2hrs by car, dog friendly (on leash in most areas)
Eponymously idyllic, Idyllwild is nestled into the San Jacinto Mountains, flanked by Tahquitz Peak and Suicide Rock (famous for its rock climbing). The area offers glassy lakes, majestic ponderosa pine forests and pretty nooks and crannies perfect for pitching a tent in. From there, you can hike, rock climb, mountain bike, fish or explore the villages in Idyllwild, Pine Cove and Fern Valley. Fun fact: Dolly Parton once owned a home here (we can’t really imagine her camping, though).
Idyllwild (28 sites) and Stone Creek Campgrounds (44 sites) are open to both walk-ins and reservations. Consult Reserve California for reservations and San Jacinto Mountains for more information.