With the arrival of sunny summer months, many people are heading out on weekend camping getaways. Whether you prefer glamping in a riverside cabin or pitching a tent in the backcountry of a National Park, California is full of amazing places to camp. Going out and enjoying the great out doors is a perfect way to distress from long hours at work, enjoy some fresh air, and embark on some new adventures.
Before you head out on your next adventure, be sure to add these top-rated camping spots to your list this summer. It's going to be a summer to remember!
1. Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe, located in Northern California in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, is the largest alpine lake in North America. The large, crystal-blue lake expands across the state line into Nevada. The entire area around the lake is packed with camping spots for any level of camper to enjoy.
If you enjoy rustic backcountry camping, you can hang your hammock between one of the many beautiful trees in the Tahoe National Forest. Families traveling in a trailer or RV can find plenty of campgrounds with full hookups and facilities.
In addition to great views from your campsite, you’ll be able to enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities. Lake Tahoe is especially well-known as an amazing fishing spot. There are almost endless hiking trails along ridgelines, through forests or near the lakeshore. If you enjoy winter sports in warmer weather, ski areas like Squaw Valley or Heavenly Resort stay open into the early summer months if conditions are good.
2. El Capitan State Beach
Just north of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara County offers great camping along the Pacific coast at El Capitan State Beach. The beach makes for a great weekend getaway for Los Angeles or San Diego residents. The beach is a great place to make camp for the night. You’ll be able to be lulled to sleep by the waves crashing along the shore.
During the day, you and your family can explore the rocky tide pools that dot the beach. Large sycamore and oak trees provide shade instead of the usual palm trees found elsewhere in southern California. From the rocky bluffs, a staircase leads down to the sandy beach where you can enjoy fishing, surfing and swimming. El Capitan is incredibly accessible for the whole family. You can even rent a wheelchair equipped for use on the beach free of charge. Simply visit a lifeguard station to check one out.
4. Sunset Campground in Sequoia and Kings National Parks
Make new friends at the large Sunset Campground in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. This campground features 157 individual campsites and 2 large group sites. Although reservations are recommended due to the popularity of the campground, the group sites make the perfect spot for host a friendly gathering or family reunion. Many hiking trails lead off from the campsite, including a hike to the General Grant Tree. Known as our Nation’s Christmas Tree, General Grant is located in a sequoia grove and can be accessed easily on a paved trail.
Due to the heavy snowfall in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, the best time to visit the Sunset Campground in Sequoia and Kings Canyon Parks is mid-to-late summer. Besides hiking to General Grant, you can explore other trails or find a quiet fishing spot. Make the most of your time in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks by traveling through the trees on various modes of transportation. The Parks feature horseback riding and biking in addition to hiking trails.
3. Mendocino Village
Situated along a rocky cliffside, the village of Mendocino is located about 4 hours from Sacramento and 3 hours from San Francisco. This quaint village offers boutique shopping and plenty of architecture for your viewing pleasure. Between the town and the ocean lays Mendocino Headlands State Park.
This state park and nearby village are perfect for families who have multiple interests. History buffs can explore the town and read about its history at the Historic Ford House. Hiking enthusiasts and photographers can explore the rocky coastline trails.
While there is no camping at the Headlands State Park, you can find lots of private camping areas in the areas nearby. For those looking to for a mix of the outdoors and luxury, Mendocino Grove resort provides glamping tents. Your tent comes filled with furniture on a private wooden deck and features a maid service. The nearby full bathrooms are stocked with organic toiletries.
5. Crystal Cove State Park
Located between Los Angeles and San Diego, Crystal Cove State Park features a variety of camping options for everyday adventurers. The Moro Campground has tent and RV campsites with access to running water and flush toilets for your needs. The warm southern California climate makes camping a year-round activity in Crystal Cove.
The park has three beaches that give you access to some of the best ocean water activities in southern California. Take a walk along the beach to explore tidepools or bring a stand-up paddleboard or kayak to explore from the water. The park also has plenty of hiking for all experience levels. Enjoy the Historic District within the park. This district features 46 rustic coastal cottages and pays homage to the California development of the early 20th century.
6. San Elijo State Beach
San Elijo State Beach is a water-lovers paradise. You can enjoy everything the Pacific has to offer at San Elijo. Surfers and windsurfers can take to the water to catch large waves as they roll into the beach. There is also underwater exploration available with scuba diving and snorkeling access. The beach area provides picnic spots, swimming and interpretive exhibits for learning opportunities.
The campsites at the park offer hookups for RVs as well as family tent sites for tent campers. The campground also has showers, drinking water and is wheelchair accessible. The camp store near the entrance to the park provides campers with snacks, water equipment like boogie boards and firewood for a nighttime campfire.
Make the most of your summer by visiting these top camping spots throughout California to experience the beauty and nature of the state. With so many options for camping, you’re sure to find the perfect camping spot.
Ready to hit the road this summer? Regardless of what could happen on the road, Wawanesa is here to help. If you’re curious about our offerings, request your free quote today. By answering a few quick questions, you can arm yourself with the facts necessary to protect your most precious cargo.