Waterside camping near Fresno, California

Waterski on reservoirs or camp high in the Sierra Nevada—the options near Fresno are endless.

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River Ridge Ranch -722 acres

12 sites · Lodging, Tents722 acres · Springville, Tulare
Swimming in North Fork Tule River, miles of hiking trails on ranch. River Ridge goes from 1,000' elev. to 3,000' elevation. Hike right on the ranch. We are between Sequoia National Park (about an hour) and the Giant Sequoia National Monument (16 miles to groves up Hwy 190 and no entrance fee). Choose from individual tent sites, group tent sites, tiny cabins or book the 5-acre Compound or the entire ranch. There are 33 giant sequoia groves in our Southern Region of the Giant Sequoia National Monument, some easily driven to, and some remote. Our ranch is a nature preserve and an education demonstration site, teaching sustainable and regenerative land use practices. River Ridge Institute, our non-profit, hosts a variety of events for the public. Please note: you are expected to leave the ranch and kitchen area as you found it, i.e., dishes washed thoroughly and dried and put away, recycling separated from trash, food scraps in compost buckets, sticky marshmallow removed from forks and surfaces (ick!). Thank you. Enjoy: The Kitchen has a cooktop, large fridge, microwave, full dishes and utensils and pots and pans with a big washing area in the back. Propane bbq.. There's a River Barn to use as a remote space and Turtle Cove for swimming (delightful in Summer 2023). Saturday morning Farmer's Market in downtown at 9 AM - Noon. Homesteaded in 1859, owned by the Negus family from 1909-2000. Barbara and I bought it to save it from subdivision and it's now protected by a Conservation Easement and acts as a community center for the arts, music, poetry, gatherings and outdoor education. We're both biologists, so, just ask us. Please see the Rules and Safety section to review our Waiver of Liability.
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Waterside camping near Fresno guide

Fresno is the gateway to some of the most breathtaking scenery in California. Within 100 miles, you can camp under towering sequoias or next to Yosemite waterfalls. Or, stay close to home with a quick RV park getaway to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.

Paddle, swim, and fish year-round at one of the lakeside campgrounds in Fresno County. Hidden View sits on Hensley Lake, which is popular with water skiers and anglers. Hike and bike 40 miles of shoreline at Millerton Lake State Recreation Area. At Island Park, you can camp in the foothills and jet-ski on Pine Flat Lake.

For sites with shade trees and mountain hiking, drive east into the Sierra National Forest. Forest Service campgrounds like Wishon Bass Lake have picnic tables and fire pits. Dorabelle is known for its excellent trout fishing; you can also hike and ride horseback. To save a bit of money, head for the free Bear Wallow dispersed camping area near the Kings River.

If it’s scenery you’re after, you can’t beat Yosemite National Park. Book well in advance to get a site in the spectacular Yosemite Valley. To the southeast, explore a forest of giants at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Choose from 14 campgrounds, many with tent and RV sites.

Camping in the lowlands or foothills? Plan for hot summers and pleasant Winters. As you go into the Sierra Nevada, temperatures drop; bring warm layers year-round. Many high-elevation campsites close in the winter, but you can book cabins and yurts.

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