10 Best Campsites in California

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Hey there campers and welcome to my post where we will take a look at my 10 best campsites in California. Now, we all know the joys that camping can bring, from experiencing the great outdoors, to time with family and of course, just doing nothing around the campfire. But where should you go?

There are of course so many different options out there so if you looking for a good campsite in California, or have one in mind but are not sure what it has to offer, here are 10 good options below.

Let’s check them out…

10 Best Campsites in California

Whilst it is quite large, California has a lot to offer when it comes to camping in both summer and winter. So as above, if you are looking for a good campsite in the state of California, here are some good suggestions for you.

1. Yosemite Valley Campground

best campsites in California - Yosemite Valley Campground

Yosemite Valley Campground is one of the most popular and iconic campgrounds in California. It is located in Yosemite National Park, which is renowned for its spectacular granite cliffs, waterfalls, and giant sequoias. The campground is situated in the heart of Yosemite Valley, near the Merced River and within walking distance of many of the park’s main attractions, including Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, and El Capitan.

The campground features 238 sites that can accommodate tents, RVs, and trailers, with some sites offering electrical hookups and is open year-round. Reservations however are strongly recommended, especially during the peak summer season.

Facilities at the campground include restrooms, showers, a dump station and drinking water. There are also picnic tables and fire pits at each site, as well as a general store and a shuttle bus stop nearby.

Visitors to Yosemite Valley Campground have access to a wide range of recreational activities, including hiking, rock climbing, fishing and biking with the park’s visitor center also located nearby, where visitors can learn more about the park’s history, geology, and wildlife.

Book your campsite here.


2. Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

best campsites in California - Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park is a beautiful park located in Northern California, near the town of Crescent City. The park is named after the famous explorer Jedediah Smith, who traveled through this area in the early 19th century and is known for its towering redwood trees, which are some of the tallest and oldest in the world.

The park offers 86 campsites nestled among the redwoods, with options for tent, RV and group camping. The campsites are spread out over several different loops and each site has a picnic table and a fire pit. Some of the sites are shaded and secluded, while others are more open and sunny.

Facilities at the campground include restrooms, showers, a dump station and drinking water and there is also a campfire center where visitors can learn about the history and ecology of the park.

In addition to camping, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park offers a wide range of recreational activities including hiking, fishing, swimming and wildlife watching. There are over 20 miles of hiking trails, ranging from easy nature walks to strenuous backcountry hikes and the Smith River, which runs through the park, is a popular spot for fishing, swimming and kayaking as well.

Book your campsite here.


3. Joshua Tree National Park

best campsites in California - Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is a stunning desert park located in Southern California, near the cities of Palm Springs and Joshua Tree known for its unique landscape, which features rocky outcrops, twisted Joshua trees and expansive desert vistas.

The park offers several campgrounds including the popular Black Rock and Jumbo Rocks and there are also several backcountry camping areas for visitors who want to experience the park’s wilderness areas. The campsites at Joshua Tree National Park are suitable for tents RVs, and trailers with some sites offering electrical hookups as well.

Facilities at the campgrounds include restrooms, showers and drinking water and there are also picnic tables and fire pits at each site, as well as a dump station and a general store at some of the campgrounds.

In addition to camping, Joshua Tree National Park offers a wide range of recreational activities including hiking, rock climbing, stargazing and wildlife watching. There are over 300 miles of hiking trails ranging from easy nature walks to strenuous backcountry hikes. The rock formations in the park are a popular destination for rock climbers with over 8,000 climbing routes too.

Reservations are recommended, especially during the peak season and can be booked here.


4. Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

best campsites in California - Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is a beautiful park located on the central coast of California near the town of Big Sur known for its towering redwood trees, stunning coastal views, and pristine wilderness areas. It offers several campgrounds, including the popular Pfeiffer Big Sur Campground and the more secluded Ventana Campground.

The campsites at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park are suitable for tents, RVs and trailers with some sites offering electrical hookups with facilities including restrooms, showers, and drinking water. There are also picnic tables and fire pits at each site, as well as a camp store and a visitor center at some of the campgrounds.

In addition to camping, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park offers a wide range of recreational activities including hiking, beachcombing and wildlife watching. The park has over 80 miles of hiking trails, ranging from easy nature walks to strenuous backcountry hikes and additionally, its beaches are popular spots for swimming, sunbathing and surfing with several tide pools to explore.

And for the non-campers, one of the highlights of the park is the Pfeiffer Big Sur Lodge, a rustic and charming lodge located in the heart of the park offering comfortable accommodations, a restaurant, a gift shop as well as guided nature walks and other activities too.

Reservations are recommended, especially during the peak season and bookings can be made here.


5. Lake Tahoe Basin

best campsites in California - Lake Tahoe Basin

Lake Tahoe Basin is a stunningly beautiful destination located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains straddling the border of California and Nevada. The area is known for its crystal-clear blue waters, breathtaking alpine scenery, and wide range of recreational activities.

There are several campgrounds located in the Lake Tahoe Basin including the popular Fallen Leaf Campground, which is situated on the southern shore of Lake Tahoe. The campgrounds in the area are suitable for tents, RVs and trailers with some sites offering electrical hookups.

Facilities at the campgrounds include restrooms, showers, and drinking water and there are also picnic tables and fire pits at each site, as well as boat launches and fishing piers at some of the campgrounds.

In addition to camping, Lake Tahoe Basin offers a wide range of recreational activities including hiking, biking, fishing, boating and skiing. The area has over 200 miles of hiking trails, ranging from easy nature walks to strenuous backcountry hikes and the lake itself is a popular destination for boating, fishing and swimming – with several beaches for a lazy sunbake as well.

In the winter, the area is a popular destination for skiing and snowboarding, with several world-class ski resorts located nearby. Additionally, you can also visit Emerald Bay State Park, a stunningly beautiful park that is home to Emerald Bay, one of the most photographed spots in the area.

Reservations are recommended, especially during the peak season and can be booked here.


6. Point Mugu State Park

best campsites in California - Point Mugu State Park

Point Mugu State Park is a beautiful coastal park located in Ventura County, California known for its pristine beaches, rugged coastline and stunning mountain views. There are several campgrounds located here including Sycamore Canyon Campground, Thornhill Broome Campground and Danielson Campground.

These campgrounds offer a range of camping options, from primitive tent camping to RV camping with full hookups. Facilities include restrooms, showers, and drinking water and there are also picnic tables and fire rings at each site, as well as several hiking trails and beach access points.

In addition to camping, Point Mugu State Park offers a wide range of recreational activities including hiking, fishing, surfing and wildlife viewing. The park has over 70 miles of hiking trails, ranging from easy nature walks to challenging backcountry hikes with beaches for swimming, sunbathing and surfing. There are also several tide pools and estuaries to explore as well.

One of the highlights of the park is the Point Mugu Rock, a massive natural landmark that towers over the coastline and is a popular spot for rock climbing with several routes that cater to climbers of all skill levels.

Reservations are recommended, especially during the peak season and can be booked here.


7. Lassen Volcanic National Park

best campsites in California - Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lassen Volcanic National Park is a unique destination located in northeastern California known for its incredible volcanic features including hot springs, geysers, fumaroles and bubbling mud pots. There are several campgrounds located within Lassen Volcanic National Park, including the popular Manzanita Lake Campground and the scenic Butte Lake Campground.

These campgrounds offer a range of camping options from tent camping to RV camping with electrical hookups. Facilities include restrooms, showers and drinking water and there are also picnic tables and fire pits at each site, as well as several hiking trails and access points to the park’s volcanic features.

In addition to camping, Lassen Volcanic National Park offers a wide range of recreational activities including hiking, fishing, and wildlife viewing with over 150 miles of hiking trails ranging from easy nature walks to challenging backcountry hikes.

The volcanic features in the park are a unique attraction, with several areas that offer opportunities to view and learn about the area’s geologic history. One of the highlights is the Lassen Peak Trail, a challenging 5-mile hike that leads to the summit of Lassen Peak, a volcanic dome that towers over the surrounding landscape where hikers are rewarded with incredible views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

Reservations are recommended, especially during the peak season and can be booked here.


8. Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Big Basin Redwoods State Park is a stunning destination located in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California known for its towering redwood trees, scenic hiking trails and beautiful waterfalls. There are several campgrounds located within Big Basin Redwoods State Park, including the popular Huckleberry Campground and the quieter Blooms Creek Campground.

These offer a range of camping options from primitive tent camping to RV camping with electrical hookups with facilities including restrooms, showers, and drinking water. There are also picnic tables and fire pits at each site, as well as several hiking trails and access points to the park’s natural attractions.

In addition to camping, Big Basin Redwoods State Park offers a wide range of recreational activities including hiking, fishing, and wildlife viewing with over 80 miles of hiking trails, ranging from easy nature walks to challenging backcountry hikes. The park is also home to several beautiful waterfalls, including Berry Creek Falls, Silver Falls, and Golden Cascade.

One of the highlights of the park is the Skyline to the Sea Trail, a scenic 30-mile trail that leads from the mountaintops of Big Basin to the ocean at Waddell Beach. This trail offers incredible views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, as well as the opportunity to see a variety of wildlife, including deer, squirrels and even the occasional mountain lion.

Reservations are recommended, especially during the peak season and can be booked here.


9. Mount Tamalpais State Park

best campsites in California - Mount Tamalpais State Park

Mount Tamalpais State Park is a beautiful park located in Marin County, California, just north of San Francisco known for its stunning views, beautiful forests, and excellent hiking trails. There are several campgrounds located within Mount Tamalpais State Park, including the popular Pantoll Campground and the more remote Steep Ravine Environmental Campground.

These offer a range of camping options from tent camping to RV camping with electrical hookups with facilities including restrooms, showers, and drinking water. There are also picnic tables and fire pits at each site as well as several hiking trails and access points to the park’s natural attractions.

In addition to camping, Mount Tamalpais State Park offers a wide range of recreational activities including hiking, mountain biking and wildlife viewing. The park has over 60 miles of hiking trails, ranging from easy nature walks to challenging backcountry hikes and is also home to a variety of wildlife including deer, foxes, coyotes and several species of birds.

One of the highlights of the park is the Mount Tamalpais East Peak, which offers stunning views of the San Francisco Bay Area, the Marin Headlands, and the Pacific Ocean. Visitors can drive or hike to the summit, which is 2,571 feet above sea level.

Reservations are recommended, especially during the peak season which can be booked here.


10. Crystal Cove State Park

best campsites in California - Crystal Cove State Park

Crystal Cove State Park is a stunning coastal park located in Southern California, between Newport Beach and Laguna Beach known for its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters and dramatic coastal bluffs. The park offers three different campgrounds: Moro Campground, which is located on a bluff overlooking the ocean; El Moro Campground, which is nestled in a wooded canyon; and the primitive backcountry campsites, which are located in the wilderness area of the park. Each campground offers a different camping experience, from the ocean views at Moro to the shady trees and creek at El Moro.

The campsites at Crystal Cove State Park range from primitive tent sites to RV sites with hookups and all sites have a picnic table, a fire ring and some sites also have a grill. Facilities at the campgrounds include restrooms, showers, and drinking water too.

In addition to camping, Crystal Cove State Park offers a wide range of recreational activities including hiking, biking, swimming and surfing. The park has over 17 miles of hiking trails, ranging from easy nature walks to strenuous backcountry hikes with beaches popular spots for swimming, sunbathing and beachcombing and there are also several tide pools to explore too.

One of the highlights of the park is the historic district, which features 46 restored beach cottages from the 1920s and 1930s. These cottages are available for rent and offer a unique and charming place to stay in the park.

Camp spots can be booked here.

Conclusion

There you have it, my best campsites in California. I would be pleased to know how this article helped you, and as usual, let me know of your experiences with them.

Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, or corrections or would like me to check anything else out for you.

Until next time.

Have fun

Paul

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Hi, I'm Paul

I am a passionate fishing, camping and four wheeled driving hobbyist who researches, tests and educates around issues and equipment relevant to them.

I am by no means a professional however my passion is to assist you in making informed decisions about buying and using awesome gear that will give you the best chance of success at whatever you are doing for the best price.

Please get in touch if you have any questions.

Paul