Fun Off-Grid Camping in SoCal

Ah, Southern California: land of sun, surf, and… secluded camping spots? Yep, you heard that right. If you’re fed up with elbowing your way through crowded beaches or dodging selfie sticks on tourist-packed trails, it’s time to veer off the beaten path. Grab your gear, pack your Alaskan Camper, and brace yourself for the wilder side of SoCal. Whether you’re aiming to conquer a new trail or just secure a peaceful nook under the stars, Southern California offers hidden gems that will make you forget you’re just miles from one of the busiest places on earth. 


Do campgrounds qualify as off-grid? Who are you? The boondocking police? Leave us alone, we’re starting with campgrounds and getting more adventurous as we continue—but trust us—they’re all great spots and provide a range of stuff to do and sites to see. Plus, when preparing to go off-grid it’s helpful to practice dry camping in your Alaskan at a campground or RV park to get used to the lack of facilities before heading out into more remote areas. 

Campland on the Bay

Situated along the dynamic shores of Mission Bay, Campland on the Bay stands out as a beloved family vacation destination, open 365 days a year. Spread across 40 acres with 560 campsites, this iconic campground has offered sun-drenched, laughter-packed getaways for over 50 years. Positioned right in the heart of San Diego, Campland can accommodate anything from RVs to tents—but, obviously, we prefer you bring your Alaskan to show off. 


Beyond Campland’s amenities featuring sport courts, bike rentals, watersports, a dog park, an arcade, and even a skatepark—there’s plenty to explore within miles of Campland that shouldn’t be missed.

  • Biking and Beaches: Just a short 2.5-mile ride from Campland, hit the popular Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach. Rent a bike at the Campland Marina and enjoy a scenic 12-mile trail around Mission Bay.
  • Fishing Adventures: Cast a line off Crystal Pier without needing a California Sport Fishing License. Aim for surf perch, shovelnose guitarfish, or even a leopard shark. The pier is open from 8 am to sunset, and you can grab your bait and tackle at the Campland Marina.
  • Watersports Galore: Whether it’s sailing, kayaking, or wakeboarding, Mission Bay is the ultimate playground for water sports enthusiasts. With 27 miles of shoreline and a host of rental options at Campland Marina, every day can be a new adventure on the water.
  • Wildlife and Nature: Explore the adjacent Kendall-Frost Mission Bay Marsh Reserve, a haven for birdwatchers and nature lovers. Keep an eye out for the endangered Light-footed Clapper Rail and Belding’s Savannah Sparrow.

Santa Fe Park RV Resort

Heading north and just off Interstate 5 in San Diego, Santa Fe Park RV Resort provides an idyllic setting for Alaskan Camper enthusiasts. With amenities like full hookups, a heated pool, and close to SeaWorld and the San Diego Zoo, it’s a prime Southern California destination for adventurers in Alaskan Campers.


  • Championship Golf Courses: Refine your game at one of the many championship courses just minutes away.
  • Sea World San Diego: Dive into the wonders of ocean life and thrilling rides.
  • San Diego Zoo: Encounter exotic animals in one of the most famous zoos in the world.
  • Local Beaches: Spend lazy days or adventurous afternoons at miles of stunning nearby beaches.
  • Downtown San Diego: Explore the historic Gaslamp Quarter, vibrant nightlife, and excellent dining.
  • Fitness and Recreation: Stay active with the resort’s on-site fitness center, swimming pool, and spa.

Dispersed Camping

Okay, now we’re getting a little further from civilization and trying out a little boondocking. Boondocking, or dispersed camping, strips camping down to its basics: no hookups, no amenities, just you and your camper in the great outdoors. This self-sufficient style sometimes requires a permit but is often free, allowing campers to connect with nature on public lands managed by agencies like the National Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management. These spots provide a durable surface for parking or pitching a tent but expect nothing more. Remember, respecting and preserving the natural environment is the top priority when boondocking, allowing everyone to enjoy these pristine spaces for years to come.

Anza Borrego State Park & Coyote Canyon

Located within the vast expanse of Anza Borrego State Park, Coyote Canyon serves as a dynamic testament to the region’s rich historical tapestry and the resilience of the Mountain Cahuilla civilization. This 35-mile trail follows the path of Coyote Creek, offering a range of activities for those eager to immerse themselves in nature. Whether you’re a hiker, mountain biker, or a 4-wheel drive enthusiast, Coyote Canyon presents a rewarding challenge that’s as educational as it is exhilarating.

Vehicle access varies along the canyon. The trails are accessible from both Borrego Springs to the south and Anza to the north, but vehicle traffic is restricted between Upper Willows and Middle Willows to preserve the area’s natural beauty. From June to October 1, Coyote Canyon and Horse Canyon trails are closed from the north, and the Coyote Canyon trail is also closed at Third Crossing, making these months ideal for hiking or horseback riding while respecting the local wildlife conservation efforts.


  • Backpacking and Day-Hiking: Traverse terrains that challenge both novices and seasoned hikers. Try Lower Willows for its lush birding opportunities and Collins Valley for extended backpacking excursions. For the more ambitious, the steep trek up to Alcoholic Pass provides stunning views of the Borrego Valley. Remember to always scout your route beforehand.
  • Horseback Riding/Mountain Biking: Experience the canyon’s beauty on horseback or a mountain bike, exploring remote trails that offer peace and solitude.
  • 4-Wheel Driving: Navigate the challenging off-road trails that make Coyote Canyon a favorite among 4WD enthusiasts.
  • Photography and Wildlife Viewing: Capture the stunning scenery and wildlife that inhabit this significant ecological area.

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Ocotillo Wells 

Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area is a vast 85,000-acre desert playground dedicated to off-highway vehicle enthusiasts. This expansive area offers a unique blend of adventure and natural beauty, flanked by Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and vast tracts of BLM land. It’s a prime spot for those looking to test their vehicles’ capabilities or simply enjoy the rugged terrain away from the city hustle.

Ocotillo Wells allows visitors to set up camp anywhere within the park for up to 30 days per calendar year, free of charge. However, certain high-interest spots like Shell Reef, Devil’s Slide, and Blowsand Hill are off-limits to camping to preserve their natural beauty and geological significance. The park encourages self-sufficiency with no water filling stations and a lack of waste disposal facilities, so come prepared. 


  • Off-Highway Vehicle Riding: Explore the diverse terrain on your ATV, dirt bike, or 4WD.
  • Geological Exploration: Visit sites like Shell Reef, Gas Domes, and the Pumpkin Patch to see unique geological formations.
  • Nighttime Adventures: Join others in lighting up Blowsand Hill with vehicle headlights for nighttime rides.
  • Wildlife Watching: Keep an eye out for the diverse desert wildlife, especially near Barrel Springs.
  • Hiking and Biking: Take advantage of the trails for some non-motorized exploration.
  • Photography: Capture the stunning desert landscapes and vibrant sunsets.


Dive into the enchanting landscapes and vibrant culture of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula—a favorite escape for adventurers and sun-seekers alike. From the surf-ready waves of the West Coast to the tranquil shores of the East, Baja beckons with its rugged beauty and warm hospitality. Uncover this hidden jewel with your Alaskan Camper, where every stop along this stunning coastline promises a unique blend of relaxation and adventure.

Baja (West Coast) K58

Let’s head to Mexico! Just south of Rosarito, the Alisitos Sandy Beach K58 Campground is a hidden gem for surfers and campers alike. Located at kilometer 58 on Mexico’s Highway 1, it’s a prime spot that Southern California surfers flock to for quick weekend getaways. For just $5 per person per night, you can set up camp your Alaskan on a cliff with breathtaking ocean views, creating the perfect backdrop for a tranquil seaside escape. Whether you’re catching waves or just soaking in the seaside atmosphere, K58 offers an unbeatable blend of adventure and relaxation.


  • Surfing: Prime waves for all surfing levels, with consistent swells year-round.
  • Beachcombing: Explore the sandy shores for shells and sea glass.
  • Cliffside Relaxation: Enjoy the scenic views from atop the cliffs overlooking the ocean.
  • Sunset Watching: Experience breathtaking sunsets dipping below the Pacific horizon.
  • Campfires: Gather around a fire pit in the evening for a classic beach campfire experience.

Baja (East Coast) Kiki’s

Kiki’s RV Camping Hotel is on Baja’s picturesque East Coast and is a cherished spot among locals and visitors alike. Known for its well-kept facilities, this campsite offers more than just a place to park your Alaskan or pitch a tent. With its charming palapas featuring elevated patios, Kiki’s provides an array of amenities including RV hookups, hot showers, flush toilets, and reliable WiFi. While the rates may not be the lowest, the cleanliness and positive atmosphere make Kiki’s a top choice for a secure and enjoyable spot to stay a few nights. 


  • Beach Access: Quick walks to tranquil beaches for sunbathing and swimming.
  • Town Exploration: Easy access to local town for dining and shopping.
  • Surfing: Short drives to renowned surf spots along the East Coast.
  • Wildlife Watching: Spot local wildlife and birds in nearby natural habitats.
  • Cultural Experiences: Engage with the community through local events and markets.

Let’s wrap it up…

As you set off to explore SoCal’s diverse landscapes and hidden gems, there’s no better companion than an Alaskan Camper. Whether you’re navigating through the desert expanse of Anza-Borrego or soaking up the surf culture at K58, an Alaskan Camper is your gateway to a remarkable adventure, blending the spirit of the wild with the coziness of home wherever you park—plus some of these spots you’d be crazy to pull a fifth-wheel or try to maneuver an RV, amirite?