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Discover the best camping near Kernville, California

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Outdoor stays for every style

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In the shadow of Sequoia National Park, this small town on Isabella Lake feels like another world—although it's just 3 hours from Los Angeles. Cattle ranches dot the roads into town, where the mountain air is cool and fresh. The area has an abundance of campgrounds, both public and private, along with excellent whitewater rafting. Isabella Lake has a nice balance of wildlife and water fun. Boating is big, with several public launches and two marinas you can rent craft. The annual trout fishing derby is one of California's largest. You'd think the jet skis would scare off wildlife, but the South Fork Wildlife preserve is home to osprey, egrets, and wintering bald eagles. Campgrounds ring the lake, several of them maintained by the Sequoia National Forest. Boulder Gulch is close to the water and has RV sites, making it a popular choice. Trailers can find private RV parks with lakefront sites, full hook-ups, and Wi-Fi. Follow the Kern River upstream to find white water. The rapids here can get intense, with Class V's on the Upper River. Several tour companies will lead the way for you, with routes for beginners and experienced alike. There are even more campgrounds waiting upstream. The private camps are clustered near Kernville, along with cabins and lodges. Further up the river, kayakers can pitch a tent at primitive campgrounds. Headquarters Campground has potable water and vault toilets if you're not up for bare-bones camping.

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