Campground favorites across California

By Stef Zisovska
Publish Date:

Camping is one of the best ways to spend time in nature and to explore hidden corners of your favorite mountains and forests. The last decade proves that modern people get fed up with their ordinary office jobs and the car honks. In order to survive all the noise and to calm down the nerves, more people started to purchase tents and outdoor gear for weekend getaways in the nearby wilderness. Spending time in nature, especially staying overnight, can boost your physical and mental capabilities, recharge your batteries and help you go back to your everyday life with more sanity.

However, camping is not only used as an escape from the boredom of city life. For some of us, camping is a routine and part of the regular activities that we live constantly. The United States is a country where limitless camping opportunities are offered by the National Park Service (NPS). Even if you don’t like to camp at assigned campgrounds, you can still find a way to pitch a tent somewhere across the endless landscapes on the US territory. One of the most wanted camping states in the country is, for sure, California. The Golden State is abundant in spectacular sceneries and landscapes where you can spend a weekend or even an entire vacation week.

Northern California

Tahoe National Forest

Camping in the forest

Tahoe National Forest has 75 campgrounds located in the northern Sierra Nevada. You can choose a campground in the 150,000 acres area that encompasses wilderness, beaches, hiking trails, the largest alpine lake in the country, and endless natural beauty.

Lake Tahoe Basin

Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe – Author: Michael – CC-BY 2.0

The North Shore of Lake Tahoe is a popular campground for the hiking fans and for those who like to spend some tranquil time fishing, while the South Shore is more recommended for families and RVs. For all of you who enjoy freshwater beaches, head to the East Shore of Lake Tahoe where most of the beaches are located. Bikers, hikers and history buffs will be welcomed by the West Shore where all the historic sites and cycling trails are located.

Redwood National and State Parks

Coast redwood forest and understory plants — in Redwood National Park, California – Author: Michael Schweppe – CC BY-SA 2.0

If you’re looking for something more than just a camping in the wilderness, then camping among the old redwoods will blow your mind. Being surrounded by thousand-year-old gigantic trees is a one-of-a-kind experience that you will never forget. Redwood National and State Parks offer four different campgrounds that you can visit. Three of them are located in the redwood forest, while one campground is at Gold Bluffs Beach with remarkable views of the Pacific Ocean.

Big Sur

One of the accommodations at the Treebones campsite and resort in Big Sur – Author: Peretz Partensky – CC-BY 2.0

California’s Big Sur is one of the most visited places in the entire country. Camping in Big Sur is a treat for your body and soul. Starting from San Simeon near Hears Castle all the way to Big Sur Valley and the ocean view campgrounds, Big Sur is a must-see place for all true campers.

Central California

Sequoia National Forest

General Sherman Tree, in Sequoia National Park: the largest living organism in the world – Author: Jim Bahn – CC-BY 2.0

Sequoia National Forest covers 1,193,315 acres of the Southern Sierra Nevada range in California. The camping enthusiasts who like to spend a couple of days in a virgin wilderness and hike the diverse landscapes will be mesmerized by the 850 miles of trails across the park where the largest concentration of Sequoia growth in the world exists. Between Sequoia and King Canyon National Parks, there are 14 available campgrounds.

Yosemite National Park


The good old Yosemite hosts almost 4 million visitors per year in the 13 campgrounds spread across the park’s wilderness that includes forests, ponds, lakes, waterfalls, valleys, and streams. The campgrounds are suitable for single tents, groups, RVs, and even horse camping. Bring your camera for all the wildlife spotting in the third oldest national park in the United States.

Southern California

Crystal Cove State Park

Crystal Cove – Author: Darealclub – CC BY-SA 3.0

Between Corona del Mar and Laguna Beach in Orange County in California, there is a state park called Crystal Cove. The park offers something more than a tent and RV camping. During the 1930s and 1940s, the area was famous for its beachfront rustic cottages that are still available for rent today. If you still prefer a tent over a cottage, then choose a spot at the Crystal Cove wilderness area of El Moro Canyon.

Santa Barbara County

Refugio State Beach – Author: ars5017 – CC-BY 2.0

Santa Barbara County is the perfect part of Califonia for all of you that look for beachfront campground escape. Carpinteria State Beach, Jalama Beach, Gaviota State Park, Refugio State Beach, and the glorious El Capitan State Beach are some of the beautiful spots to choose from if sleeping on a beach is what you want.

Camping in California is a neverending story. There are so many amazing campground choices that you can easily get confused. Before deciding where to go, it’s maybe a good idea to first select your favorite part of the state and then narrow the decision path. However, no matter where you go for a camping, the Golden State will receive you with open arms and share its stunning nature with you and your crew. Enjoy your camping trip, stay safe, and good luck!

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