This article about Los Padres National Forest camping is brought to you by Tru Flask. Look out for their new cooler design coming soon!


Are you looking for the best Los Padres National Forest camping spots? With so much variety, the Los Padres National Forest is the perfect place to enjoy the outdoors. From sandy beaches to lush forests, the Los Padres National Forest has something for everyone. These are the best Los Padres National Forest camping spots for surfers, hikers, and every other kind of adventurer.

The Best Los Padres National Forest Camping


1. Mt. Figueroa Campground

Image from The Dyrt camper Amanda M.

The Mt. Figueroa Campground sits atop Figueroa Mountain, 50 miles north of Santa Barbara. The campground has reservable sites for tents and RVs up to 25 feet. They come with fire rings, picnic tables, and vault toilets. The campground is located near several hiking trails, including the Fir Canyon and Ballard trails. Watch the sun go down over the mountain ridge, take a drive up the scenic Figueroa Lookout Road, or check out the Pino Alto Nature Trail. Mt. Figueroa is a popular basecamp for hunting, with an abundant deer population.

“Awesome campground. The host was very knowledgeable about the area and extremely friendly. Tons of room at each campsite! Great local hiking! Tons of flies from dawn until about 6pm. No water at all so make sure you pack it in! Great experience!!! Will definitely be going here again!”Christopher B.





Campground Details:

  • Price: $20
  • Number of sites: 35
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

2. Paradise Campground

Image from The Dyrt camper Austin C.

The Paradise Campground is 30 minutes outside of Santa Barbara in the Santa Ynez Mountains. This unassuming campground has spacious sites for tents and RVs, with picnic tables and flush toilets. The Paradise Campground is the perfect place for water sports. Just a quarter-mile from the Santa Ynez River, you can dip your toes in, kayak down the river, or go fishing for trout. If you need a quiet weekend away on a sparkling river, Paradise is the place for you.

“Each campsite is very nice with shade under large oak trees, fire pits, bbq, and nearby trash and water. Bathrooms were clean. Camp host very nice. Short walk to the Santa Ynez river which was beautiful. A few mile drive to the day use area that had lots of picnic tables and access to hikes. We did the Aliso loop trail which was fairly steep and ~4 miles but had great views of the river valley.”Austin C.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $30-60
  • Number of sites: 15
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: No
  • Pets allowed: Yes

3. Kirk Creek Campground

Image from The Dyrt camper Megan C.

The Kirk Creek Campground sits on an open bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. There are oceanview sites for tents and RVs up to 30 feet. Amenities include fire rings, vault toilets, and spectacular ocean views. Your campsite sits 100 feet above the Big Sur coastline, giving you close access to surf and sand. Keep an eye out for surfers, whale sightings, and visits from local wildlife. Kirk Creek is where you want to be for a weekend getaway for some fun in the sun.

“No cell service, beautiful views. Personally I think it the best spot in Big Sur, overlooking the ocean on one side and the Forest on the other. Lots of hiking around the area, or just driving down PCH time feels like it’s stops! Definitely one of my top camping spots highly recommended!”Brianne S.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $35
  • Number of sites: 40
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

4. Plaskett Creek Campground

Image from The Dyrt camper Mauriel O.

The Plaskett Creek Campground is within walking distance of Sand Dollar Beach, the largest sandy beach on the Big Sur coast. The campground has shaded sites for tents and RVs. They come with picnic tables, fire rings, and flush toilets. Take advantage of the wild surf, excellent sea fishing, and sandy beaches. The beach features several trails along the coast, leading to bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. You’re also a few minutes from hikes leading to waterfalls, meadow streams, and Redwood groves. Plaskett Creek is a cornucopia of outdoor beauty.

“It’s one of our favorite campgrounds. And is a well kept secret. So don’t tell anyone! What other California campground has green grass between sites? Campground is a little south of Big Sur, so dinner & sunset at Nepenthe is a must. Make sure you go to the Henry Miller Library and buy a book or two, or stay for a concert.”Linda A.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $35
  • Number of sites: 44
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

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5. McGill Campground

Image from The Dyrt camper Kim

The McGill Campground is deep in the forest, surrounded by ponderosa pines. This remote campground has spacious sites for tents and RVs, with fire rings, picnic tables, and vault toilets. You’re perfectly perched to enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding Pinos Mountains. Several hiking trails are accessible from the campground, including the Exploration, Mount Pinos, and McGill Campground trails. You can also drive the Jacinto Reyes National Scenic Byway, which features rugged cliffs and rock formations. McGill is known for its peaceful atmosphere and outdoor adventures.

“Our moto-escape from L.A. to McGill Campground in Frazier Park/ Pine Mountain was absolutely perfect. The fresh air and cooler temps were a welcome exchange to our music as service was spotty gliding through the twisties leading to the site. We were in Loop 3, and objectively think our spot #56 was out of this world: FANTASTIC view, shaded, flat ground for the tent, plenty of space by the table and fire, close to the bathrooms but not too close to our neighbors and in perfect alignment of gorgeous sunrises and sunsets. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!!”Kim

Campground Details:

  • Price: $20
  • Number of sites: 73
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

6. Reyes Creek Campground

Image from The Dyrt camper Antonio C.

The Reyes Creek Campground is nestled among oak and cottonwood trees along Reyes Creek. The campground has shaded creekside sites for tents and RVs up to 22 feet. Amenities include fire rings, picnic tables, and vault toilets, but you’ll have to bring your own water. Many campers spot red-tailed hawks and the occasional California condor. You’re also within walking distance to the Reyes Creek Trail, where you can hike or bike to the neighboring Sespe Wilderness. Reyes Creek is equal parts relaxing and thrilling.

“Reyes creek is beautiful! Great camping spots, beautiful creeks & hikes, cute abandoned town for a photo opp and awesome camp host. There are 3 neighborhood dogs that come and go through your campsite but they are sweet pups and don’t cause any trouble. The abandoned town is a 3 minute walk from camp and really interesting. Some camp spots are right on the creek and the running water is a peaceful background noise for your trip. Highly recommend!”Chelsea B.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $20-40
  • Number of sites: 26
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

7. Los Prietos Campground

The Los Prietos Campground is a half-hour drive from Santa Barbara, on the edge of the Santa Ynez Mountains. This lush campground has shaded sites for tents and RVs. Amenities include picnic tables, fire rings, and vault toilets. You’re a quarter-mile from the White Rock day-use area, where you can enjoy fishing and boating on the Santa Ynez River. The Aliso National Recreation Trail begins at the campground, and the Santa Cruz Trail is nearby. Hike or bike your way to other destinations, or take advantage of the river’s water activities. Los Prietos is a relaxing spot for nature lovers.

“Very nice campground and very clean bathrooms. Some sites were a little noisy past quiet time and it would be a non issue if the sites were spread out better. But it happens and they usually calm down after awhile. My kids loved the wild turkeys and there are alot of them! We drove down to state street and the beach which is only about 25 minutes. Overall we had a fantastic time and will be back!”Aaron M.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $30
  • Number of sites: 38
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

8. Wheeler Gorge Campground

Image from The Dyrt camper Frankie L.

The Wheeler Gorge Campground is one of the most sought after camping destinations in the Los Padres National Forest. The campground has shaded sites for tents and RVs up to 35 feet. Amenities include picnic tables, fire rings, and vault toilets. Make sure to bring your own water. You’re surrounded by incredible creekside views, mountain vistas, and curious wildlife. Enjoy the beautiful Matilija Creek, which runs through the campground. Be sure to take advantage of the ranger-led hikes through the Wheeler Gorge Nature Trail. Wheeler Gorge has all the relaxation you could ever want and more.

“This place is a slice of heaven right here in SoCal! It was easy to get to in our RV. Great shady spots, no hookups for Rv but that wasn’t a problem for us. We were in a beautiful spot right by a creek. There is a Vons 8 miles away if you need to stock up on supplies. I would highly recommend this campsite. The host was also amazing and friendly.”Shannon S.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $25
  • Number of sites: 69
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

Los Padres National Forest camping is your ticket to outdoor fun and memories to last a lifetime. Check out these destinations for your best trip to the Los Padres National Forest.

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