THE BEST CAMPING IN
California
4339 Reviews
Camping California

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.

Recent Reviews in California
Beautiful area with lots to do.

The campground is in a very pretty area with lots of decent sites and wildlife. Wild turkeys roam around the campground. There are trailheads in the campground along with plenty of nearby trails. The campground is just a few miles from the lake where you can boat, fish or eat at the restaurant. Julian is also not far away, a quaint little town known for their pies.

Massive Park

The campground is pretty remote and there are a good amount of sites with tree cover and shade. It’s a gigantic park with plenty of hiking trails. You can buy firewood on site but you might want to bring some. When I arrived store was closed but I found a ranger to open it and sell me some. There are signs warning of ticks in the area so be aware but I had no issues.

Beautiful full of aspens!

This place is absolutely gorgeous!  Quite ,  little creek running through,  aspens all around,  high desert across the street amazing hikes lakes and beaver dams!  Waterfalls all within a short distance close to mono lake bodie ghost town,  and mono craters!

Pretty park in the trees

Nice amenities and staff, but very loud as the site we were in (96) was right next to highway 101.

Wonderful place to be

Enjoyed my stay very much. Hope I get a chance to go back.

Very Nice

We stayed one night in our 40' motorhome. Easy to make reservations. Easy check in and they even led us to our spot and guided us in. Nice big sites. Great place, we will stay there again.

3 days 2 nights

Good family camping. Restrooms and showers were clean and available. Enjoyed a nice hike, there is poison oak on the trails but they are well maintained.

Great campground

I have been here several times and enjoy the proximity to the peaceful lake.  I try to locate a site away from the others to totally enjoy the serenity this area can offer. There are great little hikes to enjoy with the dog and a great place to toss a tennis ball into the lake for the dog to swim. I enjoy the short trek from Reno with my teardrop.

Beautiful hike

The road completely fell apart, but it’s a lovely cool hike through a box canyon up to the campground.

Small and unmainteined

I believe this one is also abandoned and closed. It is a small campground, no toilets or other amenities.

All-Time Favorite

It’s in Wawona where I discovered my love of the outdoors. It’s close enough to the valley for a day trip down there. There is so much to do in Wawona too though! It’s also really close to the Redwoods. It is a prime spot for a Yosemite trip.

Beauty in the desert

Blair Valley is at the base of Julian… no not Ramona the other direction. I needed to take a break from reality over Fourth of July weekend and was afraid of the busy paid camping spots up the mountain in Laguna.

I decided to roll the dice and head somewhere different since it was only myself. Coastal north county to Blair valley it was not a bad drive. Once I arrived in Blair valley it was around 9am. It was hot and from the look of the dried up creek bed it was going to be difficult to find some shade. I took some time driving around the grounds trying to find the right spot. Finally I came up to a 8-9 ft tree with plenty of branches and leaves to cover me most of the day. Will go again!

All and all, hope for clouds during summer or take the time and drive around to find a perfect spot. Not many people out there.

The pictographs were awesome to see and the hikes up the mountain to watch sunrise/sunset were perfect for those desert views.

Drink plenty of water!

Beautiful view

Gorgeous place to camp and tons of dragonflies,butterflies and bees. We did a lot of kayak fishing and relaxing by the lake. We were able to walk the kayaks down with no problem. The only 2 down falls are…… you can’t read the tiny sign that says your campsite number. I think it should be on both sides of the sign and bold. Also they’re sooooo close together. It’s great for families and they can buy a couple next to each other. Tho we were celebrating our 1 year anniversary and we would have wanted more space between campers. Other than that it was a lot of fun and perfect weather. They don’t have showers so heads up. We just got naked and did it cave man style in the middle of the night. It was warm enough and made it that much more special. They do have water spouts to wash your dishes and bathrooms walking distance. A picnic table, bbq and fire pit at every location. Make sure you get water shoes because the lake does have sharp rocks and the local CVS has them. It was really nice and convenient and worth the money. It did get really hot , so my fiancé and I went to the local ice cream parlor. It was about 5-7 minutes away from the site. It’s a cute little mom and pop ice cream shop and the customer service was amazing. We went their Friday afternoon when it was over 90 degrees and it was the best ice cream. It’s called Country girls ice cream shop. Look for the pink picnic table and red corner sign. I recommend this place and also right near buy is a little gas station to get gas, bait, firewood and etc. Well hope this helps future campers and have fun.

Great road trip stopover

We stopped here for a night going to and from Tahoe to break up the trip. Easy to get to, pull through sites, pool to cool off (so hot in the summer). We would stop here again.

Great Central Coast Stop

Leaving Ocean Mesa and can’t wait to go back. Clean facility. Heated pool and jacuzzi. Concrete pads and lots of trees. Connected to El Cap Canyon that has cabins and yurts. A really great store there with events like wine tasting and concerts. Hiking trails are also connected to the campground. Just a mile from a great beach with lots of parking. No ocean view but the amenities makeup for that.

Great RV park

A little pricey but very nice facility. All hookups 30/50 amp. Cable TV. There’s a pool. A tent area. Some spaces monumentally better than others. Occasionally they run a special. There’s good hiking and bike riding and fishing. They have a pool.

Very beautiful, a few downfalls

We went out to Lake Chabot this weekend for an extended family trip. First off, I think we lucked into the best sites in the place. We had sites 69-72. These four sites are down their own little loop so if your looking to do some group camping but dont want to pay for a group site, this is a great option for you. And site 69 butts up to one of the main hiking trails down to the lake. This is both good and bad. The views were amazing from these sites, but there are people walking through all day. We even had someone walk straight into our campsite with their dog to take a picture of themselves at the lake, and another person sat at one of our picnic tables to enjoy their lunch watching the lake while my entire family was sitting around them. I'm big on campsite etiquette and that left a lot to be desired here, which is why I gave 3 stars. The worst parts about this place though is that you cant swim in lake, which we knew going into it, and that you cant use your generator. Didnt make sense to me on the generator part but whatever. The eucalyptus trees were really cool and kept out the mosquitos which was amazing! If you are planning on going and want a place to swim, Cull Canyon Lagoon is a neat place and it's only 8 miles down the road (although itll take 20 mins to get there) and you need to get there by mid morning before they stop letting people in. Overall a neat place.

Avoid No running water, terrible toilets, snake nests!

This place is full of snakes and bees. We stopped on the way up and no one was at the campsites because of snakes. 

There’s such better camping at Edison, or mono, or even shaver lake.

I wouldn’t recommend Ward lake to anyone looking for a weekend camping trip. 

There’s so much better out there

Spacious and starry camp

Get ready to sleep outside because the stars are insane! Tons of hiking trails leaving directly from the campground. Had some privacy at camp and didn't feel too close to others. Clean bathrooms and sites included a table. Lots of parking.

Forest and Mountains just a couple hours from the city

Sweet campground with pines trees and a mountain feel. Table and fire pit at each site. 

Hiking available walking distance from camp, trails leading out of camp. Family friendly environment. Can get busy in the summer, so be sure to leave it just as beautiful or better than before you arrived.

Favorite Free Campground in all of Anza

This campground sits high atop the heat sweltering in the valley below, where the rest of Anza Borrego State Park. Plenty of climbing around here, as well as hiking trails galore. No fire pits or tables here,  so be sure to bring your own metal sturdy fire pit. Having a fire in the sand with rocks is illegal, and I have met a couple of rangers doing patrols around camp. One time we did not have one, so we drove down a couple of miles to the town in Anza, and picked one up at the local hardware store. Less than $15 for a metal tin to set on the ground and worked like a charm. There is one pit toilet bathroom. 

Just a 20 minute drive away are slot canyons, check out the local trails!

Beautiful grove of trees towering over camp

Peaceful forest to camp in. Came during the rainy season, had to build a shelter from trees to keep the fire from going out. Had the entire grounds to ourselves, winter is a great time for solitude. Definitely must return.

Magical grove provides peaceful shaded campground

Just a small walk to Happy Isles, which is the start to many good hiking trails. The campground is huge and not a lot of privacy at each site. Bathrooms nearby and picnic tables at each site. Came here for a Geomorphology College Class Trip and collected research for a project about rockfall safety in the valley. From camp one can hear the sound of occasional rocks cascading down from the mountain face behind camp.  Very crowded during spring and summer, book early! Such an incredible place that deserves to be kept pristine, do not forget to clean up after yourself so we may continue to share this experience with others after us.

Very cool view, don’t miss walking down to the falls!

Good sites, reasonably separated and level. Can be windy, but low brush provides some protection. Very peaceful and well worth the hike in.

Beautiful Camping on Shaver Lake

Plenty of campsites, must reserve in advance due to being popular. Easy walk to lakeside and boat ramp. Nice picnic area near lake. Camped with full hookups. Nice store and hospitality center with food, drinks and stock of camp supplies.

Quick Stay in Redwoods

Thought we’d try this place to explore area. The owner was very nice setting up reservation. They only take cash, no online reservation payments. When we arrived someone else was setup in our reserved sight, it was a hassle waiting for them to breakdown camp and move ( I was willing to take another site but all they offered me was a site with water, no hookups & no discount). We made it work. Same thought of other reviewer, sites are close together and seems like your camping in someones backyard. The pool area is nice with small playground.

Always great

Camp Edison is a private campground. Sites vary in size and price. Some spots come with full hook ups all have electricity. Bathrooms with flush toilets are always clean. Shower cards are available. There are plenty of trails leading to the lake and beach spots too. You can rent boats, kayaks etc from the Shaver Lake Marina. Mix of tent/RV campers, lots of kids.

Hike In Gorgeous Campground with ample space

Park at the lot up top, then walk about 1/2 mile to campground via dirt path. Plenty of sites. Old rustic bathrooms work well. Picnic tables at each site. Brought my dogs here and they had a blast, plus no ticks found. Plenty of hiking directly around this campground. Stayed here for three nights and found plenty of exploring to do nearby. Highly recommend, especially because there is no fee. Being said, Pack it in and pack it out! Leave No Trace principles are crucial to keep this place beautiful

Super Clean and accessible campground

Two sections of campground, if first lot is full drive 1/4 mile back towards the mountains and there will be more sites. Vault pit toilets at both areas. Nice cement picnic tables and sturdy grills/pits for fire. Sage and Juniper surround this area. You can even hear the coyotes calling to one another at night. Pretty secluded and usually one can find solitude. Although, it is a great access point to the OHV Fort Sage Trails, so beware your neighbors will be hauling all sorts of mechanized toys. Dont forget to keep this pristine by following Leave No Trace principles.

Beautiful and big family oriented campground

Just a small walk away from Lake Tahoe shore. Big beautiful trees cover the entire campground. A couple bathrooms that surprisingly do not smell bad and have a running faucet. Bears are a real issue, so they have big bear boxes at each site - make sure to use them. Sites close together and not much privacy. Camp Host on site. Very limited parking at the sites, but free parking if you park outside of the campground along the main road and walk in. Do not leave food in your car, especially on the outside. And dont forget to Leave No Trace!