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The Winter Campgrounds to Visit This Year

The Winter Campgrounds to Visit This Year

Whether you want to go on an adventure in the snow or head to the warmer parts of California, there’s a perfect winter campground for you.


5 min read

December 02, 2020

With the trees beginning to change color and the evening temperatures dropping just enough to welcome endless mugs of hot chocolate and cozy bonfires, now is the best time to visit California campgrounds. The Golden State’s diverse landscape caters to the needs of every type of winter camper. Whether you’re looking to go on an adventure in the snow or head to the warmer parts of California for days filled with breezy sunset hikes, there’s a winter campground for you. 

The state is abundant with exciting camping destinations, so it can be hard to decide where to begin, but don’t fret—we’ve compiled a list of the best places for winter camping around California so you can plan your next camping excursion with ease. Get ready to brush up on your survival skills and create your camping playlist; you won’t want to leave these stunning campgrounds.

The Best Places for Winter Camping

When looking for winter campsites in Joshua Tree National Park, it doesn't get much better than Jumbo Rocks Campground.

Joshua Tree National Park

Location: Twentynine Palms

Amenities: Grills/fire rings, picnic tables, barbecue area, toilets
Activities: Biking, hiking, horseback riding, off-roading, climbing, wildlife watching
Fees: $20
Number of sites: 124
Dogs allowed: Yes
Reservation required: Yes

Jumbo Rocks Campground is among the best national park campsites. Situated in the center of the massive, steep rock formations that Joshua Tree National Park is known for, this early winter campground encompasses an area slightly larger than the size of Rhode Island and lies within close proximity to many rock climbing spots. The land is home to varied ecosystems, ranging from the higher Mojave Desert to the San Bernardino Mountains, so you’ll be able to spot diverse flora and fauna during your stay. Some might say that this campground offers the best Milky Way views and stargazing in all of California, so be sure to bring warm blankets and a telescope, if you have one.

Pitch your tent beside the San Diego coast by booking your campsite at the San Elijo State Beach Campground.

San Elijo State Beach

Location: 2050 South Coast Highway 101, Cardiff

Amenities: Restroom/show building, camp store, snack bar, bonfires
Activities: Hiking, swimming, surfing, beach volleyball, diving
Fees: $35–$75
Number of sites: 156
Dogs allowed: Yes
Reservation required: Yes

Fancy a winter camping trip by the beach? Located along the San Diego coast, the San Elijo State Beach Campground is perfect for people just starting to dip their toes in the world of camping. The location is easily accessible, the campground store sells anything you may need or have forgotten at home, and there aren’t any demanding hiking trails you need to conquer to get to your campground. You won’t want to miss watching the beautiful beach sunsets from your tent at this perfect-for-winter California campground.

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Winter RV Camping

The Springs at Borrego RV Resort

Location: 2255 Di Giorgio Road, Borrego Springs

Amenities: Cable TV, free Wi-Fi, water and sewer, trash pick-up, RV store, laundry facilities
Activities: Fishing, golfing, tennis, mineral baths, swimming
Fees: $67–$97
Number of sites: 163
Dogs allowed: Yes
Reservation required: Yes

This winter RV campground nestled in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is perfect for a camper that is looking for a rather relaxing getaway. Ideal for early winter camping, The Springs at Borrego RV Resort provides spacious RV sites, state-of-the-art facilities, and an array of fun activities. You can golf, play tennis, soak in the mineral baths, and make unforgettable experiences while camping at this gorgeous retreat.

Set up camp within Heart San Simeon State Park, but make sure to stop by the majestic Hearst Castle during your trip.

Hearst San Simeon State Park

Location: 500 San Simeon-Monterey Creek Road, Cambria

Amenities: Fire rings, picnic tables, parking, dump station, showers, restrooms, payphones
Activities: Picnicking, fishing, hiking, bird watching, surfing, whale watching
Fees: Start at $20
Number of sites: 115
Dogs allowed: Yes
Reservation required: Yes

Surfing, hiking, fishing, and spending nights around a bonfire are just some of the activities you can enjoy if you choose Hearst San Simeon State Park as your RV campground destination. The San Luis Obispo County site boasts gorgeous views of both the forest and the beach—it's also not far from the famous Hearst Castle, a national historical landmark and a can't-miss Central Coast attraction. Reserve your spot now and thank us later.

Yosemite Winter Camping

Embrace the winter wonderland and make a snowman at Yosemite National Park.

Upper Pines Campground

Location: Yosemite National Park

Amenities: Parking, dump station, showers, grocery stores, bonfires, picnic tables, wheelchair accessibility
Activities: Picnicking, hiking, bird watching
Fees: $26
Number of sites: 238 (50 during the winter months)
Dogs allowed: Yes
Reservation required: Yes

The beauty of Yosemite National Park is unparalleled. So, it’s no surprise to us that Yosemite is one of the most visited national parks in the country. During the winter months, you’ll get to bask in the beautiful nature of the park with fewer people around. Suitable for tents and RVs, the Upper Pine Campground is the largest reservation campground in Yosemite Valley and offers spectacular views of the park’s iconic landmarks. The cold weather–friendly campground is located within walking distance to many of the park’s best hiking trails, too—giving you plenty of opportunities to get your daily steps in while admiring roaring waterfalls, snow-dusted trees, and soaring granite formations.

The Best Winter Campsites

For a camping trip that's all about relaxation and rejuvenation, you won't regret a getaway to Goleta.

Ocean Mesa RV Resort & Campground at El Capitan Canyon Nature Resort

Location: 100 El Capitan Terrace Lane, Goleta

Amenities: Parking, firewood, toilets, electricity, Wi-Fi, barbecue grills, pool, spa, laundry facilities, convenience store
Activities: Picnicking, hiking, biking, swimming, massages
Fees: $55-$125
Number of sites: 20
Dogs allowed: Yes
Reservation required: Yes

You can experience RV and tent camping like nowhere else at this picturesque campground on the Santa Barbara coast, where the Pacific Ocean and Santa Ynez Mountains meet. Situated in Goleta, only 15 minutes north of downtown Santa Barbara, the Ocean Mesa RV Resort & Campground at El Capitan Canyon Nature Resort is a stunning oasis for a camping trip full of relaxation and adventure. Whether you want to unwind in the heated pool, indulge in a spa treatment, explore the 15 miles of hiking trails, or let your dog run wild in the dog park, this premium winter campground has something for everyone.

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