The 25 Best Campsites in California

Your guide to the best camping in the Golden State.

By: Clif Bar
October 3, 2016

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When it comes to natural beauty, accessibility, and ecological diversity, California may just take the cake as the ultimate adventure destination. You'll find some of the most rugged mountains on the continent, pristine beaches, old-growth redwood forests, endless sand dunes, impossibly tall granite walls and much, much more. But you can only experience so much on a day trip to one of California's many incredible destinations. To really take it all in, a night spent next to the campfire is the way to go. Of course, California is a big state with hundreds - if not thousands - of campsites. That's why we've picked 25 of the best spots across the state for your next camping trip. Whether you want to wake up with a view of giant redwoods, the Pacific Ocean, or the Golden Gate Bridge, we've got you covered.   

1. Camp at Algoma Campground in the Shasta Trinity National Forest


Photo: Jake Young

2. Camp at Wawona in Yosemite NP


Photo: Emily Schrick

3. Camp at Mt. Tam’s Pantoll Campground


Photo: Sarah Eichstedt

4. Camp at Big Basin Redwoods State Park


Photo: Jason Hatfield

5. Clifftop Camping & Hot Springs in Big Sur


Photo: George Miller

6. Camp at Gaviota State Park


Photo: Josh Currie

7. Camp in the Alabama Hills


Photo: Mike O’Hara

8. Camp at Black Sands Beach on the Lost Coast


Photo: Josiah Roe

9. Camp at Andrew Molera State Park


Photo: Josh Currie

10. Camp at the Pots


Photo: Jake Young

11. Camp and Photograph Hot Creek


Photo: Gregg Boydston

12. Camp at Gold Bluff Beach


Photo: Juan Moreno

13. Camp at Last Chance Creek Campground


Photo: Jake Young

14. Camp at Wild Willy’s Hot Spring


Photo: Greg Balkin

15. Camp at Mono Lake


Photo: Gregg Boydston

16. Camp at Voyager Rock Campground


Photo: Jennifer Franklin

17. Camp at Hidden Valley in Joshua Tree


Photo: Nathan Chan

18. Camp at Death Valley’s Wildrose Campground


Photo: Cameron Gardner

19. Camp at Nelder Grove Campground in Sierra National Forest


Photo: Matt Purciel

20. Camp at Montana de Oro State Park


Photo: Nathaniel Polta

21. Camp at Catalina’s Two Harbors


Photo: Kathleen Buenviaje

22. Camp at Point Mugu’s Sycamore Canyon Campground


Photo: Jamie Fleck

23. Camp at Limekiln State Park


Photo: George Miller

24. Camp on Angel Island


Photo: Brian Heifferon

25. Camp at Francis Beach Campground


Photo: Austin Brizgys


Stay energized with CLIF:


Cover photo: Josiah Roe

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.