THE BEST CAMPING NEAR
Cleveland National Forest, CALIFORNIA
548 Reviews 316 Campgrounds
Camping California Cleveland National Forest
Retrieving Results
EXPLORE
Most Recent Cleveland National Forest Camping Reviews
Nice Place

Didn’t know that this type of camping (actual woods) existed this close to San Diego. Located under stonewall peak south of Julian; this campground is close to Lake Cuyamaca, hiking and plenty of mountain biking. Flushable toilets and showers were clean. Our site had a running water spigot. There are reservations on recreation.gov but we just showed up and paid via the iron ranger (envelope drop box). Any site on on the board at the entrance station was fair game when we arrived. The rangers update the board daily depending on the online reservations. Will definitely stay again in the future! Our site was #41.

Home away from home

This is such a great location for folks in orange county who want to get out of town but don't want to be stuck in the car for ages. It feels remote, has beautiful scenery, great trails, a nature center, and comforts such as running water and bathrooms. The park rangers are friendly and helpful. Love it!

Great place to tent camp

Great view of the lake from most of the tent sections. Access to showers and restrooms. There is a pool in the summer and enough shade to stay as cool as the desert allows without A/C. There is a bike trail around the lake and fishing. Playgrounds and other child friendly activities available upon request. Especially great in the off season as it can be a bit noisy when it is crowded.

Was well kept and friendly did need some upgrades

The campsites need some upgrades as well as the facilities but overall the area was clean and the staff friendly. It was a very good experience for myself and my family

Bring Comet for ANTS!!!

We made the mistake of not being prepared for the ANTS!!! Campground looked pretty cool, so close to the beach, some trails nearby. Room for kids to ride bikes… but we picked up about a gazillion ants. It was pretty much a sheet of them. After trying to get rid of them we came in to find ants on top of ants having a party. We had camped all over the west and this was the fort tome we picked up an ant in our trailer. It was unbearable and we had to leave, ended up giving the trailer away in LA because it was going to cost more to tow it home and bomb it than it was worth (it was a pretty cheap trailer). We learns that comet around all points of contact with the ground keeps them down. I don’t know how tent campers deal with it, I sure hope they have a trick, too.

A great campground in the mountains!

I love this campground because it is so close to San G mountain trail!  We stayed here before and after hiking that enormous mountain and love the area.  There is a great trail off the backside of the campground as well.  It can be a bit loud and the trees are tall and skinny so there's not a ton of privacy, but it's woodsy and beautiful.  Site 14 has a HUGE Christmas tree and I think it's a group site.

BLM land, variety of spots, dessert terrain

Coachwhip Canyon is accessible from the Berrago Salton Freeway, it’s right on the Ella Wash. You can drive back through the canyon through a variety of areas people pull over and camp. Park rangers do survey the area and check in on people. No camp fires, and animals must be leashed. Crazy weird dessert spiders. Canyon is really pretty however.

Gorgeous views, active wildlife, super bloom!

We drove to this site at 11:00pm and even in the dark it was easy to navigate. We drove right to our spot and set up. The campgrounds are pretty close to one another so not much privacy. Coyotes were howling all night and very active around camp. Super bloom was amazing here! The restrooms were spotless!! Also a neat counter sink area provided. Most sites have a shaded structure and picnic bench with grill.

Loved it. Large spots.

We stayed there this last weekend. The camp host was very accommodating when we wanted to stay another night and all that was left were walk up sites already taken. She looked around for an hour to find out if anyone was leaving unexpectedly. We were there in August and the weather was perfect. Warm during the day and just chilly at night.

Crowded small to group sites

There are a lot of sites available here, all close together with little privacy unless you drive pretty far down the dirt road. Flies and mosquitoes are crazy during the summer. These campsites are all closed during the winter due to snow and early into spring. No view and hiking is decent, probably won’t go back, cooler places yet to explore. Picture attached is of a trail behind our camp spot.

Shaded beneath the pines with a gorgeous view

Recommend four wheel drive to get to Tool Box Springs, the fire road is long but once you’re there it’s worth it. There is a restroom with trash cans outside, you can use these trash bins for carrying out trash if camping further down the road. Spring time and fall are the best here, less flies and insects. In the summer flies swarm, tons of beetles at night, think our dog brought home fleas from our site. Fire rings at some sites, as well as benches. This is a prescribed burn area, in early spring into summer months you will see a lot of charred areas and fallen trees.

Clean, simple campground.

The campground is definitely clean and well maintained, but honestly there s not much to do. There s a few hiking trails, but the markings could be better. We went with a group. Some of the campsites that are supposedly for up to 2 tents are a bit tight, such was ours, but luckily our site mates canceled so we had just the one tent, which pretty much took up all the space. It is dog friendly, which is great. Cell service is decent, but if you are counting on use of the supposed WiFi, you’ll be out of luck;). The rangers do regular rounds to remind you of curfew and make sure the fire is completely out by 11. All in all it was a nice site, but probably won’t be visiting it again.

Cool Spot!

Came here for a weekend, good spot for tent camping, I went on an off trail hike, cool, fun area. Some views. Drove over to the lake but couldn’t find parking. Very quiet and clean as well.

Awesome and Friendly Environment !

Been going here all my life, most recently for my sisters 36th birthday. Would recommend it to anyone. Went canoeing for the first time will definitely go again next trip. The staff is all very friendly!

San Mateo

This is one of my favorite campgrounds. We have been coming here most every year as a family for probably 10 years. We made our reservations online about five months ago. Full hookups was about 65 a night but this also includes free parking on any of the state beaches.

We were on site 63 and were close to the showers, bathrooms, and trash. Between each camp it is trees which offers plenty of privacy.

Each campsite has a large wooden table with benches and a fire pit with a grill. Firewood is available for purchase for $7 a bundle. It’s lightweight pine that burns quick. We knew this and brought our own wood.

The campground is only a 5 minute drive from the beach. There are lots of families in the campground and it is a great environment.

San Clemente state park

This is a great campground located less than one minute from the beach. This is the obvious plus to the campground. As it is a State park, parking on all the other state beaches is included at the price.

My biggest complaint is that the sites are so close to each other. There is essentially no privacy between your neighbors. Full hookups are available and are pull through sites. Restrooms and showers are also available. Firewood is available for $7 a bundle at the entrance but it’s just lightweight pine that burns quick. We brought our own wood.

The beach is about a minute away driving and is a great family beach. The sand is soft and there is lots of room, especially not on a holiday weekend. We have been coming to this beach for years as a family and it is one of my favorites.

Good for surfing, not a lot else

Small sites, some are better than others. I took pictures of each type. Beach is very rocky, not much of a family beach but good for surfing. No hookups, there is a septic dump. Fire pits and tables at each site. Very close to the highway but there is a hill in between some of the camp. Also close to the nuclear plant, I don’t know much about that.

Great Family Camp

Expensive, but I don’t think you’ll have a campground around here with this much space and camping feel. If you want multiple nights you’ll need to reserve up to 3-6 months in advance. Fire pit and table at every site, trees between sites. In the heart of Camp Pendleton so you’ll hear distant range sounds, never anything that woke us up. Definitely a lot of families here. Your reservation will also get you free parking on any beach. Water and power hook up spots were 65 a night.

Would stay here again

I read the reviews before coming, so I knew what to expect. I was aware of the showers with the bees, the freeway, the train and that it is a glorified parking lot. We brought ear plugs and slept like babies. During the day, we were down at the beach so it didnt bother us. The trains do run passenger and freight trains, the passenger trains are quieter and shorter, but we did get to see a long freight train carry lots and lots of tanks which was interesting.

The RV sites are close together, but our neighbors were, friendly and nice. We had plenty of room for our popup camper with awning out and our car in the space.

We woke up to a view of the ocean past the bluff (not all sites have a view so we felt lucky for that). There is a hike down to the beach (we went down trail 5) that does have a lot of river rock, but low tide gets you our past the rocks into the sand, there were surfers out but we had the shore to ourselves to play in the surf. When it's high tide and the wave retreats it makes a really cool sound with the rocks tumbling in the surf. We went down to watch the sunset and only had a couple other people on the whole beach, so we felt like we had the whole place to ourselves.

The showers provided to rinse off did have bees during the day (at least 2 of the showers that were near us) so we had to forego rinsing off then. The toilets are rv foot flush toilets, at least it wasnt a stinky pit. The hosts did hose them out daily and kept them well stocked.

There are sinks there to rinse your dishes, drinking fountains provided but no potable water available on site to fill any tanks, plan on filling up before you come or bring enough water with you to last. There are dump stations on your way put to empty your tanks.

We packed up before check out time of noon and went to pay for a day pass to enjoy the beach awhile longer before we left, we were told our camp fee went all day so that saved us the daily rate, we went down to trail 1 and that beach was completely different, soft sandy beach, no rocks and still not a lot of people.

All in all it was not the nicest campground we've stayed at, but it was convenient to the beaches and they were nice enough that we would stay here again.

Quiet park, not for “camping”

This is an ideal park for seniors to live, or others passing through. Nothing to do in the area. Park is clean and quite. Had laundry but nothing to do.

Grassy clean camp sites

Excellent campground. Well maintained. Large concrete pads that can handle any rig. So much to do all around a park. Does get very cold, was in the teens overnight when I was there in Feb. Fires allowed which is nice.

Not so great

Shade is sparse, fellow campers aren’t the most considerate. I have been here 3 times and it always ends up being loud. Fellow campers play music loud and it’s more of a low class party area then camping. I won’t be back.

Large clean sites with grass

Great park. It may not seem nice when you are passing through town to get in, but once you enter the gates it’s beautiful. Large concrete pads, easy backing in and hooking up. Lots of grass, great place to camp in groups.

Scenic

Quiet and secluded area. Lots of room to camp. Bring bug spray for flys but other than that I’ll camp here anytime.

Amazing Place for Military Families

This is such an awesome set up for military families. We stayed here in March, and there was almost nobody else there. We had one beach house and you are allowed one tent per house. We were in the tent. Technically I think the rule is a 9x9 tent max. I would check. The beach house has a back porch and then the sand starts. There is probably about 200 yards of sand until the water at least. Right outside our tent was a playground for the kids. There is a fire pit at every house. About 100 yards out there are wooden beach chairs and umbrellas. The sand is kept very clean. The beach at he water is a very gentle slope down, waves are small and good for kids playing and wading.

1st Timer

My very first time camping we came here and I really enjoyed it. We had a lot of space for three families and even though there wasn’t a lot of bushes or plants to cover us, we still weren’t bothered by our neighbors. We would go again😉

Mountain family camp

I’ve been going to this campground since I was a kid and now take my kids as well. It’s got great hikes, biking trails (one of the best in San Diego county), and views nearby. The group site books up early but off season this is a good place for quiet among the pines.

Good find

Overall our experience was good. We did our homework on the different sites and were able to get one fairly private. In general the sites do not have much privacy. Some are pretty open with little shade as well. We didn’t have a big problem with noise like some reviews we read complained about. There were some families with kids that were having fun, but that’s to be expected. The camp host/ranger was very friendly and helpful. We will definitely keep this as an option for future local camping trips.

Chambers Park Campground

Used this as our base camp to explore the local trails. It was amazing. Space #6 had the best view of the lake and plenty of shade.