There is absolutely nothing like packing up the car, driving a couple of hours and then setting up camp for the night or two, far from the city lights. Getting to cook outside, see the stars and actually wake up with the sun can be magical and definitely feels a world away from regular life. Some of our favorite places to camp are...
[Images from Old School Stationers]
The great part about LA is that you don't have to go far to find a place to camp in the wilderness. And yes glamping does sound like fun, but it also missing the point. There is definitely a time and a place for real camping. Some of the places we've gone and enjoyed:
Angeles National Forest: just a quick hop up the 2 freeway and up a winding road and you're in the mountains (and in the winter there's even snow). This is the closest place we have gone, literally just an hour away from the beach, there are pine trees and mountains and tons of stars. If you're a hiker check out and consider doing a leg of the Pacific Crest Trail
Leo Carillo: This is your chance to camp by the beach. Often a crowded camp ground if you can book it in the colder months you'll be much happier since it will be more quiet and more intimate. The great part is that you can hike all around the canyon or just go to the beach where there are beautiful bluffs and tons of wildlife.
Joshua Tree for a real desert experience and the best view of the stars possible just 2 hours outside of LA. Go deeper into the park for a feeling of being further away.
On Our List to Try:
Los Padres National Forest about 2 1/2 hours away
Anza Borrego in the Fall and with plenty of water.
Big Bear: we've only ever stayed in a cabin but camping would be fun.
Anywhere near hot springs. Even if we have to hike in, this has been on our list for years.
What's on your list? Where's your favorite spot?