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Camping in California: Top 10 Campgrounds

Author: Tatjana Kopel

Dreaming of sunny sandy days spent relaxing by the beach? We automatically associate endless summer vibes with the west coast, more specifically, California. In the Golden State, the Pacific Coast Highway snakes up and down the coastline for miles on end, making it especially suitable for roadsurfers to enjoy a road trip along the coast. Anytime you want a change of scenery, you can also easily head inland to experience the heat in Death Valley or try your luck gambling in Las Vegas.

Kick off your camping trip in California from Los Angeles in one of our compact roadsurfer camper vans. You won’t need to worry about or struggle with oversized RVs, because we are offering the spacious, yet manageable, Couple Condo and Liberty Lodge models.

You can find out more information about our rental station in Los Angeles here.

Camping in California

When it comes to camping in California, you are spoilt for choice! Either you cruise along the coast making pitstops in Santa Barbara, Monterey, and San Francisco or you discover the breath-taking national parks in the region. Somehow, each location winds up being more impressive than the one before. We highly recommend Yosemite NP, Sequoia & Kings NP, Death Valley NP, and Joshua Tree NP. Doesn’t that sound like freedom meets natural bliss? So that you don’t waste precious holiday time searching for accommodations at each stop, we have highlighted a few campground locations for you here!

Camping in California – Pricing

Depending on the campsite and motorhome, prices for a campsite in California range from $40-$90 per night. A site in the national parks is usually much cheaper than private sites. Special offers are also available from the provider KOA (Kampgrounds of America). KOA has over 500 campgrounds throughout North America, many of them near well-known cities on the west coast such as Los Angeles and Las Vegas. You should pre-reserve sites as early as possible for bookings during high season and popular travel dates.

Top 10 Campgrounds in California

San Francisco RV Resort

Of course, there is no true campground located in the middle of the city, but the San Francisco RV Resort park offers a nice alternative. You’re only 15 miles from the Golden Gate Bridge and have a stunning view of the ocean! Perfect for sunbathers, surfers, and water lovers – there’s even a pool – what more could you want?

Oceano/North Beach Campground

This is an ideal stop on the way from Los Angeles to San Francisco! There is a lot of space at the Oceano/ North Beach Campground and the sanitary facilities are top-notch, but you will need to buy coins for the showers. The campground is located near the beach, there’s only one sand dune separating you from the ocean!

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur

Nestled in between the blue Pacific Ocean and the St. Lucia Mountains, the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is heaven on earth. There are community toilets as well as tent and RV sites.

Wawona Campground, Yosemite National Park

The Wawona Campground drops you in the middle of Yosemite National Park and offers pure nature right at your RV’s doorstep. Campfires, climbing, horseback riding, swimming, biking, or boating – outdoor adventure comes first in Yosemite NP. The world’s highest granite monolith, El Capitan, guards the expansive park and the forests and rivers provide for breath-taking landscapes! There are various tent and RV sites with electricity, water, toilets, and lockers. The best part of the camp is the hot breakfast at Big Trees Lodge.

The view over the lake in Northern California is definitely worth a detour! Explore the surroundings by bike, kayak, or on foot. Sandy beaches, panoramic views, and beautiful hikes await you. The D.L. Bliss State Park is perfect for a lakefront view with showers, restrooms, and convenient proximity to Tahoe City and the Truckee River.

Black Rock Campground, Joshua Tree National Park

This NP looks more like a desert than a park, but the contrast of the arid earth against the blue sky is truly unique to California! The Black Rock Campground amenities are basic, but there is access to drinking water and you have the opportunity to sleep under special Joshua trees, cacti, and wildflowers.

Death Valley RV Park

The Death Valley RV Park is a great starting location to explore Death Valley! There are showers, toilets, a dump station, and even a pool with a hot tub available in the summer months. It is not possible to drive through Death Valley in a camper van because insurance does not cover it. So, a guided tour would be a great idea here!

Sequoia & Kings Canyon

All the campgrounds directly in the park offer basic facilities such as picnic tables, toilets, and food storage. Here you get pure wilderness for free! Wild glacial canyons, stunning views, and special Sequoia groves form the heart of this national park.

What You Should Know About Camping in California

The standard of campgrounds in California is typically above average. A private RV park usually offers nice facilities and often has a self-service market, restaurant, a children’s playground, and other services, such as full hook-ups (equipped with all connections) or a dump station for wastewater. These are suitable for large motorhomes, camper vans, and/or tents and are often child and dog friendly. The more basic, wild campsites without all the extras are more likely to be found in the national parks. These often have no showers and limited availability.

Are you ready to explore the land of unlimited possibilities on a road trip?

Welcome to California dreaming!

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