Nikki T.
San Francisco , CA
Joined July 2019
Prone to fits of joy.
Quintessential NorCal Summer Escape

This is the first redwood park on the 101 heading North. It sits right on the Eel River just south of the Avenue of the Giants. This place is very family friendly. The singular trail is comfortable for soft wheel strollers and wheelchairs.  The park is located right along the 101 so there is no illusion of seclusion. This is more of a feature than a bug however due to the stellar Bar&Grill across the street. The store sells everything from beach towels and propane to kombucha and puzzles. The grill serves high quality food and offers a stage well known for Reggae on the River. 

This place is packed during the summer. Plan ahead to get a good site and bring plenty of sunscreen and bug spray. Look out for poison oak on the trails to the water. Water shoes are highly recommended.

Great for Families

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.

Lazy River, Redwoods, Wine Tasting

I have mixed feelings about this place. Beautiful surroundings and location, but actual campsites are meh. The campground is run by a non-profit that imposes very strict rules. Dogs are only allowed in the campsites (on 6’ leash) or on paved paths. There are sites kinda in trees up the hill that are very close together. Or sites near the pond that are very exposed but more spacious. The pond is (obviously) full of bullfrogs so the sound is either annoying or a lullaby, depending on your attitude. Site 1 is the best. It’s at the end of the park, nestled under a crown a redwood trees. 

The real selling point of this place is the location. It’s situated above a very charming summer escape town called Guerneville along the Russian River. Buy an inflatable at the 5&Dime and float down the river. Followed by a quiet night up at camp. The park is squarely in wine country so go wine tasting for lunch and get a shuttle back to camp.

Pacific Northwest Perfection

This is possibly the most beautiful National Park I have visited. Perfect campground along a river populated with deer, elk, and bears. Use your bear box! This is a rain forest so expect everything to be moist in the morning. There are still working pay phones here and fantastic interpretative center. There is a little town 15-20 minute drive away that has a supermarket, a large general store, and WiFi. The very best spot is Loop C, spot 78.

Mediocre Campground in a Unique Park

This review is specific to the Juniper Lake Campground. There is no water available and no separation between sites. It is high elevation and dry so the landscape is sparse. There is a very cold lake that is lovely. Canoes and row boats available for rent. This campground would be great for RVs if you don’t require any hookups or amenities. There are other campgrounds at lower elevation that have running water and firewood available. The park itself has incredible geothermic features. The visitor center is not to be missed.

Nice setting

It is impossible to complain about the Redwoods. The park is beautiful. It is a fantastic place but crowded most of the time. It is relatively close to UC Santa Cruz so it’s full of drunk college kids. Don’t expect peace or solitude. It is best enjoyed in the off season during weekdays. There is a store and deli on site selling ice cream and sundries. There is plenty of lovely spots on the water and several little spots to swim or at least splash, depending on the time of year. Dogs are not welcome at the water.  There are sites on the hill that require a wagon to haul gear. They are an exhausting haul each time you leave the site but offer an incredible amount of privacy.

Perfect Camground

This campground is in a lush forest right next to the beach. What more could you want?

The beach is a stellar fishing spot or perfect for collecting shells or building driftwood shacks. This place is cold year round so dress in layers.Restrooms were clean. Firewood available at the entrance kiosk, which is a hell of a hike up a hill so drive there. Go for the highest number sites. The Pygmy forest trail is worthwhile and very accessible for all abilities.

Beautiful Redwood Setting

This is a wonderful redwood park geared toward tent camping. It not particularly well suited to RVs. There are herds of Roosevelt Elk throughout the park, grazing in the meadow outside of the camping area. The elk are accustomed to people, but keep your distance. There are nice restroom facilities with hot showers. Bring quarters. The sites are close together but there is lush greenery to create a sense of separation. The big complaint are the bear boxes. They are impossible to close quietly so be considerate and plan your late night snack and beverage needs in advance. Reservation absolutely required months in advance for the summer season. This is a great place to go off-season.

The Best Group Campground!

This campground is magic! It’s also expensive so make sure you have a big group chipping in. There are two group spots. Group A holds 50 people. There is a kitchen area with a huge grill and a large canopy covering a dining area. Group B holds 25 and has more privacy. We had Group A and had a ton of day hikers invading our site. It isn’t clear that the site is private so I highly suggest that you show up with ways to indicate that it isn’t public. We ended up making“Reserved” signs for all the tables. After a family invaded our Camp Dinner to complain, we had to rope off the stairs to the site. 

There is plenty of space to spread out and have some privacy between tents. The restrooms are well maintained. The area is gorgeous! So many trails. We visited during a rain storm so there were waterfalls everywhere.

Secluded Redwood Escape

This campground is lovely. Opened Memorial Day weekend. There are clean, spacious restrooms, showers, and even giant laundry tubs/sinks. Offers a variety of spots, from heavily forested to open meadow. The creekside sites are the best.  There are a few sites that offer privacy. I found the employees to be wonderful and most of the campers to be well behaved. This place seems to attract real outdoors enthusiasts so you may have some loud, drunk neighbors but they go to bed early so as not to miss out on fishing. Like all state parks in California, dog are welcome in the campground but not on any trails. You can’t access any of the streams legally with a dog. Probably best enjoyed without the the fur babies. Heed the signs warning against RVs and trailers.