Cool-weather Camping

Posted by /blog/it-s-camptober | 10.18.2017
Joshua Tree at night
Josh Willink


Spring and Fall are some of the best months to camp in Southern California. In Spring nature becomes alive with wildflowers and grasses; in Fall the mountains show off their gorgeous autumn colors, while the cooler desert temperatures set the stage for epic daytime adventures.  But the best part? The crowds have thinned out and the nights are cold enough for a toasty campfire under the stars....


Listed below are 23 of our favorite SoCal car camping spots for Fall. See you out there!


A16 West LA Store Favorites


Go to A16 San Diego Store Favorites





Buckhorn Campground

Buckhorn Campground Site #9  Charlotte A.



"Towering Pines and cedars provide beauty and shade with access to top-notch hiking" ~ Tim, Sales Associate

“Close drive from SFV. All campsites are along the San Gabriel River East Fork. Easy hikes and you can bungee jump off the Bridge to Nowhere.” ~ Melissa, Sales Associate

“A beautiful lake with things like kayaking, fishing and even Frisbee golf to keep you entertained!” ~ Christy, Sales Associate

“Although Malibu creek is not close to the beach, this campground has a lot to offer with its beautiful hikes and lots of climbing and scrambling around the creek." ~ Christy, Sales Associate

“Conveniently located near the Mt. Baldy trail head and Falls in a pretty pine forest setting, Manker Flats Campground serves as a great hiking basecamp.” ~ Tim, Sales Associate

"Amazing views from the top looking down on Ventura and the ocean. Lots of good bouldering nearby." ~ James, Sales Associate

“Beautiful trees and views hiking on the Matilija Creek Trail. Ojai is a cool town!” ~ Melissa, Sales Associate





“A premier spot to see fall colors with nearby access to beach and hiking trails.” ~ Christy,Sales Associate


Leo Carillo Campground

Leo Carrillo Campground    Jeffrey P.



“Beach camping. Need I say more? You won’t need the waves on a white noise app to lull you to sleep. Lots of scenic hiking trails.” ~ Melissa,Sales Associate



Indian Cove Campground

Indian Cove Campground    NPS / Hannah Schwalbe



“Great camping hidden in the boulders away from busier campgrounds. Awesome climbing nearby.” ~ James,Sales Associate



A16 San Diego Store Favorites





“Easy to get to from San Diego, with hot showers and nearby hiking on the PCT.” ~ Kaitlynn,Sales Associate


Green Valley Area Campground

CRSP Green Valley Area Campground  TentTalk


“Pretty scenery, easy access to fishing, hiking.”  ~ James, IT


“Pretty setting, near stream and falls.”  ~ James, IT
A16 Pro Tip: There is a large construction project going on at the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, Green Valley Area, that has caused the park to make the few remaining sites first come first serve and to eliminate the reservations for them. Also the fire road up to the peak is closed to all traffic, including hikers, until further notice. 

“Shady campsites, good access to hiking trails and the Observatory.”  ~ James, IT


“A hop, skip and a jump from town, yet you feel miles away. You’ll be camping in a beautiful Oak grove." ~ John D., A16 President


Laguna Campground

Laguna Campground Doris W.



“Shady forest with tons of hiking nearby.” ~ James, IT

“Beautifully laid out tent camping sites and plenty of room to room.  A great place to take bike and just a short drive to Julian to get some apple pie for dessert.”  ~ John D., A16 President



San Eligo State Beach Campground

San Eligo State Beach Campground   San Diego Beaches & Adventures


“Great views right on the bluffs of the ocean.” ~ Lindsey, Solana Beach Store,
“A rare urban camping opportunity.  Don’t forget your ear plugs if you want a good night sleep.” ~ John D., A16 President
A16 Pro Tip:  
The Camp Store, Taco Shop and Laundry facility at San Elijo SB is currently closed. Anticipated re-opening with new concessionaires is Spring 2020. 


“Next to a world-class surf break.” ~ Jay, Designer





“Primitive camping featuring abundant plant and animal life, amazing geologic formations, Big Horn sheep sightings, brilliant nighttime stars and great hiking and caving opportunities.” ~ Kaitlynn, Sales Associate

Borrego Palm Canyon Campground
Borrego Palm Canyon Campground   Kristin W.


“Access to easy 3-mile hike to a real desert oasis, including waterfall and Bighorn Sheep, if you are lucky.” ~ Sandy, VP Accounting

“Really nice off-the-radar car camping.” ~ Lyndsey, Sales Associate


"Lots of hiking trails nearby and tons of rocks to climb. The scenery at JTNP is unlike anywhere else since the trees are unique to that area." ~ Amy, Sales Associate


White Tank Campground

White Tank Campground, Joshua Tree National Park



This interactive map features A16'ers favorite camp spots mentioned in this article. Click on each tent icon for details about the campsite.


Suggested Gear:


Sea to Summit Pro Hammock Single


Sea to Summit Folding Bucket



Snow Peak Mini Flame Lantern

Black Diamond Equipment Moji Lantern



Yeti Rambler 30 oz Vacuum Insulated Tumbler

Yeti Rambler 30 oz Vacuum Insulated Tumbler



Big Agnes Chair One Camp Chair

Big Agnes Chair One Camp Chair



Adventure 16 Rental Gear



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