Camping in California

Hipcampers are spoiled for choice in California, where landscapes come supersized.

94% (64138 reviews)

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12 top campgrounds in California

96%
(34)

Malibu Beach RV Park

288 sites · RVs, Tents20 acres · Malibu, Los Angeles
Malibu RV is set on a coastal bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Malibu, California. Founded in the 1970s, Malibu RV offers RV Sites, Van Sites and Tent Camping, a communal ambiance, and a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of your travels along the California Coast. Whether you are a digital nomad, a surfer looking to shack up for the night, or an adventurer looking for an extended stay, we would love to have you.
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$45
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95%
(497)

Historic Pioneertown Campground

68 sites · RVs, Tents6 acres · Pioneertown, San Bernardino
Pioneertown was built in 1946 as a movie set for Western movies, including the movies of Gene Autry, The Cisco Kid, Annie Oakley, Judge Roy Bean, and Buffalo Bill, just to name a few!Wild West re-enactment performances take place along Mane Street in Pioneertown on weekend afternoons, between early spring and late fall.Learn more about this land:Camp under the stars in historic Pioneertown! Pioneertown Corrals provides a unique setting for campers who want to spend their vacations or getaway weekends in this peaceful desert setting. If you like to ride the trails, barbeque, sit around a campfire, and stargaze in the evening, then you've come to the right place!Pioneertown was built in 1946 as a movie set for Western movies, including the movies of Gene Autry, The Cisco Kid, Annie Oakley, Judge Roy Bean, and Buffalo Bill, just to name a few!Wild West re-enactment performances take place along Mane Street in Pioneertown on weekend afternoons, between early spring and late fall.
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$30
 / night
91%
(274)

SMR Carmel Camping

29 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents89 acres · Del Rey Oaks, Monterey
Welcome to Saddle Mountain Ranch, RV and Campground! We are located on 89 acres of forest land off Carmel Valley Road, just 5 miles from HWY 1. Nestled within oaks, Monterey pines, and redwoods, Saddle Mountain offers a great family friendly getaway for those seeking a break from the bustle of life. PLEASE NOTE, our RV and tent sites are pet friendly but YOU MUST ADD THE PET FEE EXTRA WHEN MAKING YOUR BOOKING. Our glamping stays are NOT pet-friendly aside from one of our luxury tents. We charge $5 per pet and you can bring a maximum of 2 pets. On site seasonally heated pool (Mid May through Oct). ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: *Please continue reviewing/monitoring California Travel guidelines as they may change and affect your reservation* On site seasonally heated pool (seasonally), private hiking trail, playground, Foosball table and more. No refund for inclement weather during the Winter months. We provide complementary Wi-Fi in designated areas of the park. We ask that there is no streaming at the Park so we can share Wi-Fi with all our guests. Thank you!
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$36
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Salmon Creek Ranch

7 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents400 acres · Bodega Bay, Sonoma
Located within 45 minutes of the wine country and 2 miles from the coast, our property is 400 acres of rolling hills and redwood groves, with a creek running along its base. With miles of trails meandering through quiet woods and meadows, you will be able to revel in the tranquility of a private preserve, without sacrificing easy access to some of Sonoma County's most famous attractions. A hundred years ago, this land was used to graze sheep. Remnants of the old fence lines can still be seen in places, along with old cement troughs. Since then, the land has been left to its own devices, passing through many hands, most famously owned by two brothers in the 1980's who built a truly amazing tree house in the forest which has been featured in several magazine articles. It was revamped and updated in 2016 by a master craftsman, using fallen redwood logs found on the property and is now a unique structural work of art, available for overnight stays. We produce 100% grass fed, dry-aged beef on our certified organic pastures and have a store on site if you would like to purchase delicious steaks, ribs, ground beef for hamburgers or some roasts to take home. Our cattle graze on the native grasses, never grain, and drink only water produced from our own springs. We also raise Kiko meat goats and produce pastured, certified organic duck eggs on a commercial basis. Whether it's surfing at sandy beaches, award-winning clam chowder, a wine tour, horseback riding or a hot air balloon ride you're after, you won't have far to drive if you make our ranch your base camp. You may see a family of deer appear suddenly, or a few Scottish Highland cows which we allow to roam freely over the property. There are over twenty species of wild birds that grace this protected spot, so bring your binoculars! A portion of your fee goes towards protecting native flora and fauna as part of our private wildlife preservation program. A limited number of private, widely spaced camp spots are available for visitors. The Eagles' Nest Treehouse (mentioned above) is very isolated and you may or may not even be aware that there are other people within miles of you. For those who value nature, seclusion, quiet and the artistry of old growth redwood, this is the place for you.
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$120
 / night
94%
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Blue Sky Center

31 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents267 acres · New Cuyama, Santa Barbara
1948- On January 1, 1948 a wildcatter named George Hadley, who had been oil prospecting in the valley for 10 years, made the first oil strike in the Cuyama Valley. Richfield Oil Company soon moved in and extracted nearly 300 million barrels of oil in just a few short years. To accommodate an exploding workforce in the early 1950s, the company built the town of New Cuyama, its infrastructure, public buildings, the Cuyama airstrip (L88) and all the industrial structures that are now home to Blue Sky. Richfield Oil Company, later merging with Atlantic Oil Company forming the Atlantic Richfield Oil Company (ARCO), created high-paying jobs, a safe and prosperous community, and developed schools, churches, and recreational areas for the employee-residents.1973- With dwindling production in the area and new discoveries in Alaska, Atlantic-Richfield Oil Company put the town of New Cuyama and its associated infrastructure up for sale. Word of an entire town for sale made its way to entrepreneur, Russell O’Quinn of the Foundation for Airborne Relief (FAR) and Mildred Dotson, a wealthy widow from Tulsa, Oklahoma. The two worked together to acquire the townsite and adjacent land. O’Quinn, an aviator, inventor, and test pilot, aspired to use the New Cuyama airstrip and facilities as a base for humanitarian relief and a non-profit trade school. Though not fully realized, FAR’s primary vision included utilizing converted military aircraft to airlift food and medical supplies to developing countries and global disaster areas. Dotson had loftier goals. Her plans included an 18-hole fly-in golf course, expansion of the Buckhorn Restaurant and Motel, and a 40- to 50-acre lake for amphibious landing and water sports. 1986- Another visionary, Harry Kislevitz, inventor of the popular design tool Colorforms® and founder of Future City/Villages International, sought to develop the site as a “City of Friendship,” an all-electric village of 5,000 earthen homes. The dwellings were to be designed by Nader Khalili, an Iranian-born architect who specialized in earthen structures, worked with NASA on prototypes for lunar homes and received an award from the United Nations for his work towards the development of low cost, sustainable structures for human shelter in impoverished and disaster prone environments. One 628-sq-ft Khalili prototype remains on the property today ("the Cantina"). Khalili went on to form the California Institute for Earth Art and Architecture, Cal-Earth, in Hesperia, CA.1993- Recognizing the transformative potential of clean, solar power and the attractiveness of a rural destination, entrepreneur Mike Nolan worked to develop the Solar Skypark and Big Sky Guest Ranch with Santa Barbara Architect, Barry Berkus. The Sky Park included plans for sixty-five fly-in residences on one-acre lots powered completely from clean, solar energy. The Big Sky Guest Ranch was intended to function as a clubhouse for Skypark residents complete with an equestrian center, a small subsistence farm, pool and plenty of enriching recreational activities. 2012- At the end of 2011, the Zannon Family Foundation made a long-term investment in acquiring the New Cuyama Airport property with the vision of rehabilitating the site to be a low-cost resource for programs and organizations working to advance sustainable living practices and technologies. Plans began soon after towards developing a framework and organization to develop the space and coordinate with prospective programs and institutions. In 2014 Blue Sky Sustainable Living Center ("Blue Sky Center") received 501(c)(3) not-for-profit status, endeavoring to reclaim this property for the public good. Today, Blue Sky Center provides unduplicated services and technical assistance to support small businesses and entrepreneurs as well as the local food system, with core work focused on community research and advocacy led by Cuyamans. Learn more on our website and consider supporting our community work with your donation or by hosting your next special event here!
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$35
 / night
99%
(249)

Campo Nopalito

5 sites · Lodging15 acres · Valley Center, San Diego
Welcome to Nopalito Farm! We’re so happy you’ve decided to spend some time on this beautiful property! In case you’re interested, here are a few interesting things about our farm. Nopalito Farm has been in operation since late 2014, but the property itself has been a working farm for over 50 years. Lemons and avocados were the primary crops from the 70’s through the 00’s, and are still prominent throughout our 15 acres. Our predecessors then diversified the growing operation by planting a wide range of fruit trees ranging from guavas and passion fruit to peaches and figs. For a decade, hops were grown on 2 acres and were sold to breweries throughout southern California. We’ve since replaced the hop yard with perennial flowers, but continue to cultivate a wide variety of delicious fruits.
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$90
 / night
97%
(127)

Joshua Tree Container Resort

14 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents10 acres · Twentynine Palms, San Bernardino
Custom designed by artist John Henry Jones, the Ranch House is the largest and most private suite at the Joshua Tree Container Resort, and has a large screened in front porch giving our guests a safe way to recreate in the outdoors in Theis desert wilderness area. Two queen beds are available inside the history-laden ranch house (originally homesteaded during the WWI era). It is steps away from the hot tub, pool, gym, hammock palapa and great lounging spots on the ranch.
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$69
 / night
97%
(561)

Splitrock Farm and Retreat

23 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents101 acres · Fallbrook, San Diego
About Splitrock Farm and Retreat Far Away, Close to Home For more information... Visit our website www.splitrock.camp Instagram page @splitrockfarmandretreat. Tag your photos #splitrockfarmandretreat #SplitrockFAR #farawayclosetohome Or, contact the Camp Host through Hipcamp direct message or the direct line 760-645-5431. Splitrock Farm and Retreat started in January 2021 after a global search of a place to set roots, live off the land, and create an amazing place for recreation, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Splitrock Farm Splitrock was part of a 160-acre avocado farm that prospered from 1970 to 2017, generating over 1million pounds of avocados per year until the previous owners switched off the water in 2017. Ben purchased 101 acres in 2021 with plans to harvest the dead avocado trees for firewood and replant with organic, sustainable crops such as grapes, citrus trees, and flowers. Splitrock Retreat Splitrock's attraction comes from its unique groves, magnificent granite boulders, and sweeping vistas. Mixed within the avocado groves are several ancient groves and solitary trees that include 200 foot tall pines, hundreds of old oaks, and soaring palms. Freckled throughout the hillsides are thousands of humongous granite boulders, offering a prehistoric feel to the landscape. Above all, Splitrock offers unrivaled views. Over 40 miles of coastline includes views to Point Loma, the Carlsbad power station, and the Pendleton Hospital. To the northeast are views of near 11K foot snowy peaks of San Jacinto and San Gorgonio, with rolling hills of De Luz and Fallbrook in the foreground.
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$22
 / night
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(194)

Your New Property

4 sites · Lodging, RVs1 acre · Solvang, Santa Barbara
This is Glamping at its best! We have two cabins that have kitchens with mini frig, microwaves and sinks. Complimentary coffee and tea as well. Very comfortable queen beds. Each cabin has a living room and table area along with gas fireplaces inside and A/C. Outdoor courtyard area with firepit, picnic tables and string lights to enjoy the days or evenings. Each cabin sleeps two but both can be rented to sleep four. Both cabins are historic to the area.  All of this is in the center of the Santa Ynez valley close to Los Olivos , Santa Ynez and Solvang.Wine tasting, bike riding and hiking. Great restaurants and wineries within walking distance.
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$75
 / night
98%
(27)

Mineral Spring Date Farm

3 sites · Lodging20 acres · Desert Hot Springs, Riverside
Get cozy and settle into this rustic space. This place with its own private naturally mineral spring soak tub located in a private 20-acre Date Palm Nursery with Mineral Springs. ~18 minutes from Downtown Palm Springs. * **Perfect late-night check in** If you love traveling, nature, and adventure this place has features to help you maximize your travel experiences. Comfortable and right in the middle of the desert. Experience the best of both worlds.
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$125
 / night
98%
(327)

Glamping in the Redwoods 🐶🐕💃🕺🏼

2 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents6 acres · Occidental, Sonoma
Welcome to West Sonoma County Camping in the Redwoods! We are located just a 2-minute drive or a 15-minute walk away from the quaint little hamlet of Occidental, where you'll find terrific restaurants with take-out, and two nice markets (one organic) and a liquor/convenience store. In town, you'll also find a terrific independent local meat market that has been in operation for over 100 years! 25 minutes from the ocean, 20 minutes to the Russian River and kayaking, and 30 minutes from HWY 101 or HWY 1. A perfect stop-over if you are travelling up the coast of California. We have 2 campsites to choose from. (Both are clothing optional. 😉). 1. Treehouse (glamping stay with Hot Tub, Pool and Sauna). Bring your own bedding… We supply fresh fitted top sheets on upscale memory foam mattresses. Full kitchen and bath, gas barbecue, flush toilet and hot water shower. 2. RV/tent site (bring your own camp stove, gas or charcoal barbecue, cooking utensils, tent or RV, and enjoy a Hot Tub and a heated Tiki Tent). Enjoy a real bathroom with a (short) hot shower, sink and toilet. Please see each site description below for more information. Our property is the perfect stopover in Northern California’s Redwoods and wine country. A terrific camp spot to recharge and unwind. Quiet, exclusive, secure, gated, sunny- and in a very friendly and safe forest setting. ⛺️🏕️🌲 NOTE: Although wood campfires are not allowed in our county, we have 2 wonderful gas fire pits for your year-round enjoyment. Both the Treehouse and Vancamp have their own private hot tub and gas fire pit. We are pet-friendly and LGBTQ-friendly! ALL ARE WELCOME 🙋‍♀️🙋‍♂️ Come and experience our little slice of heaven. We look forward to serving up a very fun and relaxing time for you and yours! Please check out our reviews and photos.
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$109
 / night
99%
(302)

Bailes Farm

3 sites · Lodging60 acres · Fallbrook, San Diego
One of the last remaining undeveloped parts of Southern California, De Luz Heights is located adjacent to the Cleveland National Forest, and the Santa Margarita River (just a few miles from the campsite). This 12-month flowing river is the only one in Southern California that has never been altered or dammed by humans, and features a state-managed hiking trail with many water holes along the way with clear, clean water to dip into. On my 60 acres, there are no roads going through or next to the property. My land is 13 miles from the Pacific ocean and enjoys a relatively mild yearly climate. Giant boulders provide topographical relief and offer platforms from which to enjoy the view of the nearby Santa Margarita Mountains. The valley views are filled with olive groves, vineyards, and horse ranches. The Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base is nearby, so you might hear some artillery in the distance on some occasions. The campsite embraces all the comforts of "glamping": a hot shower, composting toilet, beds with sheets provided, gas grill with a stovetop, pots and pans, kitchenware, a sink, picnic table, shaded deck, sofa, lounge chairs, and propane fire pit. The basics are provided: toilet paper, paper towels, purified drinking water, towels, sheets, cooking oil, etc. Campers need to bring their own blankets. I've created a network of hiking trails for especially fit hikers looking for a more rigorous hike than the nearby Santa Margarita River Trail. My trails lead through creek beds, over boulders, through rocky crags, with views of the Pacific ocean on a clear day. Hikers on my trails need to wear proper hiking boots with good traction. Sections of my trails will require bouldering with hands and feet. Expect to have fatigued quadriceps, some scrapes, and a sweaty hat brim. The campsite is accessible with a two-wheel drive vehicle; I drive a Kia Forte out there regularly. However, some tips when driving a two-wheel drive car: when going uphill on a dirt road, try to keep some momentum of about 12-15 MPH. If you stop and try to start again, your tires will spin out. If that happens, just reverse down the hill, and try it again with more momentum.
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$129
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Camping in California guide

Golden coasts. Redwood forests. Fiery desert canyons. Alpine lakes framed by snowy peaks. But the best memories are in the details—seeing a gray whale breach off the rugged north coast, feeling the sun on your face on a Southern California shore, or maybe enjoying s’mores beside the crystal waters of Lake Tahoe. Trails climb from campgrounds to immense granite domes in Yosemite while Joshua trees beckon for attention in the eastern deserts. The best part? There’s somewhere amazing to camp year-round.

Where to Go

North Coast

Camping beneath redwoods—the tallest trees in the world—is a hard-to-beat highlight of the north coast. The majestic groves scattered across Redwood National & State Parks are an excellent choice for first-timers. Further south, from Eureka to Mendocino and eventually San Francisco, you’ll find a string of private and state park campgrounds tucked along rugged coastlines marked by bluffs, coves, dunes, and tidepools.

Central Coast

Stretching from Monterey south to Santa Barbara, the Central Coast scores points for scenery and variety. Plus, it’s a convenient escape from the urban hassles of San Francisco and Los Angeles. Redwoods, waterfalls, and windswept bluffs border Highway 1 in Big Sur, while waves crash beside state parks north of Santa Barbara. For a remote camping experience, campsites at Channel Islands National Park off the coast of Santa Barbara can oblige.

SoCal Beaches: Los Angeles to San Diego

The golden beaches of Southern California are the stuff of lazy days and pop songs. And fantastic camping for those inclined. The best campsites line-up beside the coast between Newport Beach and Dana Point in Orange County, with a few more perched on coastal bluffs north of San Diego. Not surprisingly, these oceanfront sites fill fast, so book early.

Sierra Nevada Mountains

Granite domes and lush Alpine meadows border campgrounds in Yosemite National Park, while enormous sequoias are the draw in Kings Canyon and Sequoia national parks. Campgrounds beside alpine lakes and the sparkling blue waters of Lake Tahoe are always postcard-pretty.

Southern Deserts

For surreal sunsets, striking rock formations, restless sand dunes, and spring wildflowers, head east. Nine campgrounds and plenty more right outside await at Death Valley National Park, home to the lowest spot in the U.S. Joshua trees and picturesque boulders keep Hipcampers happy at Joshua Tree National Park while Anza-Borrego Desert State Park serves up fantastic desert hiking outside San Diego. High season is late fall through spring, when temperatures are pleasant.

Frequently Asked Questions

To reserve a campsite at a California State Park, you can use the official reservation system called ReserveCalifornia. Follow these steps to book your campsite:

  1. Visit the ReserveCalifornia website.
  2. Enter your desired park, campground, or region in the search bar, or use the interactive map to find a location.
  3. Select your preferred dates and the type of camping you're interested in (tent, RV, group site, etc.).
  4. Review the available campsites and choose the one that best suits your needs.
  5. Click "Book Now" and follow the prompts to complete your reservation.
  6. Provide your personal information, payment details, and any additional information requested, then click "Submit."
  7. Once your reservation is confirmed, you'll receive an email with your confirmation number and additional details about your campsite.
It's important to note that campsites at popular parks, especially during peak season, can fill up quickly. It's recommended to book your reservation as far in advance as possible, up to six months ahead of your desired dates.

Boondocking, also known as dispersed camping, is legal in many areas of California, particularly on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and in National Forests. Here are some popular areas for boondocking in California: 1. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park: This park allows dispersed camping in designated areas. 2. Alabama Hills Recreation Area: Managed by the BLM, this area offers boondocking with stunning views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. 3. Joshua Tree National Park: Outside the park boundaries, you can find BLM land where boondocking is allowed. 4. Inyo National Forest: Dispersed camping is permitted in most areas, but be sure to check with the local ranger station for any restrictions. When boondocking, always practice Leave No Trace principles, and make sure to follow any posted rules and regulations. Additionally, consider checking out Hipcamp for unique boondocking and camping locations in California: California Stars and Valley Boondock Campsite.

Yes, camping at Trona Pinnacles is generally safe, but campers should be prepared for the remote and rugged conditions. The area is known for its unique geological formations and offers dispersed camping with no established campgrounds or facilities. Be sure to bring plenty of water, food, and supplies, as the nearest services are located in the town of Trona, 20 miles away. Keep an eye on the weather, as temperatures can be extreme, and flash floods can occur during heavy rains. As always, practice Leave No Trace principles and respect the fragile desert environment.

Free beach camping in California is quite rare, as most beach campgrounds are managed by state parks or other organizations that charge fees. However, you can find some dispersed camping areas along the coast in certain parts of the state, such as on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land or in National Forests. Keep in mind that these free camping spots usually have limited facilities and are often located in more remote areas. It's essential to follow the Leave No Trace principles and respect the environment when camping in these locations. Always check the specific regulations and restrictions for the area you plan to visit.

Several beaches in California allow camping. Some popular options include:

For more options, check out Hipcamp's beach campgrounds.

There are several reasons why it can be difficult to find campsites in California:

  1. High demand: California is a popular tourist destination with its diverse landscapes, beaches, national parks, and mild climate. This high demand for camping spots makes it challenging to find available campsites, especially during peak season.
  2. Population: California has the largest population of any state in the U.S., and many residents enjoy camping as a recreational activity. This means increased competition for campsites among both residents and visitors.
  3. Limited supply: Although California has a vast number of campgrounds, the supply of campsites may not be sufficient to meet the high demand. Some campgrounds also have a limited number of sites, making it harder to find a spot.
  4. Reservation system: Many popular campgrounds in California require reservations, which can fill up months in advance. This can make it difficult for last-minute campers to find a site.
  5. Seasonal closures: Some campgrounds in California are closed during certain seasons, such as winter, due to weather conditions or maintenance. This further limits the availability of campsites during those times.

To increase your chances of finding a campsite in California, consider camping during the off-peak season, making reservations well in advance, or exploring lesser-known campgrounds. Websites like Hipcamp can help you discover alternative camping options, including private land and unique accommodations.

Boondocking, or dispersed camping, is not illegal in California as long as it is done on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or the United States Forest Service (USFS). However, it is essential to follow specific rules and regulations, including staying within designated areas, adhering to stay limits (usually 14 days), and practicing Leave No Trace principles. Keep in mind that boondocking is not allowed in all areas, and it's crucial to research the specific location before setting up camp.

In California, you can camp without a permit in areas designated for dispersed camping, usually found on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and National Forest lands. Here are some popular locations for dispersed camping without a permit:

Remember to practice Leave No Trace principles, respect the environment, and follow any posted rules or regulations. Also, be aware that some areas may have fire restrictions or seasonal closures. It's always a good idea to check with the local ranger station for current conditions and regulations before heading out.

Camping rules in California vary depending on the location and type of campground (national park, state park, national forest, private campgrounds, etc.). However, there are some general rules that apply to most camping situations in California:

  1. Choose designated campgrounds or campsites for overnight stays.
  2. Observe quiet hours, typically between 10 pm and 6 am.
  3. Keep campfires contained in designated fire rings or stoves, and never leave them unattended. Obtain a campfire permit if required.
  4. Follow fire restrictions, especially during high fire danger periods.
  5. Store food and scented items in bear-resistant containers or use proper food storage techniques in bear country.
  6. Practice Leave No Trace principles, including packing out all trash and minimizing your impact on the environment.
  7. Respect wildlife and maintain a safe distance from animals.
  8. Keep pets on a leash and under control at all times.
  9. Observe posted speed limits and other traffic regulations in campgrounds.
  10. Adhere to any specific rules posted at the campground, such as maximum stay limits, check-in/check-out times, and group size restrictions.

It's crucial to research the specific rules and regulations of the area where you plan to camp, as they may differ depending on the land management agency or private property rules. Check the website or contact the managing agency for the most up-to-date information.

Camping costs in California can vary greatly depending on the location, amenities, and type of campsite. Prices can range from free for dispersed camping in some national forests or BLM land to over $100 per night for a glamping experience or a cabin rental. On average, you can expect to pay around $20 to $50 per night for a basic tent or RV camping site in a state park or campground. Keep in mind that prices may vary depending on the season, availability, and any additional fees such as reservation or vehicle entry fees.

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