Best Family Camping in San Diego

family camping in san diego sm

Ready to embark on a San Diego family camping adventure? Help your kids experience the great outdoors at one of the many family campgrounds in San Diego County! First-time campers? Consider practicing before taking your trip by pitching a tent in your own backyard. So fun!

County of San Diego Parks & Recreation Campsites
858-565-3600
Agua Caliente (Anza-Borrego Desert)
Dos Picos (Ramona)
Guajome (Oceanside)
Lake Morena (Campo)
Sweetwater Summit (Bonita)
Tijuana River Valley Regional Park -- the newest County campground. Yurts available!
William Heise (Julian)

Insider tip: San Diego County residents are eligible for a County Resident Camping Discount Card. Ask about it!

Santee Lakes Campground, Santee
Lakefront cabins and RV sites at beautiful Santee Lakes, which features pedal boat rentals, fishing, two swimming pools, a playground and more.

Sun Outdoors San Diego Bay, Chula Vista
Would it surprise you to hear that there’s an RV resort in town that also features fully equipped luxury cottages, pool, splash pad, arcade, sports courts (pickleball, bocce ball and basketball), and themed activities (bike parades, arts & crafts, movie nights, competitions and more)? Each luxury cottage has linens, full bathroom, patio table/chairs, gas grill, gas firepit and more. The onsite café features delicious bites, snacks and even beverages just for parents! Bonus: The property is right next to Living Coast Discovery Center. If you want a fun vacation without going far, check out Sun Outdoors San Diego Bay. 

Campland on the Bay, Mission Bay
858-581-4260
San Diego’s favorite waterfront RV resort sits on the shores of Mission Bay. Campland has provided family-friendly fun for over 50 years, attracting repeat campers for decades. The property features a new giant inflatable water slide, skateboard park, cantina, scheduled activities (bubble soccer, dodgeball, outdoor movie nights, etc.), bike and watersport rentals (kayaks, pontoon boats, SUPs, etc.) and more. Campland also has an open-air study hall for families with kids who are learning virtually. The large shaded area features tables that are spread apart (only two students per table permitted), power supply at each table and wireless internet access. First come, first-served.

Mission Bay RV Resort, Mission Bay
877-219-6900
Overlooking the shores of De Anza Cove and adjacent to sister property Campland on the Bay is Mission Bay RV Resort. It’s typically more low-key than Campland, but includes complimentary access to their amenities and activities, so it’s the best of both worlds!

San Diego Metro KOA Resort, Chula Vista
800-562-9877
In addition to RV and tent sites, our local KOA offers camping cabins, deluxe cabins (with bathrooms), glamping tents, and plenty of amenities for families, including an onsite pool, jumping pillows, grass field, playground and more.

Paradise by the Sea RV Resort, Oceanside
This small, family-owned (RV only) resort is just a 5-minute walk to Buccaneer Park and Beach. The clean property has thoughtful touches and beautiful amenities. Enjoy remodeled restrooms, pool, jacuzzi, free WiFi, coin laundry and Paradise Cove, an outdoor recreation area for guests. Bring earplugs--the train goes right by the property. Surfboard, boogie board and bike rentals available on site. 


Lake Jennings, Lakeside
619-390-1623

Lake Poway, Poway
858-668-4772
Lake Poway doesn't have a year-round campground, but they do offer several Family Campouts in the park during the summer and fall. Visit Lake Poway and click on the Special Events tab on the left for dates and more information.

Palomar Mountain State Park
760-742-3462
If you head to Palomar Mountain, plan a day trip to the Palomar Observatory. Visit Palomar Observatory for information.

BEACH CAMPING
There's nothing more iconic in San Diego than beach camping!

South Carlsbad State Beach, Carlsbad
760-438-3143

San Elijo State Beach, Cardiff
760-753-5091

Discover more Southern California campgrounds near the ocean in SoCal's Best Beach Camping.

Ready to venture beyond San Diego County? Check out one of my favorite glamping spots Flying Flags RV Resort in Buellton, just north of Santa Barbara and minutes from Solvang, a popular Danish town that's fun to visit.


MORE CAMPING RESOURCES

Don't own an RV? No problem! RVshare is a peer-to-peer online platform for RV owners and people who want to rent them (think Airbnb, but for RVs). If you’re interested in renting an RV (a great way to test one out before purchasing) or you own one and want to rent it out, check out RVshare.

Did you know? It’s possible to experience RV camping without driving one! When you rent your RV, ask if the company (or individual you're renting from) offers campsite delivery and set-up.

Ready to plan your trip, but not sure where to start? Visit the Campspot website, enter your destination, dates of travel and number of people traveling. Campspot provides a list of available campgrounds, including RV sites, tent sites and alternative lodging. It prevents hours of online searching—and it’s a fabulous way to discover camping options you never knew existed. Once you have your campsite secure, visit www.RVshare.com to rent an RV for your trip.

Harvest Hosts is an affordable membership program that offers RVers free overnight stays at unique locations such as wineries, farms, museums and botanical gardens. 

Before heading out on your trip, learn about the California Responsible Travel Code.

California State Parks Camping and Lodging
www.ReserveCalifornia.com


Check out our Family Camping Fun round-up of activities, including a free printable scavenger hunt, directions to make campfire crowns and more.

 

When Lisa Gipson isn’t editing San Diego Family Magazine, she loves to explore with her husband and young adult daughters.

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