Places to Camp near Cleveland National Forest

Cleveland National Forest is an ideal place for camping adventures of all kinds. Cleveland National Forest is a great camping destination for everyone. There are tons of nearby hikes, adventurous activities, and sights to see. Find the best campgrounds near Cleveland National Forest, CA. Read helpful reviews and tips to find the perfect camping option for you and your crew.

Best Camping Sites Near Cleveland National Forest, CA (331)

    Camper-submitted photo from South Carlsbad State Beach Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from South Carlsbad State Beach Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from South Carlsbad State Beach Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from South Carlsbad State Beach Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from South Carlsbad State Beach Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from South Carlsbad State Beach Campground

    1.

    South Carlsbad State Beach Campground

    73 Reviews
    162 Photos
    961 Saves
    Carlsbad, California

    For many, once the sun comes out and summer rolls around, it can be hard to resist the urge to get outside and soak up some fun. If you relate, and you just need to unplug for a minute, Carlsbad camping offers some of the state’s best camping sites around. When your work has stacked up and you’re overloaded, it’s time to gather your camping gear, and head to Carlsbad State Beach camping for solitude and relaxation.

    This San Diego beach and campground feature camping, swimming, surfing, skin diving, fishing and picnicking. The campground is especially popular in the summer, thanks to its scenic location which overlooks the picturesque Carlsbad Beach below. Even better, the campground offers direct access to the beach via a set of well-kept stairs. As a result of the popularity, the campground is reservation only, so don’t show up without one or you’ll likely be unable to stay.

    When you’re done with the beach, check out the nearby California geography and some of the trails within the park. If the ocean isn’t your thing, a number of Campfire Programs, Junior Ranger Programs, and Nature Walks may be offered. That said, program availability changes with the season, so be sure to check signs posted on the restrooms and at the entrance station regarding park information during your visit.

    At night, campers are gently caressed to sleep by the nearby ocean tide, lapping upon its secluded shoreline. There is plenty of privacy throughout, thanks to the large selection of flora and fauna throughout the campground. The campsites themselves are also spacious, with roughly half of them featuring electric hookups. Additionally, All restrooms and shower buildings have accessible facilities. Prior to arrival, visitors with disabilities who need assistance should contact the unit Supervising Ranger.

    South Carlsbad State Beach Campground is perfect for campers and individuals who love the ocean and the outdoors. Whether you’re looking surf the rolling waves, or paddle board out and take part in all that the north county coastline has to offer, you’re sure to have fun here.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access

    $650 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Lake Skinner Recreation Area
    Camper-submitted photo from Lake Skinner Recreation Area
    Camper-submitted photo from Lake Skinner Recreation Area
    Camper-submitted photo from Lake Skinner Recreation Area
    Camper-submitted photo from Lake Skinner Recreation Area
    Camper-submitted photo from Lake Skinner Recreation Area

    2.

    Lake Skinner Recreation Area

    25 Reviews
    47 Photos
    344 Saves
    Temecula, California

    Lake Skinner Recreation Area, located near Temecula, CA, is a popular spot for family camping. This campground offers a variety of accommodations, including tent sites, RV spots, and even glamping options. It's open year-round, so you can enjoy the great outdoors whenever the mood strikes.

    One of the standout features here is the full hookups available for RVs, making it a convenient choice for those who prefer a bit more comfort. The campground is also pet-friendly, so feel free to bring your furry friends along for the adventure. For families, there's a splash pad and playground to keep the kids entertained, and plenty of open space for activities like kite flying and cornhole.

    Fishing enthusiasts will appreciate the lake, which is actually a reservoir. While swimming isn't allowed, you can fish for a $10 daily fee. The camp store is well-stocked, so if you forget any essentials, you won't have to go far to find what you need.

    The sites are a bit close together, so don't expect a lot of privacy. However, the friendly atmosphere and the range of amenities more than make up for it. The bathrooms and showers are generally clean, though it's always a good idea to bring your own toilet paper just in case.

    Overall, Lake Skinner Recreation Area is a great spot for a family getaway, offering plenty of activities and conveniences to make your stay enjoyable. Whether you're there for the fishing, the open spaces, or just a relaxing weekend away, you'll find something to love about this campground.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access

    $25 - $45 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Lake Hemet Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Lake Hemet Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Lake Hemet Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Lake Hemet Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Lake Hemet Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Lake Hemet Campground

    3.

    Lake Hemet Campground

    38 Reviews
    125 Photos
    299 Saves
    Mountain Center, California

    Lake Hemet is surrounded by the majestic beauty of the San Jacinto Mountains, in Mountain Center, near the charming town of Idyllwild. The scenery is splendid no matter which direction you look. Tall pines, manzanitas, sage, and giant oaks abound!

    Lake Hemet is one of the most popular spots in Southern California for camping and fishing. The recent additions of the Soaring Pines Cafe serving delicious food and Splashing Eagle Swim Zone have made Lake Hemet the vacation spot to be during the spring and summer months.

    Remember to pack a camera and binoculars, and keep a watchful eye as majestic eagles, hawks, and other wildlife are often seen soaring throughout the forest and campground. Come and enjoy camping, fishing, boating and the breathtaking scenery all year round.

    DAY USE: In addition to camping, Lake Hemet offers public access to the campground for day use guests daily (hours vary by season). Day use is $25 per vehicle and affords guests with the opportunity to picnic, shoreline fish, launch personal boats or kayaks (additional fees apply) and rent boats or kayaks from our marina. If you are visiting other guests who are overnight camping with us, the $25 fee still applies. NOTE: DAY USE WILL BE CLOSED FOR ALL SUMMER HOLIDAY WEEKENDS FROM FRIDAY TO SUNDAY for Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day weekends. Only guests with previously purchased annual day use or launch passes will be allowed as our campground will be fully booked and activities are planned for our guests.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access

    $45 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Temecula-Vail Lake KOA
    Camper-submitted photo from Temecula-Vail Lake KOA
    Camper-submitted photo from Temecula-Vail Lake KOA
    Camper-submitted photo from Temecula-Vail Lake KOA
    Camper-submitted photo from Temecula-Vail Lake KOA
    Camper-submitted photo from Temecula-Vail Lake KOA

    4.

    Temecula-Vail Lake KOA

    20 Reviews
    48 Photos
    195 Saves
    Cleveland National Forest, California

    Welcome to your ideal Vail Lake camping escape to nature with wide-open spaces to explore. Temecula/Vail Lake KOA sits on 385 acres of recreation space, featuring 467 campsites and more than 200 acres of world-class hiking and mountain bike trails. This KOA specializes in recreation from little ones up through the teenage and adult years with three sparkling swimming pools: a 25-meter lap pool, a kids' wading pool, and a full sized leisure swimming pool. We offer a variety of outdoor activity options on site including horseshoe pits, disc golf, pickleball courts, newly refinished basketball courts, and a very popular 18 hole mini golf course. Families love our summer staffed recreation and Halloween celebrations. Groups love our facilities for hosting small festivals, mountain bike races, and family reunions. Guests enjoy gathering in the campground's Vail Lake Village for meals and entertainment at the seasonal Cafe and Bar. Restock your supplies in the Village's newly remodeled store and gift shop. Relax in your campsite under our large, mature Oak trees that beautifully shade your campsites or try a new hotel-style Deluxe Cabin or Eco Tent accommodation coming late fall 2019. Just 15-minutes to Temecula Valley Wineries and local area Casinos.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access
    Camper-submitted photo from Oak Grove Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Oak Grove Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Oak Grove Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Oak Grove Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Oak Grove Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Oak Grove Campground

    5.

    Oak Grove Campground

    19 Reviews
    69 Photos
    190 Saves
    Aguanga, California

    Overview

    Located on the Cleveland National Forest, Oak Grove Campground is nestled in a valley of large oak groves and manzanita.

    Recreation

    Oak Grove Trail is a short walk of 1.5 miles and is located across Rt. 79, behind the Ranger Station. Oak Grove Trail is the oldest established trail on the Palomar Ranger District. Although a steep trail, it offers great views of the San Jacinto and San Gorgonio Mountains and the Oak Grove Valley as you gain elevation. The trail connects with the Oak Grove Truck Trail offering access to High Point Lookout (an additional 5 miles one way). Be prepared with plenty of drinking water. Hikers interested in exploring will find nearby Agua Tibia Wilderness worth the drive as well.

    Facilities

    Oak Grove Trail is a short walk of 1.5 miles and is located across Rt. 79, behind the Ranger Station. Oak Grove Trail is the oldest established trail on the Palomar Ranger District. Although a steep trail, it offers great views of the San Jacinto and San Gorgonio Mountains and the Oak Grove Valley as you gain elevation. The trail connects with the Oak Grove Truck Trail offering access to High Point Lookout (an additional 5 miles one way). Be prepared with plenty of drinking water. Hikers interested in exploring will find nearby Agua Tibia Wilderness worth the drive as well.

    Natural Features

    The attractive campground is comprised of chaparral vegetation such as canyon live oaks, ribbonwood and chamise and offers open, but secluded sites. The area offers stargazers an opportunity to view the clear night skies. Birders will be pleased with the variety of wildlife and opportunities for viewing. The Cleveland National Forest also boasts such species as mountain lion, bobcat, mule deer, coyote, gray fox, ringtail cat, long tail weasel, opossum, jackrabbits, desert cottontails, and California ground squirrel among many others.

    Nearby Attractions

    Palomar State Park and Palomar Observatory are located on county Rt. S6, where an active telescope is available for viewing by the public. Temecula Wine Country is also within driving distance. The closest town is Warner Springs

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Phone Service
    • RVs
    • Tents
    • Group

    $15 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Idyllwild Campground — Mount San Jacinto State Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Idyllwild Campground — Mount San Jacinto State Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Idyllwild Campground — Mount San Jacinto State Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Idyllwild Campground — Mount San Jacinto State Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Idyllwild Campground — Mount San Jacinto State Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Idyllwild Campground — Mount San Jacinto State Park

    6.

    Idyllwild Campground — Mount San Jacinto State Park

    29 Reviews
    129 Photos
    452 Saves
    Idyllwild, California

    Developed campsites are available in Mount San Jacinto State Park at Idyllwild and Stone Creek campgrounds. Reservations are recommended; visit www.parks.ca.gov or call (800) 444-7275 up to six months in advance. Summer weekends fill quickly. Sites accommodate motor homes or trailers up to 24 feet long. Winter camping demands preparation and good equipment. In the San Bernardino National Forest, developed campsites may be reserved by calling United States Forest Service (USFS) at (877) 444-6777.

    Hike-in Camping A Wilderness Camping Permit is required. California State Parks and the USFS manage the two wilderness areas in the San Jacinto Mountains. Camping permits must be obtained from the agency that administers the area where you plan to camp. This permit serves as a hike-through pass within all state park and US Forest Service boundaries. For weekend camping in one of the four state wilderness campgrounds, obtaining a camping permit in advance is highly recommended.

    Mount San Jacinto State Wilderness permit applications are available at www.parks.ca.gov/msjsp. Allow at least two weeks before your visit for valid permits to be issued and returned to you. For USFS camping info and permits, visit www.fs.usda.gov/sbnf. Within the state wilderness boundaries, camping is permitted only in designated campsites .

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access

    $45 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from La Jolla Indian Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from La Jolla Indian Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from La Jolla Indian Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from La Jolla Indian Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from La Jolla Indian Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from La Jolla Indian Campground

    7.

    La Jolla Indian Campground

    20 Reviews
    10 Photos
    199 Saves
    Palomar Mountain, California

    We are San Diego County's ONLY campsite with river and tubing access!

    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Reservable
    • RVs
    • Tents
    • Group

    $40 - $120 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Palomar Mountain State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Palomar Mountain State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Palomar Mountain State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Palomar Mountain State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Palomar Mountain State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Palomar Mountain State Park Campground

    8.

    Palomar Mountain State Park Campground

    15 Reviews
    51 Photos
    501 Saves
    Palomar Mountain, California

    There are 31 campsites in the Doane Valley Campground, three of which have accessible features. Each site has a table and fire ring, and most have a food locker. Piped drinking water is available. The campground also has restrooms with flush toilets and hot showers which are usable for campers, including those with disabilities.

    The beautiful forest and mountain meadows of Palomar Mountain State Park are in northern San Diego County, high atop the west side of Palomar Mountain. Large pine, fir and cedar trees make the park one of the few areas in southern California with a Sierra Nevada-like atmosphere. The park features camping, picnicking, hiking, and fishing (trout) in Doane Pond. Coniferous forests cover much of the 1,862 acres, in contrast to the dry lowlands surrounding the mountain.

    Elevation within the park averages 5,000 feet above sea level, making evenings cool even during the summer. A number of vista points offer spectacular panoramic views both westerly toward the ocean and inland toward the desert, particularly from Boucher Hill Summit, which has been listed in the Sierra Club's "Hundred Peaks Section" since first published in 1946. There, you'll also find the historic Boucher Hill Fire Lookout.

    The park is open from dawn 'til dusk daily. Reservations are highly recommended for camping during peak season. Day use fees are $10.00 per vehicle, cash or check only. Trails are open to foot traffic only, and dogs and mountain bikes are not allowed on trails. Please note that there are no gas stations on Palomar Mountain.

    • Reservable
    • ADA Access
    • RVs
    • Tents
    • Group
    • Cabins

    $130 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from San Mateo Campground — San Onofre State Beach
    Camper-submitted photo from San Mateo Campground — San Onofre State Beach
    Camper-submitted photo from San Mateo Campground — San Onofre State Beach
    Camper-submitted photo from San Mateo Campground — San Onofre State Beach
    Camper-submitted photo from San Mateo Campground — San Onofre State Beach
    Camper-submitted photo from San Mateo Campground — San Onofre State Beach

    9.

    San Mateo Campground — San Onofre State Beach

    49 Reviews
    92 Photos
    505 Saves
    San Clemente, California

    Details here: https://www.parks.ca.gov/pages/647/files/SanMateo082609.pdf

    San Mateo Campground lies a short distance inland from the 3.5-miles of sandy beaches within San Onofre State Beach A 1.5-mile Nature Trail connects the campground to Trestles Beach, a world class surfing site. San Mateo Creek flows just east of the campground outward towards the ocean creating key riparian and wetland habitats which host some rare and even endangered species. All campsites include a fire pit and picnic table. Hookup sites are available with electricity and water. Other amenities include an RV sanitation station, hot, coin-operated indoor showers, and flush toilets. Below are listed a few park rules that will assist you in having a fun and save visit.

    San Onofre - San Mateo Campground is at 830 Cristianitos, San Clemente, CA, 92672 a short distance inland from the 3.5-miles of sandy beaches within San Onofre State Beach. A 1.5-mile Nature Trail connects the San Mateo camping site to “Trestles Beach,” the world class surfing site. Surfers using redwood boards have visited San Onofre since at least the 1940s; San Mateo Creek flows just east of the campground outward towards the ocean creating key riparian and wetland habitats which host some rare and even endangered species. All campsites include a fire pit and picnic table. RV Hookup sites are available with electricity and water. Other amenities includes a dump-station, hot indoor showers, and flush toilets. Camping is available year-round.

    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access
    • RVs
    • Tents
    • Group

    $250 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Observatory Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Observatory Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Observatory Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Observatory Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Observatory Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Observatory Campground

    10.

    Observatory Campground

    16 Reviews
    60 Photos
    219 Saves
    Palomar Mountain, California

    Overview

    Science buffs and families are drawn to Observatory Campground for its proximity to the Palomar Observatory, a world-class center of astronomy research operated by the California Institute of Technology. Just two miles from the observatory, the campground provides visitors with a unique learning experience in the great outdoors. The facility offers a variety of amenities for both tent and RV camping. Hiking, biking and picnicking can be found nearby.

    Recreation

    An exciting amateur astronomy project, Explore the Stars, occurs at the campground on several weekends each summer. A group of amateur astronomers from all across Southern California shares the beauty and awe of the night sky to more than a hundred non-astronomers at the campground. Visitors can also walk a 2.25-mile trail to the observatory itself. Day hiking, biking, picnicking and scenic driving are available in the area. The campground makes a good base camp for visiting Palomar Mountain State Park and exploring the surrounding forest.

    Facilities

    An exciting amateur astronomy project, Explore the Stars, occurs at the campground on several weekends each summer. A group of amateur astronomers from all across Southern California shares the beauty and awe of the night sky to more than a hundred non-astronomers at the campground. Visitors can also walk a 2.25-mile trail to the observatory itself. Day hiking, biking, picnicking and scenic driving are available in the area. The campground makes a good base camp for visiting Palomar Mountain State Park and exploring the surrounding forest.

    Natural Features

    The campground sits at an elevation of 4,800 feet in the Palomar Mountains of Southern California. The site is forested with pine and oak trees, though several sites have been cleared to allow campers a wide view of the night sky.

    Nearby Attractions

    The campground is adjacent to Palomar Mountain State Park and under a two-hour drive from San Diego, California. A general store with basic necessities is down the road.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Phone Service
    • RVs
    • Tents
    • Group

    $15 / night

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Frequently Asked Questions

What camping is available near Cleveland National Forest?

According to TheDyrt.com, Cleveland National Forest offers a wide range of camping options, with 331 campgrounds and RV parks near Cleveland National Forest and 17 free dispersed camping spots.

Which is the most popular campground near Cleveland National Forest?

According to TheDyrt.com, the most popular campground near Cleveland National Forest is South Carlsbad State Beach Campground with a 4.4-star rating from 73 reviews.

Where can I find free dispersed camping near Cleveland National Forest?

According to TheDyrt.com, there are 17 free dispersed camping spots near Cleveland National Forest.

What parks are near Cleveland National Forest?

According to TheDyrt.com, there are 8 parks near Cleveland National Forest that allow camping, notably San Bernardino National Forest and Arkabutla Lake.