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Cute Little Camping Spot Outside of Los Angles

Updated: Dec 2, 2022

Have you ever heard of Lake Cachuma?! I hadn't either until I went there for a camping trip. Lake Cachuma is up near Santa Barbara! I went to Lake Cachuma this weekend for a camping trip, actually, this was my first camping trip since living in Los Angeles over the past 3 years.

Lake Cachuma is about 85 mins from where I live, so about a 2-hour drive from LA. The drive was super easy. You take the 101 for most of the drive, you'll see the ocean on your left-hand side on your way there, hopefully, it's a sunny day and you'll get to enjoy the beautiful views.

You will pass the Camarillo Premium Outlets on the way... They have stores like Nike, Levi's, Adidas, Tory Burch, Vans, Saks OFF 5th & Lululemon to name a few. The Rosewood Miramar Beach Hotel is also on the way! This is an incredible 5-star hotel. So is the Santa Barbra Zoo.

While I was driving through Santa Barbra I made a pit stop on State Street and did a little shopping. This area is super cute, with tons of dogs walking around and some really cute shops to pop into! I was really wanting a hat for camping and stopped at Hats Unlimted to see if I could find something for the weekend! The options they have in this store at endless! I ended up with a cute little Crocheted Scala Hat with a red ribbon around the brim. I will link something similar here! (I can't find the exact one on their website).

The campsite was about 30-40 minutes drive from downtown Santa Barbra. The drive up to Lake Cachuma is beautiful. Windy roads, plenty of places to pull over and snap some pictures. I was wondering what cell phone service would be like when we got there but not to worry there is full service!

At Lake Cachuma, you can rent cabins, tent sites, yurts, and group areas, and there are hookups for your RVs. I rented a traditional campground tent site for this trip! The cabins have bathrooms and a small kitchenette, Yurts have amazing views of the lake. There is a 2-night minimum for the weekends when booking your reservation. Dogs are also welcome at Lake Cachuma! Almost everyone there had a furry pet in tow, just make sure to bring a leash and a copy of their current rabies vaccination. Dogs at the Lake are required to be leashed at all times. I prefer to bring these longer ones like this!

I was pretty nervous about the whole bathroom situation... but to my surprise, there was a legit bathroom there, they even had a few showers with hot water too! I didn't use the showers but it was a nice option to have if needed! The bathrooms weren't all that but it was better than the alternative!! The bathrooms were also about a 3-minute walk from our campsite so I couldn't have been happier. It was an ideal situation for my small bladder.

The Campground overall was very clean and super friendly! There was a super cute little market with a gift shop in it, they had tons of snacks, beer, wine, ice cream, and souvenirs! There was even a cute restaurant called Hook'd, down near the Boat and Kayak rentals. We were able to order some lunch, rent a boat, and go have a great afternoon! Hook'd makes a great grilled cheese and their onion rings are incredible. The ranch dressing there is really good too, which is always very important.

We ended up renting a 14-person pontoon boat one day while we were there and it was such a blast. You can't actually swim in Lake Cachuma because they use this lake as their main source of water. But you can still fish! Just no swimming in the lake, which is kind of a bummer but oh well!

As I said, this was my first real camping trip as an adult... I feel like I was pretty well prepared so I will list some of the things I brought with me for the trip. I will also make a list of things I wish I brought... hahaha for the next time!!

A list of things you might consider bringing with you: The Camping List:

  • Coleman Skydome Camping Tent with Dark Room Technology - I prefer a larger tent for extra space... I'm talking about a 6-person tent for 2 people & 1 dog. It was the perfect amount of space and the dark room technology made all the difference!

  • An Air Mattress - I prefer to use an air mattress over those sleeping pad things and sleeping on the ground, this is a little more comfortable! This one even has an internal pump to blow up! Easy peesy.

  • Sheets - For the air mattress, no a necessity but I prefer to bring some!

  • Pillows - Bring at least two pillows!

  • Blankets - I just brought a Barefoot Dreams Blanket from home but I needed something thicker.

  • Portable Chargers - This is a solar charger, it is waterproof, it has a flashlight, and a compass. It's perfect for camping!

  • A 10' x 10' Canopy - This will give you some shade from the sun

  • Hanging Lights - For inside the tent during nighttime, these are crucial.

  • A small side table - I liked being able to set my things down on it, being able to eat on it.

  • Baby Wipes - You can get these anywhere! I used these constantly to wipe down my face, arms, legs, etc.

  • Portable Folding Chairs - For sitting around the campfire, take them to the lake for fishing, etc.

  • A Cooler or two - for drinks, foods, condiments, ice, etc.

  • Packs of Water - I brought three 1L Plastic Jugs and one 24pack of water bottles.

  • Hammock - I love being able to hang in the hammock and read a book on my Kindle Oasis.

  • Head Lamp - It's a lot easier to do things in the dark when you can use both of your hands!

  • Camping Lantern - It gets so dark at night, all the extra light helps!!

  • Taser - just in case for safety, always better safe than sorry in my book.

Things I wish I brought & will pack for next time:

  • Hand Warmers - I got pretty cold in the evenings and I wish I had these to help keep me warm.

  • An Extra Blanket - repeat from above haha

  • Fire Starters - You can buy fire starters and extra wood at the little general store!

  • Gas Camping Stove - our friends brought one of these along, I'll definitely get one of these next time, it makes cooking dinner a lot easier and faster.

Overall I feel I was pretty prepared for the camping trip and I honestly had a pretty good time! Lake Cachuma is a great little escape from Los Angeles and I can't recommend it enough for a quick weekend getaway! Whether you want to camp in tents, rent a cabin, or bring your RV, you can do it all at Lake Cachuma. I loved the fact that there was a restaurant nearby just in case! There was a little bit of traffic on the way back to the city Sunday but nothing surprising there.

* While all opinions and recommendations are always my own, my content on this blog post may contain affiliate links for products I use and love. This means I get a small commission (at no additional cost to you) if you make a purchase after clicking one of these links. As always, I am so thankful for your support so I can continue to offer free resources!

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Emily has honest conversations with guests about mental health, addiction recovery, self-development, wellness, and spirituality


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Emily’s mission is to annihilate the stigma around addiction, to provide listeners with the tools, guidance, and motivation to help them navigate through their recovery and personal growth one day at a time.


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