Over 110 state parks and beaches dot California's landscape, many located directly along the state's amazing Pacific Ocean coastline. Many of the state's lovely parks offer excellent opportunities for overnight camping, ranging from primitive backcountry camping to glamping experiences in modern Airstream trailers or rental cabin facilities. Gorgeous national parks like Yosemite National Park are also home to modern campground areas and rustic lodge-style accommodations.
1.Francis Beach Campground
Francis Beach Campground is a charming public campground located along Half Moon Bay State Beach, offering tent and RV hookup campsites for overnight visitors. The lovely beachfront stretches across San Mateo County's Pacific Ocean coastline near its namesake bay, home to miles of sandy beachfront and the gorgeous multi-use Coastside Trail. Visitors to the park throughout the year can enjoy excellent opportunities for coastline fishing, surfing, and whale watching in season. 52 campsites are offered at the campground, many featuring spectacular oceanfront views. A water filling station and a dump station are offered for guest convenience, along with coin-operated showers and modern restrooms. Group campsites are available at nearby Sweetwood Group Campground.
Kelly Ave, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019, Phone: 800-444-7275
2.Big Basin Redwoods State Park
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Big Basin Redwoods State Park is a gorgeous California state park in Santa Cruz County, located approximately half an hour northwest of the city of Santa Cruz. The park is California's oldest state park, originally opened in 1902 and designated as a California Historical Landmark today. Its 18,000-acre lands protect significant stretches of northern California coastal forest, including the largest continuous stand of ancient coast redwoods in the southern part of the state's northern region. Park visitors can explore more than 80 miles of lovely hiking trails, which connect to nearby Castle Rock State Park. Waterfalls abound, accessible via trails like the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail. A plethora of camping options are offered at the park, ranging from developed campsites to backcountry group trail camps. Visitors can also stay at the charming Big Basin Inn or rent rustic cabins with modern amenities.
21600 Big Basin Way, Boulder Creek, CA 95006, Phone: 831-338-8861
3.Bullfrog Pond Campground
Bullfrog Pond Campground is a delightful campground within the charming Austin Creek State Recreation Area, owned and operated by the Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods nonprofit organization. The lovely Guerneville campground is nestled within a rolling hill landscape populated by redwood trees, offering amazing sunset vantage points at beautiful overlook Vista Point. Tent and car camping sites are offered, accommodating up to eight people apiece. 24 campsites surround picturesque Bullfrog Pond, available on a first-come, first-served basis. All campsites offer access to amenities like flush toilets, potable water, day-use picnic sites, and fire rings. Additional backcountry campsite areas are available at the park's Tom King and Manning Flat areas.
17000 Armstrong Woods Rd, Guerneville, CA 95446, Phone: 707-869-9177
4.Reyes Peak Campground
Reyes Peak Campground is one of Maricopa's highest-elevation campgrounds, located at an elevation of more than 7,000 feet above the gorgeous Sespe Wilderness. The campground offers spectacular views of the surrounding Cuyama Badlands and the state's Pacific Ocean coast, with views of the Channel Islands possible on clear days. Six campsites are situated on the campground's southwestern ridge, offering access to day-use picnic tables, fire rings, and barbecue grills. Since no water is available at the campground, visitors should make sure to bring their own drinking water for the duration of their stay. Pit toilets are located nearby for visitor use. Visitors can explore several nature trails that embark from the campground, including lovely Chorro Grande Trail and Reyes Peak Trail, which offer views of wildflowers, Jeffrey and sugar pines, and native wildlife like red-tailed hawks and California condors.
Pine Mountain Ridge Rd, Maricopa, CA 93252, Phone: 805-434-1996
5.Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park is one of California's most famous national parks, named in honor of the unique twisted Joshua trees its protects within its 1,235-square-mile lands. The park was originally designated as a national monument in 1936 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, protecting lands that had served as hunting grounds for the region's Pinto indigenous groups for millennia. It was redesignated as a national park in 1994 and is one of Southern California's top outdoor recreational destinations today, home to lovely hiking trails, Coachella Valley lookout points, rock climbing opportunities, and chances for some of the region's best stargazing. Nine established campgrounds are offered throughout the park, some of which provide guests with water and modern restrooms. Backcountry camping is also available in some areas with permits.
74485 National Park Drive. Twentynine Palms, CA 92277-3597, Phone: 760-367-5500
6.Jug Handle Creek Farm and Nature Center
Jug Handle Creek Farm and Nature Center is a lovely nonprofit nature center in Caspar, offering a wide range of opportunities for overnight stay, ranging from primitive campsites to fully-furnished rental cabins. The nature center is home to 39 acres of outdoor activities, including a native plant nursery and a beautiful nature trail network. It serves as a gateway to the natural wonders of Jug Handle State Reserve and Pygmy Forest Ecological Staircase, the world's largest intact natural staircase. Visitors can pitch their tents at the center's spacious campground, which offers access to a central cooking area with running water, a day-use campfire ring area, and two outhouses. Indoor lodging options include guest rooms within an 1870s-era Victorian farmhouse and three private rental cabins.
15501 CA-1, Caspar, CA 95420, Phone: 707-964-4630
7.Kirk Creek Campground
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Kirk Creek Campground offers some of Big Sur's most scenic campground sites, directly overlooking the region's gorgeous Pacific Ocean coastline atop a rocky bluff. The campground offers easy access to nearby Los Padres National Forest, perfect for hikers looking to explore the forest's natural wonders. Amazing views of the Big Sur coastline are offered from each campsite, along with direct access to nearby beachfront areas, including beautiful Sand Dollar Beach. Single-family tent and RV campsites offer access to day-use picnic tables, barbecue grills, and campfire rings, with vault toilets located nearby. Visitors can enjoy excellent opportunities for outdoor recreation throughout the year, including chances for swimming, surfing, fishing, sunbathing, and wildlife watching for native species like mountain lions, bears, bobcats, deer, and foxes.
CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920, Phone: 805-434-1996
8.Maple Creek Ranch and Tree Farm
Maple Creek Ranch and Tree Farm is a beautiful outdoor paradise in California's Cache Valley, located just north of the state's border with Idaho in the city of Chico just half an hour outside of Logan. The ranch has been owned and operated by the same Swedish immigrant family since 1934 and was one of the state's first certified tree farms, opened with the goal of cultivating healthy forest areas in the region. Visitors can explore lovely attractions on the ranch's grounds, including a fishing and swimming pond and a network of forest nature trails. Tent and RV campsite areas are offered for overnight stay on the ranch's 500-acre grounds, including both primitive and non-primitive camping areas. Each campground area offers access to fire pits, picnic tables, and flush toilets. Rental trailers and tent trailers are also available for campers looking to stay in more modern luxury.
165 Maple Creek Ranch Rd, Chico, CA 95973, Phone: 530-343-8479
9.Mill Creek Resort
Mill Creek Resort is a beautiful resort located just 10 minutes from Mount Lassen National Park's southern entrance in the city of Mill Creek, just off California Highway 172. The resort was originally established in 1936 and has grown to offer a plethora of visitor amenities today, ranging from an onsite restaurant, store, and gas station to tent and RV campsites for overnight stay. The 12-acre resort is a great choice for visitors looking for glamping experiences, home to seasonal rental trailers that offer amenities like refrigerators, stove tops, and private dining areas. 17 campsites offer access to pit toilets, shower houses, coin-operated laundry, and picnic sites. Rental cabins are also available for overnight stay, featuring private bathrooms, fully-equipped kitchens, and modern appliances.
40271 CA-172, Mill Creek, CA 96061, Phone: 530-595-4449
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10.Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
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Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park has been nicknamed "Mini Yosemite" for its gorgeous forest hiking trails, located on the banks of gorgeous Big Sur River in Monterey County. The 1,006-acre park, which is located on California's Central Coast, is named in honor of area pioneer John Pfeiffer, one of the region's first European settlers in the 19th century. It is known for its gorgeous redwood forests, which sit on the western slopes of the Santa Lucia Mountains, and offers excellent scenic hiking trails that provide chances to see native wildlife like bobcats, black-tailed deer, belted kingfishers, and gray squirrels. A spacious campground is open to car campers and RVs, offering sites located on the banks of the Big Sur River. Coin-operated showers are offered for all guests, along with modern restrooms and complimentary wireless internet. A 61-room lodge offers modern overnight accommodations, along with a cafe and grocery store.
Pfeiffer Big Sur Rd, Big Sur, CA 93920, Phone: 831-667-1112
11.Pianetta Ranch and Winery
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Pianetta Ranch and Winery is a beautiful estate winery located just 15 minutes north of the city of Paso Robles, within California's gorgeous rolling Indian Valley. The gorgeous vineyards were planted in 1997 by John Pianetta and is home today to 65 acres of vines growing estate Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. The winery is set on a gorgeous 95-acre ranch property that connects to the nearby Peach Tree Trail, a popular site for area cyclists. Camping areas on the winery's grounds include chances for glamping within a hip renovated Airstream trailer, which features modern amenities. A plethora of special events are hosted on the winery's grounds throughout the year, including wine tastings, winemaker dinners, and champagne brunches.
829 13th St, Paso Robles, CA 93446, Phone: 805-226-4005
12.Pinnacles National Park
Pinnacles National Park is a gorgeous national park in central California's Salinas Valley, located just five minutes east of the city of Soledad and an hour outside of San Jose. The national park is named in honor of the remains on an extinct volcano, which has shifted over 200 miles from its original location along the San Andreas Fault. 26,000 acres of spectacular rock formations are protected throughout the park, which serves as a major nesting site for the endangered soaring bird, North America's largest bird species. Visitors can stay overnight at the park's campground, which offers family and group tent sites alongside electric hookup RV sites. Amenities offered onsite include modern restrooms, coin-operated showers, a family-friendly swimming pool, and a general store selling food and camping supplies.
13.Emma Wood State Beach
Emma Wood State Beach is a beautiful California state beach in Ventura, located along the western edge of the Ventura River on the gorgeous Santa Barbara Channel. The beach is named in honor of former area rancher Emma Grubb Wood and is overseen as a municipal beach in conjunction with Seaside Wilderness Park. It is a popular site for fishing, swimming, and surfing throughout the year, home to historic landmarks like the remains of a World War II-era artillery emplacement. Visitors can explore the beach's lovely Ocean's Edge Trail and spot dolphins off the beach's shoreline throughout the year. A primitive campground is offered for overnight stay, accommodating trailers and RVs. A portable chemical toilet is offered for visitor use, along with primitive campfire circles.
Pacific Coast Hwy, Ventura, CA 93001, Phone: 805-968-1033
14.Dogwood Family Campground
Dogwood Family Campground is a charming family-friendly campground in the heart of the beautiful San Bernardino National Forest, located in lovely Lake Arrowhead. The campground is home to dozens of single-family tent campsites, along with a variety of campsites that can accommodate RVs and trailers. Some sites offer electric hookups for modern convenience. All sites feature amenities like day-use picnic sites, campfire rings, and barbecue grills. Guests can make use of modern-style flush toilets, ADA-accessible showers, and clean, cool drinking water. Evening campfire programs are offered at the campground's amphitheater, open to the entire family. Visitors can also explore beautiful nature trails like the Dogwood Trail and Enchanted Loop Trail, which offer scenic views of the surrounding national forest.
Lake Arrowhead, CA 92352, Phone: 909-336-6717
15.Sonoma Coast State Beach
Sonoma Coast State Beach is a California state beach in lovely Sonoma County, stretching from the Pacific Ocean coastline just north of the city of Jenner and extending 17 miles south to Bodega Head. Several beachfront areas are located within the state beach, including Goat Rock Beach, Gleason Beach, and Arched Rock Beach. Long sandy beaches stretch along rugged headland areas and craggy coastline stretches, showcasing amazing natural arch formations and secluded cove areas. Foggy coastline areas are favorite spots for fishing, boating, sunbathing, beachcombing, and picnicking throughout the year. Wright's Beach is home to 27 developed campsites, while 99 campsites are offered at charming Bodega Dunes. Additional campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis at Willow Creek Environmental Camp and Pomo Canyon Campground.
CA-1, Bodega Bay, CA 94923, Phone: 707-875-3483
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Summerset Farm is a charming pick-your-own vegetable and fruit farm located in the heart of California's gorgeous Santa Ynez Valley wine country, located in the city of Santa Ynez. The farm is located within easy driving distance of top area attractions like tourist towns Los Olivos and Solvang, known for their art galleries, studios, and European-themed attractions. Spacious stretches of mountain terrain offer excellent opportunities for hiking, biking, and motorcycle riding, while area attractions like Refugio Beach are great choices for swimming and sunbathing. Visitors can camp overnight on the farm's grounds within a beautiful berry patch or corn field area, offering privacy and unique scenery. Up to four guests can stay at each tent camping site, which offers access to flush toilets, picnic tables, and potable water. Four-legged friends can camp at the farm with their owners for an additional fee.
3450 Baseline Ave, Santa Ynez, CA 93460, Phone: 805-245-0989
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Tuolumne Meadows is a lovely subalpine meadow area along the banks of the gorgeous Tuolumne River, located within the eastern section of spectacular Yosemite National Park. The meadow region, which is located near the city of Wawona, is set at an elevation of more than 8,600 feet above sea level and offers amazing views of nearby natural wonders like the Cathedral Range, the Lembert Dome, and Unicorn Peak. During the spring months, sections of the valley frequently flood and transform into gorgeous mountain lakes. Visitors can enjoy high-quality opportunities for hiking and rock climbing at the area throughout the year, which offers a less-crowded alternative to more trafficked areas like the Yosemite Valley. 304 tent and RV campsites are offered within the region for overnight stay, including group campsites and equestrian campsites.
7943 Willow St, Wawona, CA 95389, Phone: 209-372-0200
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Camp WagMore is a lovely 63-acre campground located just 10 minutes outside of the quaint harborfront community of Morro Bay, accessible via scenic California Highway 1. The campground is located atop a gorgeous oak-covered hillside that overlooks the spectacular Chorro Creek River Valley, offering opportunities for hiking, wildlife watching, and nature photography. Tent, small RV, and camper campsites are offered on the property, which is accessible via a rough terrain road. Large RV and fifth-wheel campers are not recommended due to the road's narrow stretch and overhead clearance. Nearby, Montana de Oro offers excellent opportunities for hiking and mountain hiking, while Morro Bay provides chances for fishing, boating, and surfing.
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19.South Carlsbad State Beach
South Carlsbad State Beach is one of San Diego's most popular spots for shorefront recreation throughout the year, offering opportunities for swimming, surfing, fishing, paddleboarding, skin diving, and picnicking. The charming beachfront is home to a spacious blufftop campground that is a popular destination throughout the summer month, offering direct access to the beach via a public-access staircase. Campsites are available for overnight stay with reservations, offering privacy and stunning Pacific Ocean scenery from every site. All sites are equipped with day-use picnic sites and fire pits and provide access to modern amenities like laundry and complimentary wireless internet for an additional fee.
7201 Carlsbad Blvd, Carlsbad, CA 92008, Phone: 760-438-3143
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20.Cerro Alto Campground
Cerro Alto Campground is a lovely camping and hiking paradise located just outside the city of Morro Bay, which is a popular California destination for swimming, surfing, fishing, scuba diving, kayaking, and sailing throughout the year. Single-family tent and RV campsites are offered at the campground throughout the year, equipped with private picnic sites, barbecue grills, and campfire rings. All sites offer access to vault toilets, drinking water, and trash collection bins, though no electric hookups are offered. Lovely recreational areas nearby offer opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding at sites like the four-mile Cerro Alto Trail. In the nearby town of Atascadero, visitors can enjoy excellent shopping and dining choices and a plethora of cultural attractions.
CA-41, Morro Bay, CA 9344, Phone: 805-434-1996
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21.North Beach Campground
North Beach Campground is a delightful campground located at Pismo State Beach, the home of the famed sand dune complex of the same name, which is considered to be one of the finest sand dune areas along the California coastline. The lovely Central Coast beach is a popular destination for year-round recreation, including fishing, swimming, surfing, dune walking, and hiking. Campsites at the park are offered with advance reservation throughout the year, which can be made up to six months in advance. Visitors can enjoy access to modern amenities like restrooms, coin-operated showers, and day-use picnic sites with campfire rings. Nearby Oceano Campground offers hookup RV sites and nature programming, including junior ranger and campfire programs.
399 S Dolliver St, Pismo Beach, CA 93449, Phone: 805-473-7220
21 Best Camping Spots in California
- Francis Beach Campground, Photo: Ron/stock.adobe.com
- Big Basin Redwoods State Park, Photo: Yuval Helfman/stock.adobe.com
- Bullfrog Pond Campground, Photo: stock.adobe.com
- Reyes Peak Campground, Photo: Kate/stock.adobe.com
- Joshua Tree National Park, Photo: Scottiebumich/stock.adobe.com
- Jug Handle Creek Farm and Nature Center, Photo: Ilya/stock.adobe.com
- Kirk Creek Campground, Photo: Syda Productions/stock.adobe.com
- Maple Creek Ranch and Tree Farm, Photo: Rawpixel.com/stock.adobe.com
- Mill Creek Resort, Photo: kopitinphoto/stock.adobe.com
- Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Photo: David Prahl/stock.adobe.com
- Pianetta Ranch and Winery, Photo: New Africa/stock.adobe.com
- Pinnacles National Park, Photo: Elena/stock.adobe.com
- Emma Wood State Beach, Photo: Cesar/stock.adobe.com
- Dogwood Family Campground, Photo: auremar/stock.adobe.com
- Sonoma Coast State Beach, Photo: khomlyak/stock.adobe.com
- Summerset Farm, Photo: Jacob Lund/stock.adobe.com
- Tuolumne Meadows, Photo: straystone/stock.adobe.com
- Camp WagMore, Photo: Syda Productions/stock.adobe.com
- South Carlsbad State Beach, Photo: sherryvsmith/stock.adobe.com
- Cerro Alto Campground, Photo: Photographee.eu/stock.adobe.com
- North Beach Campground, Photo: WavebreakmediaMicro/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: khomlyak/stock.adobe.com