Camping near Santa Cruz with campfires

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

96% (2420 reviews)
96% (2420 reviews)

Popular camping styles for Santa Cruz

Available this weekend

Under $50

12 top campgrounds near Santa Cruz with campfires

92%
(389)

SMR Carmel Camping

34 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents89 acres · Carmel, 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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$98
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96%
(91)

Peace, Love and Sunset Ranch

11 sites · Lodging5 acres · Watsonville, CA
Your cooking supplies, stoves, barbeque and dinnerwares are inclusive! Located in a serene oakwood grove area, our private campground offers a peaceful getaway with an abundance of bird varieties and occasional wild turkeys passing through. Take a stroll around our 5-acre property and catch a breathtaking sunset from the hillside. We're only 11 minutes away from Mount Madonna State Park and just 10 minutes from a local healthy grocery store and yoga studio. The beautiful Pajaro Dunes coastal area is just a 15-minute drive away, and the Santa Cruz Fairground is only two minutes away. Our location is surrounded by family friendly farms such as Gizdich ranch and nurseries, hence why it's considered the salad bowl of the United States. The Santa Cruz beaches are only 15-25 minutes away, while Monterey Bay Aquarium is just 30 minutes away and Gilroy Gardens is about 25 minutes away. The wine trail is also nearby. There are plenty of activities to enjoy nearby, including horseback riding at Mount Madonna Stable, Mount Madonna Retreat Center, hiking at Mount Madonna State Park, wine tastings at various wineries with stunning views, kayaking at Elkhorn Slough or any beaches, yoga at Watsonville Yoga or onsite, swimming, scuba diving in Monterey, visiting the Hanoman temple at Mount Madonna retreat center, and attending any events at the Santa Cruz Fairground. Julie, our campground manager offers horse lessons for anyone starting at age 8 + but not heavier than 180 lbs. The property has 3 stalls for hot showers, 1 hand washing sink, 3 flushable toilette, 1 communal outdoor kitchen with supplies of cookwares, dishes, mugs, glasses, utensils, pots and pans, coffee mugs, and 1 sink with hot water, 3 fire pits (2 of them is fire burning and 1 of them is propane), camping stoves, 1 gas barbeque and there is an electricity in the communal kitchen area. Propane for fireplace is included and Firewoods are available for sale. No need to bring your cooking utensils. Salt and pepper are provided. No need to bring your own cooking supplies and dinnerware unless you prefer to do so. Board games as well as drawing paper and easel are provided as well. Your parking spot is within a very short walking distance and there is a wagon for you to use to haul your belongings to your camp site.
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$95
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94%
(50)

Bella Foret (beautiful forest)

8 sites · Tents2 acres · Portola Valley, CA
Bella Foret, “beautiful forest” A Gem Nestled along La Honda creek between San Francisco and Half Moon Bay . Dog and other friendly, attached hiking trails to waterfalls, creek from property. Owner lives on site. some sites allow fires in permitted fire pits. (local wood only!) All inclusive campsites including toilet, outdoor shower and kitchen. Electricity and potable water provided. Sites limited to 2-3 person tent and quiet hours are strictly adhered.
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$85
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Booked 22 times

Shiima koh

3 sites · Tents3 acres · Aptos Hills Larkin Valley, CA
Shííma koh is a beautiful space nestled in the aptos hills. We are 15 minutes from the beach and 10 minutes from town, all whilst being surrounded by redwoods. It’s a quiet place with a beautiful view of the valley and natural spring water. We are a family with a few dogs and livestock who live here. And welcome you to our shííma koh château (cabin). Includes your own parking space, kitchenette, bathroom and WiFi.
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$50
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83%
(20)

HMB Highway Overnight Rest Stop

2 sites · RVs1 acre · Half Moon Bay, CA
WELCOME PLEASE READ! Overnight parking and Rest Stop on South Highway One. Private road and picnic area. Walk to beach bluffs 10 minutes. Potable water. Bathrooms. Fire pit and wood and picnic table (shared area) Tents okay. An abundance of seasonal wildflowers and wild berries Year round. Observe rare. Species of birds Close walk to town for shopping and festivals. ********************************************* Next to FARM horses and chickens. Ocean may be loud. Highway may be heard. No pets please. Noise curfew is sundown. No parties in this location. Check in after 2pm Check out is noon.
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$53
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97%
(74)

Up Shit Creek

7 sites · Lodging, Tents12 acres · Boulder Creek, CA
12 Acres in the Redwoods. Creekside. We have a private driveway with lots of secluded Space. lots of chickens usually an endless supply of eggs for breakfast. Small campfires available. Cabin renters have access to Hot showers, wood-burning stove, kitchen amenities and running water. Porta potty only The cabins are located Away from our living area. Main cabin is overlooking the creek and the tent sites, creekside cabin is down near the swimming hole and tent sites. Tent sites are located next to the creek or up near the community fire pit. 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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$65
 / night
97%
(465)

Redwood Retreat: Camping & Cooking

5 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents16 acres · Watsonville, CA
Located on 16 acres, Redwood Retreat is nestled among majestic redwood trees. It is a cool relief from hot temperatures elsewhere! We have a cottage, a tent cabin with a queen air mattress, and two camping sites for up to 4. Sites 1 & 2 combine nicely for a group of up to 8 and site 3 can accommodate a group of 6 (w/ host approval). Enjoy the owls, ravens, doves, hummingbirds, and salamanders and NO WIFI. Our common area includes bbq's, propane burners, picnic tables, dish-washing area and all cooking must be done here during fire season which is NOW. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO USE ANYTHING THAT HAS AN OPEN FLAME IT WILL NEED TO BE DONE HERE where there is less danger and plenty of fire extinguishers. WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO HALT ALL ACTIVITIES THAT INVOLVE FLAMES AT ABSOLUTELY ANY TIME. The terrain on our property is NOT hikeable but we provide you with links to many trails as well as recommendations for lots to see and do in the area. We are equi-distant between Monterey and Santa Cruz (also approximately 30 minutes but depends on traffic) for all of your more "touristy" desires. Under 2 hours to San Francisco. PLUS, Chef Mima has a host of things to offer in terms of culinary temptations like a whole line of SENSATIONAL SKILLETS or the more upscale 3 COURSE DINNER. Menus are sent when you book. Why not line up a 3 hour COOKING WORKSHOP that includes DINING ON THE DECK with your new culinary creation? Mima spent 6 years at renowned Chez Panisse restaurant before starting a career as a caterer in the food industry. SEE EXTRAS! Imagine a peaceful, serene neck of the woods with NO WIFI. Feel the restorative power of nature building resilience and buffering tomorrow’s stress. Welcome to Redwood Retreat. in the mountains above the sweet town of Corralitos, approximately a half hour to either Santa Cruz or Monterey and 20 minutes to nearest beach. If you are the type of camper that likes to play music or be loud, this is not the camp for you. This is a refuge from that. When multiple sites are reserved, this spot is perfect for family vacations, company retreats, small celebrations etc. It is strongly recommended that you book all three sites if you wish to entertain. No amplified noise. A noise curfew is in effect from 10:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m. for anything but talking. Sound carries and we must respect neighbors and other campers.THX!
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$85
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99%
(105)

Whiskey Hill Barn and Camp

4 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents10 acres · Watsonville, CA
Stay within minutes of Manresa, Sand Dollar, and Sunset State beaches. There are excellent biking and hiking opportunities on the Watsonville and Elkhorn sloughs, or commune with the redwoods in the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park. The air is amazing here, between the salt sea and redwood forest. We welcome you to relax and refresh on the Monterey Bay coast.
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$75
 / night
100%
(620)

Windsor Family Farm

2 sites · Lodging1 acre · San Martin, CA
We are a small farm in Silicon Valley. We are basically a petting zoo and kid-friendly destination! You can stay in our "Flying Pig" cabin (sleeps up to 5), or our "Room with a view of a Ewe" (sleeps 3)....or bring friends 'n' family - and reserve both :-) We provide a continental breakfast for free or you can add on a hot breakfast. Wake up to sheep and goats outside your door with a view of the pasture. Please PLEASE read further for more information! and read again just before you come :-) ** To assure you of our cleanliness standards, I clean and air out the cabin, clean the restroom thoroughly, wash bedding and towels and sanitize surfaces. The guest restroom (outside entry in the main house) is shared with other guests. I clean it every day, between every group or guest. One mile away is Harvey Bear County Park, with trails for bikes, horses or walking. We are 5 minutes from the Gilroy Outlets, yet a world away from the hustle and bustle! Come, relax and enjoy nature! Enjoy Gilroy Gardens (seasonally) or go hiking at a nearby State or County Park. Or just relax at the Farm. We will make this a special day for you! Let us know if you are celebrating an event :-). Currently we only have one listing so you get VIP treatment! **Starting Jan 2024, we will have the "Room with a view of a Ewe" as a separate listing. CHECK-IN is after 4:00pm and please give us a 30 min heads-up before your arrival. CHECK OUT is 10am, unless previous arrangements have been made. Please be as specific as you can regarding your arrival time (so I can make the temp in there as comfortable as possible, turn on lights as needed, etc.) ** We are a "Bed and Breakfast"; most days we have other day-guests and events here, so please respect the arrival and check-out times. If you stay 2 nights, please be aware that you most likely won't have the whole farm to yourselves during the day. This is an animal farm. If you love new animal experiences, this is the place for you! If you are scared of or allergic to cats or dogs, this might not be the place for you! If you can't handle new smells and sounds, this might not be the place for you. You will feed and enjoy the animals; please respect their space, no chasing and no going into their enclosures. There is dirt, dust and various country critters. If you are adventurous and love animals and want a unique experience, come check us out! Restroom available in the main house (short walk from the cabin). Small fridge and microwave next to the restroom. There is no kitchen/oven/stove available. Gas Fire pit available ; there is no BBQ. We are exceptionally cautious with camp fires. If it is particularly hot and windy, there will be no fires. We now have a gas fire pit where you can create smores or just enjoy the campfire ambiance. Price is $175 for the Flying Pig (up to 5 total). And $99 for the Room with a view of a Ewe :-) (up to 3 total). Another option (as an add-on): you can pitch a tent for $50. "The Flying Pig" has a queen bed, bunk beds twin size, and a loft with a twin mattress, all bedding included. You are not just paying for a place to sleep; you are paying for an experience and the enjoyment of our property :-). We serve a continental breakfast (free) or hot breakfast ($25/cabin) between 8-9am. (we can accommodate vegetarian and dairy free diets; let us know before you come). We provide bedding and towels. There is A/C and a plug-in heater in The Flying Pig. Please do not bring additional things to plug in except for chargers for phone/electronic devices. We are approximately 1 1/2 hours south of San Francisco, 30 min south of San Jose (without traffic). Gilroy Gardens is 15 min away; Harvey Bear County park is 1 mile away; Monterey and Santa Cruz and the Pinnacles National Park are approximately 1 hour away. We recommend bringing dinner or eating before arrival to maximize your evening. In the area: Amazing experience available at the Royal T Ranch nearby, but must book well in advance. They have a camel, ostriches, emus, a cow, mini horses, etc. Also Gilroy Gardens is just 15 minutes away. Contact us for more info. If you want to celebrate a birthday and bring friends for the evening, there is an additional fee for parties. (Please contact us about this). If you want to bring a few friends just to enjoy the evening, we now have that as an add-on. SPECIAL PACKAGES :-). Must be PRE-ordered and paid thru Hipcamp or upon arrival ~ *smore's kit (Everything -- including use of our gas fire pit -- that you will need to create amazing roasted marshmallows and smores sandwiches!) $20 *Child Birthday package: small gift and special treat $10 *use of fire pit (propane expense) $10
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$99
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100%
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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
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98%
(167)

Terra Cultura

5 sites · Lodging, Tents5 acres · Aromas, CA
Our farm is nestled in the scenic hills of Aromas, CA, just 15 minutes away from the ocean. Whether you’re passing through on a road trip along California’s majestic coast, or looking to spend some time getting to know the lush landscape of the Central Coast, we welcome you with open arms! We are a nonprofit educational eco-arts farm and your booking supports environmental stewardship and arts education for underserved communities. Thank you for your support! We place the highest value on respect--for the land, and for the people, plants, and animals that call this area home. While you are here, please consider yourself a partner in stewarding this place.
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$89
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98%
(78)

Strawberry Fields Forever

3 sites · RVs5 acres · Watsonville, CA
Welcome to southern Santa Cruz County, home of some of the longest and most beautiful beaches in central California. We are located in La Selva Beach, a five-minute walk to Manresa State Beach. We are a small, working farm with vegetable and flower gardens, chickens and bees. There are many excellent places to hike, walk, surf, swim, tide pool or just sit and enjoy the view. We offer two quiet campsites with fantastic views of the three hundred acres of strawberry fields that back up to or property. Our campsites provide water and electric hookups and are most appropriate for self-contained recreational vehicles and trailers. One of the sites has no size constraints on RVs or trailers. Our Valley View site is limited to rigs 26 feet long or less. We do have a well serviced porta potty on the property, but no showers or sinks. We love to host guests and will provide information about things to do and see in our area. We often loan our State Parks pass so that you can venture out to Point Lobos, Wilder Ranch, Sunset Beach, Natural Bridges and more. Our property is peaceful and restorative. Our two sites are about 30 yards apart. Each camp site includes a fire pit and a bundle of wood. Surf boards, Boogey boards and wetsuits are available for rent from the surf shop 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 (for a fee).
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$95
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Dog-friendly getaways

Star Hosts in Santa Cruz

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Camping near Santa Cruz with campfires 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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