This is a family friendly camp and the rangers strictly enforce all rules. You are not allowed to have a campfire past 11pm and the indoor hot spring pool has a limit of 30 people. Quiet time is from 10pm-7am. This was one feature of the campground that may not warrant a return trip. For less restrictions and annoyances you may want to try the nearby Arroyo Tapiado primitive campgrounds. Agua Caliente County Park can still be visited during the day but you may want to camp somewhere else. Furthermore most campgrounds provide little privacy or shade.
At 1110pm we were reminded to put out our fire despite the cold night. I have camped in many locations throughout the United States and this was the first campground that I have been to that enforced a fire curfew. The campfire is a soothing element of camping and it also provides warmth, I could never imagine camping without a campfire. And cooking with a campfire is one of my favorite things to do. I do not like anyone telling me when I can be warm or at what time I am “allowed” to cook food. In addition to the fire curfew the rangers will probably tell you that your music is to loud or that you need to get out of the pool because of overcrowding.
Depending on your camping style you may want to camp somewhere else. However spending the day at the hot springs is worth the trip. As far as camping, the numerous nearby primitive campsites offer a better option.
Despite the minor annoyances of this campground I still had an absolutely amazing time. And I ate like a king. Many people are turned off by the idea of camping and I believe this is because they imagine eating a boring camp meal of beans and rice or pre packaged camp meals. Most activities in my life center around a great meal and camping is no exception. There is no reason to settle for boring food on a camping trip. Friends can pitch in to reduce the food cost and even some fancy items are not that expensive. See below.
The Agua Caliente camp menu
soup and pie
spicy shrimp tacos
spicy medley with cooked potato, apple, banana, Veggie mix
I hope you have a awesome time in Agua Caliente!
To get to Agua Caliente County Park:
Agua Caliente County Park
39555 Great South Stage Route of 1849
Julian, CA 92036
Park Phone: 760-765-1188
Thomas Bros: 430-D3
From Los Angeles:
134 east to 210 east, 57 south, 71 south, 91 east, 15 south, exit 58 for CA-79 S, Turn left at CA-79 S/Temecula Pkwy, Turn left at San Felipe Rd/San Felipe Valley Rd, Turn right at CA-78 W, Take the 1st left onto Great Southern Overland Stage Route of 1849, Continue onto Agua Caliente Spring Rd, Follow signs, next turn left
From San Diego:
Take 94 East, merge onto CA-125 N, Exit/merge onto I-8 E, exit 40 for CA-79 N/ Japatul Valley Rd toward Julian, left at CA-79 N/Japatul Valley Rd, Continue to follow CA-79 N, Turn left to stay on CA-79 N, Turn right at CA-78 E/Banner Rd, signs for Westmorland/Brawely, Turn right at CA-78 E/Banner-Grade, Turn right at Great Southern Overland Stage Route of 1849, Continue onto Agua Caliente Spring Rd, Follow signs, next turn left