Yosemite. The redwoods. Big Sur. World-famous outdoor destinations abound in California. There are so many that you couldn’t possibly explore all the richness the state offers in one lifetime. The trick when camping in California is managing so many possibilities. Once you've visited the famous sites, try some creative approaches to camping in California.
When you think Napa Valley, you think of wine, not camping. But you can plan a wine vacation from behind the flap of your tent. Set up in one of the valley’s campgrounds then visit the many casual tasting rooms that won't mind dirt under your fingernails. When you tire of drinking wine, hike Mt. St Helena, a dormant volcano. Or walk through the Petrified Forest, a forest that was turned to stone by the last eruption of the volcano. Or visit California’s Old Faithful, a nearby geyser.
Once you have found camping in California’s Half Dome in Yosemite Valley, center yourself in Tuolumne Meadows, a more remote section of the park with its own collection of charming granite domes. Here's a secret: Instead of joining the crowds of day hikers on the meadow's most popular trails, follow the backpackers north on the famed John Muir Trail. The trail meanders through meadows, along a river below alpine peaks. And best of all, the first 8 miles of this trail out of Tuolumne are flat. Hike until you find a spot to watch the marmots, then return to your campsite. For more, backpack another 23 miles to Reds Meadow where you can catch a shuttle back up to Tuolumne.
With a little effort, you can spend the rest of your life camping in California and have a new adventure every time.
The #1 Camping App
Camp with confidence with the highest-ranked camping app for both iOS and Android. Search more than 500,000 listings, reviews, and tips for campsites across the U.S.
Enter your phone number to get the app.
Nice campground up in the mountains, pretty small and really quiet. Probably about 60% of the campers live there full time. Great campground if your just trying to stay at your campsite and relax. There is a nice lake to go to about 20 minutes up the road, lake Henshaw. Only reason I’m giving it 4 stars is because the crazy ruts on most the campsites to pull into your site. Was pulling a pop up camper with a Toyota Sequoia and bottom out a few times. But definitely worth checking out if your looking for a weekend up in the mountains relaxing
Beautiful campsite. A decent drive in from the 10 but it's nice and relaxing. Once you get to the site it's an hourglass shapped drive around. We got the second to last site and it's cool spot. Hugs up on the rocks. Great views of the valley from this campground. If you can find a spot to climb up on the center rocks the sunset is perfect there. Highly recommend this sire
Fun campground to hang a hammock and go for a hike or trail run!
We were there in August and it was great! Not over crowded and the views were incredible! We ran to Arrowhead Lake which was beautiful! Walkers and runners will both enjoy this trail!
Don’t forget to yourself to a delicious Burger and drink 15 mins away at Mammoth Brewing Company!
We have camped here the last 6 years after a friend told us about it. The camp sights are smaller than other places we camp at, but no matter if you site is a beach site or Redwoods site, they are worth the price. We love getting off the grid, no cell or WiFi, for a few days …. just peaceful relaxation. Both camp sights have flushing toilets and pay showers. The camp host clean the about 2x a day it seems. Each site has a fire circle and picnic bench, even the walk In sites. There are really no services close by, some items like at ice can be bought at Lucia, so everything has to be brought in…
Three fire pits, dig your own commode, lots of water year round, but little wood. Expect to forage far if you want a fire. But otherwise a great spot to spend a few summer days away from anyone not hale enough to trek in a few miles.
Not gonna lie, at first this place freaked me out. You’re really out in the middle of nowhere on a side street off of the highway. At night it is pitch black, you can’t even see your hand in front of your face. Pretty basic campground, pit toilet and water spigots available. Only 4 tent sites. There is a nice river that flows right next to the campsite which is relaxing to listen to. The highway is right across the river so there are cars driving by but not too much of a nuisance. About 5-10 from the entrance into YNP. I would stay here again!
I really like this campground! The bathrooms are very clean and well maintained! The campground features a creek that runs through the tent sites towards the back! There were so many frogs and tadpoles! The creek eventually flows into a pond located on the other end of the campground. The pond is actually pretty large! Lots of space to walk around and explore. There is quite a bit of poison oak in the area, however you are in an old oak tree grove so it’s inevitable. Every other site was occupied in order to maintain new physical distancing requirements, the added privacy is great. Site 59 has to be one of the best tent sites, right on the creek with bathrooms close by. Lots of families so it was a little loud at some points of the day with all the kids running around, but not too much of an annoyance. Overall, I enjoyed my stay here. It is far enough from the main highway that you feel like you’re out in the woods. I would stay here again!
I have stayed here a few different times, each time I’ve stayed in different campsites. The campsites in the first loop nearest the ranger station definitely have the nicest, cleanest bathrooms. The bathrooms over in the tent loop towards the back sites 60-100ish have a much smaller bathroom however during the summer they were filled with all sorts of bugs, both flying and crawling. Even saw a huge rat crawl up the wall into the shower. But you’re out in the woods so you can’t be too mad at that. The trails are very accessible and distributed all throughout the campground. There is a creek but I’ve never seen it with water, maybe in the early spring after the rains it flows? Lots of wildlife also! I’ve seen mule deer, turkeys and so many different birds like western blue birds, woodpeckers and the occasional hawk! This place is off to the side and secluded so it really does feel like you’re out in the woods and not at a developed campground five miles away from the town of Julian. If you’ve never been to Julian you have to try some of their apple pie! It’s what they are known for! Overall, this campsite is family friendly, clean and easy to get to!