Great Rancho Campout

Great Rancho Campout FAQ's

What is the Great Rancho Campout?

SAMLARC’s annual overnight event is a wonderful camping trip – in your own backyard! Join the SAMLARC community for a family-friendly campout that includes games, food, and fun straight out of the Wild West.

The Great Rancho Campout will be held at Trabuco Mesa Park from the evening of Friday, August 2 through the morning of Saturday, August 3. The evening will feature games from the Wild West, a trick roping show, panning for gold, a watermelon eating contest, and more! Once you’ve rustled up an appetite, join us for an all-you-can-eat BBQ dinner and make s’mores around the campfire just before bedtime. We’ll set out a hearty pancake breakfast the next morning for you to enjoy before you make the long journey home!

What should I bring with me to the Great Rancho Campout?

Please remember to bring a tent and sleeping bags – we are camping, after all! Here are a few Great Rancho Campout must-haves:

Sleeping bag
Extra blankets (it may be chilly that night!)
Comfy PJ’s and a fresh change of clothes
A swimsuit and towels for water games
Low-backed chair or picnic blanket to relax around the fire pit
Duds from the Wild West! Stetson hats, boots, belt buckles, bolo ties, handkerchiefs - get into the spirit of the Old West (and look amazing for our Western-themed photobooth!)

In order to provide the best experience possible for all SAMLARC community members, SAMLARC kindly asks that you refrain from bringing the following items with you to the Great Rancho Campout:

Cigarettes or other smoking devices
Glass containers. This includes, but is not limited to: drinking glasses, bowls, beer/soda bottles, pitchers, etc.
Portable barbecues and/or propane tanks.
Skates and skateboards. Bicycles and tricycles may be parked at the bike racks provided around the Lake and outside of the Beach Club
Play equipment (e.g. bounce houses)
Firearms, firecrackers, rockets, torpedoes, or other types of explosives; guns, pistols, slingshots, bows and arrows, or any other object capable of propelling a projectile

When can I pitch our tent? Can I reserve a spot?

Tents can be set up at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, August 3rd. Spots cannot be reserved prior to this time. Please note that we will be breaking camp at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 4th.

What kinds of activities should I expect?

Hold on to your ten-gallon hats – this isn’t your average sleepover! We’ll have a Buckaroo Trail, water games, family lawn games, a rootin’ tootin’ eating contest, s’mores, campfire songs, and more!

What are the available food options? Can I bring a BBQ?

Don’t worry – we’ve got the grub! On Friday evening, we will host an all-you-can-eat BBQ dinner and make s’mores around the campfire, and on Saturday, you can eat as many pancakes as your heart desires! Feel free to bring a cooler if you think you’ll be in the mood for a midnight-snack. In order to keep the Campout safe, portable BBQs, stoves, or other cooking equipment will not be permitted. All food and beverages should be in plastic or aluminum containers (don’t forget to transfer your salsa and pickles into leak-proof plastic containers).

Do I have to stay overnight?

Nope! If you (or your little one) would prefer to head home at the end of the evening, feel free to rejoin us in the morning for breakfast! Breakfast starts at 6:30 a.m., so make sure to get a good night’s rest!

I’m not really a night-owl. What time is everyone going to bed?

Quiet time begins at 10:30 p.m. and lights out starts at 11:00 p.m. This will let everyone get enough rest for a bright and early breakfast, which will be served from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.!

When will the Great Rancho Campout end?

We’ll be breaking camp at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 4th.

Should I pack a parka?

Our warm summer weather should hold throughout the Campout, but it’s always a good idea to bring an extra layer or two for a chilly night. Don’t forget the sunscreen, either!

What will swimming be like in the Lagoon?

Refreshing! The Lagoon will be open for swimming from 8:00 a.m. through 7:00 p.m. At the top of every hour, SAMLARC will facilitate a safety break: an opportunity for all swimmers to take a break and reapply that sunscreen. Safety breaks also allow the sand in the Lagoon to settle, resulting in water clarity and safety.

Can I bring my dog or cat to the Campout?

We want to keep Fido and Fluffy safe and out of the s’mores bar, so pets are not permitted at the event.

Who should I talk to if someone gets hurt?

We hope the community enjoys a safe campout full of fun and friendship! SAMLARC partners with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Orange County Fire Authority, and licensed EMT services to keep the Great Rancho Campout safe for the community. If you find yourself or a loved one in need of assistance, please reach out to the nearest SAMLARC Staff member.

What if the folks next to me are getting rowdy?

SAMLARC security partners with the Sheriff’s Department and private security firms to ensure the safety of the Community! Inconsiderate behavior (including profane language, gambling, and fighting) at this family-friendly celebration may result in removal from the event.

Will there be SAMLARC Staff at the Campout overnight?

Yes. SAMLARC Staff will be available overnight by the firepit to supervise and assist where necessary.

I love taking photos of s’mores! Is there a way to share my pics with the SAMLARC community?

Tag @SAMLARC in your photos on Facebook and Instagram! Make sure to include #summeratsamlarc and #greatranchocampout in those cute photos!

I have more questions.

Please reach out to Marley Sansom, SAMLARC’s Lifestyle and Communications Manager. She can be reached at 919-709-0013 or