Any boat will do. Kayak, canoe, blow up row boat, SUP. The reason you need a floating vessel of some kind (no motors allowed) is because it’s impossible to get a car camping spot anymore. It used to be impossible to get a developed campsite but only somewhat difficult to get on of the (way way better) dispersed sites in the gravel road past the campgrounds. But with Covid, forget about it. Instead, load up your boat(s) with gear and paddle out to pretty much any stretch of shoreline to find a camping site. Even on 4th of July weekend, you can get a fabulous, scenic, private spot of you boat in. And no fees! You can paddle back to the campground for use of the OOT toilet if you want. Or just use nature :)
Please please don’t trash this place! People just don’t understand LNT rules. And if you’re reading this and have no idea, look up Leave No Trace and follow ALL of their rules for recreating in the wilderness. Pack it in, pack it out.
Utica is divine. Sublime. Perfection. There is nothing else like it anywhere in the Stanislaus, El Dorado or Tahoe National Forests. Or anywhere else that I can find.