Located just 15 miles (30 minutes) west of San Rafael on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, rests 2,882 protected acres of land known as Samuel Taylor State Park. This central-California landscape hosts a mild climate, with daily weather varying from dense fog and rain to full sun. Subsequently, summer and spring are usually a bit cooler than other neighboring regions. The same is true during fall and winter, with overnight lows dropping to freezing, resulting in freezing rain, sleet, hail, and even snow. The park itself is a haven for hikers and campers all over California, thanks to the numerous trails, viewpoints, and towering Redwoods overhead.
Visitors will love camping among the Redwoods, biking along the creek, and exploring a number of diverse hiking trails. Relax and find peace within while watching salmon spawn underneath the cool shade of an antiquated redwood tree. The Wheelchair-accessible South Creek Trail winds 1.5 miles through a fern-filled forest on the banks of Lagunitas Creek. In the rainy season, you might see spawning salmon and flowers such as fetid adder’s tongue, giant trillium, and redwood sorrel along the way. More fun awaits with beach activities and wildlife spotting over on Point Reyes National Seashore. After a full day of fun, the comforting embrace of the Redwoods can lull the restless to a deep sleep. There’s really no better place to escape for a weekend or more, and luckily there’s plenty of accommodations to do so.
Fortunately, Samuel P. Taylor State Park has numerous sites available to accommodate a range of group sizes. This includes sites for 5, 10, 15, 20 and even 50 people. Moreover, most of the park’s campsites lie beneath majestic redwoods, with a few (at Devil's Gulch and Madrone) under oaks and bay laurel at the bottom of Barnabe Peak. If tent camping isn’t your preference, there’s also a limited number of newly built cabins available for rental. Dogs (except for service animals) are permitted only in campgrounds, picnic areas, and on paved trails/roads. That said, you can't bring your furry friends to the hike and bike campsites, or in the cabin area. Furthermore, all pets must be on a six-foot or shorter leash and kept in a tent or vehicle overnight.
Reservations are highly recommended for regular campsites every day during peak season and on weekends year-round. Reservations are also recommended year-round for group sites and cabins.
This campground is less than an hours drive from San Francisco. It is along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard which takes you through a bunch of very cute tiny towns. It offers easy access to the Bay so plenty of beach access within a short drive. There is a fantastic grocery place at Pont Reyes Station so stop there for fresh bread, wine, cheese from Cowboy Creamery, then head to Hog Island for shuck your own oysters.
The campground itself is populated with families so it’s lively and full of children. Make sure you bring bikes as the bike paths run along Lagunitas Creek are great. You can walk along the fish spawning area but are forbidden from accessing the water November to June to avoid disturbing the spawning season. This campground is not good for dogs. Leave your fur babies at home.
The wildlife are clever and tenacious. Two squirrels worked together to break into my food locker and partied down on some magic mushroom chocolate. Bastards.
Try to score one of the creek side spots. They are small but the proximity to the running water helps to cover the road noise.
Camped here for three nights over Fourth of July holiday (site 52). Because of the holiday and the proximity to Oakland/San Fran, the campground was in FULL EFFECT with a gang of variant families camp site hopping. Unfortunately, the site across from mine was the epicenter of all things July 4th and the aforementioned multivariate families. Had I chosen the site to my left, or a few more down the road, I would have barely noticed them at all - sites 47-44 had no one across the way, more private, set back. Aside from the crew across the way playing the LOUDEST game of cornhole/bags I have ever heard (think gunshot every time a bag struck the board), the group(s) were mostly awkward lively teenagers and their parents (think Riverdale without the murders). To the teenagers' credit, I didn't hear a curse word from the group, just pure spaz. I think they really did create some rad summer memories. Having said all that, if I returned I would snag site 44. Just trust me on this. Most of the sites are pretty decent, but 44 was the best.
In terms of cell service, I had pretty good range, was able to listen to the Cubs win one of four games against the Pirates (the series started with a brutal take down of the Cubs 18 to 5 - don't worry - Cubs managed a 3 game sweep of them a week later).
Bathrooms are decent, not the cleanest, but well stocked and had hand soap. Coin operated showers were also a treat (again, not the cleanest, but…). Potable water close to sites. Raccoons, Chipmunks and Blue Jays were NOT SHY but also not a harrowing issue.
The win on this campground is how close it is to Point Reyes National Seashore, San Rafael, Olema, Novato and Marshall. I would highly recommend Five Brooks Ranch in Olema for horseback riding, Hog Island in Marshall (snag a picnic table and shuck your own oysters - definitely a highlight) and Cowgirl Creamery in Point Reyes Station. Oh, Point Reyes Yoga - yes to this! - also in Point Reyes Station. Novato had the most adorable 4th of July parade complete with a pancake breakfast. And San Rafael - home of Terrapin Crossroads - music venue of the one and only Phil Lesh was also a highlight. There is also Kayaking in Tomales Bay which is okay fun.
Overall, this is a campground that checks a LOT of boxes.
One thing to note, the night is COLD up this way, and mere miles will cover several different weather systems. Bring layers.
Wonderful campground! The restrooms are clean and efficient, there are even coin operated hot showers! There are potable water taps close to every 4 or so camping spots. Dedicated fire pits and bbq stands.
Would definitely return again!
Rolled into this campground with no reservations The campground was pretty much empty. Park ranger Lynsey was great to work with after a long drive. The camp spots were pretty clean despite people being disrespectful to the park. I stayed in lot 44 which backed up to the beautiful forest. Great place to stay
This spot off the 1 in Marin County is gorgeous. You’re close to the beach, but deep enough in the redwoods to get your fill on the forests within the Bay Area. I highly recommend this spot and the sites here are coveted so make reservations if you can! There are also no lotteries here.
Beautiful trees and wonderful California charm. The campsites were decently located. Above the Mendocino coast the mornings are wet and Cold. Loved this place
HUGE redwoods and lovely campsites (not a huge place) there are a few RV sites and a couple of group sites and several day use sites. these is an 8 mile bike trail to Olema. this park also has a tiny outdoor ampitheatre. must book early- this campground does fill up.
I loved the quaint feel of our campsite. The only downside was that the main road runs alongside the grounds. Our site was small but my eyes were pleased by how it looked. Site had a fire ring, picnic table, and a stone grill. The grounds had running water, flush toilets and quarter showers.
Camped here at night and explored point reyes during the day.
Camp sites include fire ring and flattened areas with picnic table. Fresh water is available, as well as, bathrooms and showers. Nice level sites for RVs. Great Verizon and AT&T cell service.
It is amazing that you only have to drive an hour from San Francisco to truly feel like you are getting away from it all. The trees are spectacular, and there is running water near some of the sites. The only reason why I gave 4 stars instead of 5 is because the sites are a bit small, and can feel like you are camping with your neighbor. Also, some of the sites are near the road, so you can hear cars going past, luckily, it's not a big problem at night. Besides that, there are some very enjoyable, moderately easy, hikes that start very close to the campground.