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The best camping near McConnell State Recreation Area

Discover the most magical spots to pitch your tent or park your rig on your next McConnell adventure.

100% (2 reviews)
100% (2 reviews)

On the banks of Merced River lies an oasis for fishing and beating the heat.

Popular ways to camp

Community favorites near McConnell State Recreation Area

Top-rated campgrounds reviewed by the Hipcamp community.

Top-rated campgrounds near McConnell State Recreation Area


Yosemite Westlake Camp

33 sites 路 RVs, Tents6 acres 路 Coulterville, CA
Located on the John Muir Historic route to Yosemite National Park, Yosemite Westlake Campground and RV Park is convenient to all things Yosemite. Between here and the park is Rainbow Pool, a well-known swimming hole that campers here often visit on their way back to the campground for a refreshing dip in the cool waters. Coulterville was started as a gold-rush town. You can visit the museum and visitor center even try your hand at panning for gold.
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Cole Ranch

10 sites 路 RVs, Tents5 acres 路 Waterford, CA
"I firmly believe that Nature brings solace in all troubles." -Anne Frank- Serene, quiet acreage on the Tuolumne River, with views of the snow capped Sierra Nevadas on a clear day. Scores of wildlife sightings, including river otters, eagles, wild turkeys, beavers, and many more. Perfect for swimming, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, or just relaxing. Like to fish? Fishing at Cole Ranch is a Love/Hate thing. If you Love to Fish, you will Hate to leave. Gateway to Yosemite National Park, the Mother Lode region, hiking trails, and spelunking opportunities. All sites have access to our community outdoor kitchen, which has a refrigerator, coffee bar, sink, BBQ's, and stoves. Also available is our bathrooms, quite possibly the cleanest campground bathrooms in the 13 western states, which include flushable toilets, two sinks, and warm showers. Book your visit now. (Group bookings must be approved by host. Group bookings that have not been pre-approved will be cancelled.) (Cole Ranch is a working ranch. Occasional noise from common ranching activities may be heard.) Check back here periodically for advisories on river conditions. **ADVISORY** September and October is almond and walnut harvesting season in surrounding orchards, which can be noisy and dusty. Cole Ranch has no control over which days harvesting may occur.
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Wondernut Farm

4 sites 路 Lodging37 acres 路 Big Oak Flat, CA
Wondernut Farm is an upstart, entirely off grid, working farm-stead being built from the ground up. We breed milking goats and sheep, heritage pigs, and are in the process of converting to a grade A dairy and creamery! We use organic practices, management intensive rotational grazing, and dryland pasture management. We sell our animals locally so that others can have their own milking and meat animals. Our 110 year old hay barn and the roof of the former lumber mill were all we had to work with in getting off the ground. Being first and foremost a functional farm, we can't help but offer a somewhat warts-and-all look into everything it takes to be working to our goals. Our hearts are, and always will be, educational and local community focused, and we work closely with farmers and friends alike in better understanding our innovative animal husbandry, power, pasture and water systems. Whenever we have time, we'll afford the same time and opportunities to interested hip-campers. Our location is stunning and historic, and the beauty of the wild, natural landscape is powerful, yet offers easy access to both Yosemite Valley and the San Francisco Bay area. The area features excellent road and mountain biking in the immediate vicinity, vast access to hiking and backpacking trails, a huge variety of rock climbing in the area, the best whitewater rafting in California on the Tuolumne River, with some tasty places to eat or drink coffee in the nearby town of Groveland, just 10 minutes away. Accommodations at the farm are certainly rustic, and private but not secluded, with occasionally heavily project-exploded shared kitchen and living space, showers, and a composting toilet. Do be advised that animals are pooping, hammers are hammering, sometimes we need to look into a health or animal injury related issue. Sometimes there is blood in an animal birth or slaughter, and our working guardian dogs have been known to be noisy some nights. Water and electricity are both very limited (though we reuse all our water), waste must be carefully sorted into a number of different categories, and there is always evidence of ump-teen projects unfolding at once. The most difficult condition during much of the summer are nuisance flies, which are always gone at night. We have almost no mosquitoes or ticks. Depending on the exact situation and time of year, guests may have the opportunities to snuggle with baby animals and run our herd to or from pasture, and maybe even get their hands dirty picking veggies in the garden.
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Booked 1 time

The Painted Lake

6 sites 路 Lodging, RVs20 acres 路 Copperopolis, CA
Explore BLM and Reclamation land along the shores of New Melones reservoir near Angels Camp. Horses, goats, sheep , and chickens await you on every fence line you come to. Kayak on the waters below us as you camp on our vineyard fenced 20 acre private scenery. Our land is surrounded by 100鈥檚 of acres of lake front - public Federal lands surrounded by our private acreage .
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Diamond Gulch

23 sites 路 Lodging, RVs, Tents824 acres 路 Groveland, CA
CLOSE TO YOSEMITE! Explore the mines and hang out on our Groveland, California ranch! We are 35 minutes to the main gate of Yosemite National Park. A great place to stay just outside of the park. We have 824 acres on a beautiful cattle ranch with two small ponds. On our property, you'll find frogs, turtles, oak trees, pine trees and stunning views of Yosemite. We have several campsites to choose from including RV camping, tent camping, and a glamping tent. Pets are welcome. Campfires are permitted as long as there is no fire ban. Potable water and toilet are available onsite. There's a golf course less than a mile away. We are also very close to town. In just a few minutes, you can drive to our local grocery store and pizza parlour. We are a 10-minute drive to Pine Mountain Lake. Beautiful Pine Mountain Lake offers golfing, dining, horseback riding, water sports and an airport. When you come to the ranch it feels like you are hundreds of miles away from civilization, but still close to everything you need. It is incredibly peaceful! This is a great place for someone who wants to escape city life and enjoy the tranquillity of nature. Much of the ranch is open wilderness for you to explore, and it's not uncommon to see deer, frogs, turtles, quail, turkeys, or other countless species of birds. Diamond Gulch Camp is the perfect place to relax if you鈥檙e a photographer, artist, family or a group of friends looking for a place to camp near Yosemite. A small portion of the property was used as a gold mine years ago, and you may find remnants of old home sites if you go exploring. We're not far from Wards Ferry Road, Groveland, Lake Don Pedro and other interesting places.
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River Ranch Campgrounds

27 sites 路 RVs, Tents50 acres 路 Twain Harte, CA
At River Ranch Campgrounds, Tuolumne, CA we offer a wide range of activities to make your stay enjoyable. Take a hike on one of the many trails winding through the Stanislaus National Forest at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains, or cast a line in the North Fork of the Tuolumne River or Basin Creek for some great native fishing. After a long day of exploration, come back to the campgrounds and relax by the firepit or enjoy a picnic in one of our many picnic areas. Activities in the campground include horseshoes and volleyball. We pride ourselves on blending nature and family camping in a safe, serene environment. We offer water hookups and centrally located restrooms with heated showers to make your stay comfortable and convenient.
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Yosemite's Colfax Spring

8 sites 路 RVs, Tents15 acres 路 Groveland, CA
Welcome to Yosemite's Colfax Spring! Home to a basecamp for river rafting trips during the summertime, we are located 15 minutes driving distance to the entrance to Yosemite National Park. If you are staying with us between May - September and want to come rafting, ask us about our river trips! Our camp sits on a ridge with views down into the Tuolumne River Canyon. The Tuolumne River begins at 13,000 feet of elevation in the High Country of Tuolumne Meadows and provides drinking water for over 2.7 million people in San Francisco. With cedar and pine trees, manzanita bushes, and wildflowers in the spring, enjoy the Sierras' flora and fauna. Our family has been operating our river rafting company for over 50 years, the last 11 of those years being here at Colfax Spring. Conveniently located off Highway 120, we are in close proximity to swimming holes, hikes, and more. Enjoy the privacy of our campsite and getting world-class views to yourself, with all of the amenities (flushing toilets, wi-fi, showers.) Make sure to check the Yosemite National Park website for information about reservations to visit the park!
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Leards L-3 Ranch

1 site 路 RV, Tent256 acres 路 Oakdale, CA
The L3 Ranch was founded in 1974 when my grandfather bought the property for his show cows.聽 In 1978, someone gave him a racehorse to pay off a debt. From then on, the property was known for its Quarter horse race horses, with some of the best in the state being born right here. In 2013 he found our he had cancer and handed the ranch down to me, Travis.聽 While he survived the cancer, he's happy in retirement playing cards with his buddies every week and hanging out with his dog.Now the ranch is known for its horse boarding, cattle, and goats. We even hold weddings and events at the lake sometime.聽 My main goal is to bring the ranch in a more in line with sustainable ranching. Its a process, but I love what I am doing, and where the ranch is going.
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Rocksteady Adventures

4 sites 路 RVs, Tents70 acres 路 Copperopolis, CA
Off-grid campground adjacent to 1000 acre private reservoir perfect for fishing, kayaking & paddle boarding. 70 acres in Sierra Nevada Foothills with Valley Oaks, Gray Pines & Manzanita. Best birding in Calaveras County with over 188 species including Bald Eagles, Golden Eagles, Osprey & waterfowl.
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Sonora Foothills Getaway

3 sites 路 RVs, Tents5 acres 路 Sonora, CA
We are located in the charming town of Sonora, CA! 馃尣馃彏锔 Our property is the perfect place to camp, or park your RV or van for overnight stays. We have one RV site with full hookups (supports 50 amp & 30 amp), as well 1 campsite available. There is plenty of room for parking your camper van as well if you don't need any hook ups! Our price includes access to several shared amenities to make your stay comfortable and convenient, including potable water, electricity, toilet, and wifi. Also included is a firepit, plenty of outdoor seating, an outdoor play structure for kids (under the age of 7), ladder ball, horseshoe pits, bocci ball, and corn hole. A large gazebo provides plenty of shade on hot days, and has power and a mounted bluetooth speaker. ***For an additional fee, you can upgrade your experience with access to our outdoor grilling area, indoor shower (w/private entrance), and laundry amenities. Pricing and details for each of these are found under "extras" and MUST be added during booking process*** Our property is surrounded by nature, and is close to Yosemite, Columbia State Park, Old Town Sonora, Melones Lake, Pinecrest Lake, Dodge Ridge Ski Resort, and many other beautiful places to explore! Our property is not polluted by a bunch of light, giving you the chance to experience tranquil evenings under the stars. Sonora is a beautiful town that is a hub for outdoor enthusiasts, with plenty of hiking and biking trails nearby. It's also an ideal location for those looking to explore the historic Columbia Gold Rush Town. A lot of family friendly activities within a short drive! We take pride in providing a clean, safe, and welcoming space for travellers. We are on site and available for anything you may need, even if it's last minute. Book your stay with us today and experience the best that Sonora has to offer!
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Wood Colony Haven

1 site 路 RV10 acres 路 Modesto, CA
West of Modesto, in California's San Joaquin Valley, you鈥檒l find an area rich in agriculture known as Wood Colony. Established in 1869, this soil has been farmed through generations and filled with history. Wood Colony Haven sits on just under 10 acres of land, surrounded by beautiful walnut and almond orchards as well as grazing ground for our livestock. We are situated in the 鈥淕olden Triangle鈥 as our ranch is conveniently situated with easy access to major highways and freeways such as I-5, 99, and 132. With less than 2 hours in proximity to both the mountains and the ocean, Wood Colony offers the best centralized location for any activity!
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Robinson Mine Basecamp

8 sites 路 Tents13 acres 路 Groveland, CA
鈥淕ET LUCKY鈥 ! Winter camping available! Now that it鈥檚 winter time, we have openings for small RVs, camper vans no hookups. Yosemite is beautiful in the wintertime. Come enjoy the peaceful outdoors in a rustic mountain setting ! But still have all the amenities of town only a couple miles away; grocery store, restaurants, a craft brewery and one of the oldest saloons in California! There鈥檚 even a park for the kiddos, a Library and Museum for all ages! The stars are something to see, as you feel like you can just reach up and touch them! We are just getting started so each time you come visit us, you will see and enjoy something new! We are so close to Yosemite @ the big old flat entrance or maybe you would like to see Hetch Hetchy! There is river rafting, mountain biking, swimming and fishing all close by! Lots to do in our area it will be hard to choose! When you鈥檙e on the property keep your eye out for shiny rocks, as we are located on an old gold mine who knows you may
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The best camping near McConnell State Recreation Area guide



Let us paint you a picture: It's 90 degrees and you're sweating. You desperately need to cool off but you're too far away from the beach. Where can you go to escape the sweltering dry heat of the Central Valley? Well folks, sweat not! This park is the answer.

A shaded campground with a wooded hiking trail right alongside the Merced River, McConnell will shield you from the sun and let you chill out in a friendly, flowing river. There are lots of firm surfaces for great camping, plus there are restrooms and showers. Campsite 'B' provides electricity and water and is wheelchair accessible.

Make sure to bring a canoe or floating tube, and bring your fishing poles to hook some catfish, black bass, and perch. After stocking your cooler full of tasty treats, you can cook 'em up on the provided hibachi grills. McConnell is the perfect oasis for river hang out time. So head out there, cool off, and chill out.

Notable campgrounds

  • Family Campsites: Spacious sites nestled among towering trees, ideal for creating lasting memories with loved ones.
  • Group Campsites: Perfect for larger gatherings, these campsites offer ample space for friends and family to connect in the great outdoors.
  • RV Access: Well-equipped sites with easy access for RVs, ensuring a convenient and cozy stay amid nature.

Tips for snagging a campsite

  • Book early: Reserve your spot up to six months in advance to secure your ideal dates.
  • Be flexible: Consider visiting during the week for better availability and a quieter experience.
  • Check for cancellations: Last-minute openings can occur, so keep an eye on the reservation system.
  • Explore nearby camping options: If McConnell is full, nearby parks might have availability for your adventure.

When to go

The best time to visit McConnell State Recreation Area is during the spring and fall when the weather is mild and the natural beauty is at its peak. Summer offers warm days perfect for swimming, while winter might be less ideal due to cooler temperatures and limited activities.

Know before you go

  • Check park hours: The park is open from 8am to sunset, so plan your visit accordingly.
  • Stay safe: Familiarize yourself with safety tips, especially if you plan to engage in water activities.
  • Accessibility: The park offers wheelchair accessible features, ensuring everyone can enjoy the beauty of McConnell.
  • Dog policy: Dogs are welcome in the campground, so feel free to bring your furry friend along.
  • Amenities: Restrooms, showers, and drinking water are available to make your stay comfortable.

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