Potrero is a good little campground in a big park. There a play park for the kids and an exercise path for the adults. The bathrooms are clean and there is electrical and water hookups. It makes for a quick getaway from the city.
Limited cell service. There's a market 2 miles away.
Vallecito is a great secluded campground. It doesn't get a lot of visitors like Agua Caliente 4 miles down the road. As a result the wildlife is everywhere; bees, coyotes, hawks, rabbits…. This is an old stagecoach stop in the 1800s with lots of history. Around the Stagecoach building there is poster telling you of the history of the area. There's also a small cemetery.
There's water but no power hookups. The bathrooms are clean.
The park volunteer was super friendly and made my stay.
Have good cell service
Agua I was told by a park ranger is the jewel of the San Diego park system. The park is nesseled between two hills which act as a funnel for natural spring water. That spring water is used to feed three pools with one sulfur indoor which is around 106 degrees. It's the perfect place to relax. This is a perfect weekend escape from the city. There is no cell service. To get service you have to go to the cell phone lot 4 miles west at Vallecito campground.
William Heise is one of the hidden camping Gems in San Diego. It's located about 5 miles from the rustic town of Julian. There's over 100 camping spots ranging from RV to tent. There are a number of trails that leave from the campground. Try the Desert View trail that gives you a great view of the surrounding area; its only 2.25miles. There's also a Wolf Sanctuary outside of Julian that's worth a visit. Enjoy!
Cell Service: Roaming
The campground at Lake Morena has around 80+ spots that range from hookups for RV to basic tent camping. There's a indoor entertainment room and multiple bathrooms. The campground is not located right on the lake but a 15min walk away. The cell service is roaming but was decent; around 500kb download. The PCT goes thru the campground and there's an area designated for thru hikers camping. The campground can get crowded during the weekend. The adjacent town has a small store.
Fly Creek is a great campground that's not far from the city. It's about two miles from the Palomar Observatory. There's a nice trail that goes there form the campground and has good views of the little valley. There are plenty of spots and all of them are shaded. There are a few spots in the back that are even more secluded. There's not a lot of parking for extra vehicles though. The restrooms were clean. The only cell service is about two miles away at the local store. This is where you can buy firewood and supplies.
Chino Hills State Park has a campground with a small number of spots. These hills are amazing after a good rain. This year it was a good place to see the wildflowers. Unfortunately the campground has been closed for awhile due to water line construction but should open in Mar 2020. There's plenty of restrooms and parking. There's also a number of hiking trails that leave from the campground. The only cell service is on top of the closest hill. Its a good spot for a quick getaway from the city.
Alabama Hills is a popular area to see the beauty of natural rock formations. This is BLM land so there's no campground amenities. However you can camp here for free in many dispersed locations. Just look around and look for spots that you can park and camp at. There are plenty of sites back into the rocks. There's cell service where the main road starts but not much after that. This is a great place to view the Milky Way and watch the sunrise. This is a great place to go rock climbing.
Portagee Joe is a small campground with round 20 camping spots. It's located 1 mile from Lone Pine on Mt Wilson Portal Rd. It's a good little campground if you are traveling thru or need a easy place to stay while exploring Mt. Whitney or the Alabama Hills. It cost $14 per night + $5 extra vehicle. There's a pretty little stream that splits the campground that gives off soothing sounds. There's two restrooms and water.
Since it's only 1 mile from lone pine there are plenty of restaurant to choose from for lunch and dinner. Lone Pine Pizza is really good.
San Clemente State Park is a great place to go camping and enjoy the beach. The campground is located on a bluff that offers great views up and down the coast. It's also a great place to catch the sunset.
The facilities are very clean but bring quarters for the showers. It's close to the freeway but I didn't hear anything. There were a few helicopters and Ospreys that flew over from Camp Pendleton Marine Base that made for a good airshow.
Casper is a great park located 15min from the city. It has three main camping areas that cater to campers, RVs and horses. There are a number of hiking trails around that range from a 1 to 12 miles. On Saturdays there’s a nature walk.
ONeil is a great little park that’s tucked away among the urban sprawl of Orange County. Once in the park you feel like you’re far out in the wilderness. It makes for a great weekend great away. The park is well maintained and has 78 sites to choose from. There’s a general store nearby but its stock is limited. There’s also Trabuco Oaks Steakhouse across the street if you get tired of cooking. There are a number of trails in the park for hiking and mountain biking. Overall it’s a great park.