5 Great Camping Options in Orange County

Photograph by Craig Kerstetter

Enjoy a bit of nostalgia in a 1960s vintage trailer at San Clemente State Beach. The four trailers, in a prime locale within the main campground, come fully stocked with bedding, cooking supplies, coffee, soap, shampoo, and even beach towels. They’re positioned in a circle with a central area so visitors can enjoy a game of bocce ball, toss a Frisbee, or relax around a communal campfire. Each area has a fire pit, grill, picnic table, and veranda. Individual trailers sleep four adults, and a child can fit in an overhead bunk. Sites accommodate up to eight people, so you can also set up a tent for more sleeping space. Cost during peak season (April 1 to Oct. 31) is $209 per night, with a two-night minimum on weekends. More information at theholidaysca.com. You can rent a trailer and have it delivered to one of the park’s 142 campsites at reserveamerica.com.

More Options in O.C.:
Doheny State Beach campground, Dana Point
PRO   Doheny boasts a mile-long strand of white sand, gentle surf, and 122 family-friendly campsites, plus an impressive tide-pool exhibit at the interpretive center.
CON  Some sites are close to Pacific Coast Highway and its traffic noise.

Arroyo Campground, O’Neill Regional Park, Trabuco Canyon
PRO   Easy on the eyes and easy to reach, Arroyo Campground is tucked in a shady woodland with 79 sites for RV or tent camping.
CON   With each passing year, massive suburban and exurban developments march closer toward the park.

Live Oak Campground, Caspers Wilderness Park, San Juan Capistrano
PRO  The largest and most remote of the county’s regional parks, Caspers has 30 miles of trails; don’t miss hiking in Bell Canyon.
CON  Ortega Flats Campground gets lots of traffic noise from Ortega Highway.

Blue Jay Campground, Cleveland National Forest
PRO    Nicely secluded, Blue Jay offers 50 sites with water, grills, and vault toilets. Highly recommended: the 4.5-mile round-trip hike to the top of 4,510-foot Los Pinos Peak. Other Orange County hikes to try.
CON    Insect alert: This campground has more than its share of bees, flies, and gnats.

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