The 15 Best Camping Spots in California!

California’s numerous national parks, beautiful mountains and stunning beaches mean that the Golden State is filled with prime camping spots. Take a look at a mere 15 of California’s best camping spots. Whether you prefer cooler mountains, sunny beaches or the unique landscape of the desert, you’ll find that there’s a spot close to nature’s best trails. 

1. Jalama Beach, Lompoc, CA

Jalama Beach is far from creature comforts but still offers plenty of amenities for the 98 campsites that include RV sites with hookups, tent sites and seven cabins, along with a general store, showers and even a restaurant if campfire cooking isn’t your thing. 

2. Big Basin Redwoods State Park, CA

The oldest state park features rolling trails, waterfalls, old growth trees and numerous natural wonders. You can bring your family pet or enjoy the animal life that dwells in the area.

3. Kelso Dunes Trail, Mojave Natural Preserve, CA

Camping in Kelso Dunes is pretty rough and tumble, but the sand dunes that make sounds and surround you are worth a night or two of discomfort.

4. Buckhorn Campground, La CaƱada Flintridge, CA

Not far from a swanky Los Angeles suburb, camp out amongst beautiful pines. The campground is first come first serve and filled with trails to explore.

5. Pinnacles Campground, Paicines, CA

Rocks, woodlands, caves, trees and more trails and natural wonders fill the natural area surrounding the campground, which includes a general store and a swimming pool open during select parts of the year.

6. Cold Springs Campground, Sequoia National Park, CA

Open during the summer months, Cold Springs Campground is remote and surrounded by mountainous wonders along with trees and flowing river but close enough to civilization to enjoy a shower and a pie.

7. Kirk Creek Campground, Los Padres National Forest, Big Sur, CA

Located on a bluff, Kirk Creek Campground overlooks the Pacific Ocean, offering inspiring sunrises and sunsets. Within walking distance to beautiful beaches, trails lead everywhere from waterfalls to mountain meadows.

8. Calico Camp, Yermo, CA

Sleep over in a ghost town to enjoy the quiet kitsch of the silver mine in the desert landscape. 

9. Sabrina Campground, Inyo National Forest, Bishop, CA

Located in the John Muir Wilderness area with access to mountain lakes, you can also head to Lake Sabrina Boat Landing Café for pie and burgers when camp cooking loses its fun. 

10. El Capitan Canyon, Santa Barbara, CA

El Capitan isn’t your usual campground. One of the first to ride the wave of luxury camping, El Capitan Canyon features everything from a heated pool to spa services, including massage. The price is closer to a five-star hotel, and accommodations include cute cabins, yurts and canvas safari tents. 

11. Lake Arrowhead, Arrowhead, CA

Lake Arrowhead in the San Bernardino National Forest is a perfect spot to get away from the crowds of Southern California for a weekend of fresh air in the great outdoors. There are campgrounds with varying levels of accessibility and amenities.

12. Crystal Cove State Park, Laguna Beach, CA

Camp out on a bluff overlooking the sea or check out more primitive spots. Either way, be prepared to enjoy some of the best dining in Laguna Beach because open fires aren’t allowed in the park.

13. Tehachapi Mountain Park, Kern County, CA

For a fall camping trip, Tehachapi Mountain Park is at its best. Two different campsites make it possible to choose from cabins or pitching your own tent to enjoy a variety of hiking and horseback riding trails.

14. Leo Carrillo State Park, Malibu, CA

For an overnight getaway, locals head to Leo Carillo State Park to camp under sequoias and wake up across the highway from the beautiful beaches that make Malibu one of the most beautiful spots in the world.

15. Mesquite Spring Campground, Death Valley National Park, CA

Make a reservation well in advance to check out some of the desert’s most spectacular sights that are nearby the Mesquite Spring Campground, including Scotty’s Castle, a Spanish-Moorish mansion, Ubehebe Crater and Eureka Dunes, California’s tallest sand dunes.

California Search
Best Campgrounds and Camping Sites Near You
Best Campgrounds and Camping Sites Near You
9000 East Dunne Avenue, Morgan Hill, CA
Coe Park is the largest state park in northern California of wild open spaces. The terrain of the park is rugged, varied and beautiful, with lofty ... Read More
Campsite Details Tents or RV sites: 74 sites with space for RVs up to 27 feet and trailers up to 24 feet Each campsite contains a fire ring, picnic... Read More
1416 9th Street, Sacramento, CA
Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park is the last in a long string of redwood parks that stretch up Northern California's coast. A few miles inland fr... Read More
State Highway 190, Death Valley, CA
There are many ways that the public can support Death Valley National Park and the goals of preservation and stewardship of the national park syste... Read More
74485 National Park Dr, Twentynine Palms, CA
The Joshua Tree National Natural Landmark was designated by the Secretary of the Interior on October 1966. Located on the western slopes of the Bea... Read More
I-5 at Basilone Road, San Clemente, CA
San Onofre State Beach is one of California's most popular beaches and hosts surfers, swimmers, sunbathers, campers, kayakers, birde... Read More
5000 Highway 75, Coronado, CA
Silver Strand State Beach features extensive beaches on both the Pacific Ocean and San Diego Bay. Combined with the area’s mild climate, the ... Read More
State Park Drive, Aptos, CA
This beach is known for its fishing pier and concrete freighter, The Palo Alto. Unfortunately, the ship is unsafe and closed to the public. Only th... Read More
Highway 1, Big Sur, CA
The park features breathtaking views of the Big Sur Coast, the beauty of the redwoods, the rugged coast and the cultural history of limekilns. The ... Read More
Highway 89 near Burney, Burney, CA
The park is within the Cascade Range and Modoc Plateau natural region, with forest and five miles of streamside and lake shoreline, including a por... Read More
3801 St. Helena Highway North, Calistoga, CA
Located in the heart of the beautiful Napa Valley wine country, the Park offers camping, picnicking, swimming, and hiking trails that go through st... Read More
1500 Park Avenue, Capitola, CA
The beach features picnic areas, swimming, fishing and a nearby forest of Monterey pine and coastal live oak. The camping area is on a bluff overlo... Read More
2050 South Coast Highway 101, Cardiff, CA
Located on the San Diego Coast, San Elijo State Beach offers swimming, surfing, showers and picnicking. The narrow, bluff-backed stretch of sand ha... Read More
16949 Highway 36, Carlotta, CA
Fifteen miles west of Highway 101, Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park is off the beaten tourist track. It’s small—less than one square m... Read More
7201 Carlsbad Blvd., Carlsbad, CA
This San Diego beach features swimming, surfing, skin diving, fishing and picnicking. The large bluff-top campground is very popular, especially in... Read More
South of Dunsmuir on I-5, Castella, CA
Majestic Castle Crags have inspired enduring myths and legends. More than 170 million years old, these 6000-feet tall granite spires in the Castle ... Read More
Doheny State Beach is located in the city of Dana Point, California and is one of California's most popular state beaches and attracts almost one m... Read More
24100 Mackerricher Park Road, Fort Bragg, CA
MacKerricher State Park offers a variety of habitats; beach, bluff, headland, dune, forest and wetland. Tide pools are along the shore. Seals may b... Read More
1600 US Highway 101, Garberville, CA
Established in 1922, Richardson Grove State Park was one of California’s first redwood parks. It began at 120 acres—only a quarter the ... Read More
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