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The best camping near Gray Whale Cove State Beach

Discover the most magical spots to pitch your tent or park your rig on your next Gray Whale Cove State Beach adventure.

Spot migrating whales or take in epic buff views from this cozy California cove.  

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Community favorites near Gray Whale Cove State Beach

Top-rated campgrounds reviewed by the Hipcamp community.

Top-rated campgrounds near Gray Whale Cove State Beach

Booked 2 times

Wavecrest Coastal Wildlife Habitat

1 site · RV1 acre · Half Moon Bay, CA
Wavecrest is 87 acres of protected natural habitat. Any trail gently meanders to the ocean cliffs and to the coastal trail for miles of walking or biking. Local vet owns the ranch next door where you see some beautiful horses, chickens and rescue animals. A hundred-fifty yards from Highway One. And south is Ritz Carlton HMB Golf Course. North is a ten minute walk to Main Street.
from 
$65
 / night
98%
(233)

Blackberry Farm

5 sites · Tents7 acres · CA
Blackberry Farm sits on the western side of Mount Tamalpais, tucked in the Gospel Flat area of Bolinas. The family farm and residence were established during the late 1970s on the site of the historic Peter’s Dairy Ranch. The original farmhouse dates back to the late 19th century and survived the great 1906 earthquake. Today, the 7-acre farm is being restored to sustainably support fruit orchards, cottage flower and kitchen gardens, honey bees, a boisterous flock of chickens, and naughty shetland sheep. Our self-serve farmstand attached to our barn has seasonal flowers, organic eggs, heirloom fruit, and local goods from the farm. Our property is the perfect rustic getaway for backpackers and outdoor enthusiasts. You’ll be surrounded by farm/ranch life: chickens clucking, roosters crowing, bees buzzing, and sheep bleating. We also have active nighttime wildlife: coyotes howling, raccoons foraging, owls hooting, etc. Bring earplugs if nature sounds are too much for you. We offer 4 walk-in tent sites that allow you to immerse yourself in nature. We welcome well-behaved pets ON LEASH that won’t harass the chickens, cats, sheep, other campers, or residents. Unruly pets and their campers will be asked to leave. No refund. Limit: 1 dog per site. Pitch your tent in a meadow shared by: Campsite 1 - left side of the meadow, closest to the common area and hot tub. Campsite 2 - middle of the meadow, closest to our fenced apiary and bee garden. Campsite 3 - right side of the meadow, near the orchard. (sites 1 and 3 are next to each other) Campsite 4 - front of the pasture, closest to the parking area (best for car/van campers wanting space to lounge near their parked vehicle.) Multiple sites may be booked for group camping. Sites 1 and 3 are next to each other under the Cypress Trees. Add site 2 if you would like the entire back half of the campground. Add site 4 if you'd like to have a maximum number of 16 total campers and 2 tents/per site. The common area has an outdoor shower, hot tub, covered bbq/cook area, tented (weather-protected) hangout space, and a place to stash your surfboard. Redwood Grove hangout areas have seating and tree swings. Please pack out your trash. We offer a recycling bin for glass bottles, cans, and clean paper. Parking is 100 yds or less from the campsites. We have a large wheelbarrow to help you cart your camping gear across the pasture to your campsite. No driving onto or parking in the meadow. Due to the narrow driveway and parking area (lack of turnaround), the site cannot accommodate RVs, trailers, or oversize vehicles beyond 16ft in length, 7ft in width, or 10 ft in height. 1 car per campsite, please. 15-minute walk to the beach and downtown.
from 
$75
 / night
97%
(18)

Lobitos Creek

1 site · RV, Tent24 acres · Half Moon Bay, CA
Beautiful view from the quiet camping spot. Dog friendly. Four miles to hwy. 1 and the beaches. Close to Open Space trails. 20 Minutes to historic little town of Half Moon Bay. 30 Minutes to the harbor. Fresh fish, fresh local vegetables for sale. Moderate temperatures at 700 feet, sunny skies cooled by the marine layer below.
from 
$100
 / night
98%
(23)

Euphorbia Gardens

1 site · Lodging12 acres · Bolinas, CA
Enjoy this beautiful land and gardens in our new geo dome! This dome is nestled in the lush succulent and cacti gardens and has beautiful sunset views. On the property are two large greenhouses that were originally built by Herman Schwartz in the 70s. The greenhouses were abandon for many years and are undergoing restoration, however, they are still magnificent with some cacti being 40-50 years old! Guests are welcome to tour them and the property where there is also a beautiful pond. This property is the perfect peaceful getaway. In the dome, we have floor pads, a space heater, side tables and a lamp. We advise to bring your own bedding. Temperatures do drop so please plan accordingly. Bathrooms with sinks are near the dome. During the week, we have an outdoor preschool on the property so you might see little tables and play areas around the land.
from 
$175
 / night
97%
(297)

The Ranch at Cross Road

12 sites · RVs, Tents84 acres · Livermore, CA
Welcome to the ranch at cross road! We are a family owned organic farm in the heart of Livermore wine country. We have 10 camp sites spread across the property for you to choose from. The property is minutes from Lake Del Valle and some of the best wineries and breweries California has to offer. Settle in and enjoy amazing sunsets every night with us! We accommodate tents,Travel trailers, Fifth wheels, Toy haulers, Pop-up campers, Class A RVs, Class B RVs, Class C RVs, Campervans, and Cars. Our guests love us too! "I had a wonderful stay at Matt’s ranch! It was easy to find even as it was starting to get dark, and the campsites were well lit and easy to find. The ranch is beautiful. It was such a treat to stay here. I would definitely stay again."
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$50
 / night
97%
(19)

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
 / night
100%
(4)

Stunning Treehouse & Cabin

1 site · Lodging30 acres · Half Moon Bay, CA
A soulful and energetic paradise, beautiful, private, peaceful and wild surroundings complimented with modern luxuries and comfort. A stunning, unique and unrivalled experience sure to impact you deeply. Soak in the outdoor tub while you plan your next adventure. Just minutes from the beach, amazing hiking, views and biking. Outfitted with organic latex mattresses, down comforters, top of the line appliances, smoking fast internet and a spectacular wifi sound system with world class acoustics.
from 
$650
 / night
100%
(53)

Audrey Edna Cabin at Alpine Ranch

1 site · Lodging350 acres · Loma Mar, CA
Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) protects open space on the Peninsula and in the South Bay for the benefit of all. Situated on top of a ridge with expansive redwood forest and coastal views, the Audrey Edna Cabin provides a completely private gathering place and destination for visitors with reservations. The cabin has spectacular views of forest, sky, ocean and the Butano ridgeline. It's a short hike to 8000+ acres of county parkland where you can hike, bike and ride horses (though please note, there are no facilities for horse boarding at the cabin.) The cabin is located at Alpine Ranch, a property adjacent to Sam McDonald County Park that was protected by Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST).  Whether you are looking for an active experience or just want to relax in a peaceful, remote setting, there's something here for everyone. This is a rustic hike-in cabin designed for a introductory pack-in experience. Bedding is not provided. It is about a 1.7-mile hike on a rolling dirt road from the Sam McDonald County Park parking lot, with about 650 feet of elevation gain. Most hikers can reach the cabin in an hour or less. Guests should plan to arrive at least 2 hours before sunset, and pack water and flashlights or headlamps. Guests with limited mobility, please contact us for information regarding accommodations that will allow you to access this shared resource. *A note about reservation availability: On the weekends, POST offers priority reservations for the cabin to our partners at the San Mateo County Health Department and Park Rx to provide patients with equitable access to the benefits of nature. Occasionally, we have last-minute public weekend reservation availability due to cancellations. The cabin is reservable up to 3 months in advance, on a rolling basis. Love the idea of a hike-in cabin, but unable to visit us Sunday-Thursday? Check out the nearby Sierra Club Hiker's Hut in Sam McDonald County Park.  Property History: At one time, the ridge of the Santa Cruz Mountains was a thriving center for trade between tribes of the coast and the bay, which we still find evidence of today in cultural sites and artifacts throughout the region. Native people have cared for this land since time immemorial, including the local Muwekma and Ramaytush Ohlone who are still active in the area today. This property specifically is host to a tributary to one of just a handful of waterways that support salmonids in this region, which are a species of tremendous importance to native people. Over 1000 acres here were eventually purchased by entrepreneur Ridgeway Rowley, who built a home on the ranch in the 1880s as part of an unsuccessful wedding proposal to Fannie Page, daughter of a local mill owner (ever heard of Page Mill Road?) After being rejected by Fannie, Rowley operated the ranch for a decade in conjunction with his work as District Attorney and publisher of the Palo Alto Weekly, before eventually returning to his hometown of Cortland, NY, where he lived as a bachelor until his death. Over the course of the 20th century, the ranch was divided, some parts of which became Pescadero Creek County Park. POST purchased the 350 acre home property, now called Alpine Ranch, in 2012 through our Heart of the Redwoods campaign, an initiative to protect 20,000 acres of Redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Alpine Ranch borders Pescadero Creek County Park and Sam McDonald County Park, adding to the area’s protected open space and containing more than a mile of tributaries to Pescadero Creek, which flows year-round and is a major spawning stream for steelhead trout. The Audrey Edna Cabin at Alpine Ranch is situated at one of the property's most scenic overlooks. The cabin was built in the early 1900's, and completely reconstructed up to modern building codes by POST in 2018 so that all could enjoy this special place.
from 
$100
 / night
93%
(46)

Redwood Paradise

3 sites · Tents40 acres · Santa Cruz, CA
40 Acres of majestic redwoods bordering Wilder Ranch State Park gives you access to thousands of acres of excellent hiking and mountain biking right from your campsite. Miles of single-track and fire roads in this world-class mountain bike destination lead you through the redwoods to sunny meadows with sweeping vistas of the Pacific Ocean and the Monterey Bay. Conveniently located above the westside of Santa Cruz, our site will give you easy access to scenic Westcliff Drive, downtown Santa Cruz, quaint Felton Henry Cowell Redwoods state park and remote North Coast beaches.
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$65
 / night
100%
(2)

Tanari Dome

1 site · Lodging1 acre · Woodside, CA
This is a private glamping spot in a redwood grove. We have a cozy dome with a mini kitchen and a bathroom with water and a shower and an incinerator toilet. It is so peaceful. Located 1 mile from Alice’s restaurant in Woodside. Perfect for people cycling through or families visiting the beaches nearby.
from 
$350
 / night
100%
(12)

Tunitas Beach Overlook - Airstream

3 sites · Lodging10 acres · Half Moon Bay, CA
On 9 private acres overlooking the stunning Tunitas Beach and Pacific ocean from a breathtaking cliff top view. Stunning sunrises and sunset greet you in this fully equipped new 2023 Airstream. Fully loaded with all the amenities to make your glamping experience perfect. Fire pit, outside BBQ, outside griddle, A/C and fully stocked kitchen. Comes will full bathroom with shower. Truly a rare experience and located within 10 mins of Half Moon Bay shopping. Beach access short walk or drive.
from 
$299
 / night
86%
(2491)

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.
from 
$80
 / night

The best camping near Gray Whale Cove State Beach guide

Overview

About

Situated on the Northern California coast, between Pacifica and Montara, Gray Whale Cove State Beach gets its name from the numerous whales that swim close to the shore during the migration seasons. The beach is hemmed in by a steep cliff known as Devil's Slide and features a compact, sandy expanse with around 800 feet of shoreline. There’s also a small picnic area on the bluffs overlooking the beach. Note that getting to the beach is not for the faint of heart, and involves spiriting across busy Highway 1 from the parking lot and descending a long, steep staircase to the sands below.

When to go

Gray Whale Cove State Beach is open for day use only, officially from 8 am to sunset. The weather here is pleasant year-round, and temperatures rarely drop below the upper 40s, even in the dead of winter. If you want to see the gray whales that give the cove its name, your best bet is to come during one of the two annual migration periods: in December or January and again from March to May.

Know before you go

  • Gray Whale Cove has been clothing optional for a long time, and while nudity is not technically allowed here, it’s generally accepted.
  • There’s no restroom at the beach, but there is a porta-potty in the parking area, on the opposite side of Highway 1.
  • Dogs are not allowed at the beach, even if leashed. The closest dog-friendly beach areas are Esplanade Beach, about a 10-minute drive north of Gray Whale Cove or Half Moon Bay Dog Park, 15 minutes to the north.
  • Visitors are not allowed to collect rocks, shells, driftwood, or other natural items from the beach.
  • The beach is not wheelchair accessible, and the stairway that leads down to the beach is steep.

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