The best camping near
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, CALIFORNIA

251 Reviews224 Campgrounds
Camping California Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
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Most Recent Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area Camping Reviews
Only Allows Major Brand Manufactured RVs

We didn’t end up actually staying here because this RV Park does not allow custom built rigs of any kind. This park only allows major brand manufactured RVs and this review is only here to make that known.

Uncrowded Gem with great Ojai views

All in all we like this campsite and will return. Our experience was fantastic mostly because the campground was empty (only campers Friday night, 2 other sites filled Saturday).  Views from upper campsites are beautiful (we stayed in site #14), and on a full moon the sound of coyotes cackling throughout the valley is a nice way to fall asleep.

For our purposes:

  • Dog Friendly: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • Toddler Friendly: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • Overall: ⭐️⭐️⭐️


  • Beautiful views
  • Not crowded 
  • Dog Friendly
  • Play area for kids
  • Clean bathrooms (portable bathrooms in some parts of campground)
  • Friendly rangers


  • Water spigots are available but inconvenient for most sites.
  • Terrain is uneven for tent pads in many sites
  • No good dog friendly hikes directly accessible from camp ground (lots within a short drive)
  • Our site was poorly maintained. Broken glass all over, broken fire pit, lots of scattered branches.
  • Little bit of road noise, not too bad though.
Nice and Solitary

Nice small campground with Rancho Nuevo creek flowing right next to it. We had to walk about a mile and a half to the campground as the seasonal gate was closed. Campground consist of three sites with fire rings with steel grated stoves. Campground gives you access to Rancho Nuevo Trail which has beautiful cliffs and great scenery all around. No cell service no toilets no water , so come prepared.

Rugged Camp ground!

Very Rugged Camp Ground presented with all that you need for comfortable tent camping. Plus fishing is good!

Best Sunrise and Sunsets right on the beach

Best Beach Campground! WiFi too!

The beach and the sound of waves crashing.Customer Service!Sea Lions, Birds

Beautiful Beach! Great place to go fishing, watch Sea Lions and Birds. Walking my dog on the beach. Watching the sun rise and beautiful sunsets. customer Service and knowledge at the MWR are extremely helpful. Lots of beach equipment; Tents, coolers, cook stoves…Surfing gear and bikes to rent. Indoor giant TV to watch and gather with other patrons inside the MWR. Pool tables, ping pong….lots to do here. Or just relax on the beach and breathe in the fresh air and beautiful scenery.

Beach Camping

A fun place to camp and surf! This campground is literally on the beach, along the PCH with picnic tables and fire rings it’s one of the few on the beach that actually allows fire. There’s not much to this campground, it’s simple and straight to the point… just surf and sand. If you’re looking for more you will be disappointed. Sites are fairly close together with limited options for RV’s but if you’re tent camping and don’t mind neighbors, it’s just enough. Sites run approximately $35 a night for a standard site, depending. There’s a camp host and ranger at the entrance but keep in mind they lock the gates for vehicles entering at night and if you leave you can not get back in until they re-open next day! Doesn’t matter if you have a pass or not you can not re-enter and there is no permitted parking on the highway as a backup option. This campground is vulnerable to flooding, due to location. Some photos have been included of the campground when it’s flooded as well, so that it may give travelers a better idea of what they may encounter if conditions aren’t exactly in their favor. But if you’re just looking for a simple night on the beach with friends like us, some surf and a beer… this will do the trick!

Golden Wonderland

We love this place in so many ways! If you love Fall and trees and the California golden sun… this place is the place to be! It has it all in one. We’ve stayed here so many times and still find something new to love about it the next time we stay. Absolutely beautiful place in Summer and in Fall/Winter months the trees and crisp air will not disappoint. Just cross the street and you can surf all day and be by the fire all night. Very well maintained campground, with a perfect little store on premises to aid your every need. Rangers and staff are friendly and very helpful. You’ll pay $10-$45 a night here, either as regular camping (tent/RV) or as a hike and bike. They do accept reservations but walk ins as well. We’ve never had any trouble finding a solid site with first come first serve for those that are last minute travelers. It quite literally has everything you’ll need here (including showers), so you can enjoy your trip without worry! Lots of fun trails for inexperienced hikers and experienced but overall, we just love this place!

Quiant Campground

This campground is tucked away just off the main road, you would never know it’s there unless you passed by it. It’s very quiet here, there’s options for tent/RV set ups and has a history to it with remnants of monuments/etc throughout the campground. Toward the entrance it is much more modern, primarily with RV rigs but as you go further toward the mountain there’s an extremely woodsy tent area with handmade picnic tables that must be ages old, all under the most beautiful trees. Certainly worth a read and exploring, if you’re ever in the area! With trails wildly running through this area, there’s endless amounts of adventures to be had. Rates vary depending on sites, fire pits with grills are available at every site, RV sites have electric hook ups, there’s water available throughout and proper restrooms. There are no showers, no dumping station, no cell service, no store/market and a welcoming of local Mountain Lions and Black Bears (with no bear storage lockers). For all essentials I would recommend packing prior to settling in here and be prepared for all that nature brings, as you will certainly experience it! A fantastic place to explore!