If you’re doing the long drive from the Bay Area to LA, a nice place to stay is Mercey Hot Springs. It takes about 20 minutes to get there from the freeway and is in the middle of nowhere. Camping is $50 per person, but it gives you access to the pool and the hot tubs. There are both clothing optional hot tubs and hot tubs for bathing suits. The best campsites are the ones with no hook-ups. They are under the trees and right next to the pool. The RV sites with hook-ups are in an open field area with no tree cover. There are also airstreams and cabins available to rent. Camping gives you 24 hour access to the hot tubs. There is no food available here and the closest town is 30 minutes away so be sure to come prepared. There is also a sauna and a nice hike up in the hills. Nice quiet place. Everyone is super chill and no one really bothers you about swimming after hours.
Great place to soak your cares away. We’ve stayed here about 6 times. They’ve definitely upgraded the campground over the years. There is now a separate bath house for the campground. The campsites are so-so, but it’s not really about the camping experience, more about taking advantage of the mineral springs. You pay for daily camping plus a day fee for access to the soaking pools. Definitely worth it! The soaking area is about a 5 minute walk from the campground. There’s a nice restaurant and wine bar as well. There are also some nice hikes here.
Keough Hot Springs is a private campground located outside of Bishop. The campsites are under cottonwood trees or on a dirt hill next to the pool and hot spring facility. There are flush toilets and showers. It’s not a great camping experience, but making use of the spring fed pool and hot springs makes it worthwhile. The hours are not great if you’re looking for an early morning or late evening soak. The springs and pool are closed one day a week so be sure to check before you arrive if you want to take advantage of them. The facilities are really dated and haven’t been kept up, but if you are on a road trip along 395 and want a place to stop and soak it’s worth a stop. There is a desert garden walk and an old dilapidated building of the original hot spring site. The pool area doesn’t open until 11 so we rode our bikes down the dirt road, looked for the overhead electrical lines and found some open hot springs. We had the place to ourselves and it was deep enough to sit in and get a good warm soak.
We’ve camped in Death Valley about a dozen times. We alternate between Furnace Creek Campground and Texas Springs Campground. Furnace Creek is adjacent to the Visitor Center and the Furnace Creek Inn. It’s within walking distance of both places. The Texas Spring Campground is on a hill above Furnace Creek. It takes about 10-15 minutes to bike ride to Furnace Creek or 30 minutes to walk. Texas Spring has great views (although it can get windy) but has more of a camping experience. Furnace Creek is mainly just parking spots. Both campgrounds have flush toilets. This is a great location to explore the park. Zebrinski Point, Slot Canyon, Fish Creek, Sand Dunes are all fun places to hike and explore. Tip: Pay the $10 a day for the pool pass at Furnace Creek Inn. Not only does it give you access to hot showers but also use of the spring fed pool. The pool stays open til really late (11 pm?) and it is so fun to swim at night when the temperature is still in the 80’s - (May camping).
Monument Valley is definitely off the beaten path. There are very few places to camp here. What makes Goulding a good choice is the location. It’s within a few minutes drive of Monument Valley. The camping spots are really just a parking space, but the campground does provide showers, laundry, general store, restaurant, museum and interesting history. Take the time to visit the local museum. Fun to learn about the films made here. We’ve camped here several times, but never hang out at the campground. We mainly use it as a jumping point to explore all the other things this area has to offer. Definitely take a Jeep tour. We did a tour that included an dinner and Indian ceremony. It was an incredible experience!
The Pinnacles have some great hikes, there are bat caves to explore, lakes and slot canyons. We really enjoyed hiking thru caves and tight places. Super fun for adventurous kids. If you camp here in the summer it’ll be really hot, but the good news is there is a swimming pool at the campground. We usually do a early morning hike and then spend the afternoon cooling off at the pool. The campsites are nothing special. Somewhat close together and depending upon the time of day it can get pretty sun drenched. There are flush toilets, but no showers. There is a small general store.
Just about every campsite here is great. Most are nestled along the base of a huge boulders or rock cliffs. The stars are amazing. Seeing all the campfires light up the cliffs at night is magical. There are no flush toilets and no water. You also have to drive into the main area of the park for the most popular hikes, but you can’t beat the camping.
We brought a lot of water with us, but also good to stop at the ranger station and visitor center to fill up water bottles before and after the hikes. Great place to go bouldering or just climb rocks.
Yes, it’s desert camping but there are so many fun things to do here. There’s a 3 mile hike to a wonderful spring, visiting the badlands, biking into town for a weekend morning farmers market and taking a Ranger’s flower desert hike. We also enjoyed hiking to the top of the hill in the early morning. We lucked out and got a great campsite that had a beautiful rock wall and covering with a fireplace. So cool. Definitely best to camp here in the spring or fall. Would be really hot, in the 100’s, in the summer. Best time to camp is in the spring when all the flowers are in bloom.
We love camping at Palo Duro Canyon State Park. This is the second largest canyon in the U.S. It’s 120 miles long and 600 to 800 feet deep. It’s so beautiful that you swear you are on a Disney Wild West set and this is make believe. It’s awesome cause you can camp at the bottom of the canyons near all these great red cliffs. There are some epic mountain bike trails here thru Juniper and Mesquite trees. If you’re looking for other entertainment besides just camping or bike riding there was also a Texas Hoe-Down BBQ, a Texas musical and an interpretive night hike along the canyon floor with flashlights. Flush toilets and showers are available.
Wonderful campground. Lots of space and privacy between campsites. Close to Lake Tahoe. About 1 mile walk to the beach. We like taking our bikes. There’s a great bike path that follows Lake Tahoe for at least 20 miles. Fun to ride along the lake and stop at Sunnyside for drinks or lunch. Also close to Hellman-Ehrman Mansion. Fun to take a dip here, tour the mansion or a great picnic spot. The campground has flush toilets and showers. No hook-ups. Great place to lie on the beach on a hot August night and watch the Perseid Meteor Showers. Wonderful summer camping, nights can get cool in late August and September.
Great family camping. Lots to do within the park: swimming, biking, hiking, paddle board rentals, fishing and great campsites. Most campsites are pretty big. Campground has flush toilets and showers. Easy access right off highway 80, close to town but still feels like you’re in a remote campground under the trees. Our favorite campsites are #116, 118 and 120. When we get together for family reunions, the best group campsites are 104-106.