Camping near Mendocino

See rocky cliffs and fern-filled valleys in this charming seaside village.

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97% (6641 reviews)

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Camping near Mendocino guide


Set on a rugged bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Mendocino offers an easy seaside getaway on the Northern California coast. The charming town offers fine dining, quaint shops, a vibrant art scene, and plenty of stunning vistas. Don’t miss hiking around the Mendocino Headlands State Park, or a visit to the many beaches and redwoods nearby. Campers are spoiled for choice here, with a wealth of scenic state parks along the coast and inland forests, and camping options that span tent and RV sites near a river, lake, or the ocean, or a cabin in the woods.

Where to go

Near Mendocino

The campground at Russian Gulch State Park offers easy access to a waterfall, redwoods, and beach, and also has space for equestrians. At Van Damme State Park, explore the Pygmy Forest or Kayak the Little River, then choose a campsite near a beach or meadow, or better yet, hike to a primitive site along Fern Canyon. For a lux experience, campers can choose from platform tents and retro Airstreams at a private campground just outside of town. 

North Mendocino Coast

Just north of Fort Bragg, MacKerricher State Park offers beaches, a lake, amenities, and campsites set in a beautiful coastal forest. Explore miles of rugged coastline at Westport-Union Landing State Beach and camp on the bluffs overlooking the ocean. At the Standish-Hickey State Recreation Area, choose from three campgrounds in the forest or along the Eel River. To escape the crowds, head to a remote stretch of the rugged Lost Coast, and tent camp directly on the beach at USAL Beach in the Sinkyone Wilderness.

South Mendocino Coast

Head south along the coast to Navarro River Redwoods State Park, where you can explore a redwood tunnel to the sea. Camp overnight at the mouth of the Navarro River near the ocean, or further inland in a redwood grove. At Manchester State Park, campers can stay near the ocean, wetlands, and coastal dunes. Further south, stay in a forested campground near the river and ocean at Gualala Point Regional Park. Salt Point State Park offers excellent abalone diving, a rhododendron reserve, and two campgrounds.


Head inland to Mendocino Woodlands State Park, where groups can stay in well equipped camping cabins. For more primitive or equestrian options, head to Jackson Demonstration State Forest and its two separate campgrounds. Further south, enjoy a cool dip in the Navarro River, then set up camp in the forest at Hendy Woods State Park. At Lake Mendocino, campers can choose from regular, hike-in, boat-in campsites, along with great fishing and water recreation.

When to go

Summer is the busiest time in Mendocino and campgrounds fill up early, especially over the weekends. Fall is a good time for pleasant weather, fall foliage, and smaller crowds. Several festivals are also held during this time, including the abalone festival and the mushroom, wine, and beer festivals. Look for whales between November and April and wildflowers in the spring.

Know before you go

  • Bring layers, even over the summer, when coastal fog is common in the mornings.
  • Some areas along the coast are not safe for swimming, and do not have lifeguards on duty. The water here is very cold. Also exercise caution near bluffs.
  • Anglers 16 and over must have a valid fishing license.
  • Dogs are not allowed on certain beaches, including at MacKerricher State Park and Manchester State Park. Some parks also prohibit dogs on certain trails.

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