9 Best Places To Camp In California

From majestic redwood forests of Northern California to perfect sun-kissed beaches of Southern California, the Golden State of California besides the Pacific Ocean is a prize. As the sun begins to set the temperature here becomes thermos-fleece worthy, and the wild beauty of California wakes up to sport its best. Considering this, here are some of the best places to camp in California. The list is divided into two sections: Northern California and Central California.

Why Camp In California?
California is undoubtedly a favorite destination for camping connoisseurs. Rich with the natural and diverse landscape, the state caters to all kinds of camping needs and adventures. There is no better fondness than enjoying a clear night sky all snuggled up beside a cheerful campfire. With unlimited camping options available, it can get overwhelming to decide on the best places to camp in California.

California has many exceptional campgrounds, each donning their unique natural features and beauty that ranges from Sierras, desert and beautiful valleys to the lofty mountains and redwoods. Whether a novice or a professional camper, one can choose a place according to his taste and comfort.

Following are some handful picks that are known as some of the best places to camp in California, whether you choose to go by car, bike, foot, boat or RV.

Category I: Northern California

1. Tahoe National Forest

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Although technically not a section of the Lake Tahoe Basin, Tahoe National Forest is situated in the northern region of Sierra Nevada and has more than 75 campgrounds. Tahoe Basin shelters the largest alpine lake in North America and covers around 150,000 acres of hiking trails, beaches, historic estates wilderness, and more than 20 campgrounds, making it one of the best places to camp in California.

2. Lake Tahoe Basin

best places to camp in california

Lake Tahoe Basin is run by both California State Parks and the US Forest Service. The North Shore region of Lake Tahoe Basin offers one of the best fishing and camping spots. If you want to enjoy with families or on RVs, then South Shore would be an ideal place to hop on. If you prefer the beach, then look for some amazing spots near the East Shore. If biking or hiking is on your mind, then nothing can beat the West Shore.

3. Redwood National & State Parks

best places to camp in california

Camping around the oldest Redwood forests is divine where the majestic Redwood trees of the Redwood National and State Parks started their journey, thousands of years ago as seedlings. Recognized as the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Redwood National & State Park is one of the best places to camp in California. The park stretches up to 325 miles north of San Francisco and stops in the little town of Orick. You can choose from the four camping grounds of Redwood National and State Parks to suit your needs.

4. Big Sur

best place to camp in california

The abode of astounding beauty, Big Sur stretches from the Monterey/Carmel region of Northern California and ends at San Simeon region of Central California near Hearst Castle. Boasting some of the most striking campgrounds of the world, the magnificent coastline of Big Sur are visited by more than three million tourists every year. You can choose to camp streamside in the Big Sur Valley or to get more adventurous, opt to camp the ocean view bluff-side located in the southern end region of Big Sur. A camper’s paradise, Big Sur is undoubtedly one of the best places to camp in California.

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Category II: Central California

5. Sequoia National Forest

best places to camp in northern california

The Sequoia National Forest nestles in the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, covering around a massive 1,193,315 acres with elevation ranging from 1,000 to 12,000 feet. The Sequoia National Forest houses the highest number of giant sequoia groves in the world. The forest gifts some of the most exotic and diverse camping grounds to the passionate campers where the camping grounds stretches across more than 2,500 miles of roads and 850 miles of trails. In all, both Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks offer 14 national campgrounds which are some of the best places to camp in California.

6. Yosemite National Park

best camping places in california

The beautiful Yosemite National Park lies in the central eastern California and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Famous for its natural diversity, this national park boasts of breathtaking waterfalls, hiking trails, lakes, streams, and ponds and witnesses more than 3.7 million visitors a year. The park offers 13 national campgrounds for groups, RVs, and horse camping and is one of the best places to camp in California.
Southern California

7. Crystal Cove State Park

the best places to camp in california

Crystal Cove State Park lies in the region of Southern California’s Newport Beach. This spectacularly beautiful park spans across 2,400 acres, stretching up to 3.2 miles of coastal beachfront. The12.3-acre Crystal Cove Historic District of the park houses the beautiful and historical Crystal Cove Beach Cottages which dates back to the 1930s. With its historical charm and coastline beauty, the Crystal Cove State Park is surely one of the best places to camp in California. You can enjoy camping in RVs, tents or bikes with families and friends.

8. Santa Barbara County

best places to camp in southern california

Much sought after destination by the tourists, the Santa Barbara County of Southern California offers some of the good camping grounds in the state. The place offers beachfront camping options like Carpentaria State Beach, Jalama Beach, Gaviota State Park, and Refugio State Beach. However, if you wish to put your tent on, check out some of the safari tents, all equipped wood cabins, or some luxury campgrounds in the El Capitan State Beach. You can also opt for bluff camping at El Capitan State Beach. This much celebrated Santa Barbara County beachfront is undoubtedly one of the best places to camp in California.

9. Salton Sea

best places to camp in california

The Salton Sea is famed as one of the world’s largest inland seas. Located in the Sonoran Desert of extreme southeastern California, Salton Sea lies 234 ft. Below sea level. Enjoy your camping here by pitching tents, cooking on the grill or simply enjoying the great outdoors by the campfire.

No matter which campground you pick among a great many national forests, California’s unique diversity and natural opulence would never fail to impress you. All you need is to pack your bag, pitch a tent and create unforgettable memories.

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