This is not a tutorial of HOW to reserve campsites. Instead, it’s a resource list of California campground reservation websites that will help you find campgrounds in Southern California and around the state to see the amenities they offer. It’s supposed to get you excited about going camping!
Remember, there are different types of sites that may even suit you during mile California winters.
- Yurts – circular soft-sided cabins (usually canvas)
- Cabins – usually log cabin style or like a small manufactured home
- Tent Only – usually has a flat space to pitch a tent
- RV – more like a parking lot with sites closer together than tent sites
- Primitive – requires hiking in, carrying all your gear, and usually no plumbing/restrooms
California Campground Reservations
ReserveCalifornia.com is the main hub of campground reservations which allows bookings to be made near the 1st of every month for 6 months out. So, for instance, on January 2nd the booking window opened for July 1st through 31st (prime camping season). Other sites have different booking windows. To reserve sites online, you have to be familiar with the campground and have your site all picked out. The very moment that booking window opens, those sites are flooded with campers wanting to reserve. That’s why I recommend camping in the off-season, but that’s a whole other post!
- ReserveAmerica.com – reservations for California State Parks are made through this site but you can research the parks through http://www.parks.ca.gov/
- Recreation.gov – this is the site used for national park reservations. The National Park Service has specific instructions and recommendations for camping at each national park in California:
- National Forests – California has 18 National Forests. Some have reservable campgrounds, some don’t. I’ll list the ones most likely to be used by Southern Californians. The Forest Service has maps of all their units.
- OCParks.com Camping for Caspers Wilderness Park and O’Neill Regional Park
- County of Santa Barbara Camping at Cachuma and Jalama
- County of San Diego Camping
- Check other county sites for Central and Northern California county campgrounds (many are first-come, first-served and don’t accept reservations).
A reader recommended using CampsitePhotos.com to actually see sites at particular campgrounds