As a native Southern Californian, I grew up spending my summers in the outdoors and camping in some of California’s most incredible campsites. Nothing beats a night bundled up by a campfire under the stars!
Whether you prefer bumming it on the beach, dwelling in the desert or frolicking in the forest, campsites in California offer something for everyone.
Here are the top 10 campsites in California!
Angel Island Campground
If you are looking for jaw-dropping views of downtown San Francisco and the Golden Gate bridge, look no further. In the middle of San Francisco Bay sits Angel Island State Park, offering spectacular views of the San Francisco skyline, the Marin Headlands, and Mount Tamalpais.
Campsite Specs: Only 11 sites on the island total lending to the park’s secluded feel. There are restrooms, fire rings, and picnic tables.
Ever wanted to kayak into a remote campground? Here is your chance! Tomales Bay is…well it’s awesome. If you’re wanting to camp here, you must reach the campsites by boat (which really does add to the magic of the experience).
Bring along the bigger tent, some s’mores, a nice dinner (Hipcamp recommends fresh oysters from nearby Tomales Bay Oyster Company), and a hunk of firewood!
Campsite Specs: Beach campgrounds. Restrooms, fire rings, and picnic tables.
Bullfrog Pond Campground
Let the chorus of happy frogs lull you to sleep under the Redwoods at <Bullfrog Pond! The Bullfrog Pond campsite is spotted with wildflowers and wildlife. If you’re lucky, you may spot a Silver Fox. Either way, you’re guaranteed a starry-skied night!
Campsite Specs: Walk-up campsites for $25/night. Restrooms, fire rings, and picnic tables. Pets Allowed.
Steep Ravine Cabins & Campground
There’s a little secret that lies just across the Golden Gate Bridge and they are the Steep Ravine Cabins. On Mt. Tamalpais, just to the north of the city, there’s a group of wooden structures that date back to the 1940s.
They are insanely popular and rightfully so, so book well in advance. Each cabin features expansive ocean views, as they are perched high up on the side of a cliff.
Campsite Specs: Each cabin features a wood stove, picnic table and several benches, sleeping platforms and of course, an outdoor barbeque. The cabins do not have running water or electricity, but primitive toilets, water faucets, and firewood are nearby. Tent camping also available
The wonderful Lodgepole Campground is conveniently located near the Lodgepole Market as well as the Kaweah River and a meadow. There’s a Nature Center right in the campground (in case you weren’t centered enough in nature)!
The Giant Forest Sequoia Grove is only two miles away, a very short hike to the home of half the world’s oldest and biggest trees.
Campsite Specs: Restrooms, fire rings, and picnic tables. Pets Allowed.
Crystal Cove… sounds intriguing right? Naturally, visitors and locals alike are drawn to this gorgeous state park in Southern California.
Located in Crystal Cove, Moro Campground is a water baby’s paradise–with waves for surfers, an underwater park for snorkelers and scuba divers, tidepools for explorers, and a beautiful beach for those who just want to get their tan on.
Campsite Specs: 57 coastal terrace sites for both tents and RVs. Restrooms, fire rings, and picnic tables. Pets Allowed.
Borrego Palm Canyon Campground
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, the largest state park in California, is nothing short of breathtaking. In the springtime, you can catch brilliantly colored wildflowers peeking out from the desert floor. During most other seasons, expect to spot traditional desert cacti poking around the park.
The best part of the park, however, comes out at night. Unspoiled by artificial light, stars brighten up the desert sky and bring a sense of calm that visitors can celebrate after a long day of hiking.
Campsite Specs: Borrego Palm Canyon Campground features 122 campsites. Shade ramadas, restrooms, showers, fire rings, and picnic tables. Pets Allowed.
Julia Pfeiffer Burns Campground
Julia Pfeiffer Burns Campground may only have two camping spots, but they are known to be some of the best camping in California! Both are walk-in (meaning be prepared to bring all your gear in under your own steam), but provide wonderful seclusion and exquisite views of the Big Sur coastline.
Campsite Specs: Fire rings, picnic tables, and restrooms are available, but you will need to bring in all of your water and firewood.
Green Valley Campground
This campsite is perfect for those of you looking to chill out near the water on a hot day. Green Valley in San Diego has a creek running through it, and some nearby shallow pools and waterfalls to splash around in, too.
After a long day of hiking or riding on nearby trails, come back home to Green Valley to play in the cool water.
Campsite Specs: 81 campsites and 15 equestrian campsites. Restrooms, showers, fire rings, and picnic tables. Pets Allowed.
Eastern Santa Cruz Campground
Santa Cruz Island is a little more than 10% National Park and the rest is under the Nature Conservancy. The Santa Cruz campground is on the northeastern shore of the island, a flat and easy walk from the landing site. Come for kayaking, secluded camping, and gorgeous stars.
Campsite Specs: 40 island campsites. Restrooms, fire rings, and picnic tables.