Free Camping for First Timers

Within the County of San Diego’s Sustainability initiative is the goal to preserve, protect, maintain and cultivate natural environments where residents, visitors and future generations can spend quality time outside.

One of the tactics to support this initiative is the launch of a First Time Camping Program – part of our overarching Experience the Outdoors program, which seeks to accommodate, educate and inspire park visitors.

We recognize there are families in San Diego who do not camp, or even visit, parks. By inviting people to our sites, and providing all of the necessary equipment and instruction, we hope to overcome barriers to visitation such as lack of awareness and financial hardship.

The First Time Camping Program provides no-cost campsite reservations at four of our parks:

View the flyer to read details about the program - or continue on:

Camping equipment is provided, and park staff will be on site to share helpful information like how to set up a campsite, how to start a campfire, leave-no-trace principles and outdoor safety tips. 

Campsites can accommodate a maximum of eight people and two vehicles. Provided tents include one 6-person tent and two 4-person tents, so individuals have room to spread out. Other items that will be available at each campsite include eight sleeping bags, eight sleeping mats, eight folding chairs, three lanterns, one cooler, firewood and six marshmallow roasting sticks. All items are collected and disinfected after use. Campers may also bring their own equipment.  

Group options are available and sites are subject to change. 

The program is designed especially for first-time campers who are not already in our reservation system. To register, call our Reservations Center at (858)-565-3600. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Reservations must be made in advance.


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