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Places to Camp near Santa Cruz, CA

735 Reviews

A giant in California’s rich surf history, Santa Cruz is a spot you can’t pass up if you’re driving the length of the California coastline.

If you’re looking to spend the night in Santa Cruz, there are several highly-rated RV parks and KOAs available to you. If you’re looking for a more simplistic camping experience, the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park is just north of Aptos, CA. The best camping near Santa Cruz, overall though, is found at Manresa State Beach. If you’re looking to head from campground to surf site, you won’t have to travel far. It’s only a 10-mile drive from the campsites at Manresa to Pleasure Point and other famous surf spots.

Best Camping Sites Near Santa Cruz, CA (99)

  1. Camper-submitted photo from Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park Campground
  2. Camper-submitted photo from New Brighton State Beach

    2.

    New Brighton State Beach

    39 Reviews
    126 Photos
    846 Saves
    Capitola, California

    New Brighton State Beach is one of the most popular beachfront campgrounds in California, offering over 100 developed campsites, including 11 RV hookup sites. With bluff top views of the the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary, a visitor center museum, shade ramada for group picnics and special events, and campfire center with free summer programs, it’s no wonder New Brighton State Beach is such a favorite destination!

    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access
    • RVs
    • Tents

    $35 - $65 / night

  3. Camper-submitted photo from Big Basin Redwoods State Park — Big Basin Redwoods State Park - CAMPGROUND CLOSED

    3.

    Big Basin Redwoods State Park — Big Basin Redwoods State Park - CAMPGROUND CLOSED

    34 Reviews
    98 Photos
    483 Saves
    Boulder Creek, California

    CAMPGROUND CLOSED DUE TO FIRE:

    Public access to Big Basin has been severely impacted by the 2020 CZU Lightning Complex Fire and ongoing fire recovery work, but the park is now open for limited day-use access. Reservations for parking are not required, but are encouraged due to the limited amount of first-come, first-served parking available. Reserve a parking space. The parking fee is $6 per vehicle plus a $2 reservation fee or $10 per vehicle without a reservation. No reservations or fees are required for visitors arriving by foot, bike, or bus. Read the FAQs for more information on the reservation system and visiting Big Basin.

    Established in 1902, Big Basin Redwoods is California’s oldest state park. In the heart of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Big Basin camping's biggest attractions—literally—are its ancient coast redwoods. Some of these giants are more than 50 feet around and as tall as the Statue of Liberty. At 1,000 to 1,800 years old, some may predate the Roman Empire. The park also offers spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, lush waterfalls, and a fascinating natural and cultural history.

    The park has more than 80 miles of trails. Some of these trails link Big Basin to Castle Rock State Park and the eastern reaches of the Santa Cruz range. The Skyline to the Sea Trail threads its way through the park along Waddell Creek to the beach and adjacent Theodore J. Hoover Natural Preserve, a freshwater marsh.

    The park has a number of waterfalls, a variety of habitats (from lush canyon bottoms to sparse chaparral-covered slopes), many animals (deer, raccoons, bobcats) and lots of bird life—including Steller’s jays, egrets, herons and California woodpeckers.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access
  4. 4.

    Sunset State Beach

    26 Reviews
    57 Photos
    893 Saves
    Watsonville, California

    RVs and Tents. Sunset State Beach camping provides dozens of dune-protected family sites (without hookups) that hold recreational vehicles up to 31 feet in length. Pets must not be left unattended in campsites. Parking for one vehicle is included in camping fees. Additional funds may be collected on site for up to TWO additional vehicles at a nightly rate (this does not apply to tow-in cars or trailers).

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access
    • RVs
  5. Camper-submitted photo from Mount Madonna

    5.

    Mount Madonna

    28 Reviews
    83 Photos
    324 Saves
    Gilroy, California

    In the summer, first-come, first-serve camping is available for only $15 per night. The day use picnic area is free. Although the picnic and camping area is closed during the winter months, the first access point adjacent to Highway 2 is open year-round (limited parking). When snow makes the high country is inaccessible, give this park a try for snowshoeing or a winter stroll. In the spring, return to see the wildflowers. Trail names like Ladyslipper, Arrowleaf Ridge, and Pentstemon Point give a hint about which flowers may be glimpsed along the route.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Phone Service
    • RVs
    • Tents
    • Group

    $15 / night

  6. Camper-submitted photo from Santa Cruz Redwoods RV Resort

    6.

    Santa Cruz Redwoods RV Resort

    18 Reviews
    18 Photos
    255 Saves
    Felton, California

    Santa Cruz Redwoods RV Resort is nestled in the redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Situated on the beautiful San Lorenzo River, and backed by Henry Cowell State Park, our clean and well maintained RV Park and campground offers guests a year-round, family-oriented, place to relax. Or a comfortable base camp for your outdoor adventure. We welcome families, groups, and RV clubs of most sizes.

    Experience the richness of Santa Cruz County where a hiking journey begins in an old-growth redwood forest, winds past graceful waterfalls, and ends on a pristine beach. Great outdoor fun awaits you with hundreds of miles of trails for hiking, horseback riding, and mountain bike riding.

    All RV sites come equipped with full hookups (electric, water, & sewer) and cable TV. There's also a spacious clubhouse on-site, clean bathrooms, hot showers, and much more.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access
  7. Camper-submitted photo from Santa Cruz North-Costanoa KOA

    7.

    Santa Cruz North-Costanoa KOA

    16 Reviews
    45 Photos
    276 Saves
    Freedom, California
    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access

    $55 - $88 / night

  8. Camper-submitted photo from Veteran's Memorial Park Campground

    8.

    Veteran's Memorial Park Campground

    30 Reviews
    72 Photos
    808 Saves
    Pacific Grove, California

    Veteran's Memorial Park is a popular and beautiful 50 acre park in the forested hills of Monterey. Located only a mile from Downtown Monterey, this park is an affordable and fun way to stay overnight in the Monterey Peninsula. Besides campgrounds (open 365 days per year), the park includes hiking trails under towering Monterey Pine forest and bay views. You will also find BBQ picnic areas, play equipment, turf and lawn playfield and a basketball court.

    FIRE RESTRICTIONS During fire season (June 1st - November 1st, weather pending) no fires allowed and cooking with fuel camp stoves only.

    Campsites are first come, first served; no reservations. Camping is limited to three (3) consecutive days. Vehicles or trailers cannot be longer than 21 feet. Pets are allowed in the camp (leashed and attended only), but are not allowed in hiker/biker sites.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Phone Service
    • ADA Access
    • RVs
    • Tents

    $10 - $47 / night

  9. Camper-submitted photo from Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay KOA Holiday

    9.

    Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay KOA Holiday

    15 Reviews
    69 Photos
    220 Saves
    Freedom, California

    Soak up the bright sun and take in the crisp ocean air along the California Coast when you stay with us at Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay KOA Holiday. With our ideal location just minutes from Monterey Bay, you and your family will appreciate an oceanfront camping experience near Santa Cruz as you spend your days with your toes in the sand, relaxing on a beautiful beach. Book your stay with us at Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay KOA Holiday today!

    **Why Stay at Our Family-Friendly Campground in Santa Cruz? **

    Santa Cruz is home to an assortment of wonderful attractions and places the whole family will love! Of course, the area is full of beautiful beaches for you to visit — a whopping 28 in total! After getting your tan on, take a short drive and visit the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and its endless array of fun things to do. You'll be able to ride rollercoasters, play mini-golf and eat your fill of fresh cotton candy. The area also has many opportunities to kick back and relax. Bring your clubs and head to the Pebble Beach golf course for a round of golf on some of the most pristine greens anywhere. Take a drive north and explore Napa Valley or head south to discover the more than 60 wineries in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Whether you want a relaxing getaway or one filled with adventure and thrills, the Santa Cruz area is the perfect place to be.

    Ways to Stay With Us in Santa Cruz

    Regardless of how you want to spend your time at our Santa Cruz beach campground, we offer a variety of ways to enjoy the camping experience. For something traditional, we provide individual Tent Sites equipped with water and electric hookups to give you everything you need to enjoy your nights beneath the stars. Our Camping Cabins also offer a rustic lodging experience with the benefits of a roof and a warm bed as you rejuvenate from a day filled with adventure in the outdoors. If you're looking for extreme comfort while beach camping in Santa Cruz, we offer Deluxe Cabins equipped with a kitchen, full bathroom, shower and beds for the whole family. We also provide unique Airstream and glamping cabin opportunities to provide you with a luxurious West Coast camping experience you'll never forget. Looking for a place to park your Airstream or RV? We offer Pull-Thru and Back-In RV Sites with the choice for full hookups. With connections for up to 50 amps and options with a KOA Patio™, you can choose the features you need to enjoy your vacation. Our RV Sites are excellent locations to rest and recuperate as you take in the beautiful surroundings of Santa Cruz!

    Our Beach Camping Amenities and Activities

    Our family-friendly campground in Santa Cruz offers various amenities and recreational activities to help you make memories that will last a lifetime. Spend your days splashing in the pool or participating in weekly events, including several weekends of Halloween fun or seeing the campground transform into a Winter Wonderland with twinkling lights every December.

    Some of our other amenities include:

    • Wi-Fi 
    • Bike rentals
    • Hot tub
    • Volleyball
    • Firewood and propane
    • Outdoor movie theater
    • Jumping pillow
    • Fire rings
    • KampK9® dog park
    • Coconut Palm Tree Climb

    Reserve Your Site With Us Today

    Are you ready to make memories along the California Coast? Take your family on a camping vacation with us near Santa Cruz and enjoy the adventure of a lifetime! Check the availability of our sites online and book your stay at Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay KOA Holiday today!

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access
  10. Camper-submitted photo from Sanborn County Park

    10.

    Sanborn County Park

    18 Reviews
    37 Photos
    119 Saves
    Saratoga, California
    • Pets
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access
    • RVs
    • Cabins

    $33 / night


Popular Camping Styles near Santa Cruz

Pet-friendly camping near Santa Cruz

Recent Reviews In Santa Cruz

735 Reviews of 99 Santa Cruz Campgrounds