The best camping in
California

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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.

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Recent Reviews in California
Family fun

Great place, family has camped here for 24 years. Upper camp area: on the bluff, less populated and a little more quiet than lower camp area. Lower camp area leveled shoreline and can get very crowded.
Flushing toilets and hot showers. Some sites are: big, medium and small; right next to each and a little distance; and beach side or inland. Keep in mind, train runs by, and while it is across pch, inland sites can hear the train roar!!

Great place to surf as well in both directions!

Great restaurants, across the street and in town. Great gourmet grocery store across the street too!

Heavenly

Wonderful visit, best view!!! We happened to drive in at the right time, had one walk- in site available. Campsites, large, away from other campers and clean. Bathrooms were also clean, but vaulted….. and so worth it because the view was amazing. Beautiful hike down to the ocean, nice small area to tide pool and picnic. Good place to stay and enjoy the view and campground. Try and bring everything u need, little camp stores are located about 20 min away, both directions, and very expensive. Beware, do not leave any food or cooler out, raccoons come out at night and will slaughter ur food 😃

Also a good place for a base camp, centrally located, close to visit places in Big Sur, like Pfieffer state park and restaurants.

Great Getaway to Unplug

Great campground along the lake. Lake has great fishing, on the lake and along the shoreline. Camped while sites were all full and wasn’t noisy or heavily populated. Bathrooms- flushing toilets and clean.
Good base camp to go to Mono Hot Springs for fishing. Town has a couple of stores and place to eat.

Great place to get away from reality

If you want to escape, this is the place. No signal, hardly ever see any other people and tons of open space and trails for motorcycles and quads. Dry camping only. No water available but there is a vault toilet and picnic tables.

Nice in winter

Not a pretty campground, just a gravel parking lot, but not crowded in winter when the weather is very pleasant. Can be very windy at night. Only $12/night. Walk to nice shops and restaurants. Bathrooms clean. Nice view of valley. Mostly RV sites. One row of tent camp sites with fire pit grills. If you have a roof top tent you’re considered an RV here so can’t use a tent site.

Walk to Fisherman’s Wharf

Pros: Secluded yet within walking distance of popular tourist areas. Can hear taps played at nearby Fort Ord at 10 pm. It’s magical! Pretty nice sites. Showers available. Cons: No reservations so need to arrive early if camping outside of winter. Bathrooms not the best but convenient and decent.

Convenient to San Jose. Crowded.

Pros: Lots of sites. Pretty area. Facilities well maintained. Cons: We stayed here several times because of its proximity to San Jose. Almost every time time, though, it was crowded and noisy. Also there are lots of wild pigs! In my opinion, it’s a last resort campground.

Lovely area

During less crowded times (winter)this campground is one of the best. Extremely beautiful & peaceful surroundings. Lots of trees. Rock walls heavy with moss. Facilities well constructed and maintained. Off the beaten path. Once we were the only campers there. Heaven! However when the campground is filled, it’s noisy and there’s no privacy.

Beautiful, remote, serene

This is a great place to camp for the sheer beauty and stillness. I would say it is not perfect because it is very remote and there are not as many easy/moderate hiking trails as I would hope. There are many very long hiking excursions, however, that seem to be really popular. Still a great place to spend a night or two!