Key West Fishing Pole
The Ultimate Guide to Camping and Fishing in Southern California

Do you want to get started camping and fishing in Southern California, but you're not sure where to start? Although it can feel overwhelming to a beginner, it all starts with finding beautiful spots, bringing the essentials, and sticking with a plan.

In this quick guide, we'll help you get started with the essentials so that you can embrace the great outdoors as soon as possible. Read on to learn about camping and fishing in California today! 


Find the Best Spots

Before you start camping in California or fishing, you'll want to scout out some of the best spots for your trip. Here are some of the top spots that we recommend: 

San Onofre Bluffs Campground at San Onofre State Beach

If you want fishing and camping all in one trip, staying at the beach is one of your best best. The San Onofre Bluffs Campground has 175 camping sites available for both camping vans and recreational vehicles. However, if you're a fan of tent camping, you can also find a spot at the San Mateo campground.

Lake Helmet

If you prefer lakes over oceans, you'll want to spend some time at Lake Helmet. Providing both beautiful camping grounds surrounded by the San Jacinto Mountains as well as fishing, there is plenty for everyone at this location.

This is a great location for beginners, as they recently opened their Soaring Pines Cafe. You also have the option of enjoying glamping as well as cabins with lake views.

You'll be able to enjoy marina rentals at Lake Helmet as well as affordable boat launch rates. You can also book a standard fishing pontoon boat.  

San Onofre Bluffs Campground 

This state beach campground is so close to the water that you'll be able to hear the ocean waves through your tent in the evening. If you have a young family, this campgrounds is family-friendly as it offers fun activities for everyone as well as geocaching. 


Bring the Essentials

Once you've decided on the location you'd like as well as whether you want to tent camp or RV camp, your next step should be planning what to bring. Here are some of the essentials that you don't want to forget adding to your list: 

  • Knife and/or multipurpose tool
  • Rods, reels, and lines that match the fishes you want to catch
  • Securely wrapped and packaged hooks
  • Polarized sunglasses
  • Cooler
  • Tacklebox
  • Camp chairs
  • Sleeping bags
  • Camp grill
  • Boat safety kit

Keep in mind that you'll want to start a list at least a month ahead of your trip so that you have time to purchase anything you're missing. For camping gear, REI has a comprehensive list of the essentials you'll need for your trip. 

If you're new to camping, don't worry about realizing that you brought too much on your trip. This is a better place to be in rather than bringing too little, especially if you're at a remote campground without a grocery or drugstore nearby. 

Remember that what you bring also depends on the conditions you'll be in as well as the weather. For instance, thicker sleeping bags for colder weather can be the difference between having an enjoyable or a miserable time. 


Plan Ahead

If you feel confident in your list, your next step is to start planning ahead for your camping trip. You'll want to reserve your campgrounds as far in advance as possible of your trip, so make sure you decide on the dates you'll be going as soon as you can. Some state parks even require people to make reservations because of the high demand.

Next, you'll want to make a prediction about what the weather will be like when you arrive. Although no weather prediction far in advance can be guaranteed, it's important that you're prepared for the possibility of rain or storms if you're going between November and April. 

You'll want to be aware of the amenities available at your campgrounds. Some will have running water, bathrooms, and showers available. If you're new to camping, we also recommend starting off with a state park or campground that's near civilization. 

This is because that if you run out of supplies or find that you're missing an important item, you'll still be able to head to the store without completely ruining your trip. However, you'll find that overall, campers are friendly and happy to lend a hand if you ask politely. 

Last but not least, be aware that there are black bears in Southern California. Keep your food in a secure away and clean up after yourself at all times. Refrain from feeding bears or any wildlife, as this makes them used to humans and more dangerous. 


Start Camping and Fishing in Southern California Today

Camping and fishing in Southern California can feel overwhelming if you've never done it before. By choosing the locations you're interested in beforehand, you'll be able to plan your trip around those locations and cut down on all of the confusing details.

For instance, by knowing that a campground has running water and showers, you won't have to worry about making sure you bring your own portable shower. Next, make sure that you create a list with all of the items you'll need to bring on your trip.

You'll find that these items largely depend on the activities you're planning to do, the weather, the campground amenities, and more. Last but not least, plan your camping and fishing trip far ahead of time so that you can make reservations.

Ready to start your fishing, camping, and boating adventure? Register to become a member of the Freedom Boat Club today!  

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