nestled inside a canyon, surrounded by big, beautiful live oak trees.
Lopez Lake is a very large campground with many different loops, so many of which are nearby the lake. If you haven’t been to the campground before and are not worried about reserving a site ahead of time, take some time to drive around the park when you arrive to see what area you would most like to camp in - there are a lot of great spots here there and everywhere!
Each site has a picnic table and a fire ring. There are clean plumbed bathrooms, and coin-operated showers. Lopez has full hook-ups for RVs, and a marina to launch boats. There is a small but well-stocked convenience store in the marina with food, ice, firewood, beer, fishing gear, etc. There is also a small cafe located in the marina store, with limited hours.
Lopez Lake is the home of the Mustang Waterpark, a small, but super fun water park. I believe the park is closed during the fall and winter months, but is open during the spring and summer. Swimming is allowed in the lake, and there are some “beach” areas that have been cleared of lake plants and rocks for safe swimming.
Hiking to Big Falls is a fun adventure if you want to leave the campground. There are certain times when the falls are not accessible without 4WD, however, we have been in severe drought conditions in Central California for the last few years, so you don’t have to worry about crossing any deep creeks, if any. A super low clearance vehicle may have a challenging time crossing the creek beds, even when dry. The drive to Big Falls trailhead from Lopez is short, but probably takes 15-20 minutes as you are driving through a curvy, narrow canyon road. The hike is through live oak trees most of the way, so most of the hike is nice and shaded. Keep and eye out for salamanders when crossing the creek beds! While it is unlikely, black bears mountain lions have been spotted on the Big Falls trail, so be aware of your surroundings. Here are directions to the Big Falls trailhead: http://www.hikeslo.com/big-falls/
WARNING : While the possibility of a black bear sighting is fairly uncommon, black bears are seen every year at Lopez Lake. You are in black bear county, and there are no bear boxes/ food lockers at Lopez Lake. I would suggest locking your food and coolers up in the car at night to avoid attracting wild animals to your campsite.
Fees: $35/night (primitive site)
Plumbed Toilets: Yes
Drinking Water: Yes
Showers: Yes (coin-operated)
Picnic Table: Yes
Cooking Grate: Yes
Cell Service: No
Animal Bins/Food lockers: No
I camped in Mustang during the last weekend of September. It was located right next to the water park but they had already closed for the season. The campsites were pretty close to each other and unfortunately we were stuck between two different groups that did not obey the quiet hours. Not a huge deal at night since they were quiet by midnight or so but one of the groups was also loud with kids early in the morning as well. This didn't make the best camping experience but we tried to make the best of it.
The lake was within walking distance but since the water level is so low, you had to walk quite a way out. There are some decent hiking trails you can go on right from the campground. We took the Escondido trail from camp that took us to the top of a ridge and had numerous switchbacks. Great views from the top.
Campsites are fairly segregated from each other, at least where I was at. Nice and shady especially compared to socal campsites. There is a lot of wildlife in the area, and apparently very used to people. The deer came right into camp and ate food from our hands.
The campsite is obviously right there for the lake, whether you go on the lake or not, the campground has its own merits.
Lopez lake is a great lake, larger and fairly calm, and surrounded by trees. Great for waterskiing and wakeboarding.
Not too spectacular except for its access to a lake. And there is plenty to lake to enjoy if you are into water sports. Minor water park also nearby.
so many campsites tucked in small corners. Lots of trees, a ropes course and great water activities.
Lopez is my family’s favorite local campground. It’s close enough for an overnight or weekend trip, but rural enough to feel the “getting away” affect that comes with camping. Campground itself is beautifully maintained and offers plenty of wildlife sightings (bears, deer, turkey, and many different birds.) Tons of hiking trails and the mustang water slides are a plus!