20 Best Places to Camp Within 2 Hours of San Diego

A brown rock formation

With San Diego being known as “America’s Finest City,” it’s no surprise that it accommodates many kinds of hobbies for all kinds of people. San Diego has amazing weather that is perfect for camping almost year round. However, many of the campsites around the county are not year-round. There are many places around the city to go roughing it or go glamping, whichever your style!

While California is mostly known for its large cities, the Redwood National and State Parks attracts large numbers of people every year. However, the forest is in Northern California, and San Diego is in Southern California. There are still many beautiful sites to camp around the San Diego area. Most offer easy access to the beach or the city, while others are in the wilderness near lakes and saltwater reservoirs. If you live in or around San Diego and don’t want to drive up to Redwood National, here are some options for you to check out!

San Diego at night

San Diego is beautiful when the buildings are lit up at night.

1.Mission Bay RV Resort

Just 12 minutes from the heart of San Diego, this family-friendly RV park is open all year long. It has many amenities, including internet access and laundry rooms. It’s the perfect place to get away without really getting away. The nearby bay is a great place to swim in the saltwater without being on the crowded beaches of the Pacific ocean.

Pros:

  • Pavilion and lounge with games and recreational activities
  • Convenience items such as ice and firewood are for sale at the front desk
  • Restrooms and showers
  • Laundry facilities
  • Gated entrance and 24/7 security
  • Full hook-ups
  • Free wifi and cable TV

Cons:

  • Crowded
  • No tent campgrounds

2. Pio Pico RV Resort & Campground

This spacious RV resort is just about 30 minutes outside San Diego, and it offers many amenities. There’s places to swim and relax, as well as places to partake in many sports and recreation activities. And there is wifi and satellite tv available. If you forgot anything at home, no problem! There is a camp store that is available to all guests!

Pros: 

  • Hiking and bike trails
  • Restrooms
  • Laundry
  • Market
  • Pool, hot tub, and spa
  • Pets welcome
  • Wifi and satellite tv
  • RV storage

Cons:

  • Not remote
  • No tent campsites

3. Campland on the Bay

If you’re looking for a place to get away to without really getting away from the city, Campland on the Bay is the place for you! There’s a lot of things you can do to pass the time: swimming, basketball, bike ride, campfires, ice cream, live entertainment, etc. Just a short drive away and you’ll find yourself at SeaWorld, LEGOLAND, and the San Diego Zoo. If it gets a little cold at night, there is a fire pit for every camper to enjoy.

Pros: 

  • RV and tent campsites
  • Pet friendly
  • Laundry and wifi
  • 124-Slip marina
  • Recreational courts
  • Market
  • Campfire

Cons:

  • Not remote

4. Santa Fe Park RV Resort

With easy access to the nightlife of San Diego, this RV resort has many amenities for all types of people. There’s full hookup spaces that offer different kinds of Amp electrical services for everyone. There’s a large clubhouse for laundry, cooking, fitness, and fun. 

Pros:

  • Laundry
  • Fitness center
  • Variety of Amp hookups
  • Kitchen
  • Heated pool and spa
  • Satellite tv with HBO access

Cons:

  • Not far from the city
  • Not the best if you’re wanting to reconnect with nature
  • No tent campgrounds

5. San Diego Metro KOA Resort

This dog-friendly campsite has places to pitch a tent, park an RV, or rent a cabin. You can participate in many activities right on the grounds. There’s a cafe, pool, playground, pavilion, and kitchen. And it’s only about 15 away from the heart of San Diego, so you can visit all the hotspots the city has to offer while feeling like you’re far away as well. They have live music sometimes, too!

Pros:

  • Cable and wifi
  • Pool and spa
  • Multiple camping spots
  • Pavilion
  • Playground
  • Bike rentals

Cons:

  • Not remote

6. San Diego RV Resort

Just 15 minutes outside the city, this RV resort is so close to the beach and the town. It offers easy access to the trolley that can take you to a number of San Diego’s attractions, such as San Diego Zoo, Old Town, and Balboa Park. With wifi, laundry, and restrooms, this place is perfect for those who are traveling via RV. 

Pros:

  • Fitness center
  • Heated pool
  • Wifi
  • Laundry and restrooms
  • Full hookups

Cons:

  • Not remote
  • Crowded
  • Nowhere for tents
San Diego camp site

Tent camping is very popular in California, especially in San Diego County.

7. Paradise by the Sea Beach RV Resort

This RV park is about 40 minutes away from San Diego, so it’s perfect for San Diego natives who are wanting to get away from the city in their RV. There’s pool and beach access for those who love being in the water, and there’s cable tv and wifi access for those who like to stay in. This RV park is just a short walk to the Oceanside Pier, where campers can shop or eat.

Pros:

  • Full hookups
  • Free wifi and cable tv
  • Pool and spa
  • Close to many exciting attractions

Cons:

  • Not a tent campground

8. Santee Lakes Campground

Just 20 minutes away from the city, this campground is amazing. Campers can choose between full RV hookups with free wifi, or campers can upgrade to a deluxe suite with cable tv. Campers also get access to Lakes 6 and 7 for exclusive fishing. This campground also has 4 acres of on-site solar panels that provide 50% of the facility’s needs. For those who love using green energy, this campground is the place for you.

Pros:

  • Beautiful lakes
  • Fishing access
  • Free wifi
  • Cable tv availability
  • Solar panel

Cons:

  • No laundry services
  • No restrooms

9. Admiral Baker RV Campground & Picnic Areas

Surrounded by green grass and lines of trees, this RV park is located very close to the city while also being enveloped in nature. It has several recreational courts, a swimming pool, and picnic tables. There are also laundry and showers available. This is the perfect getaway for active-duty military members!

Pros:

  • Beautiful landscape
  • Close to the city
  • Recreational courts
  • Outdoor pool
  • Picnic areas
  • Shower and laundry facilities
  • Pets allowed

Cons:

  • Not open year-round

10. Surf & Turf RV Park

Located mere blocks from the Pacific ocean, this RV park has a lot of things to do around the city. However, this park does not offer many of the amenities that the other parks do. This part offers more of a long-term stay than the others, which gives more of a resort-quality. 

Pros:

  • Located close to the city
  • Places to park several kinds of RV

Cons:

  • No bathrooms
  • No laundry
  • Not remote

11. Mission Trails Regional Park

This weekend-only retreat to the Kumeyaay Lake Campground is perfect for those who want to reconnect with nature on a deeper level. It offers purchasable firewood to make s’mores and beautiful trails for hikers to enjoy. Open fires are only allowed in the fire rings located at each campground. The picnic tables are available for cyclists and hikers for day-use.

Pros:

  • Beautiful scenery
  • Hiking trails
  • In the heart of nature
  • Fire rings at each campground

Cons:

  • Only open on weekends

12. Fiddler’s Cove Marina & RV Park (Navy MWR)

This RV park is located right on the Fiddler’s Cove Marina and offers boat slips and rentals. You can also rent kayaks, canoes, and sailboats. Showers, restrooms, laundry, and a chandlery store are available as well. And it’s only 16 minutes from the heart of San Diego.It is open to active duty navy members only at this time.

Pros:

  • Many things to rent and do
  • Slip availability

Cons:

  • No tent areas
San Diego camp site

San Diego is surrounded by beautiful hills and valleys that are perfect for camping.

13. Willow Loop Campground

This campground offers both RV and tent areas, and it allows pets. RV users can hook up to the sewer and water services. There are showers and restrooms, as well as a camp store and picnic tables. While there is no wifi service, there is cell service. It also has ADA accessibility. And you can access the campgrounds by walking, hiking, or driving. The nearby lake is stocked with fish, so it never runs out. 

Pros:

  • ADA accessibility
  • Showers and restrooms
  • Picnic tables
  • Cell phone service 
  • Pets allowed
  • RV and tent sites
  • Camp store
  • Fishing

Cons:

  • No wifi
  • No laundry

14.Lake Jennings Campground

This lakeside campsite offers RV hookups and tent sites. They even offer a few tipi sites. They offer many of the basic amenities, but they also have a campground scavenger hunt. They have 24-hour restrooms and showers. There is free wifi available as well. At the entrance of the campground, you can purchase ice, propane, and firewood. There is also a shop where you can purchase fishing equipment, camping supplies, snacks, or non-alcoholic drinks.

Pros:

  • Restrooms and showers
  • Bait and tackle shop
  • Game room
  • Free wifi

Cons:

  • Limited availability

15. La Pacifica RV Park

Perfectly located close to the beaches and the city, this RV park offers many amenities. There are many different Amp hookups for different types of RVs and sewer and water hookups. It’s pet-friendly, has laundry, and has newly remodeled restrooms. It offers free wifi, cable tv, and trash services. This RV park is centrally located near some of the best parts of Southern California. It is also located at the bottom of San Diego Bay.

Pros:

  • Laundry
  • Showers and restrooms
  • Wifi and cable tv
  • Trash services
  • Year-round pool and spa
  • Large clubhouse

Cons:

  • No tent sites

16. La Jolla Indian Campground

This campground prides itself on being San Diego county’s only campsite with river and tubing access. They offer both RV and tent campsites. While it is about 1 hour and 15 minutes away from San Diego, you can relax by floating down the river. There aren’t many places in the world where you can find undisturbed wilderness, but the La Jolla Indian Reservation has almost 10000 acres of it. You can also learn about the La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians who have lived in the Palomar Mountain range for thousands of years!

Pros:

  • Camp store
  • Showers and bathrooms
  • River access
  • Tubing
  • Tent and RV campsites

Cons:

  • No pets allowed
  • No wifi or cell service
  • No flush toilets

17. Sweetwater Summit Regional Park

This campsite offers tent campsites and RV hookups. There are 15 miles of trails that are perfect for hiking and biking. Campers can fish in the Sweetwater Reservoir or relax in the community room. This campsite also has a 60-foot pavilion that is covered and has kitchen facilities. There are also four 16-foot picnic pavilions scattered among the grounds.

Pros:

  • Tent and RV sites
  • Restrooms
  • Fishing
  • Several pavilions
  • Trails

Cons:

  • No showers
  • No wifi
  • No resort-style amenities

18. South Carlsbad State Beach Campground

This beachside campsite offers so many activities for those who love the ocean. There are stairs that lead to the beach where you can surf, swim, skin diving, and fishing. Pitch a tent right on the bluff-top campgrounds, and enjoy the beautiful scenery. You can watch the sunset over the ocean and then do some stargazing. If you’ve always wanted to do some beach camping, this place is perfect for you.

Pros:

  • Ocean access
  • Dog friendly
  • Handicap accessibility

Cons:

  • No showers
  • No RV hookups
The pacific ocean

The Pacific Ocean is a great place to test out your surfing abilities, whether you’re a pro or an amateur.

19. Mulberry Loop Campground

This campground has many things to offer for all kinds of campers. There’s places to pitch a tent and hook up your RV, as well as market and picnic tables. Restrooms with showers are available, and trash services too. There’s cell service, wifi, and ADA accessibility. And it’s only about 25 minutes from San Diego. However, the campground does not offer any clean drinking water.

Pros:

  • Wifi
  • ADA accessibility
  • Trash services
  • Restrooms and showers
  • Camp store
  • Picnic tables
  • Pet friendly

Cons:

  • No drinking water

20. Chula Vista RV Resort

This RV park has a lot to offer. You can choose to back your RV into the lot or pull through it. With each lot, campers will also get a picnic table, trash service, and cable tv. When you leave your RV, you can go to the pool, hot tub, fitness center, or game room. It’s pet-friendly and it offers the option to purchase propane and laundry services. If you forgot something at home, there is also an on-site market.

Pros:

  • Full RV hookup
  • Pool and hot tub
  • Pet friendly
  • Game room
  • Camp store
  • Fitness center
  • Cable tv
  • Trash services

Cons:

  • Laundry services are add on pay
  • No tent sites
  • No showers

Final Verdict:

The San Diego Metro KOA offers the most in terms of ways to camp and amenities. While you’re not very far from the city, there are still many things to do that will make you feel like you’re miles away. It offers many things for kids to do, as well as adults. Whether you would prefer to rough it or go glamping, this campsite offers the best camping experience for everyone!

 

Bonus tip: If you also want to hit the city, watch this video to find out 26 things to do in San Diego!

 

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    Riley Draper

    Riley Draper is a writer and entrepreneur from Chattanooga, Tennessee. As a world traveler, he has been to more than fifty countries and hiked some of the most elusive trails in the world. He is the co-founder of WeCounsel Solutions and has published work in both national and global outlets, including the Times Free Press, Patch, and Healthcare Global. When he's not writing, he's probably on a hiking trip or climbing in the mountains.