Best Campgrounds in California

This list represents the most popular campgrounds in California (learn more about Top Trails). Use this list to plan your next California campgrounds trip. Select a state and/or activity below to find even more top trails.

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#1. San Diego Area Campgrounds


On Presidio Hill in the city of San Diego stands the Serra Museum. A short distance down the hill, Old Town provides another sense of the state’s early settlement. Downtown, the Gaslamp Quarter, a nat…
From the guidebook "Camping Southern California"
San Diego, CA - Campgrounds, Horseback Riding Best Trail in CA - Click to view allBestCampgrounds, Horseback Riding Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#2. Pinnacles Campground


Pinnacles National Monument is a fascinating park. Miles of challenging trails thread over rock outcrops, along creeks, and even through caves. Unfortunately, the park’s prime walk-in campground, on t…
From the guidebook "The Best In Tent Camping: Southern California"
Paicines, CA - Campgrounds Best Trail in CA - Click to view allBestCampgrounds Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#3. San Francisco Bay Area Campgrounds


Ocean access, marvelous views, and temperate weather—these define the San Francisco Bay Area. Add the human contributions—the Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown, cable cars, Fisherman’s Wharf, the Embarcad…
From the guidebook "Camping Northern California"
San Francisco, CA - Campgrounds, Horseback Riding Best Trail in CA - Click to view allBestCampgrounds, Horseback Riding Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#4. Tillie Creek Campground


Tillie Creek is a campground for all seasons. I love Tillie in the fall when the leaves change; in the winter and spring when it’s warm on the plateau and there’s snow up above in the mountains that r…
From the guidebook "The Best In Tent Camping: Southern California"
Kernville, CA - Campgrounds Best Trail in CA - Click to view allBestCampgrounds Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#5. San Bernadino County Campgrounds


The San Bernardino Mountains span the county from east to west, dividing it roughly in half. The southern part of the county is fertile and populated, while the north is sparsely inhabited desert. In…
From the guidebook "Camping Southern California"
San Bernardino, CA - Campgrounds, Horseback Riding Best Trail in CA - Click to view allBestCampgrounds, Horseback Riding Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#6. Sacramento and Western Sierra Foothills Campgrounds


Tourists traveling to the Sacramento and Western Sierra Foothills Area from the north via the Golden Chain Highway are welcomed to the region by the gold rush towns of Nevada City and Grass Valley. On…
From the guidebook "Camping Northern California"
Sacramento, CA - Campgrounds, Horseback Riding Best Trail in CA - Click to view allBestCampgrounds, Horseback Riding Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#7. Big Basin Redwoods State Park Campgrounds


This park is the granddaddy of all the incredible California state parks. Big Basin has wonderful camping, as well as tent cabins with interior wood stoves. Lovely Wastahi Campground is all walk-in te…
From the guidebook "The Best In Tent Camping: Northern California"
Boulder Creek, CA - Campgrounds Best Trail in CA - Click to view allBestCampgrounds Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#8. Marion Mountain Campground


From L.A., the ride to Marion Mountain Campground on I-10 through “The Inland Empire” (aka “Land of Swirling Gases”) is, at best, horrifying. Persevere, though, and head up CA 243 from Banning, and,…
From the guidebook "The Best In Tent Camping: Southern California"
Banning, CA - Campgrounds
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#9. Orange County Campgrounds


Once the domain of a single powerful ranching family, then a kingdom of orange groves, Orange County has undergone a dramatic transformation since the 1960s. Still the dominion of the rich and the pow…
From the guidebook "Camping Southern California"
San Juan Capistrano, CA - Campgrounds, Horseback Riding
Published by Falcon Guides

#10. Leo Carrillo State Beach Campground


At first glance, the Leo Carrillo State Beach campgrounds look very similar to the nearby facility at Big Sycamore Canyon, but Leo Carrillo caters to a different clientele. While it lacks the world-cl…
From the guidebook "The Best In Tent Camping: Southern California"
Malibu, CA - Campgrounds
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#11. Ventura County Campgrounds


Founded in 1782 as Mission San Buenaventura, the city of Ventura has evolved into a community of bookstores, coffee shops, and art and antique emporiums, with a more relaxed lifestyle than is typical…
From the guidebook "Camping Southern California"
Ventura, CA - Campgrounds, Fishing, Hiking, Horseback Riding
Published by Falcon Guides

#12. Twin Lakes Campground


The Twin Lakes around the Twin Lakes Campground look like blue beans joined at the hip. A little bridge connects the two lakes, and folks in rental rowboats and canoes scoot underneath it. Grandfather…
From the guidebook "The Best In Tent Camping: Northern California"
Mammoth Lakes, CA - Campgrounds
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#13. Santa Barbara County Campgrounds


Many people consider Santa Barbara the most livable city in the United States. The blue ocean, sparkling beaches, green mountain backdrop, mild, sunny weather, and Spanish architecture all combine to…
From the guidebook "Camping Southern California"
Santa Barbara, CA - Campgrounds, Horseback Riding
Published by Falcon Guides

#14. Pomo Canyon Campground


There’s no shortage of incredible campsites along the northern California coast, but Pomo Canyon, a walk-in campground nestled in a small redwood canyon just over a low ridge from the ocean, is unique…
From the guidebook "The Best In Tent Camping: Northern California"
Bodega Bay, CA - Campgrounds
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#15. Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park Campground


By the time the road-weary camper arrives at Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park near the Oregon border, he’s bound to throw up his hands and plead, “Oh, Lord, not another beautiful Redwoods State Park…
From the guidebook "The Best In Tent Camping: Northern California"
Fort Dick, CA - Campgrounds
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#16. Dark Canyon Campground


I drove through Idyllwild in a mist so thick the neon lights of the cute little mountain town could only blush through the fog. I found a place to park and drifted along a sidewalk until I ran right i…
From the guidebook "The Best In Tent Camping: Southern California"
Banning, CA - Campgrounds
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#17. Wa Ka Luu Hep Yoo Campground


Wa Ka Luu Hep Yoo (sometimes spelled Wakaluu Hepyoo) means “wild river” in the Native American dialect Miwuk. The campground sits on a sloping bank above the Stanislaus River, in woods where the Miwuk…
From the guidebook "The Best In Tent Camping: Northern California"
Dorrington, CA - Campgrounds
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#18. Malibu Creek State Park Campground


Situated on a big hunk of the most coveted real estate in Southern California and surrounded by the rapidly encroaching megalopolis of the L.A. area, Malibu Creek State Park Campground is a precious g…
From the guidebook "The Best In Tent Camping: Southern California"
Malibu, CA - Campgrounds
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#19. Doane Valley Campground


Palomar means “place of the pigeons,” and Palomar Mountain feels so Mediterranean, you’ll think you’re in Italy. There’s a sense of tradition and civilization on the mountain. Maybe that feeling comes…
From the guidebook "The Best In Tent Camping: Southern California"
Palomar Mountain, CA - Campgrounds
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#20. Laguna Campground


Laguna Campground offers some of the best camping in Southern California and the cheekiest ground squirrels and jays in the West. Hardly had my wife and I arrived at an incredible campsite on the edge…
From the guidebook "The Best In Tent Camping: Southern California"
Mount Laguna, CA - Campgrounds
Published by Menasha Ridge Press