Camping near Santa Cruz

Redwoods and crashing waves are the backdrop of this seaside city by the mountains.

96% (5120 reviews)
96% (5120 reviews)

Popular camping styles for Santa Cruz

Star Hosts in Santa Cruz

Under $50

12 top campgrounds near Santa Cruz

100%
(136)

Fern Ridge Flats - Private Camping

2 sites · Tents9 acres · Aptos, CA
Nestled in a canopy of redwoods, less than 10 miles from the beach sits a private and cozy campground. Fern Ridge Flats combines the best of Santa Cruz county. Abundant trees and misty mornings await you at our property in Aptos. Equipped with electricity, water, and a picnic table for your convenience. There are trails on the land for you to explore, animals, and nature to dive into. *************** Smoking and the use of drugs are strictly prohibited. This is a safe and quiet neighborhood with many families including my own. Please do not request to book if you have the intention of partying or using illegal substances. If these rules are violated, local authorities will be called and you will be removed from the campsite. *************** The campsite is less than a 5 minute walk from the parking spot but is relatively steep. Although it is paved it is not recommended for anyone with mobility issues. *************** As an added precaution to protect the lush landscape, the firepit at the campsite utilizes clean burning propane. We chose a burner that closely replicates the size and heat of a wood to enhance our campers' experience.
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$65
 / night
91%
(141)

Hidden Spring Ranch

6 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents6 acres · Santa Cruz, CA
Magical 6 acre permaculture ranch just a few minutes to town, beaches and restaurants. Take a bath under a clear night sky, enjoy the morning birdsong and take a stroll on or off the property. We have free ranging chickens, a hidden spring surrounded by two creeks and wild plums. Happy Valley is a secret little gem of Santa Cruz. Plenty of space for relaxing, and amazing location for both convenience and adventures. (2 of the 3 sites have the tubs please read individual descriptions to find out if the one you chose has one)
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$55
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95%
(29)

Peace Mountain Retreat Center

6 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents5 acres · Scotts Valley, CA
This location is a private home, turned retreat center in the Santa Cruz Mountains. We are cradled by Mother Nature, in the middle of a Redwood forest, with fresh air and California sun, work together to create an environment that will insulate you from the chaos of today’s hectic lifestyles. Besides camping or overnight stays, we offer retreats to soothe your weary soul. The rooms for rent are part of the home, where I live. We will be sharing space. I have two dogs that live on the property - a British Labrador and a Goldendoodle. Please do not book if you don't like dogs. They are the sweetest dogs you'll meet. They serve to exuberantly welcome you, as well as guard, protect and warn me about unruly UPS drivers and the very scary turkeys that roam the mountains. This property is proudly woman-owned and operated. I love hosting women travelers and have built my tent sites, rooms, cabins, retreats and experiences to cater to women. That is to say, women want a little more comfort, a little more care, a little more thoughtfulness and little more bougie. If that's what you're looking for, this is it! Of course I welcome men too. In fact, there are quite a few men’s’ retreats hosted here. All will be comforted with the smells of the redwoods outside and the smells of fresh baked bread, inside. Come and join me for a night in the woods. Welcome to Peace Mountain, ~Daisy
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$50
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95%
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WindTree

7 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents64 acres · Los Gatos, CA
WindTree is an awesome retreat perched high on top of the Santa Cruz Mountains in California, over looking the entire Monterey Bay and Santa Clara Valley. WindTree is sacred land used by many over the past 30 years for retreat and ceremony. It has also been a working "Wwoof" -ing farm for volunteers from all over the world to come and learn about organic gardening in a fun, beautiful, nurturing community restoring our sense of interrelatedness and encouraging planetary sustainability by our choices and concerns for the wellness of the environment. You can make your experience apart of this community or enjoy a quiet private camp site away from any activities. We are off the grid with solar power and our own well. We have small organic gardens with chickens and goats. You will love it up here under the stars. Note: RV's over 21 feet will have difficulties on our driveway.
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$60
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93%
(270)

Felton Open Space Camp Sites

10 sites · RVs, Tents14 acres · Felton, CA
Next to Historic Winery in the heart of Santa Cruz Mountains in the quaint town of Felton. Located between two state parks, Henry Cowell and Fall Creek. Just 6 miles, up in the mountains, from the Pacific Ocean and the Monterey Bay. Half a mile from the famous Roaring Camp Railway. Wine & Cider tasting next door at Hallcrest Vineyards; Dine in Felton, hiking, biking and local shops to explore. Please note when booking that each of the sites are limited to two adults only. Children are welcome.
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$45
 / night
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(87)

Redwood Basin

1 site · Lodging10 acres · Soquel, CA
Family-owned since the 1960's my parents chose this ridgetop location on 10 acres for its beauty, serenity, bio-diversity, and amazing peaceful healing energy. The main house is called Rainbow Ridge where a double rainbow appears across the skyline on occasion. We have decided to share this land with conscious folks who want to retreat to the woods from the hustle and bustle but be close to all the action and have all the creature comforts of home with a camping vibe. We have one private site with a glamorous A Frame cabin and a modern tiny home and a tiny retro trailer. The site comes as one single package and is exclusive to you and your group! Nestled on its own private 3-acre redwood and oak forest, leading down to a creek. The site is located just 4 miles (10 min drive ) from Soquel Village and just 5 miles from the beach at Capitola. The site offers: - A 20ft modern container home with one queen sofa bed, large screen with Apple TV, kitchen, patio, fridge, microwave, cooktop, shower, and toilet. - A custom, outdoor kitchen, and bar for entertaining with gas BBQ, fridge freezer, sink with hot and cold filtered water, Sonos sound system. - Large gas fire pit and seating area. - One A Frame eco cabin with option for one king size day bed OR two singles, A twin mattress can also fit in the cabin when in the two singles configuration. The cabin has electricity, fan and heating for colder nights. - One very cute retro airstream style 1950's trailer with a twin bed for a couple or one person. - Space for 1-2 additional tents. For groups of 8 or more and special events please contact us so we can discuss the possibilities. - Onsite you should find all the basic amenities from home including all bedding, towels, kitchenware, cooking utensils, dining ware, herbs and spices, cleaning products, gas for the BBQ and fire pit is included etc. There are a few things you should bring: Food, drinks, ice and fun! The site looks down into a private and secluded redwood and oak forest with trails for small hikes into the redwood fairy circles or all the way down to the creek. The glamping site is on a sunny flat area surrounded by steep terrain up to a ridgeline and down to the creek. The creek is accessible although the final route requires a rope down so may not be suitable for everyone. Within 15-20 min drive you will find almost all major attractions in the Santa Cruz area including The Mistery Spot, Nisene Marks State Forest, Capitola Pier, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, and many famous surf breaks from Capitola to The Point, The Hook, Steamer Lane and many more., as well as many amazing mountain bike trails. There are also several Santa Cruz Mountain wineries to explore in a 3- 5 mile radius. Further afield you will find Monterey Bay Aquarium and the coastal beaches north up to San Francisco Bay ( 1 hour 30 mins north) and down to Big Sur about 1 hour 20 mins south. We ask all our visitors to be respectful of the environment, our wildlife, and our neighbors. Please drive slowly and respect the quiet times: between 9.30 pm and 8.30 am. We check all our guests in and provide a quick tour. We can offer a number of additional amenities and services including shopping, stocking up on your favorite supplies, catering, romantic packages and special picnics on the Rainbow Ridge, and much more, so please just ask about all the possibilities.
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$425
 / night
86%
(2498)

The Enchanted Forest Retreat

54 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents45 acres · Los Gatos, CA
Welcome to the Enchanted Forest Retreat! We are a meditation retreat center with 45 acres of some of the most gorgeous redwoods in the Santa Cruz mountains to enjoy hiking, creeks and small water fall exploration, mountain biking, wildlife viewing, star gazing, relaxation, meditation and more. Our campground has running water from a natural spring, Men and Women's Restrooms each with 2 toilets and 1 hot water shower, laundry shed with sink and hot water, and an outdoor amphitheater, (the kitchen and washer/dryer is Staff Only not for campers). We have meditation teaching at the amphitheater and campers are welcomed to attend for free. 4-6 guests maximum with 1 car included in the nightly rate. Each additional vehicle is $15 per day and will be added at checkout once you add the correct number of vehicles you will be bringing. You can bring a maximum of 2 cars. PLEASE NOTE, we do not have a trash service on site, we require all campers to PACK OUT THEIR GARBAGE with them! Pets are $10 per day, 1 pet per group ONLY. Please add this as an extra at the time of booking, you will see the option to add extras once you begin the checkout process. Dogs must be on leash at all times! Quiet hours are 10pm-8am. No drugs of any kind including marijuana allowed. No loud music allowed. This is a private property so no visitors are allowed, only paid guests. Our onsite staff will go around and enforce the rules. NOTICE REGARDING RVs and TRAILERS: While we can not offer hookups, theoretically we have no problem with RVs, the road is steep in a couple of places getting down to the campground and VERY narrow in one spot (10ft). If you feel you're willing to take this risk (we won't be held liable), you're welcome to reach out to us and we can see if the site is good for RV/trailers. Only sites 8, 12 and 5 are good for trailers. No vehicle can drive into Site 7, 9, 10 and 11 (the parking area is separate). Other sites may be ok with small trailers. Check with the host. Any trailer larger than 20ft, take your own risk, there is a narrow point only 9ft wide.
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$80
 / night
100%
(16)

Up Shit Creek

4 sites · Lodging, Tents12 acres · Boulder Creek, CA
12 Acres in the Redwoods. Creekside, many many swimming holes lots of open spaces private driveway secluded location. lots of chickens usually an endless supply of eggs for breakfast. Small campfires available. Hot showers, wood-burning stove, kitchen amenities and running water. This is our home, it is private, eclectic and filled with natural beauty. That being said, it is by no means pristine. We have the occasional junk pile like most off grid homesteaders do. We do not throw out some things that others would. We try to find a use for old and weathered equipment and materials. Our cabin is built completely with recycled and reclaimed materials. Like I said, we do not like to waste anything, so you may notice a few parts and pieces laying around.
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$60
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92%
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SMR Carmel Camping

34 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents89 acres · Del Rey Oaks, CA
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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$70
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(47)

Strawberry Fields Forever

3 sites · RVs5 acres · Watsonville, CA
Walk to the Beach! Campsites for RVs and trailers with water and electric hook ups. No size constraints on RVs or trailers, except for the Valley View site which accommodates a maximum rig length of 26 ft. Sorry, no on the ground tent camping. We are located in La Selva Beach, a five minute walk to Manresa State Beach. The entire property backs up to 300 acres of strawberry fields. We have vegetable and flower gardens, lots of great walks and hiking from the house and nearby. Surfing is excellent at Manresa beach. The camp sites include a fire pit and wood. Surf boards, Boogey boards and wetsuits are available for rent from the surf shop on site. There is a porta-potty on site. We are 15 minutes from the village of Capitola, 30 minutes from downtown Santa Cruz and 45 minutes to Monterey. There is a Dump station 5 minutes down the road at the KOA.
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$85
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95%
(21)

Skyview

9 sites · Lodging, Tents23 acres · Boulder Creek, CA
With 23 gorgeous acres, Skyview is the perfect place to enjoy nature and the elements. You can hike our ridge trail for spectacular views of the Monterey Bay and Santa Cruz mountains. You can relax in one of our Skypods and take a nap or read a book beneath a 200 year old oak tree. Go swimming in our huge pond and do yoga/meditate/journal on the adjoining beach. There's a grandmother (old-growth) redwood tree to visit plus a wonderful diversity of wildflowers and native plants to study and appreciate. Birds soar in the skies above (hawks, ravens, vultures) while the calls of morning doves and owls gently fill the air at dawn and dusk. And our sunsets...wow!!
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$65
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(41)

Fern Ridge Camper

1 site · Lodging9 acres · Aptos, CA
Come and camp like its 1949 in our retro Boles Aero trailer at Fern Ridge Camper. Much like Airstream, Boles Aero was building top of the line campers out of aircraft grade aluminum; providing chill vibes and highly functional spaces. Come enjoy our blast from the past in our completely original Boles Aero trailer. Apart from the camper itself, which sleeps two comfortably, our site comes equipped with outdoor dining, string lights, and a fire pit to enjoy the stars. Situated at the front of our property, the camper provides a private feel, while still being conveniently located. 10 minutes from town, 15 minutes from the closest beach, and 30 minutes from the beach boardwalk our site is close enough to all Santa Cruz has to offer, while secluded enough to enjoy the natural spaces unique to the Santa Cruz mountains.
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$80
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Camping near Santa Cruz guide

Overview

On the northern edge of Monterey Bay, Santa Cruz is a city of ancient redwoods, surfing beaches, and coastal mountains. Here, Hipcampers can sleep under forest canopies or wake up to views of the Pacific Ocean. Santa Cruz rates among California's top surfing spots, with a shoreline that varies from sandy beaches to dramatic cliffs and tidal pools. Not far from downtown, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk has amusement park rides and games for in-town thrills. Or you can stroll down the wharf to shop and dine on the water. You’ll find numerous recreational and wildlife viewing opportunities around the bay

Where to go

Big Basin Redwoods

Big Basin Redwoods State Park is home to a 2,000-year-old Redwood named Mother of the Forest, which stands 300 feet tall. The protected groves of coast redwoods in Big Basin and neighboring Little Basin are among the state’s most magnificent—and resilient. Once recovered from wildfires and reopened to the public, these camps will again offer tent spots and cabins for rent.

Felton

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park covers 40 acres of old-growth redwood trees in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Henry Cowell boasts a popular swimming hole known as the Garden of Eden, as well as trails for hiking and horseback riding. Next door in Felton is Roaring Camp Railroads, where you can ride a steam locomotive through the forest.

Capitola

New Brighton State Beach sits on a bluff surrounded by eucalyptus trees. In addition to tent sites, the campground has RV sites with hookups, but trailers looking for an RV park should check Seacliff State BeachSunset State Beach Campground, which lies further south along Monterey Bay, overlooks a quiet, uncrowded beach near Pajaro DunesSanta Cruz / Monterey Bay KOA isn't far if you're looking for family camping with lots of amenities.

Monterey

Follow Highway 1 around the bay all the way to Monterey, home to a state-of-the-art aquarium. En route, it’s worth a stop at Elkhorn Slough—part of the Moss Landing State Wildlife Area—where campers can rent a kayak and paddle among the sea otters.

When to go

Summertime in Santa Cruz attracts crowds, and the beaches and campsites tend to fill up. Book ahead and plan your trip well ahead of time, or explore during the off-season. Autumn and spring are typically temperate, while cooler months may require preparations for rain. From December to February, thousands of monarch butterflies overwinter in Monarch Grove, a natural preserve at Natural Bridges State Beach where you can visit tidepools year-round.

Know before you go

  • Some parks and forest trails may remain closed due to dangerous conditions or fire damage. 
  • Dogs are allowed in some campsites, picnic areas, and select trails in California state parks.
  • Participate in the Crumb Clean Campaign to protect the marbled murrelet, an endangered seabird that nests in the forest canopy.
  • Surfboards and equipment, including wetsuits, can be rented at Cowell Beach on the Santa Cruz Wharf.
  • Felton features a historic downtown where campers can purchase provisions at a natural foods store, find delicious eats, and enjoy wine tasting and craft beers.

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