Private lakeside camping in California

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

98% (909 reviews)
98% (909 reviews)

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12 top lakeside campgrounds in California

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Five Fours Camp in Three Rivers

2 sites · Tents2 acres · Three Rivers, CA
This is essentially a private campsite with a million dollar view! We are no longer opening the bunkhouse campsite; so that spot is now another area for your group to hang out. We are animal friendly and don't charge extra for you to bring your dog(s) to camp. Please LET US KNOW YOU ARE BRINGING DOG(S), when you request to book. Our dog Ruby, is a Black Mouth Cur, and our boy Chance is a Husky Doberman mix. Both are friendly with other dogs large and small. They look forward to meeting you and yours! Although we welcome dogs, the park only allows them into the park BUT NOT ON ANY TRAILS!! Only the national forests allow dogs on trails, not national parks. We can be available to dog sit your dog(s) while you explore in the park for $7/hour. Please contact us ahead of time, if possible, so we can arrange to be available to dog sit on your chosen day(s). Three rivers, California is the lower gateway to the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National parks; and has some unique restaurants, shops & even our own brewery! Our hillside property has great mountain views on 2.25 serene stepped acres. Our driveway turns directly off of Sierra drive, four miles past the town center (3R post office) and just 2 miles from the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks entrance - so it's conveniently located and easy to find! Five Fours Camp is up a private driveway, leaving the roadway below. You can't see it; but you can still hear the tranqual sound of the Kaweah River flowing across the street. Sorry, there is NO river access from this campsite. I know! We were heartbroken too when we found out we couldn't just cross the street and swim! You CAN go to Slick Rock and swim, boat, fish and more - about 8 miles away. My wife Elizabeth and I bought our log home in 2015 and we have been dreaming and building here ever since! Our beloved older dog Ruby was rescued shortly after we bought. Our boy Chance was rescued during the beginning of the pandemic. They chase all the fun wildlife off of their property! In addition to deer, we have seen fox, bob cats, an Ocelot, too many coyotes, wild turkeys and bear crossing an animal highway along our upper hillside property line. Hawks, hummingbirds, quail, blue birds, woodpeckers and Sime yellow bellied finches are regularly seen here all over as well. Owls have been heard; but not seen. We love our mountain views and look forward to sharing them with you!
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$67
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(71)

Genesee Camp

1 site · RV, Tent10 acres · California 95983, CA
I fell in love with this piece of property years ago, and finally was able to build my dream home here. I rescue unwanted dogs from certain euthanasia who have been abandoned or abused, and provide them a forever home.  Now I want to share my beautiful wooded property where they can run, swim, investigate, play, and enjoy a free-range lifestyle. Campers and their canine family members are welcome to come and enjoy the outdoors.
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$70
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Animal Lovers Paradise

1 site · Tent30 acres · Greenwood, CA
Pitch your tent smack dab in the middle of HartSong Ranch Animal Sanctuary - some of the most beautiful acreage in the Sierra Nevada Foothills.  Cook a delicious, campfire meal - kick up your heels "a bit" after a long, hard day and then - Whew!  Cop a squat, sit back, exhale and prepare yourself to take it all in.  Silence is golden around here and once here, you will soon come to know – that if you blend in, be quiet, listen and observe – NATURE, in all its glory, will reveal its majesty - right before your very eyes. The 2 acre pond reflects the brilliance of “harmony” in nature.  The water is pure, clean and abundant with life yet, HartSong Ranch is a pesticide free facility.  Nature, taking care of itself, is truly a beautiful thing.  Yellow Water Iris are in full bloom, spring through early summer.  Dragonflies and butterflies sparkle in the sunshine.  Frogs croak, bats dart here and there and big mouth bass become airborne in search of dinner in the early evening hours.  Blue and White Heron visit the pond often – gracefully soaring over the pastures and pond in search of a safe place to land among the Iris.  Watching them calculate a strategy to catch a meal, while appearing to stalk in slow motion – FASCINATING! Upwards of 40 Canada Geese goslings are hatched yearly on the grounds of HartSong.  It’s absolutely adorable to watch the little ones as they frantically paddle along behind their moms.  In addition and if you’re an early riser, you will most certainly feel blessed to observe the loving, yet stern, communications between Canada Goose parents (life- long mates) as they teach their young to fly - every morning at sunrise in the spring. Fire head of cattle (that have never known anything other than kindness), graze the pastures beyond the pond.  Yes, they all have names and yes, they are all as sweet as can be.  Their tranquility is contagious. The "one and only" ALP campsite is large enough to accommodate 9+ large tents.  Only one camping group occupies this campsite. Amenities at the site include... *Porta Potty/Outhouse *Hand washing station - hand soap, hand sanitizer and hand towels provided *3 Picnic Tables with table cloths *Extra Large Dining Tent with Screened Sides for Ventilation *Wood Rounds for Seating, Lighter, Fire Starter Sticks and filled Water Buckets *Warming propane fire box (4' long).  This unit is approved to use during high fire season and provides enough of a flame to roast marshmallows, make s'mores and provides incredible ambiance at the campsite during the nighttime hours.   *Propane BBQ Grill - available to use during high fire season *BBQ Utensils - Large Spatula/Turner, Large Pronged Fork, Wire Bristle Grill Cleaner/Scraper *Shade sail - 1  *Life Jackets (2 child) *Row Boat with oars *Coleman Heavy Duty Water Jug (5 Gallon) *Clean, Fresh Drinking Water from HartSong's Well *4 Adirondack Chairs with Side Table *Hammock *Swing *Emergency First Aid Kit *Fire Extinguisher *Solar in Ground Lights for easy navigation during the nighttime hours There is an old gold mine on the back side of the property as well as a 30' waterfall. The canal (said to have been built by the Chinese workers during the Gold Rush) winds through the entire property. HartSong Ranch Animal Sanctuary, a 30-acre facility, is a 100% volunteer, 501(c)(3) non- profit organization and home to 60+ rescue animals. Some are blind - others have physical challenges - most are trauma survivors. Our mission is to provide a landscape of quiet and tranquility for the animals that live within our gates – a sanctuary where they can enjoy nature, peace of mind and suffer no more. There is an old gold mine on the back side of the property as well as a 30' waterfall. Off the ranch adventures are also abundant in the Sierra Nevada foothills surrounding HartSong Ranch. *The Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park – a 14 mile drive from your campsite, features a museum, restored historic buildings and costumed volunteers.  Gold was discovered here at Sutter’s Mill in 1848, sparking the California Gold Rush. *The American River Confluence (North Fork and Middle Fork merge) – a 10 mile drive from your campsite.  The drive down the canyon to the American River is beautifully picturesque.  Over 100 miles of hiking trails, pristine swimming holes and white water opportunities are available for those of you in search of adrenaline laced activities. *Coloma, California – world famous for its white water rafting excursions – a 14 mile drive from your campsite. *Lotus, California - The Coloma-Lotus Valley is the major destination of the South Fork, shaped by the American River today as in 1848. Three riverfront parks provide opportunities for family picnics and wading, and Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park brings California’s history to life.  While in Lotus, please make a point to stop in at Sierra Rizing Bakery, Coffeehouse and Cafe – located in the beautiful Coloma & Lotus river valley just steps from the South Fork of the American River. They feature small-batch local artisan-roasted coffees, fresh bakery goods, breakfast and lunch fare, as well as specialty drinks, beer, and local wines.  They also offer a beautiful outdoor patio that is dog friendly.  Dogs are also welcome inside the cafe. For those interested to tour the sanctuary grounds, meet many of the rescue animals living within our gates and, take a short hike to the secret, glorious waterfall, please be certain to book a tour (see EXTRAS to book a private tour). HartSong co-founders, Jim and Kathy Hart, are both former professional musicians so there’s nothing more delightful to our ears than to hear acoustic kumbaya moments around a campfire.  We do, however, most graciously request “quiet time” at the campsite after 10PM.
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$80
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(6)

The Retreat on Big Grizzly Creek

1 site · Lodging3 acres · Beckwourth, CA
Unique and peaceful Lost Sierra retreat within feet of Big Grizzly Creek. 5 minutes from Lake Davis. Minutes from Grizzly Ranch Golf Club. 1 hour from Reno, and 2.5 hours from Sacramento. Nestled among towering trees and serene natural surroundings, The Retreat at Big Grizzly Creek is a tranquil haven located within feet of a gently flowing creek. As you enter the campsite, the refreshing sound of water trickling over smooth rocks immediately captures your attention, creating a symphony of nature's melodies. The Retreat is located within minutes of the small railroad town of Portola, CA, 5 minutes from the boat launch at Lake Davis, and a couple of minutes from the public golf course, Grizzly Ranch. The property the campsite is on is over 3 acres with the creek being the western border. The property has numerous overlooks of the creek and surrounding fauna with a short hike. Currently, I am building a trail and a sitting area over the most perfect view atop a rock outcropping, perfect for sipping coffee in the morning or beer. No judgment here! We have big plans for this little piece of the earth we own and are excited the share it with you.
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$89
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96%
(37)

Blue Belly Cabin

1 site · Lodging12 acres · Manton, CA
We found our happy place and want to share it on HipCamp.Blue Belly Cabin is a contactless cabin on 12 acres of land that sleeps 4 comfortably. 1 bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and great room with sleeper sofa. There are fabulous sunrises, sunsets and panoramic mountain views for you to enjoy. It snows sometimes at our cabin but usually stays only a day. Many campers come to our cabin to work while simultaneously enjoying nature right outside the cabin. For the hot days we have a swamp cooler and portable A/C unit so you stay comfortable. For the cold days we have a wood burning stove that heats the big room and keeps you toasty and portable electric heaters for the bedroom and bathroom. We have a heated mattress pad on the bed and an electric blanket for the sleeper sofa and extra comforters. There is a propane fire pit and propane bbq outside for you to enjoy. Blue Belly Cabin is a huge slice of peace. There's a large area outside the cabin where you can pitch tent(s) for more people. Nearby, there are premier fishing spots, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, swimming, waterfalls, national forests, trails to hike, 6 wineries and much more. We are 35 mins from Lassen National Park, 45 mins from Shasta Lake and dam. MacCumber reservoir is 25 mins away. We are 30 mins east of Redbluff and the nearest small town with gas stations, grocery and hardware stores is 17 mins away.
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$120
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King Madrone

1 site · Tent280 acres · Placerville, CA
Learn more about this land: Tent site in the orchard with canyon views. Mule deer, wild turkeys, geese aplenty. Ample walking opportunities on our ranch and wild forestlands and amazing granite rock outcrops. Visit the South Fork of the American River (you can raft in summer!) Hunt for old gold mines on our place and, maybe, find some new ones! Go wine tasting very close by (Lava Cap, Madrone, Boeger) and visit Sutter's Mill in Coloma, where gold was discovered back in 1848.
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$35
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Wandering Star Ranch

1 site · RV, Tent15 acres · Weldon, CA
Learn more about this land:A large private dispersed group camp- Entire property (all sites) included in rental. 7 night maximum.  Longer possible with discussion. 15 acres yours to enjoy. Pass through our gates straight into BrightStar Wilderness BLM.  Ride your dirt bikes, ATV's, horses. Play your music, let your dogs run free... Great star gazing. Primitive firing range two minute walk away, or plink varmints on site. Hiking, Biking.  Nearby fishing, swimming, boating in the Kern River or Lake .The Brightstar wilderness extends to Jawbone canyon.Situated on the back side of the lake, this site provides more sunlight time than many other sites around the lake.  In some cases close to 2 hours.Close to the lake at Mt. Mesa, boat launch, South fork Audubon nature preserve, restaurants, and scenic back road to Kernville.Verizon has good service Gas/Diesel and Market with Deli 5 minutes away.(Ice, wood, adult beverages, fishing tackle, full grocery)
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$125
 / night
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(7)

The Little Red Box - Big Bear cabin

1 site · Lodging1 acre · Big Bear City, CA
Come stay at this adorable tiny cabin, close to many of the attractions Big Bear has to offer. 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom and a great open living room with dining area and woodburning stove. All the necessities are stocked in the small fully functional kitchen. Full size refrigerator and stove, pots, dishes and utensils for your use. Microwave, coffee maker and toaster oven as well. This place is tiny but mighty, you will find all the comforts of home. Bring your furry friends to play in the fenced backyard. New deck and hot tub for those chilly nights.
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$149
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99%
(67)

The Yuba Yurt

1 site · Lodging5 acres · North San Juan, CA
The Yuba Yurt is "glamping", or an idyllic remote working location, at its best. Carefully appointed "simplicity" immersed in Nature, but with stable high speed internet, situated equidistantly between the three forks of the "wild and scenic" Yuba River. Enjoy! THE SPACE Venture to the heart of Yuba river country and experience the rustic comfort of glamping in a 30’ pacific yurt. A remedy for “Nature Deficit Disorder”, this is your opportunity to taste the magic of simple living in the round. Located on the North San Juan ridge at the edge of Tahoe National Forest, endless outdoor activities abound. Enjoy incredible hiking, crystal-clear swimming holes and world-class mountain biking trails during summer and pristine snow-play areas away from the crowds during winter. Take in gorgeous scenic drives and numerous points of historical interest--including Malokoff Diggins--from California gold rush period. Discover the active gold mining town of Allegheny, the scenic beauty of Downieville or soak the afternoon away at Sierra Hot Springs in Sierraville. The village of Nevada city--with all it has to offer--is just 20 minutes away. Or simply relax... As much a nature blind as a dwelling, the yurt is located on 5 peaceful acres of mixed oak and madrone woodland with a filtered view of the Sierra foothills, a claw foot bath tub under the stars and much more. Light and airy with both propane and wood heat, the well-designed interior features a spacious kitchen, a comfy queen bed and a full bathroom. The kitchen is stocked for a cook with quality cooking equipment and is supplied with oils, sauces and spices. Tranquil and rustic, but with WiFi and a small streaming set-up, there are also games and plenty of good books. A perfect anytime retreat! THE AREA RiverSea East is located on the San Juan Ridge, an area near Nevada City and Grass Valley that extends about 24 miles between the south and middle forks of the Yuba River. A small Nevada County community far removed from town, modern day North San Juan is part hippie, part isolationist, part new age and part conservative.It's only a 20 minute drive from downtown Nevada City, but since you have to drive up and down the heavily forested, windy river-canyon road, it feels rather remote. When you get there, it consists of less than ten businesses scattered around the mountains, a bushel of dreadlocked hippies, a bunch of pot farms, a vineyard, and LOTS of empty, undeveloped wood, making North San Juan a really beautiful place, surrounded, as it is, by forested mountains and rivers. North San Juan is a great place to explore. There's all kinds of hidden spots, neat places to go, river access with good swimming holes and little stores and cafes. This area is spotted with little organic farms, beautiful little houses and the occasional run-down looking trailer.Farm, house OR trailer, because North San Juan and the Ridge are so sparsely populated, every residence seems to have acres of property that the people are free to plant, enjoy or neglect at will. OTHER IMPORTANT STUFF PETS: Your well-behaved dog is welcome with advanced permission and agreement to our pet policy for an additional $10.00 per night. As this is a wilderness area with abundant wildlife, do not let your dog wander outside at night unattended. NEVER leave your dog unattended at the yurt or let them roam unleashed in the woods. Neighbors will report dogs who bark incessantly. PARTIES and extra visitors are not allowed. Quiet time in the neighborhood is 10pm SAVE OUR ROAD SPEED is 10mph at all times.
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$125
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Russtic Roadside Retreat (R3)

1 site · Lodging1 acre · Nevada City, CA
Learn more about this land: R3 is a rustic studio/cabin located in a private corner of our half acre property, walking distance to historic Nevada City, CA. From its humble beginnings as a simple camping platform, R3 is now fully enclosed with a stunning glass front wall which preserves the great view from the site. A small kitchen area and bathroom with flush toilet and shower complete a private and cozy space. There is much local history and many cultural activities to enjoy in Nevada County. Outdoor pursuits include hiking, road and mountain biking, river and lake access, skiing, and many more, all nestled in the beautiful Sierra Nevada Foothills. Nevada City, and it's sister town, Grass Valley, are Gold Rush Victorian gems, boasting a variety of shopping venues, many fine eateries, and eclectic "watering holes" featuring craft brews, local wines and tasty cocktails. Live music in many locations adds an upbeat and lively ambiance. Unwind with a day at the river or lake, take a road or mountain bike ride, or a hike on one of the many local trails.
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$75
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(4)

The River Haven House

1 site · Lodging3 acres · Bakersfield, CA
The River Haven House, nestled on a unique 2.5-acre property on Kern River with private river access, perfect for couples or small families. A beautifully updated Spanish-style home welcomes you with a fully stocked kitchen, wood-burning fireplace, and a cozy yet spacious patio area for barbecue & entertaining. Perfect for nature lovers! A true oasis awaits! Surrounded by mature trees, green lawns, fruit & nut trees within a privately gated space, this property is all about the outdoors! You are sure to realize that once you arrive. Upon entering through the private gate, you are greeted by a large, welcoming driveway with the main home and garage to your right. Slow down time as you walk around the property and take it all in. Enjoy the well-maintained landscaping, lush gardens and the private river access. The beautiful Spanish-style home includes a full kitchen, living room, dining room and main bedroom. The bedroom is furnished with a King size bed and includes a walk-in closet & full bathroom. Just outside the main home is the attached, extra-large garage where you will find the second bedroom. This bedroom also houses a King size bed, but also includes a comfortably sized bunk bed with two full mattresses and a single trundle pullout. This space also has a full bathroom and laundry room. The large garage makes for a great hang out area where you will find comfy sofas, a wood-burning fireplace, kids play area, TV and games. The main home exits to the patio area where you will find multiple cooking options: a propane Weber grill, a Big Green Egg grill & smoker, a pizza oven, a and charcoal grill and to toast your hands & feet, a built-in outdoor fireplace. Enjoy the night sky as you sit out under the stars with romantic string lights draped overhead and enjoy the fresh air while the fireplace or fire pit keep you warm. The property has direct and exclusive access to the Kern River where you can swim, tube, sunbathe and fish. You are welcome to pitch a tent by the river; however, we ask that you please notify us as the lawn irrigation is fully sprinkler operated. Just on the other side of the river you will find the California Living Museum (local zoo), Lake Ming, Kern River Golf Course, multiple riverfront picnic spots, Miracle Hot Springs up the mountain, hiking trails, nature walks. and more! Less than an hour up the road are wilderness camp sites and Lake Isabella. Continuing onward is the Sequoia National Forest where you can visit for the day knowing a comfortable & safe home will be welcoming your return. *No parties or events allowed (Please, no music or loud noises allowed outside of the home). This is a extremely quiet neighbrohood and noise travels fast & easily. Quiet hours are 10pm-8am. The property is equiped with noise monitoring devices and occupancy count devices, we will be notified if noise levels exceed a certain level. Additionally we will be notified if occupancy count exceeds the number of guests booked on site. *Smoking allowed outdoors only. *Shoes off inside the house. *Children MUST be supervised and monitored at all times. *No surprise guests, only those accounted for and registered can enter the property. *No firearms *Please do not put grease or solid food down the kitchen sink. Septik tank is sensitive *Please do no flush wipes, paper or feminine products down the toilet as the septik tank is sensitive. *This is a rural property and as such, there is wildlife which includes: rabbits, squirrels, rats, mice, coyotes, snakes, lizards, birds, bugs, and spiders, to name a few. *Please keep the doors closed to prevent the above wildlife from joining you in the home during your stay. *There are five secuirty cameras on the property for safety reasons. One at the main gate, one at the main home, one at the corner of the garage, one at the carport and one by the river. NONE in the house. *The canvas bell tent can also be booked for camping by the river, which could sleep 3-6 people, inquire within. *Pets are allowed on the property (fee's apply), however must be monitored at all times and not left alone. Pets must be kept close to owners at all times to avoid issues with wildlife, no pets on the furniture and beds. A fine will be applied if pets have been lounging on bedding and furniture.
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$440
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(9)

Secluded + Peaceful Cozy Cabin

1 site · Lodging150 acres · Garden Valley, CA
Peaceful and private Bear Creek Lodge is tucked up against the El Dorado National Forest, surrounded by majestic oaks, pines, and cedars, in charming Garden Valley, CA. The 3,000-square-foot lodge is located on 150 acres, secluded from noise and light pollution, making for spectacular night skies. The park-like setting makes Bear Creek Lodge the perfect haven in the woods, while the beautifully-appointed four-bedroom home makes it the ideal place for rest, relaxation, & rejuvenation! Bear Creek Lodge has been carefully designed and appointed to help you rest and relax on your getaway to the woods. While you will likely spend evenings listening to nature’s symphony, there are plenty of activities in the house to keep you entertained. Bear Creek Lodge is 100% off the grid and utilizes an industrial generator that powers this large property. We are pet friendly, but you must register your pet on the site and there is a fee if you decide to bring your pet. Please let us know in advance. Max. Occupancy: 4 bedrooms; There is a maximum occupancy limit of 14 guests between the hours of 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. WiFi: Bear Creek Lodge includes high-speed Wifi thanks to fast satellite Internet. Quiet Hours: While in a remote and secluded area, we must still abide by the local regulations. Quiet Hours must be observed between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. Wildlife: The peace and beauty of being tucked away into your own secluded retreat in the woods, comes with the additional steps of having to contend with wildlife and small critters. For your safety and enjoyment, it's important to be vigilant about keeping doors closed into the Lodge. It's also important to clean up ALL food debris at ALL times, both inside and outside the Lodge. Suggestion to Bring: Remember to bring all necessary medications, as the nearest pharmacy is 14-15 miles away in Cool, CA if needed. And we also recommend bringing flashlights for each guest for moving between the main, upper, and lower levels at night time. Always check the weather app ahead of your arrival for weather forecasts at Georgetown & Garden Valley CA. Here are only a few of the nearby adventures that Hipcampers can partake in: Skiing, snowboarding, white-water rafting, wine tasting, Apple Hill, Jeep Jamboree, Rubicon trail, El Dorado National Forest, Coloma gold discovery museum, Red Hawk Casino, antiquing, historic downtown Placerville, hidden local trails, hiking, fishing, water-sports and/or doing nothing but relaxing!
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$325
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Private lakeside camping in California guide

Overview

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.

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