California is a diverse and picturesque state that offers some of the best camping opportunities in the country. From majestic mountains to stunning coastlines, the Golden State has it all. With so many amazing options, it can be hard to decide where to pitch your tent. In this blog post, we have put together a list of the best camping destinations in California, so you can plan your next outdoor adventure with ease. Whether you prefer backpacking in the wilderness or glamping in style, there is something for everyone in California’s great outdoors.
- Yosemite National Park
- Joshua Tree National Park
- Reasons to Camp in Joshua Tree National Park:
- Big Sur
- Reasons to Camp in Big Sur:
- Lake Tahoe
- Reasons to Camp in Lake Tahoe:
- Lassen Volcanic National Park
- Reasons to Camp in Lassen Volcanic National Park:
- Death Valley National Park
- Reasons to Camp in Death Valley National Park:
- Sequoia National Park
- Redwood National and State Parks
- Channel Islands National Park
- Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
- Reasons to Camp in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park:
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is a natural wonderland that draws millions of visitors every year to its awe-inspiring cliffs, waterfalls, meadows, and forests. Located in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains, this iconic park offers unparalleled opportunities for outdoor adventures, including hiking, rock climbing, and camping. Whether you are a seasoned outdoor enthusiast or just starting to explore the great outdoors, Yosemite National Park is a must-visit destination that promises to leave you breathless with its stunning beauty and endless possibilities for exploration.
Reasons to Camp in Yosemite National Park:
- Stunning Scenery: Yosemite National Park boasts breathtaking scenery with granite cliffs, waterfalls, and lush forests that make for a beautiful backdrop to your camping trip.
- Diverse Campgrounds: Yosemite National Park offers a wide range of campgrounds, each with its own unique features and amenities to suit all types of camping preferences.
- Abundant Outdoor Activities: With over 750,000 acres of wilderness to explore, Yosemite National Park has plenty of outdoor activities to keep you entertained, including hiking, rock climbing, fishing, swimming, and wildlife watching.
- Rich History and Culture: Yosemite National Park has a rich history and culture worth exploring, from historic sites like the Yosemite Valley Railroad to the Yosemite Museum and various cultural events and programs.
- Accessibility: Despite its remote location, Yosemite National Park is easily accessible by car with several major highways leading directly into the park, making it a perfect destination for a weekend camping trip or a longer vacation.
Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park is a stunning desert wonderland located in southeastern California. It is famous for its unique landscape, which features a vast expanse of rock formations, Joshua trees, and stunning desert vistas. The park offers a range of outdoor activities, including hiking, rock climbing, and stargazing, making it a must-visit destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike.
Reasons to Camp in Joshua Tree National Park:
- Unique Landscape: The park’s unique landscape, featuring vast rock formations and distinctive Joshua trees, offers a stunning and otherworldly camping experience.
- Outdoor Activities: Joshua Tree National Park offers a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, and stargazing, making it a perfect destination for adventure seekers.
- Mild Climate: With a mild climate, the park offers year-round camping opportunities, making it a great destination for camping enthusiasts no matter the season.
- Dark Sky: The park is renowned for its dark skies, making it one of the best stargazing destinations in the world.
- Abundant Wildlife: The park is home to a variety of wildlife, including bighorn sheep, desert tortoises, and several bird species, providing ample opportunities for wildlife viewing and photography.
Nestled on California’s central coast, Big Sur is a picturesque region known for its rugged coastline, towering redwood forests, and pristine natural beauty. Camping in Big Sur is a popular activity for nature enthusiasts, offering a chance to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of city life and immerse oneself in the tranquility of the great outdoors. With numerous campsites scattered throughout the area, visitors can choose from a variety of camping experiences, from primitive tent camping to RV camping with full hookups. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retreat or an adventurous getaway, Big Sur has something for everyone.
Reasons to Camp in Big Sur:
- Stunning Coastal Views: Big Sur is famous for its breathtaking coastal scenery, with rugged cliffs, crashing waves, and panoramic ocean views that make it a nature lover’s paradise.
- Abundant Wildlife: From sea otters and harbor seals to hawks and hummingbirds, Big Sur is home to a diverse array of wildlife that adds to the sense of natural wonder and beauty.
- Hiking Trails: Big Sur boasts an extensive network of hiking trails that wind through redwood forests, along coastal bluffs, and over mountain ridges, providing endless opportunities for exploration and adventure.
- Campsite Amenities: Whether you’re looking for a primitive tent site or a fully-equipped RV hookup, Big Sur offers a range of campsite options with modern amenities like hot showers, fire pits, and picnic tables.
- Year-Round Camping: With a mild Mediterranean climate, Big Sur is a year-round camping destination that offers something for everyone, whether you prefer to camp in the summer sun or cozy up by the campfire in the winter months.
Nestled in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Lake Tahoe is a picturesque campsite that draws visitors from around the world with its stunning natural beauty and wide range of outdoor activities. With crystal-clear waters, towering pine trees, and snow-capped peaks in the background, Lake Tahoe is a paradise for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Whether you’re seeking adventure or relaxation, Lake Tahoe offers something for everyone.
Reasons to Camp in Lake Tahoe:
- Spectacular Scenery: With crystal-clear waters, towering pine trees, and snow-capped mountains in the background, Lake Tahoe is one of the most picturesque places on earth and a nature lover’s dream.
- Endless Outdoor Activities: From swimming, kayaking, and paddleboarding to hiking, mountain biking, and skiing, Lake Tahoe offers a wide range of activities that are sure to satisfy any outdoor enthusiast.
- Family-Friendly Campsites: With a variety of family-friendly campsites that offer amenities like playgrounds, campfire rings, and organized activities, Lake Tahoe is the perfect place for families to enjoy the great outdoors together.
- Year-Round Camping: With four distinct seasons, Lake Tahoe offers a variety of camping experiences throughout the year, from summertime picnics and swimming to winter skiing and snowshoeing.
- Convenient Location: Located just a short drive from the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento, Lake Tahoe is easily accessible and a popular destination for both Californians and out-of-state visitors.
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Lassen Volcanic National Park is a nature lover’s paradise, offering stunning scenery and unique geological features that are sure to take your breath away. Located in northeastern California, the park is home to a dormant volcano, hot springs, mud pots, and fumaroles, as well as more than 150 miles of hiking trails that offer endless opportunities for outdoor adventure. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or a first-time visitor, Lassen Volcanic National Park is a must-visit destination that will leave you in awe of the natural world.
Reasons to Camp in Lassen Volcanic National Park:
- Volcanic Landscape: The park boasts an impressive range of volcanic features, including hot springs, mud pots, and fumaroles, as well as a dormant volcano that last erupted in 1917.
- Outdoor Adventure: With more than 150 miles of hiking trails, Lassen Volcanic National Park offers endless opportunities for outdoor adventure, including backcountry camping, fishing, and rock climbing.
- Wildlife Viewing: From black bears and coyotes to mule deer and mountain lions, the park is home to a diverse range of wildlife that can be seen while hiking or camping.
- Stargazing: With minimal light pollution, Lassen Volcanic National Park is an ideal destination for stargazing and offers some of the best night skies in California.
- Family-Friendly: With campgrounds that offer amenities like picnic areas, restrooms, and playgrounds, Lassen Volcanic National Park is a great place for families to enjoy the great outdoors together.
Death Valley National Park
Located in the heart of the Mojave Desert, Death Valley National Park is a stunning destination that offers a unique camping experience. From its vast and otherworldly landscapes to its rich cultural history, this park has something for every type of camper. Whether you’re seeking adventure, solitude, or stargazing opportunities, Death Valley National Park is a must-visit destination for any camping enthusiast.
Reasons to Camp in Death Valley National Park:
- Diverse camping options: Death Valley National Park offers a variety of camping options, including developed campgrounds, backcountry camping, and RV camping, catering to different types of campers and their needs.
- Unique and otherworldly landscapes: The park boasts a stunning landscape that includes sand dunes, salt flats, and canyons, providing incredible opportunities for exploration and adventure.
- Incredible stargazing: With some of the darkest skies in the United States, Death Valley is a prime location for stargazing and astronomy enthusiasts.
- Mild winter climate: With temperatures averaging in the 60s during the winter months, Death Valley is a great winter camping destination for those looking to escape the cold.
- Rich cultural history: The park is home to a rich cultural history, including sites that showcase the area’s mining and indigenous past, making it a unique and educational camping experience.
Sequoia National Park
Nestled in the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, Sequoia National Park boasts some of the most breathtaking views of giant sequoia trees, crystal-clear lakes, and snow-capped peaks. With miles of hiking trails, stunning vistas, and diverse wildlife, this park is a nature lover’s paradise. Whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway or an extended adventure, camping in Sequoia National Park is an unforgettable experience.
Reasons to Camp in Sequoia National Park:
- Natural Beauty: The park is home to the world’s largest trees and stunning mountain vistas.
- Abundant Hiking Trails: The park offers an extensive network of hiking trails that take visitors through a variety of landscapes and ecosystems.
- Wildlife Viewing: Visitors have the opportunity to see a variety of wildlife, including bears, deer, and mountain lions.
- Campground Options: The park has a range of campground options, including sites for tents, RVs, and group camping.
- Outdoor Activities: In addition to hiking, the park offers opportunities for fishing, rock climbing, and winter sports.
Redwood National and State Parks
Redwood National and State Parks offer a truly unique camping experience with its ancient forests of towering redwoods, scenic coastal views, and diverse wildlife. Located in Northern California, this park has over 200 miles of hiking trails, four developed campgrounds, and numerous backcountry camping options. Whether you’re a nature lover, hiker, or simply seeking peace and tranquility, Redwood National and State Parks is a must-visit camping destination.
Reasons to Camp in Redwood National and State Parks:
- Stunning scenery: The parks are home to some of the tallest and most majestic trees in the world, as well as breathtaking coastal vistas and lush fern canyons.
- Abundant wildlife: Visitors have the chance to see a wide variety of wildlife, from Roosevelt elk to gray whales to bald eagles.
- Numerous hiking trails: The parks offer a wide variety of hiking trails, from easy walks to challenging backcountry treks.
- Beaches and rivers: The parks feature several miles of rugged coastline, as well as pristine rivers for swimming, kayaking, and fishing.
- Camping options: With several campgrounds to choose from, visitors can enjoy the beauty of the parks at their leisure, whether they prefer car camping or backpacking.
Channel Islands National Park
Channel Islands National Park is a hidden gem off the coast of California that offers a unique camping experience. Comprised of five main islands, the park offers stunning ocean views, secluded beaches, and a chance to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of city life. With opportunities for hiking, kayaking, and wildlife viewing, this campsite is perfect for nature lovers seeking a one-of-a-kind adventure.
Reasons to Camp in Channel Islands National Park:
- Unique location: Channel Islands National Park is located off the coast of Southern California, making it a unique destination that is only accessible by boat or plane.
- Natural beauty: The park is home to five stunning islands, each with its own unique landscapes and wildlife, from towering sea cliffs to sandy beaches.
- Activities: Camping at Channel Islands National Park offers visitors the opportunity to explore the islands through hiking, kayaking, snorkeling, and wildlife viewing.
- Stargazing: The lack of light pollution on the islands makes for incredible stargazing opportunities, with clear views of the Milky Way and other celestial sights.
- Seclusion: With limited camping permits available, visitors can enjoy a sense of seclusion and escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park offers a unique and unforgettable camping experience in the heart of the California desert. With its stunning natural beauty and diverse range of outdoor activities, this campsite is a must-visit for any camping enthusiast. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat or an adventure-filled getaway, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is the perfect destination for your next camping trip.
Reasons to Camp in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park:
- Stargazing: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is one of the best places for stargazing in California, with its remote location and clear skies providing an unobstructed view of the stars.
- Hiking: The park offers a variety of hiking trails with stunning desert vistas, including the popular Palm Canyon Trail and the challenging Cactus to Clouds Trail.
- Wildlife: The desert landscape of Anza-Borrego is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including bighorn sheep, coyotes, and even the occasional mountain lion.
- Off-roading: The park has over 500 miles of dirt roads and trails that are perfect for off-roading enthusiasts, providing a unique way to explore the desert landscape.
- Spring Wildflowers: During the spring, the park comes alive with vibrant wildflowers in bloom, creating a colorful and picturesque landscape.
Meet Eric McGough, a seasoned adventurer and military veteran who traded his tech career for a life of outdoor exploration and freedom. He plans to travel the world, discover new adventures, and share information about great destinations, gear, and more on the Shaman Mountain Sports and Outdoors Blog.