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How to Go Camping in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in California provides its guests with the same scenery that provides the stage for Africa, the Old West and even the Amazon in a number of films. A camping trip to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area will give you access to a wide variety of activities including hiking, mountain biking and even whale watching-and it will give you a chance to kick back with family or friends without any of the normal day-to-day distractions.

Plan ahead. How long do you plan to be out camping? When do you want to camp?

Consider what type of campground you are interested in. Are you looking for an individual or group site? Are you interested in one of the sites operated by the California State Parks Service?

If you want a group campsite, you have a variety of options. You can call to make a reservation for the Circle X Ranch Campground at (805) 370-2300. Or, plan an impromptu trip to a walk-in site at Leo Carillo State Park, Point Mugo State Park, Malibu Creek State Park or Topanga State Park.

A variety of sites can be reserved, and there are plenty of first-come, first-served sites as well. Call the California State Parks at (818) 880-0350 for information.

Pack for your trip. Only bring as much gear, food, water and clothing as you will need.

Head to the area and follow directions for the campsite you will be staying at to claim your reserved campsite, or reserve a first-come, first-served site.

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