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Best Camping Sites Near OC

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(credit: Thinkstock)

With all of the condos in Orange County, camping may not be the first thing you think of when you think about this part of the state. However, you don't even need to leave the county to find some really good campgrounds. Whether you want to do some hiking, biking or just relaxing away from the hustle of Orange County, these are great places to visit on your next camping trip.

O'Neill Regional Park

O'Neill Regional Park
30892 Trabuco Canyon Road
Trabuco Canyon, CA 92678
(949) 923-2260

O'Neill Park is an interesting place to say the least as it hardly feels like you're in Orange County. If you head east on S18, you'll pass a biker bar that isn't far from the park. O'Neill has excellent hiking trails, playgrounds for kids and plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors without crossing the county line. Camping is allowed all year as well which is a major plus. Check the website for registration and check-in details.

Doheny State Beach
(credit: CBS)

Doheny State Beach
25300 Doheny Park Drive
Dana Point, CA 92629
(949) 496-6172

If you're going to camp, you might as well camp as close to the beach as you can. You can't get any closer to the beach than some of the camping areas in the southern half of the park. While you're there, you can enjoy surfing or fishing in the surf. Of course, going for a walk on the beach is always a fun activity. This park is particularly popular for the Doheny Blues Festival and the 4th of July.

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(credit: Mastercamper S./Yelp)

Blue Jay Campground
Main Divide Road and Ortega Highway (74)
Lake Elsinore, CA 92530
(858) 673-6180

Lake Elsinore isn't far from Orange County, but it sure does feel that way. That being said, Lake Elsinore is good for a couple of things. Namely, it's good for skydiving and for camping without having to stray far from Orange County. In addition, this campground is great for observing nature along great hikes. While enjoying the great outdoors, make sure to protect your pets as coyotes are prevalent in these parts.

Related: Best Campgrounds Around Orange County

Irvine Lake

Irvine Lake
4621 Santiago Canyon Road
Silverado, CA 92676
(714) 649-9111

Hnown as the home of the annual Hootenanny music festival, Irvine Park is in Orange County, but it feels pretty far removed from the usual business of OC. As such, its a great place to take the family camping - especially if you want to do some fishing. Fishing is open until 4 p.m. during the week and later on weekends. Camping costs $25 a night for as many as four people, and boats are available to rent. This campground is in a very dry and open area so rules about campfires are pretty strict. See the website for details.

san onofre parks-ca-gov

San Onofre State Beach
Old Highway 101
San Clemente, CA 92672
(949) 492-4872

San Onofre has long been a popular beach - so popular in fact that it was mentioned by The Beach Boys in "Surfin' USA." This is a popular spot for surfers, people who enjoy kayaking and folks who enjoy bird watching. Beyond that, you can also see whales at the right time of year at this park. As a great place to getaway without having to go very far, biking and hiking trails are a top attraction here.

Related: Best Outdoor Gear Stores In OC

Gary Schwind is a freelance writer covering all things Orange County. His work can be found on
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