Top 5 Family-Friendly Campsites Near San Francisco

These campsites have everything you're looking for.

By: Brian Heifferon

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Camping is heaven for kids - dirty hands, non-stop exploration, staying up past bedtime, and campfires. But as a parent, it can be a different story. There are a ton of things to consider based on the age of your kids. How long is the drive? Are there bathrooms? Is there running water? Do we need to hike-in? This is my list of favorite family-friendly campgrounds within roughly an hour's drive of San Francisco (and one right in the city!). If you're looking for a fun weekend adventure for the family, you should add these to your list.

1. Steep Ravine Cabins

Photo: Emily Hoyer

While this might not meet your traditional idea of "camping", these bare-bones cabins are a great way to get the family to spend the night outdoors with very limited effort. They include a wood burning stove, sleeping platforms (you'll need to bring your own sleeping pads), and are a short walk to bathrooms. Not to mention this is one of the most beautiful locations in the Bay Area. Spots can be hard to reserve, but it's well worth the effort. Learn more.

2. Kirby Cove

Photo: Christian Arballo

Catch the sunset and sunrise over the San Francisco skyline from just across the Golden Gate Bridge. This campsite is all about the beautiful scenery and it's proximity to San Francisco. With a reserved campsite, the walk-in is short enough for the whole family to make with ease. You'll need to bring your own water. Learn more.

3. Redwood Sam P. Taylor Park

Photo: Brian Heifferon

This campground has it all: majestic redwoods, great hiking, and a fun swimming hole. The park is wonderfully maintained and features clean bathrooms, hot showers, and piped drinking water. The entire family will have a blast exploring the redwood forest and playing in the water. The sites themselves are set amongst the redwoods and are shaded, so they can get cool in the early evening. Pack accordingly and everyone will have an amazing time. Learn more.

4. Bothe-Napa Valley State Park

Photo: Jennifer Heifferon

If your family is hesitant to sleep on the ground in a tent, these yurts in Napa Valley are for you. This is definitely "glamping" - queen-sized beds, showers, picnic tables, running water, a pool, and outdoor fire pits. Each cabin has enough room to easily accommodate a Pack 'n Play. As for activities, there are redwood hikes out your front door and wine tours just down the road. Learn more.

5. Rob Hill Campground

Photo: Pascual Dutton

I bet you didn't know you could camp IN San Francisco. The Presidio is home to the one and only campground in San Francisco and it's great for families. Large communal spaces and great amenities make for a fun, social, and hassle free camping "trip". So easy, you could even pull it off on a school night. Learn more.

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