Campground itself is located almost two miles inland from beach! Total bummer if you thought you reserved a spot at "San Onofre State Beach" which is actually located at the beach. Once you explain to the kids the importance of reading everything (even the small print) before buying, you're good to go. Campground is actually very nice. Is on Camp Pendelton Marine Base but open to public. Can see Marines training & working near-by. A shame it's so far inland, but if you can't get in anywhere closer, this is a great alternative. Bad (other than location): No sewer hook-up; water & electric only. No WiFi, and Verizon Data (3G & LTE) is spotty at best. Don't know about other carriers. Good: Somewhat close to beach (quick drive or 45 minute walk). Lots of trails to explore. OTA TV Channel selection better than average. Staff is helpful and nice. Clean. Shopping & Restaurants are within 2 miles. Your reservation allows you to park and use other ON THE BEACH State campgrounds for free (San Clemente & San Onofre). Overall: if you can't get on the beach and you have large grey/black tanks, this is a very good alternative. We camped here in a Travel Trailer.
Absolutely fantastic state park. Layout is great, sites feel private with plenty of room. Many sites have views of valley looking towards Fort Pendelton. You will hear artillery fire from time to time. Great location to access Trestles surf areas. Car sticker gives you free access to San O's beach. Easy access to San Clemete and Dana Point. Staff was very friendly. We stayed here for 2 weeks. Week days are empty, weekends are full. We will be back. Check for park closing due to military ops. We camped here in a Motorhome.
Our second time at this park because of proximity to family. If that weren't the case, we probably wouldn't come here. If San Clemente had any space, we would have gone there instead of here. There's noise from Camp Pendleton and I-5, even though it's a mile away. There's no view of the ocean, or anything else for that matter. Verizon aircard connectivity was sketchy at best. On the positive side, the sites are well spaced and have considerably vegetation between them, so privacy isn't a problem. The rangers and camp hosts were friendly and helpful. We camped here in a Motorhome.
I like this park. It is dark, no lights at night. It is on a marine base, and sometimes there are loud explosions. No problem during the day, but the dog doesn't like it. There is shrubbery between every campsite so you are not right next to your neighbor. Nice park, not all sites are easy to back into with large trailer, so beware. 28, 23, and 30 are good for large trailers. I will camp here again We camped here in a Fifth Wheel.
We came to this park to camp with our friends. Large paved sites. Our site included a picnic table and fire ring. The dump station was not available this visit. We needed to go one of the other State campgrounds in the area in order to dump our tanks. We would return to the park again for a getaway, as it is within a 45 minute drive from our home. We camped here in a Travel Trailer.
Nice enough for a state park but pricey. I think this is the most expensive place we stayed during this trip and others were RV resorts with FHU, cable and pools, etc. for less than this. You can pick up a few SD TV channels on Antenna here. Some sites are roomier than others with some backing up to common grassy areas (inner circle). Its a long walk to the beach, but since its all back in we drove the toad to the town and beaches. It does fill up on weekends but everyone respected quiet time at 10PM. I might look for another park if I am in this area again. We camped here in a Motorhome.
Enjoyed this park a lot. We had space #3, which is directly across from restrooms/showers. One of the access roads to another area of the campground ran right behind our site, so was a little noisy. Also had some I-5 noise early in the morning, even though it's almost a mile away. The sites are fairly large and level, with lots of vegetation separating them. The E/W hookups worked as expected, and the double sanitation dump was very convenient, and actually very clean for what it is! AT&T cellphones and Verizon Aircard worked well here. We didn't use the showers, and only used the restrooms once or twice. I've marked them clean, but clean is relative. Considering how many campers use them, they weren't bad at all. We like this campground well enough that we'd like to come back. We camped here in a Motorhome.
This is our absolute favorite campground! Showers are like "fire hoses." Rangers are really nice. Great pizza at Selma's. Calafia Beach is the best for riding boogie boards. Spaces are nice, wide and far apart from your neighbor. Best to use the showers around 3:00pm after the park people have completed their daily cleaning. We paid 1/2 price using our State Disability registration. California has doubled the price of nightly camping fee, and additional vehicles are now $15. We camped here in a Tent Trailer.
We camped at San Mateo campground, the campground about 1.5 miles from the beach. This campground would not be my ultimate favorite to go to. There really isn't much to do. The Beach is far away (and if you take the trail be prepared for TWO big hills). There is no playground. I mean you can hang at camp but the sites aren't all that big either and I know it's summer but all the sites were really brown, as in dirt. And lots of it. We had water and electric hook-ups which were nice. But with CA raising its prices on camping, this campground will now be $60 a night for the partial hook-ups. Definitely not worth it in my opinion. We camped here in a Motorhome.
I'm reviewing The Bluffs only. Total dry camping. Bathrooms but no showers. We couldn't see the ocean. As the name implies, the camp sites are up on the bluff, if we wanted to get to the water we would have had to hike down approximately 50' down a very steep path, as we are disabled we didn't even attempt this. We stayed here only 2 nights, probably won't stay here again. We camped here in a Motorhome.
We found this park very comfortable and pleasant. The bathrooms were very clean and well maintained. The campground had several very nice sites and parking was fairly easy. Although there is no view of the ocean, it was a very close and easy drive to get to the beach. There are several restaurants and stores nearby. We camped here in a Travel Trailer.
This campground is a gem! Friendly staff, clean sites, quiet, easy access, good security, it has it all. But, if you're afraid of rattlesnakes, I wouldn't stay here. Given the proximity to the freeway, I am surprised to always hear about one or two snakes sighted during our visits. Come to think about it, we saw a very large coyote on our last visit who boldly came into our campsite. Of course, that is what camping is supposed to be about, right? Nature at its best! Keep your dogs close to your rig and they'll be fine. We camped here in a Motorhome.
San Mateo is the inland campground portion of San Onofre State Park, whereas the Bluffs campground is a summer-only primitive camp along the driveway of the beach campground. San Clemente State Beach is nearby but is a different park altogether. Note that only a few of the Bluffs sites have ocean views, but all are within a nice trail to the long, beautiful beach. San Mateo campground is several miles from the Bluffs portion of the park. This camp is 1+ miles inland from the beaches, down Christianitos Road, an access road to Camp Pendleton Marine Base. San Mateo camp has one section for electric-water hookup sites, and several loops for primitive sites. There is a double dump station in the camp. The sites are mostly very spacious and more private than most campgrounds, with lawns, trees and shrubs, ample picnic tables and fire pits. The perimeter sites look out onto a beautiful riparian wilderness area. This also means that your small pets are in danger if left outside unattended. I have seen coyotes roaming the campground and I was thrilled one day when a bobcat (not a cougar) emerged from the brush and went under my rig. Mostly though you will see lots of rabbits. This camp has availability more frequently than nearby San Clemente State Beach, which is booked most weekends and all summer. However, hookup sites sell out on many weekends and holidays and during the summer here as well so site-specific reservations are suggested for those. Now the negatives (besides no sewer hookups) – a firing range is close to the site, and the sound of gunfire echoes through the camp most weekends and some evenings. Finally, the bombing practice at Camp Pendleton can be heard very clearly here. Besides all that, enjoy, you’re in a great location to explore the area from! We camped here in a Motorhome.
This is a great place in the off-season. We were here midweek and lots of sites were available. Weekends and summers fill up fast. It's 1.5 miles on a trail to the beach. There is quite a bit of ups and downs on the trail so it is not just an easy ride or stroll. Sites 1-67 have water & electricity, the rest have no hook ups. Off season rate for hookup sites is $29 with $2 discount for seniors. We camped here in a Motorhome.
Just returned from a 3-day weekend at San Onofre / San Mateo Campground with my wife and two children. From my understanding there are only 68 "full hookup sites" at this campground, which offer 30amp service and water. There is a double station dump site. Reasonably sized pad, easy to back into. Site was not completely level. Fire ring and large picnic table at site. Our site had plenty of shade and the rear joined a common area with a nice tree for the kids to climb. There are community fresh water spigots located every few spaces which were very convenient. Dumpsters and bathrooms were located conveniently throughout the park. There is a "campfire" gathering area, however programs only take place in the summer. The beach is approximately 1.5 miles away and is accessible by walking/biking path or Christianitos Road. The path is hilly and may prove a challenge to those not on mountain bikes. The closest convenience store is St. O's liquor store on Camino del Real, ~1.5mi away. There are a few restaurants close by, also on Camino del Real. We had a great time, however unless you have motive transportation (toad, bicycle, skateboard, scooter) expect to do some walking to get anywhere. I am certain we will visit again. Note: Sunday morning/afternoon we noted that there must be a firing range (not Pendleton) nearby. We did not confirm this with the park staff, but might be worth checking out if you are into shooting sports. We camped here in a Motorhome.
This campground is not near the beach, it is in a valley about 2 miles from San Onofre SB. The sites are roomy and have electric/water hookup. Bathhouses were clean when I looked. Surfing is very good at the beach and the reason most people come here. Your camping fee gets you into the beach parking. Since this is not on the water we may not return to this campground. We camped here in a Travel Trailer.