Golden Gate National Recreation Area

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About Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Alcatraz, Muir Woods, the Presidio... these are the local celebrities of the Bay Area. They are also within the Golden Gate National Recreation area, which protects over 80,000 acres of ecologically and historically significant landscapes surrounding the San Francisco Bay Area. These areas obviously have much historical significance and are equally as beautiful. Visitors agree, as the various areas get over 13 million visitors a year!

Campgrounds in Golden Gate

Kirby Cove Campground
Jason
Jason: Site #1 is the most scenic by far. Views of the city, bay, and Golden Gate Bridge from your tent &...
Haypress Campground
Alex
Alex: This isn't actually a first come first serve campsite - you have to make reservations with the Marin...
Bicentennial Campground
Andy
Andy: There isn't a whole lot of privacy, but there is plenty to explore near by.
Hawk Camp Campground
Andy
Andy: The campground as a whole is the most secluded campground in the Marin Headlands. However, the three...

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Hipcamper Jason

Site #1 is the most scenic by far. Views of the city, bay, and Golden Gate Bridge from your tent & from your camp. But, if you have a big group, try to book sites 2 & 3 together. Site 4 is the most private, but is back in the woods, farthest from the beach.

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Hipcamper Kari

The views of the city and the bridge are amazing at night. Avoid camping there on foggy nights the foghorn goes off every minute ( all night if it is foggy all night) Ear plugs will not help since the fog horn is very close.

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Hipcamper Andy

The campground as a whole is the most secluded campground in the Marin Headlands. However, the three spots in this campground have little to no privacy from each other.

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Hipcamper Alex

This isn't actually a first come first serve campsite - you have to make reservations with the Marin Headlands Visitor Center at 415-331-1540. We're headed there this weekend, super excited.

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Hipcamper Alyssa

This campground can go from sunny to foggy in a snap, so be sure to pack layers!

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Hipcamper Andy

There isn't a whole lot of privacy, but there is plenty to explore near by.

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Hipcamper Dina

This is not a first come first serve site. You must make reservations, and you must make the reservation 1 month out. For instance if you want to camp Sept 15 you must call August 15th and make a reservation. No fires allowed but camp stoves are ok.

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Hipcamper Adrienne

A beautiful campground! Couldn't be in a more scenic location. This campground is very popular so be prepared to book far in advance.

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Hipcamper Bryan

You can reserve a site one month in advance by calling the visitor center. The site is free but only one tent per site. The hike is short(2.5mi from Tennessee trailhead parking lot) but most of it is uphill with no shade. The last 100 meter or so is a steep uphill. There's no water at the site so you'll have to bring enough for the hike to/from plus cooking. The lowest site has a great view of the headlands and you can see parts of San Francisco. The upper two sites are less secluded(you can see directly from tent to tent) and the trees block the view a bit more. All in all Hawk camp is pretty cool but definitely prepare for a tough uphill hike.

Hipcamper Auntie

Hip camp is wrong ( as with many many camp sites) and they do take reservations, & the sites are free! only 3 spots, the first lower one is under tree cover which makes it a bit wetter and cooler but is most private. no water, one port a potty, bear lockers

Hipcamper Sal

This Place is Decent, It's a first come first serve campground that is accessible by a short 15min .8 mile walk from the parking lot. The camping is free as is the parking. Basically no Shade at the campsites and no fires allowed/ no fire rings but it's free.

Hipcamper Bryn

Lots of great biking and running nearby if you're into that!

Hipcamper Aja

Haypress: my ol' reliable when the camping itch strikes but I don't want to drive too far to sleep under the stars. While there is no fee (and a yearly cap on visits), permits are required and can be obtained from the Marin Headlands Visitors Center. They're open til 4pm, but if you can't make it before they close they'll stick the permit in a little drop box outside for you to pick up. At the end of Tennessee Valley Road, you'll find a large parking lot (although this will overflow on the weekends). Follow the paved path .3 miles til you see a dirt track heading back into the hills. After about .6 miles you'll find a clean pit toilet and 5 comfortable sites, all of which are excellent base camps for adventures in the Headlands.

Hipcamper Aja

If you're looking for seclusion, you won't find it here. Bicentennial is one of 3 free sites you can reserve via permit from the Marin Headland's Visitor's Center (3 free nights per year per license plate!) and the most accessible of all three. You can only have 2 neighbors, and if you can overlook the noise of the tourists at the picnic site above as you set up camp, you're in for a great night. Push through the pines for unobstructed views of the bridge and the city all lit up as the sun sets behind you. If you're shy about answering the call of nature, there's an ancient port-a-potty adjacent to the campground, and a fancy pit toilet at the picnic grounds above. Don't forget to check out the battery ruins. Expect raccoon drive-bys.

Hipcamper Allison

I have not camped here, but just wanted to not the Presidio.gov website indicates alcohol is not permitted here (wine was mentioned in the description).

Hipcamper Squidney

This is one of my favorite camp sites! Good views of Golden Gate Bridge and access to the beach! It was fairly quiet in late March.

Hipcamper Hipcamper
Hipcamper

Bring a picnic dinner and watch a sunset from Bolinas Ridge!

Hipcamper Hipcamper
Hipcamper

The campsites in Kirby Cove are gorgeous, but prone to heavy morning fog so bring a jacket

Hipcamper Hipcamper
Hipcamper

Kirby Cove is fully accessible from most of the bay via public transportation or bike. You can even walk across the Golden Gate Bridge to reach your campsite.

Hipcamper Bart

Great spot if you want to sleep outdoors while visiting the city. Rangers can leave your reservation/permit at the nearby ranger station so that you can arrive after hours.

Hipcamper Andrew

Saw a bobcat here! Only 3 sites basically next to each other. very basic sites but we spent most of the time watching the incredible view ~200 feet from the site of the bay.

Hipcamper Thomas

Hike in only: Bicentennial Campground is the most accessible campground in the Park, approximately 100 yards from the parking area near Battery Wallace..

Hipcamper Rob

This is one of those super hard to reserve campgrounds. But I've snagged a site with a few days notice, probably due to a cancellation, and it's worth cancelling work to go.

Ear plugs can be helpful if fog and boat horns annoy you. There are usually several wheelbarrows at the parking area to haul gear, but sometimes people forget (cough) to bring them back from sites for others to use.

A nice trick is to get a campsite, then reserve the day use area so your pals can come down and enjoy the beach for a day. You get some parking, and the day use area is fabulous too.

Hipcamper Scott

Very accessible, with good access to beach and coastal trails. Subject to the marine layer more than most West Marin coastal locations due to its gradual grade down to the Pacific, so days that may be sunny in nearby Mill Valley many never clear at Haypress. I've twice seen bobcats along the trail to Haypress, so keep your eyes peeled.

Hipcamper Krstl

You gotta be lucky to get a spot but it is so worth it. I had two broken ankles when I had my reservation for 1 night but I still made it out anyway. We were lucky enough to be there on a night without the blaring fog horn, but its the Bay Area, and it gets foggy sometimes so be prepared with noise canceling head wear. A WONDERFUL SCENIC VIEW from the beach!

Hipcamper Karen

Whales can be spotted off the coast in May, keep an eye out!

Hipcamper Lizanne

Use the food boxes as the raccoons are aggressive.

History of Golden Gate National Recreation Area

At Golden Gate National Recreation Area, history and culture span an extraordinary timeframe with a rich layering of themes and subject matter. There are five individual National Historic Landmarks and over 10 National Register properties in the park.
The park's cultural resources are tremendously varied. Dramatic view sheds of contrasting rural and urban environments lead to historic landscapes ranging from dairy ranches and seaside recreation sites, to maritime resources like lighthouses and shipwrecks. Golden Gate has been part of the homelands of Coastal Miwok and Ohlone people for thousands of years and still contains archeological sites and landscapes influenced by native land management. The park includes the largest and most complete collection of military installations and fortifications in the country, dating from Spanish settlement in 1776 though the Nike missiles of the Cold War. Golden Gate contains eleven former Army posts whose military architecture and historic landscapes comprise the heart of the park.