Camping as a kid was always an amazing experience. Even as adults, we can still find a special kind of magic in a camping trip. We are so fortunate here in San Diego to have almost year-round picture-perfect weather. That alone makes adventure and outdoor adventures that much more enjoyable. Not only that, but with San Diego Campground and RV park locations ranging from lofty mountains to picturesque bays and oceans, we have so many varied opportunities to connect with the great outdoors.
“If you have never spent a night under the stars, then you have never truly lived.”Joey Holmes
So, whether you’re pitching a tent or hooking up an RV, here are some of the best campgrounds in San Diego you may want to consider throughout San Diego County.
CAMPLAND ON THE BAY
Address: 2211 Pacific Beach Drive, San Diego, CA 92129
Phone: (858) 581-4260
Located on the shores of Mission Bay, award-winning, pet-friendly Campland on the Bay has been providing outdoor lovers RV and tent camping for over 50 years and is of of the most popular campgrounds in San Diego.
Amenities here include swimming and a hot tub, bicycle rental, game room, skate park, basketball court, watercraft rentals, and of course, one of our favorite beach activities, campfires on the bay. It is also a great spot to see the SeaWorld fireworks in the summer evenings.
The camping area touts an onsite restaurant/cantina, a market, ice cream parlor, and plenty of activities for kids. Laundry services are also available.
COSTA VISTA RV RESORT
Address: 825 E Street, Chula Vista, CA 91910
Phone: (619) 489-3950
Southern California’s newest upscale resort, Costa Vista celebrates its long-anticipated opening in April, 2021. Situated bayfront in Chula Vista, this resort offers full hook-up RV sites that include private patios, stone paver fire pits, an outdoor kitchen, tables and chairs, picturesque landscaping, picnic tables, along with free cable and WiFi. One and two-bedroom cottages with all the comforts of home are also available for rent. Laundry facilities are located on site.
Impressive resort amenities feature an outdoor pool with cabanas, splash pad, jacuzzi spa, a poolside lounge and grill, and movie screen. A café and bar are slated to open in May, and food trucks cater to hungry campers within the resort. Activities include access to the Sweetwater Marsh Bike and Walking Path, basketball, pickleball, an indoor-outdoor fitness center, playground, card and game room, along with a neighboring Living Coast Discovery Center.
KQ RANCH RV RESORT
Address: 449 KQ Ranch Road, Julian, CA 92036
Phone: (760) 765-2244
It’s all about the rustic charm of camping upland in the mountains at the KQ Ranch Resort in Julian. The secluded five-star RV resort four miles from the heart of town offers guests a true nature experience.
Even those without an RV have the option to rent spacious trailer cabins that sleep 4 to 8, fully equipped with kitchenettes and bathrooms. Tent campers will love sleeping in the great outdoors surrounded by crisp, clean mountain air and stunning landscapes.
Amenities here encompass a spacious clubhouse with scheduled activities and movies, pancake breakfasts, steak dinners, and board games played around two massive rock fireplaces. The resort also sports an outdoor heated swimming pool, oversized Jacuzzi, and a fishing lake. Bathrooms, showers, and spacious dressing areas are perfect for tent campers. Laundry facilities are on site as well as several outdoor sporting courts and miniature golf.
Address: 10108 Bass Road, Lakeside, CA 92040
Phone: (619) 390-1623
Often referred to as nature’s playground, Lake Jennings is also one of the most picturesque parks in San Diego County. With rolling hills, coastal plant life, loads of wildlife, a beautiful reservoir, and lovely mountain views, camping stays here are the perfect way to connect with the great outdoors.
From partial to full-RV hookups to car camping and tipi sites, the campground offers 97 camp spots for its guests. Families and kids will love the many games and activities including a park scavenger hunt. Restrooms and showers are available around the clock. Picnic tables and fire rings abound throughout the property. The lake is open for fishing and boating (though a fishing permit and license are required). The lake’s Bait and Tackle shop and campground entrance station cater to camping needs with bait and tackle supplies, firewood, propane, and snacks.
SAN DIEGO KOA
Address: 111 N 2nd Ave, Chula Vista, CA 91910
Just 15 minutes south of downtown San Diego, this popular KOA in San Diego overlooks the shores of De Anza Cove. It’s one of San Diego’s most popular camping resorts and top-rated for family fun. Sites are available for both RV and tent camping, with an additional option of deluxe cabins for those a little less into “roughing it.”
Not only does the resort include a beautiful sandy beach and calm cove waters, but a large outdoor pool and hot tub are on site. Recreational activities include a basketball court, horseshoes, a climbing wall, jumping pillows, a playground, ping pong tables, and a game room. Their brand-new Surf Shack Shootout is a super popular game. Pets are welcome on the resort, but not in the cabins.
A full-time activities director organizes fun events like Flashlight Lollipop Hunts and art and craft projects. And how does a “Movie Under the Stars” sound? Just bring blankets and chairs. Popcorn, cotton candy, and hot chocolate are readily available for only $1 each! And of course, there’s camping with S’mores, an absolute must-do for any camping experience.
SAN DIEGO ZOO SAFARI PARK
Address: 15500 San Pasqual Valley Rd, Escondido, CA 92027
Phone: (760) 747-8702
While this is obviously not a San Diego campground, it is a camping adventure too fun not to mention here. When our grandchildren visited a few years back, we surprised them with an out-of-the-ordinary camping adventure at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park called Roar and Snore.
Our Classic sleepover at this incredible animal park featured a 9 x 14-inch tent and sleeping pads for up to five campers. Vista tents include bunk cots and the Premium tent, a queen bed, and two cots with wooden floors. Yes, there are glampers even among zoo-goers.
A Safari Park admission ticket or proof of membership is required. The adventure package park offer includes tent accommodations, dinner, breakfast, and s’mores along with a visit to nearby animal viewing areas and a host of other camp activities.
It’s one thing to fall asleep to the sounds of birds and other animals roaming freely within the park. Adding in the sounds of roaring lions and clear, star-studded sky makes for a truly unforgettable experience.
SAN ELIJO STATE BEACH
Address: 2050 S. Coast Hwy 101, Cardiff, CA 92007
Phone: (760) 753-5091
A Southern California State Park, San Elijo State Beach is a beautiful place to set up camp and be lulled asleep to the sounds of the surf. The park boasts 165 campsites (1/3 located on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean with unobstructed ocean views).
Visitors here can choose to hook up an RV, trailer, or tent at this beach campground in San Diego. The area’s world-famous surf break is located right near the campground and guests can readily sunbathe, swim, surf, or beach comb. Opportunities for fishing and whale-watching are close by.
Another benefit of camping here is the proximity of dozens of restaurants all within walking distance of the park. For camping purists, BBQ grills are located on-site. Other amenities include campsite tables, fire pits, fire rings, picnic tables, restrooms, and showers. If you’ve never done it, beach camping is phenomenal!
SANTEE LAKES RECREATION PRESERVE
Address: 9310 Fanita Parkway, Santee, CA 92071
Phone: (619) 596-3141
This 190-acre award-winning San Diego campground sports seven magnificent recycled water lakes stocked year-round with fish. 300 full-hook-up campsites are available for reserving. In addition, the preserve has seven lakefront and three floating cabins to choose from.
Campers get exclusive fishing rights in lakes six and seven open only to campground guests. The resort includes two swimming pools (one heated) and a spa. A list of camping guest activities is provided upon check-in. Guests can build a campfire if they bring along their own fire receptacle (an old washtub works great).
Cabins include queen and bunk beds with a furnished kitchen. A propane barbeque, fire ring, ramped porch with chairs, and shared lake paddle boats are also part of the stay package. Though the resort is pet-friendly, no pets are allowed in the cabins.
SILVER STRAND STATE BEACH PARK
Address: 5000 Highway 75, Coronado, CA 92118
Phone: (619) 435-5184
Another of California’s state parks, Silver Strand is located on a 7-mile sand-spit in south Coronado linking Coronado to Imperial Beach. This San Diego Bay Park can accommodate up to 1,000 recreational vehicles. Camping here is limited to self-contained RVs, motorhomes, and trailers only. Restrooms and cold showers are available at each side of the park.
Three pedestrian tunnels lead from the parking lots to the bay. Tables, barbeque pits, and concrete fire rings are available here. Pets are allowed in the campground area but not on the beach or bayside areas of the park.
SOUTH CARLSBAD STATE BEACH
Address: 7201 Carlsbad Blvd, Carlsbad, CA 92008
Phone: (760) 438-3143
This lovely stretch of sand extends three miles along the picturesque waterfront of North County. 223 camp spots perched on a bluff can accommodate both RV and tent sites, and the views are stunning. A set of stairs leads down to a lovely beach where sunsets are incredible. This is one of the most picturesque campgrounds in San Diego and a prime spot for beach camping in San Diego.
Shower facilities and restrooms are on site, in addition to swimming pools, a game room, laundry facilities, a market, and camp store. Surfing, scuba diving, swimming, fishing, and bird watching are popular activities here.
WILLIAM HEISE COUNTY PARK
Address: 4945 Heise Park Road, Julian, CA 92306
Phone: (760) 765-0650
This lovely state regional park situated 4,200 feet above sea level just five miles from historic Julian is surrounded by peaceful meadows and the pine and oak forests of the Laguna Mountain Range. William Heise is truly is a four-season resort given that winter often brings snowfall to the area.
Campers can take advantage of trailer and tent sites in addition to 14 cabin rentals. The 929-acre campground in San Diego features a creek meandering through the campground, 11 miles of scenic hiking and equestrian trails, playgrounds, restrooms with coin-operated showers, and picnic spaces. Ranger-led activities are held each weekend.
Whether you choose a campground in San Diego that offers ocean views, mountain peaks, or desert landscapes, have fun and be safe on your next camping adventure!
Best Campgrounds in San Diego – Pin for Later:
Last Updated on June 8, 2021 by Maria Haase