Best Dog Friendly Camping in Southern California

As the mercury rises and the sweltering summer temperatures urge us all to head to the fairer coastal climates of Southern California, the idea of camping sounds like an enticing cool down. Time to pack the kids, including the four-legged ones, in the car and head out. California is a gorgeous state! There is no shortage of dog friendly camping in Southern California. There are options for dog owners who really want to rough it and hike, to the ‘glamping’ crowd who want to camp and shop.

Pitching a tent in the great outdoors is a blast and a refreshing vacation spent away from our modern conveniences. Bringing the dog can help you tap into your primordial self. Also, he’ll probably bark if a bear shows up to the party. Getting the dog dirty is guilt free with the Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique membership. Get Fido nice and muddy then drop him off for a luxurious scrubbing afterwards. Easier than getting the pop up gazebo set up in the woods!

Here are Splash and Dash’s Top Ten favorite spots for dog friendly camping in Southern California.

1. Circle X Ranch

Circle X Ranch has beginnings as a Boy Scout camp and has not lost its rustic flair after opening to the public. Dog owners looking to camp under the stars and do some serious hiking should really check this place out. The novelties of this coastal Mediterranean ecosystem are abundant and Santa Monica Mountains offer adventurous sights for city dwellers’ sore eyes. Dogs will need to be kept on their leash while on the trails but are more than welcome at the ranch.

Visitors can enjoy hiking to the highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains with a view of the Channel Islands on clear days. You can explore the native plants along one of the six different trails including the Grotto Trail. The best part of about Circle X is it’s only $2 a night!

2. Campland on the Bay

For pet parents looking for more a theme park style of camping, AKA a place with WIFI, Campland is the place to go. This place is the vacation spot. Campland offers all kinds of exciting features like water sports, volleyball, arcades, live music & dancing, and even a skatepark. The park is tucked into the shores of Mission Bay close enough to Seaworld that you can see the nightly firework show from your campsite.

There is a $37 dollar pet free but the amenities of this place make it worth the added cost.

3. Fremont Campground

This site is a piece of land salvaged from the times before skyscrapers and concrete—an outdoor prize in dog friendly camping in Southern California. Fremont is simple, lush, and has a watering hole fed by the Santa Ynez River. Visitors can also enjoy horseback rides, hiking, and biking on the National Recreation trail which is a 2.5-mile loop, or the more challenging 18-mile Santa Cruz Trail. The land is open and dogs are free to roam.

4. Kirk Creek Campground

Whether you just finished Jack Kerouac’s Big Sur, or you and your pooch are in the mood for an oceanside paradise, Kirk Creek will give you that view over the bluff you’ve dreamed of. Standing on the coast at sunrise, watching the waves crash against the coast is an amazing experience. The campground is a short walk away from the area’s largest sandy beach and trails into Los Padres National Forest. Beach lovers and fans of fishing, surfing, and sunbathing will have a blast here! Dogs can splash in the shallows and run down the beach at their leisure.

5. Serrano Campground

Part of the San Bernardino National Forest and the stunning mountains scenes that accompany the park are Serrano’s claim to fame. Big Bear Lake is teeming with trout, bass, catfish, carp, bluegill, and more so if you’re an angler, this is the spot for you, and your dog. Serrano also is close to hiking and mountain biking trails like Cougar Crest Trail and Alpine Pedal Path. Dogs will have no problems adjusting from the cushy couch life to the wildness at Serrano.

6. Boulder Basin Campground

Boulder Basin is a sister campsite to the dog friendly camping in Southern California tucked in the San Bernardino Mountains. Dog owners looking for the solitude and peaceful stillness of a mixed conifer forest will find it here. The views here are serene and overlook the Banning Pass and Mt. San Gorgonio. You can take your pup hiking on the Black Mountain trail in the 7,300-foot elevation into thin air.

7. Cathedral Palms Resort

The 65-and-up RV crowd looking to for a great place to park and relax need to check out Cathedral Palms. It’s open to all species and ages of course, but this is definitely a lounging place. The RV resort has a pool, spa, and clubhouse for the less outdoorsy type. For those looking to get a little deeper into the environment, the resort is a close ride to Palm Desert and snow-capped Mt. San Jacinto. Cathedral Palms resort is pet friendly and very accommodating.

8.  Sequoia National Forest Campgrounds

Finding dog friendly camping in Southern California brings to the mind the images of gigantic red Sequoia trees and deep canyons that show the layers of the Earth. Yup, that’s exactly the scenery at the Sequoia Campgrounds! Not only are there tons of hiking trails, rivers, and rock climbing spots, but you can also explore an underground crystal cave! Keeping the kids distracted is also easy. The ranger programs where you and your young ones can take an informative tour of the park. Fido’s all set to enjoy the fresh air with you here!

9. Dorst Creek Campground

Part of the impressive landscape of the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National park is the site, Dorst Creek. After visiting you’ll want to keep this site top secret to keep it as untouched as possible. The cabins are charming, the road to get there is winding, and the air smells of alpine. This is your dog’s chance to get in touch with his ancestral wolf brethren. For hiking, there’s the Big Trees Trail and Moro Rock, a granite dome with a beautiful view of the Great Western Divide.

10. Jalama Beach County Park

The world is breathtaking and camping here reminds you of that. The land bordered by Jalama Creek was once a Chumash Indian settlement the natives called ‘Halama.’ The dog friendly camping spot has eye-candy for whale and bird watchers. Fishers will also love it here as the water has sweet spots for Perch, Bass, Halibut and the interesting-looking Cabezon. The dog fee goes toward park upkeep so that more humans and dogs can enjoy Jalama. This campsite is a postcard brought to life!

 

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