Look to the stars for your next dog-friendly camping destination. Observatory Campground is located in the Cleveland National Forest, less than 2 hours out of San Diego, and boasts access to the Palomar Observatory as its main draw. It's also a lovely spot for camping with your dog, stargazing, and relaxing in the great outdoors.
Peak times for people to visit the grounds are between March and September, though the park does stay open year-round. If you decide to go during the off-season, you won't have access to coin-operated showers or flushing toilets, but vault toilets are available. Hookups aren't provided either, which means this campground is best suited to people and pups that don't mind "ruffing it" a little bit.
The 42 dog-friendly campsites in Observatory Campground are situated in a loop, can fit rigs up to 32 feet long, and sit in forested surroundings dotted with pine and oak trees. One of the sites is wheelchair-accessible, and each site gets its own parking spur.
Two-thirds of these camping spots can be reserved in advance, with the rest available on a first-come, first-served basis. So whether you're renting a pet-friendly RV in San Diego, hitting the road in your own RV, or pitching a tent, Observatory Campground is worth checking out at any time of year.
For the avid stargazer, some of the lots feature a level concrete area you can use to set up your telescope. There are also campfire rings with grills, and trash bins are located around the grounds.
Canine stargazing enthusiasts are welcome to stay here; however, you'll need
to keep your doggo on-leash at all times. Don't forget to bring a good
supply of poop bags as well so you can clean up after Fido whenever they
take a bathroom break.
To get to the Palomar Observatory, campers can take a hike along the 2.2-mile Observatory Trail (the entrance is right near the amphitheater). Regular "Star Parties" are a huge draw, attracting hundreds of stargazers — both the experienced and beginner variety — to view the heavens from Palomar Mountain.
During the day, there's still lots of fun to be had, as campers can hike around in Palomar Mountain State Park or pack a picnic to enjoy al fresco. You'll find a general store just down the road so you can fill up on supplies for your stay.
Whether you're an amateur astronomer or you're just looking for a beautiful camping spot to share with your fur-baby, don't miss Observatory Campground!