10 Best Camping Sites in California

California is a vast expanse of land with many recreational features such as the Mojave Desert, Central Valley farmland, Sierra Nevada Mountains, and the Redwood forests. These recreational features provide the needed fun for most lovers of leisure and vacations. 

The State boasts of providing one of the best past time camps for families, adventurers, and nature lovers. It is always a great pleasure spending your leisure time in the mountains, besides beautiful rivers, and at the same time sleeping under the scenic view of canopy woodlands. You can be sure to have the best camping experience within the several camping sites provided by various forests and parks in California.

Below is the list of the top ten camping sites based in California that will offer everyone a memorable experience.

1. Crystal Cove State Park

Crystal Cove State Park - Go Hike It
© Go Hike It

Crystal Cove camping site is located in Newport Beach and has become one of the most impressive state parks within the region. Crystal Cove State Park has a 1,400-acre marine conservation area, 400acres of bluffs, and 2400 acres of canyons. 

One of the campgrounds on the Crystal Cove State Park is the Beach Moro campground, situated in a woody environment and provides about 2,400 acres of other undeveloped nature’s land for hiking activity. You may also decide to go bird-watching or explore the tide pools.

Several wildlife species like the birds and reptiles always find the Crystal Cove comfortable and convenient for them to live and carry out loads of activities because of its favorable weather conditions between January and August.

2. Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park - Sarah R The Dyrt
© Sarah R / The Dyrt

The western region of Santa Mountain is located above the Big Sur River and serves as the ideal camping site for most nature lovers. The camping site is a very large environment capable of accommodating several activities like swimming, hiking, riding, etc.

It is a serene and conducive environment for all wildlife species, including blacktail deer, gray squirrel, birds, and many more; hikers enjoy impressive activities here, including self-oriented natural activities.

There are about 61 guest rooms on the camping site, including a conference center, a cafe, and a grocery store; this has made life in the camping site very easy and comfortable for visitors. 

This camping site is nicknamed the “mini Yosemite” and stands on over 1,000 acres of land within Big Sur River’s flow-through tide. 

Trees here are particularly the evolution of the awesome natures of civilization—they provide thrilling and astounding moments for most visitors. This park has been named after John Pfeiffer—he lived within the state park’s cabin in 1884.

3. Nevada Beach Camping Site

Nevada Beach Camping Site - Timeout Flickr - Ariel Dovas
© Timeout / Flickr – Ariel Dovas

Nevada’s Lake Tahoe Basin is home to one of the woody camping sites of vegetation in California, the Nevada Beach Camping site. This campground is not far from Tahoe’s eastern shores, and it’s in a forest of evergreen shrubs and pine trees. 

Both young and old vacationers can bask in the fun of playing casinos or eat a sumptuous meal at a nearby restaurant whenever they go hungry. You may also enjoy the sandy terrain of the lake while exploring its picturesque view.

Amazingly, this camping site has an elevation of 6,100 feet along the California-Nevada route. The nearby Nevada Beach is less than a mile long and is wider than any other beach on the lake. 

If you particularly like a peaceful and quiet environment, the Nevada Beach Camping site will be a great destination because its mountainous terrains will give you such quietness.

You can use your recreational vehicles on the several dozen sites located on this camping site. Its pavilion, made of timber roof, is available for the reservation of 150 guests simultaneously and supported by three barbecue spots and ten picnic tables. However, if you wish to enjoy more captivating recreation, you can go water sporting, boating, biking, or fishing. 

4. Cold Springs Camping Site

Cold Springs Camping Site - One Day in America
© One Day in America

The Cold Spring’s campground is situated in North Central Colorado, on the Arapaho Roosevelt National Forest, which is at the north of Blackhawk—luring you to camp amidst aspen trees and conifers. Visitors enjoy the area for its impressive and off-road driving, hiking, and fishing opportunities.

The campground consists of 38 sites—the first five sites are pull-overs with wooden retaining walls. You climb several steps to reach the picnic tables, fire rings, and tent pads. Recreational vehicles may not be ideal in such situations.

Picnic tables and fire rings are also in the ninth and tenth sites for easy social fun-filled play and interaction. Because of its pull-over nature, the ninth and tenth sites will not have room for large recreational vehicles. However, you will experience one of the most amazing moments watching nature’s sunset among the camp woods.

The maximum vehicle length that can be accommodated is 40 feet.  There is a playground for small children to enjoy most of their exhilarating activities. There is an easy hiking trail out of the campground for families with small children.  

You can enjoy the drive-along moment of viewing the scenic Peak byway or a fishing moment within the site’s lakes, creeks, or rivers. The scenic Kaweah River mainly provides you great recreational fishing activities.  There are several nearby attractions, one of which is Golden Gate Canyon State Park which is just seven miles away.  Besides, hikers, bikers, and riders can explore the over 35 miles of trails within this attractive park. 

5. Tuolumne Meadows Camping Site 

Tuolumne Meadows Camping Site - sasha N.
© sasha N. / The Dyrt

Tuolumne Meadows is one of the camping sites in Central California’s Yosemite National Park. This location is at the Nevada Mountain Range, and it offers an 8,600-foot elevation. 

Five miles away from the Tioga Pass Entrance Station is the picturesque Tioga Road which winds its way around the camping site. 

The campground is a large area containing food lockers, fire rings, and picnic tables. It also features a visitor center that’s within a walking range. The most common activities in the area include hiking, rock climbing, backpacking, and fishing.

There are 69 tent cabins constructed with cement platforms and metal-frames. Each tent cabin accommodates up to four people.  Guests can enjoy the campfire program organized by one of the free rangers and request a guide if you’re looking to hike, especially if you are a newbie hiker. Biking paths and hiking trails are abundant in this valley, offering educational programs, bus tours, an art center, and a museum.

6. Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park Camping Site

Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park Camping Site - Redwood Hikes
© Redwood Hikes

The Prairies Creek Redwoods State Park Camping site is a wild and lush old-growth forest. This camping site is about an hour’s ride north of Eureka. You will amazingly like the nature’s view within the Elk Prairie camping site, where you can see the forest canopies of tall trees like fig trees and pines. No matter the time of the year you come for your camping activities, you will surely enjoy this coastal environment and its fantastic woody light-through sunshine. 

Ensure you are with your waterproof jacket because of the type of weather here. There are about 76 camping sites located here, and you and your family can select from the best camping activities in any of these sites. You can always enjoy recreational activities such as hiking while viewing the best of nature’s wildlife like coyotes, bears, mountain lions, etc. This park has been awarded the World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Preserve.

7. Lake Tahoe Camping Site

Lake Tahoe Camping Site - Scott O - Hip Camp
© Scott O / Hip Camp

Lake Tahoe camping site boasts of being the most popular in the US regarding its large alpine lake. This lake serves as a stunning backdrop for most people who want to enjoy the bliss of the lake’s fresh breeze. There are several camping options this lake offers, ranging from forested camping sites to beachfront campgrounds.

Visitors enjoy Lake Tahoe’s spectacular nested mountainous camping sites because of its vast land and aerial view. You can always select from several camping sites here. Some of these camping sites are Camp Richardson, Zephyr Cove RV Park, Meeks Bay Resort, Emerald Bay Boat Camp, Sand Harbor, etc.

You will particularly like all the camping sites here, especially if you want such visiting experience together with boating, biking, and hiking. Discover your best camping spot within the Lake Tahoe camping site and pitch your tent to enjoy your beautiful ski slopes and outdoor recreational event.

You will also enjoy some campgrounds with additional camping features such as food storage, tables, and fire rings while enjoying the wilderness view of the near lake expanse of land. 

8. Sequoia National Forest Camping Site

Sequoia National Forest Camping Site - Christopher D - Hip Camp
© Christopher D – Hip Camp

The Sequoia National Forest, located on more than 1 million acres of land within the Sierra Nevada Mountains, boasts of having the largest of these living monuments. You can select from several camping sites on this forest and enjoy the beautiful atmosphere of natural growths and beaming sun shades. 

There are over 800 miles of trails for visitors who like biking. You can transverse this trail as part of your camping activities. There are a lot of options you can choose from when it comes to selecting your camping site. You can enjoy the ageless surroundings of your sequoia camping site, which dates back to more than 2,000 years ago. 

Many of its trees will give you the atmosphere of ancient nature. You can choose your camping site among any of the towering pines, which gives you a beautiful recreational atmosphere. 

Some of the several camping sites you can enjoy within this forest include Lodgepole Campground, Big Meadows campground, Potwisha Campground, Buckeye Flat Campground, Stoney, and Dorst Creek Campground. There are provisions for food-storage lockers on many of these camping site sites.

Another viewing feature you should see before you get out of the Sequoia National Forest is the Wuksachi Lodge. The Wuksachi Lodge sits at an elevation of about 7,050 feet and consists of a great guestroom, restaurant, and cedar lodge. 

9. Joshua Tree National Park Camping Site

Joshua Tree National Park Camping Site - NPS Hannah Schwalbe
© NPS Hannah Schwalbe

The Joshua Tree National Park boasts of different camping sites, and it is situated in the Mojave and Colorado deserts, which is the habitation of the iconic Joshua Trees. These Joshua Trees grow within the yucca, among beautiful rock formations and wildflower that blooms amazingly during the springtime. 

If you like biking and hiking activities, you will enjoy the vast land of the park’s different climbing routes and more than 100 miles of hiking trails. This fascinating park is home to various animals which inhabit its sculpted land structure. 

You will surely enjoy the stunning view of the night skies and bask in the euphoria of discovering one of the best places for surreal geological features. Added to the wonderful experience is the legacy of learning about the rich cultural history of this wilderness within the southern California land. Some of the camping sites here include the Hidden Valley Campground, Ryan Campground, etc.

10. Napa Valley-Wine Country Camping Site

Napa Valley-Wine Country Camping Site - Nic Castellanos
© Nic Castellanos / HipCamp

The Napa Valley has campgrounds located on either end of the valley. This camping site cannot only be enjoyed by wine enthusiasts and luxury travelers alone but also anyone interesting in experiencing a thrilling moment among the several hiking and biking trails. Napa Valley offers the best outdoor vacation events ranging from its wineries to inexpensive restaurants. 

This camping site gives you a great shaded view of the grassy, vast land of Napa Valley. There are several walk-in camping sites at the Bothe Napa part of the Napa Valley. A maximum of three people can make use of the yurts provided within this campground.  You can also come along with your RVs and trailers, which may not be up to 31 feet. Besides, you may opt for the additional traditional tents, RV sites, or cabins provided by the Napa Open Space District. 

Conclusion

Camping in the vast land of California’s terrain is more exciting, especially if you need to take some time away from home with your family, friends, or colleagues. You will be greeted with a beautiful view of nature’s very best topography and have a thrilling camping experience in most of California’s camping sites with its view of tree canopies, expanse grassland, mountains, and wildlife activity. When you decide to take a camping time out, you can check out one of these top camping sites in California.

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