Where to find secluded, lakeside camping near Los Angeles?
March 30, 2012 1:33 PM   Subscribe

Secluded, lakeside camping near Los Angeles?

Hi guys, am looking to go camping with a friend around the week of April 18th. We're hoping to find a place that's around 2 hours or so outside of Los Angeles, is pretty secluded (would be great if we had relatively most of the space to ourself) and there was a lake we could camp next to or nearby. Bonus points if the lake is swimmable.

So far we've been thinking about Lake Cachuma in Santa Barbara but neither of us have been so we're not quite sure how closely it matches what we're looking for. Thanks hivemind!
posted by You Guys Like 2 Party? to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
have you considered badwater in death valley (about 3-4 hrs away) nice and warm! ...it's a bit shallow for swimming...more for wading...but it's salty enough that the bottom sparkles with salt crystals, there are some amazing and totally alien salt features right near it (the 'devil's golf course') hiking in colorful canyons and on the dunes, and due to all the recent rain, i'm guessing plenty of widflowers...it's probably completely different than what you're thinking of, (cabin, fishing, etc) but it is such a wildly exotic experience you probably won't notice ;)
posted by sexyrobot at 1:42 PM on March 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

The problem you are going to run into is that most of the lakes you want to go to are still snow-covered or at least snow surrounded. I would second heading to death valley or similar, ESP if you are willing to drive on mildly sketchy dirt roads to get off the beaten track. There are springs here and there in the desert that are lovely this time of year.
posted by rockindata at 1:54 PM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Wow, Death Valley sounds awesome. How far off the beaten path would I have to go? I have a sedan car, would that work okay? Are there maps I can look at?
posted by You Guys Like 2 Party? at 1:56 PM on March 30, 2012

a car is fine...IIRC we took the 15 to the 395 to the 190, which winds around some great scenery...there's a visitors center and museum where you can pick up maps and such and the roads are all really well maintained...like any desert you will need to bundle up at night...your mother says bring a sweater ;)
posted by sexyrobot at 2:25 PM on March 30, 2012

(you can pick up any supplies you forget at the big gas station in lone pine, where the 395 meets the 190)
posted by sexyrobot at 2:28 PM on March 30, 2012

Zaca Lake
posted by hortense at 2:41 PM on March 30, 2012

I'm not sure what Lake Cachuma looks like now, but it was a favorite camping spot as a kid. You can't swim in the lake, though. They have a swimming pool. Bonus points for being within a reasonable drive of a casino and Solvang.

Jackson Lake isn't too far from me (~80 miles northeast of LA) and is nice, but I think it's more a fishing lake than a swimming one. http://www.yelp.com/biz/jackson-lake-valyermo
posted by luckynerd at 3:00 PM on March 30, 2012

Lake Casitas is near Ojai on the way to Santa Barbara.
posted by euphorb at 8:23 AM on April 3, 2012

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