Overlanding is a great way to see more of the country than you could possibly imagine from a vantage point along a major highway, as well as a means to accessing a lot of other outdoor adventure activities like kayaking, rafting, and off-road biking. Whether you’re planning on taking your Jeep out for a relaxing trail ride over a few days or you’re hunkering down near your favorite spots for other outdoor activities, you need to know where to go when it’s time to shelter for the night. Here are a few great ideas for your next Southern California adventure.
Arroyo Seco in Los Padres National Forest
This small campground in the national forest is accessible to a few trails in the area, making it an easy choice for those who want to see more of the area’s attractions before moving on. Unlike many smaller national forest camping spots, it has access to showers, making it a must-stop camping spot if you are in between more rustic locations. Despite that small amenity, it’s still fairly isolated, but its shady sites and accessible picnic amenities make it a good spot to park and put up a tent on top of Jeep for the night.
Laguna Campground, Cleveland National Forest
This camping spot has rustic choices for your tent and a great view from practically every campsite, but it also has full restroom and shower amenities on hand. That makes it perfect for people who have a limit on their ability to appreciate the rustic. If you’re seeing the Cleveland National Forest, keep it in mind for a quiet night or two in the woods with just the right level of creature comfort to let you sleep easy.
Los Prietos Campground, Santa Barbara
With a 2.5 mile hiking trail that starts right at the campground and access to the nearby Santa Ynez River close at hand, this is another good spot for people who want to be close to a lot of activities while still enjoying a quiet, out of the way camping experience. The best part is the location is friendly to vehicles, so you won’t be testing your tire rims on the way to camp. You can save that for when you’re on the trail after you’ve gotten some rest.
Paso Picacho Campground
Located within Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, this well-maintained and road-accessible campground makes it easy to enjoy all the amenities at the park. Since it is well-maintained and accessible compared to more rustic choices, it is an ideal testing ground for new truck overlanding gear before you head out into the unknown. See the sights, enjoy a few days of wonderful trail and water activities, and make sure your gear is ready to be put to the test before you count on it to keep you going as you off-road your way through new wilderness.
Adventuring Beyond Campgrounds
Eventually, you may want to really test your mettle as an overlanding enthusiast. When that time comes, you might want to invest in the dispersed camping permits that let you make your own site locations within the U.S.’s national forests. Annual subscription permits are accessibly priced by to make it easy for you to support the country’s national resources while enjoying them whenever you have time for an adventure, and you won’t have to worry about finding an official campground when you’re ready to pop your roof-top tent for the night.