This article about camping near San Jose is brought to you by Hammock Gear. Check out their awesome outdoor gear to make sure you’re prepared for your next adventure.


Going camping near San Jose is the best way to beat the heat, relieve stress, and escape the city bustle. The South Bay is surrounded by rugged mountain wilderness and peaceful ocean shores. You have your pick of quiet getaways and family retreats where you can enjoy the natural wonders of Northern California landscapes. Pack your bags because these are the seven best places to go camping near San Jose.

Camping Near San Jose — 7 Gems in South Bay

1. Henry Cowell Redwoods

Campsite at Henry Coweel Redwoods with blazing fire, RV parked, and dog sleeping nearby.

Image from The Dyrt camper Chesney S.

The Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park campground is southwest of San Jose, nestled in the Santa Cruz Mountains. They have large reservable sites for tents and RVs, with fire rings, flush toilets, and showers. Campsites are set amidst shady pine and oak forest for privacy and reprieve. You’re five minutes from hiking trails that showcase California’s beautiful old-growth redwoods. And within walking distance to the park’s highest point. Be sure to check out the Santa Cruz Sandhills habitat, where you can learn about ancient marine deposits and endangered species.

“This is an awesome spot to camp with your family. Hiking and biking trails, nature walks, showers, flush toilets, it has it all for the not so campy campers. I make a point to camp here at least one time a year on a Fall surf trip to Santa Cruz.”J.D. E.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $35
  • Number of sites: 107
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

2. New Brighton State Beach

The New Brighton State Beach campground is a beach lover’s dream. The campground sits atop a steep bluff overlooking the vast Monterey Bay. The campground has reservable sites for tents and RVs, with electric hookups, flush toilets, showers, and storage lockers. The forested bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean are a sight to remember. You have direct access to trails leading down to the beach, where you can enjoy some of South Bay’s best surf and sand.

“Great campground and location. Walk the beach or hike a trail, lots of options. Short walk or bike ride to the beautiful Capitola Village. Observe the local wildlife including birds, whales, otters, seals, the list goes on. Amazing tide pools. Many activities to do here… bicycling, kayaking, skatepark, pump track, hiking, running, the list goes on again.”Eric J.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $35-50
  • Number of sites: 111
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

3. Mount Madonna

Campsite with pick up truck and smoking fire pit beside two camp chairs.

Image from The Dyrt campers Tom and Marianne H.

The Mount Madonna campground is in the Santa Cruz Mountains, surrounded by towering redwoods. There are reservable sites for tents and small RVs, with fire rings, flush toilets, and showers. The park sits at 1,500 feet, overlooking the Santa Clara Valley and Monterey Bay. You can hike the trails, take a tour by horseback, check out historic sites, or peep the park’s protected herd of white fallow deer. With more than 4,000 acres of landscape and recreation, you’ll never run out of things to do. Mount Madonna is a peaceful campground that gives you a chance to beat the heat and relax for a few days.

“We love Mount Madonna and have camped here often. It has a few RV sites with water and electric but the dry campsites are a little bigger and very nice. Great hiking trails. Don’t miss the deer pen and the historic house hikes. One of the best local campgrounds near San Jose, Morgan Hill, Gilroy and Watsonville area. Close but very much a camping experience. Nice for families. Showers are clean.”Carina B.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $34-44
    Number of sites: 118
    RV sites: Yes
    Fires allowed: Yes
    Pets allowed: Yes

4. Sunset State Beach

The Sunset State Beach campground is south of New Brighton, right on the shore of Monterey Bay. There are reservable sites for tents and smaller RVs. Amenities include fire rings, flush toilets, showers, and storage lockers. The campground sits atop a pine-covered bluff, sheltering you from the wind and sun. There are tons of activities that make Sunset Beach a sought-after destination. There’s a glider port for remote-control glider enthusiasts. If you prefer water sports, you can fish for perch or bass or take advantage of the bay’s rolling surf. Whatever you do, make sure to take in the intensely colorful sunsets.

“Some campground sites are large enough for two tents and cars can be parked close by but the real benefit here is the beach access. Sunsets are very beautiful and certainly make it worthwhile to go camping here.”Ashish K.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $35
  • Number of sites: 91
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

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5. Anthony Chabot Regional Park

Image from The Dyrt camper Laura E.

The Anthony Chabot Regional Park campground is north of San Jose, a mile from Lake Chabot. They have spacious reservable sites for tents and RVs, and hike-in sites with flush toilets and showers. The park has a ton of trails that feature different ecosystems and landscapes. Bring your kayak and float picturesque Lake Chabot, or fish for several species. The Anthony Chabot campground is a peaceful place to rest, play, and take in the 5,000 acres of natural beauty.

“Anthony Chabot sits high up on the Castro Valley Hills overlooking Lake Chabot. There are several awesome hiking trails going down to the lake as well as some equestrian trails. The hiking trails go around the lake. Dogs are allowed but they should be on a leash. Lake Chabot has a marina that rents boats for recreational use and fishing. It’s a few miles drive to get there from the campgrounds. They have tent and RV campsites, but no RV hookups.”Ed E.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $25-45
  • Number of sites: 75
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

6. Portola Redwoods

The Portola Redwoods State Park campground is east of San Jose, deep in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The campground offers reservable sites for tents and smaller RVs, with fire rings, flush toilets, and showers. It’s the premier camping destination for explorers who want a tranquil escape from city life. Explore the miles of hiking trails featuring waterfalls and lush ecosystems, including one of the tallest redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The trails are the highlight of the park; you won’t be disappointed. Portola Redwoods is the place to be for a secluded weekend of birds, forests, and friendly neighbors.

“Beautiful redwood grove with large campsites and a lot of space. All the sites I saw were under the redwoods so well shaded. Have regular amenities and all seemed well maintained. We did a lot of hiking here – there are waterfalls and ponds to find.”MarinMaverick

Campground Details:

  • Price: $35
  • Number of sites: 52
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

7. Henry Coe State Park

SUV with rooftop tent set up at a sandy forested campsite.

Image from The Dyrt camper Marta T.

The Henry Coe State Park campground is east of San Jose, in the Diablo Mountains. They have reservable sites for tents and small RVs, with fire rings and vault toilets. This primitive campground is in the largest state park in northern California, with 87,000 acres of unspoiled wilderness. You have access to almost 100 miles of hiking trails, many of which lead to lakes and creeks where you can swim or fish. Bring your camera; you’re likely to see wildlife roaming around, including the elusive mountain lion. The Henry Coe campground is an excellent destination if you want the seclusion of backcountry wilderness with the comfort of a campground.

“Great backpacking park. There are so many sites you could go on a trip for a month and never stay at the same spot. Lots of wildlife, flowers, amazing views and stars. Be prepared for hills though. The saying goes, “you dont go to Henry Coe to train for the Sierras, you go to the Sierras to train for Henry Coe.” I can personally say last trip we did over 1200ft of elevation in under 2 miles.”Sean

Campground Details:

  • Price: $20
  • Number of sites: 19
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

These seven spots are the best places to go camping near San Jose. Rest your weary head in one of these campgrounds so you can go home restored and invigorated.

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