This is campground is on a great stretch of California Coastline north of Santa Barbara, but it is very popular in the summer time, so make reservations. We've camped here in the winter (the weather is still beautiful) and gotten choice spots with great views of the Pacific. The campground is one of the better ones in the area with full facilities which make for easy car camping.
This is one of our old favorites. We used to camp at Fish Creek all the time, before they re-opened Troy Meadows. There are several spots right on the meadow with easy creek access which we always chose. Campsites here are very generous and a spaced pretty far apart and positioned for a great sense of privacy. The meadow is gorgeous and the creek is clear and cold. A part of Golden Trout Wilderness, we've seen people fishing trout from the creek.
Limekiln was one of the first places my wife and I camped. It will be forever known in our family as the "swollen head" camp as we setup camp at the one spot really close to the creek and our bodies were on a grade with our heads downhill. The next morning I woke up with a head about double its size. Fortunately, there were other memorable experiences from that weekend. We had a wonderful time hiking through the primordial redwood forests ripe with giant ferns and an old stone kiln built by Native Americans.This campground is also positioned in a beautiful ocean cove on one of the best stretches of Pacific Coast. It's sort of a magical place with generous campsites.
Don't let anyone tell you that you can't camp with an infant. It's actually one of the best activities that you can do with them, and it's a great break for the parents. Bass lake is the perfect campground for young family camping. There are plenty of facilities and even a restaurant. Our friends brought a boat, so we were able to go out on the lake, which was fabulous.
We met a group here and camped at a couple of adjacent sites. It is a premium location very close to the Pacific Ocean, and you can walk to a little store and very casual restaurant on the water. You can also rent canoes and kayaks to paddle out to the isthmus which is comprised of dunes. On the day we tried that, it was very windy, and some of the kayaks and canoes had to be rescued, so we decided to turn around and didn't make it all the way to the island. Nonetheless, it was great to be out on the ocean, and the scenery is otherworldly. The town nearby is very cute with lots of touristy things, but with a laid-back atmosphere. One can also venture further in to San Luis Obispo, which is a fun college town.
This is a nice campground on Pinecrest Lake near Sonora Pass in Stanislaus National Forest. There is a great hike around the lake close by, as well as swimming in the lake a marina and a convenience store. This campground is open seasonally during spring, summer and fall due to the snow in winter. It is located in gold country, so there are some great little western towns in the area.
We have been camping here for years. I used to go up there to paint landscapes. It's mostly quiet and safe, but we did arrive one Friday evening and found it rampant with thug-like teens, playing loud music and parked everywhere. It was not our idea of an outdoor experience, so we moved further up the 33 to find somewhere else. That said, most of the time, we have found it quiet and beautiful. We have used as a base camp for the Sespe Wilderness and the Sespe River trail. The river has warm hot springs underneath, so it can be a very comfortable temperature and private most of the time. The campground is adequately equipped for our needs, but we did bring water with us. There is a great little hike from the campground to a little waterfall.
This is a fabulous coastal state park and campground. There is plenty of shade and fog that keep the sites cool. Bring a sweater, even during summer. Hiking paths weave around the shoreline and give you access to the beautiful golden rock formations that jut out into the water.
Great views of the lake in which you can swim (and boat). Not a lot of shade, unless you snuggle in with a Piñon tree, but we spend our days on the lake or hiking Ghost Ranch, which is a few minutes away.
This campground does not have a lot of trees and is more like a parking lot, but the beach access and pier make it worth a visit.
We stopped here for an overnighter and it was not the most aesthetic choice, but the town of Las Vegas is quite charming. The town has a great plaza and historic hotel where we had a pretty good meal. The sunsets and landscape in this part of New Mexico really take your breath away.
Refugio state beach is a popular spot, but still very enjoyable, right on the ocean. Easy camping with flat pads and bathrooms. It was a great place for us to transition from backpacking to car camping, after we had our first child.
Stopped at this campground on a trip across country. Apparently, it gets full, but we lucked out, and it was right by the river. We wanted to hike to Bell Rock and was only using this as a stopover, but we really enjoyed the scenery in the campground.
This is a great campground close to a lot of Sequoia's attractions, including the General Sherman tree and some of the other large sequoias and the visitor's center. There are several great hiking trails that are very near the campground, and the sites are scenic and fairly separate. We saw a lot of deer during our stay.
Even though we had been camping on this road trip and had our gear in the car, we elected to stay in one of the camping cabins at the Williams KOA and it was quite a treat. Even in the late summer, it can get cool in the evening, so we were thankful for the extra shelter. After dinner by the campfire ring, we went to bed and awoke the next morning to take the little Williams train into the South Rim where we hiked for a couple of miles with our 4-year-old. She did surprisingly well, and it ended being a great little short stay at the GC.
Troy Meadows is not as well-known as the campgrounds around Mt. Whitney, but it accesses the same Eastern Sierra wilderness. Frequented by OHV enthusiasts, this campground may not be as popular with tent campers, but the off-roaders are quite considerate, and their vehicles have never been an annoyance the many times that I have camped here. We choose the spots that are several hundred feet from the car parking area, down from the road, right on Fish Creek. You have to carry your stuff a couple of hundred feet down into the sites, but it's well worth it. Great hiking on Fish Creek, or, after a short drive, to Jordan Hot Springs.
Yosemite Falls access and rafting on the Merced are the two big draws to this campground. This is one of the most popular parks in the world, so expect lots of people. It's hard to make a reservation; so you'll have to work pretty hard to get a spot. Go to www.recreation.gov and search for Upper Pines for more info. The campground is well-equipped and close to lots of great Yosemite attractions, and there is bus service throughout the park so you can visit the museum and the largest tree, etc.
Cowles campground in the Pecos Wilderness area is a launching point for the Windsor Trail which travels alongside beautiful Windsor Creek to Stewart Lake and Pecos Falls. More Yosemite than Yosemite Sam, this area is shaded by massive pines, fir and aspen with plenty of grassy meadows, rock formations and mini waterfalls provided by the creek. The campground itself is spare, but it does have a some three-sided, log cabin-style shelters, a unique feature. Camping is fairly unstructured, and there are several campgrounds nearby, if you get there on the 4th of July and all the sites are full. A recently transplanted California resident, I was taken aback by the beauty of this backcountry which doesn't seem like Southwest scenery at all, more like Mount Whitney or Yosemite.