Los Angeles is a big place. Some 3.85 million people are scattered across a sprawling urban mecca covering more than 500 square miles.
When people think of La-La Land, they think of the fashion-forward shops that line Melrose and Rodeo Drive; the glitz and glamour of the Hollywood movie machine; the long golden beaches and rolling tides that create a surfer’s paradise. But glamping? That’s a stretch.
Yet they might be surprised to learn they don’t need to travel far from the city center to enjoy a full-on outdoor adventure. In fact, numerous glamp-tastic options are located within 50 miles of downtown. Here are some of our favorites.
A scenic jaunt north through the Angeles National Forest brings you to this family-friendly retreat perched along a natural spring in the San Gabriels. Built in the 1920s on 150 acres, the property once hosted Tinsel Town royalty like Charlie Chaplin and Clark Gable. One- and two-bedroom canvas-and-wood tents are wired for electricity and feature bathrooms, beds, kitchenettes and barbecues. Towels, linens and toiletries are included. An on-site bistro and coffee shop provide refreshments, while a pool, playground and yard games will keep the kids busy. Pets welcome.
|18101 Paradise Dr., Valyermo, CA 93563
Mount Washington Hills Luxury Airstream
An ideal place to find your center if you don’t want to leave the city. Just five miles from the heart of downtown lies this beautiful air-conditioned 1968 Streamline Empress trailer that fits two comfortably. Inside is a queen-sized bed, bathroom with hairdryer, and kitchenette with stove, fridge and coffeemaker. Outside is a shower and shady outdoor garden patio replete with chairs and a grill. Hiking areas like Moon Canyon and Debs Park are just around the corner.
|Mount Washington, CA 90065
Two Harbors Campground
Just 47 miles from LA’s historic core brings you to the world-famous Catalina Island off the coast of Long Beach. Lesser visited than its cousin Avalon to the southeast, the town of Two Harbors boasts a beautiful campground on a bluff overlooking the bright blue Pacific. Choose between 47 individual tent sites and 13 tent cabins equipped with army-style cots and two-burner hotplates. All sites offer access to BBQs, fire pits, and picnic tables as well as freshwater, community showers and chemical toilets.
|Campground, Two Harbors, CA 90704
Walnut RV Park
Urban camping is becoming ever more popular, so it stands to reason that this Northridge-based RV park – converted from farmland in the 1960s – prides itself on its proximity to Hollywood. Their 114 sites can be rented on a daily, weekly or monthly basis and are priced to be budget friendly. Property amenities include a rec room, laundry room, showers, free Wi-Fi and a heated swimming pool. Also, pet walkers can be booked through the main office.
|19130 Nordhoff St., Northridge, CA 91324
Gould Mesa Trail Camp
Just northeast of La Cañada sits this leafy hillside oasis for those seeking a more traditional camping experience, but with a few creature comforts to keep it from getting too primitive. A one-mile hike leads in to the camp (open all year round) at an elevation of 1,500 feet.
All five sites are first come, first served and feature picnic tables and fire rings. A California campfire permit is required. Shared conveniences include vault toilets, trashcans and horse hitching rails. There’s no piped water, but a nearby stream can fill the gap depending on seasonal rainfall.
|Gould Mesa, Arroyo Blvd., La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011
Cali Lake RV Resort
Shoot up the I-5 freeway to the 14 and into Canyon Country for a taste of tranquil, unspoiled SoCal wilderness surrounded by majestic mountains. This lakefront property sports a balance of tent and RV sites, the latter offering full 30- or 50-amp hookups. Relax by the koi pond, check out the horses or roast marshmallows over the community fire pit. Lay out by the pool while the kiddies hit the swings, then let Fido get some exercise in the dog park. Just outside the resort, biking, trail hiking and birdwatching are top-rated activities.
|10645 Soledad Canyon Rd., Santa Clarita, CA 91390
Castaic Lake Campground
From canoeing to boating to jet-skiing, Castaic Lake just north of Santa Clarita is pure bliss for water sports enthusiasts. The summer brings swimming in designated areas as well as paddle boarding and kayaking classes. The 24 RV sites and 24 tent sites are open year-round and include access to facilities like restrooms, dump stations, horseshoe pits, equestrian centers, boat launches and picnic shelters. Reservations must be made online at least 24 hours in advance.
|32132 Ridge Route Rd., Castaic, CA 93184
Top Hiking Trails Around L.A.
There’s no shortage of exciting hikes in and around the City of Angels. We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite hikes here.
Griffith Park and Runyon Canyon are popular spots in the Hollywood area, renowned for their accessible views of the cityscape. Griffith’s Mount Hollywood Trail is a five-mile loop that leads up to the iconic observatory first made famous by James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause.
On the west side, Los Liones and Solstice Canyon offer uninterrupted ocean vistas, while the latter also has a historic hunting cabin along its route. Nearby Inspiration Point Trail in Will Rogers State Park offers an easier, family-friendly alternative. Looking for waterfalls? Eaton Canyon in Altadena and Paradise Falls in Thousand Oaks both drop some 40 feet into natural plunge pools.
Head up into the San Gabriel Mountains where countless trails with funny names, from Bighorn Mine to Icehouse Saddle to the Devil’s Punchbowl provide all-day adventures and great chances for wildlife sightings. And due east from there in Agua Dulce is the 932-acre Vasquez Rocks Natural Area where the Pacific Crest Trail and Foot Trail Loop lead hikers to the famous outcropping where movies like Star Trek and Blazing Saddles were filmed.