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The 10 Best Campsites near San Francisco

Welcome warm spring weather with a weekend immersed in nature.

By: The Outbound Collective + Save to a List

Between the sunny weather, sweeping coastal views, and distinguished national monuments, finding a perfect camping location in the San Francisco Bay Area is effortless. Enjoy some foggy coastal campgrounds with barking seals, wake up surrounded by Redwoods, or drive inland for spectacular landscapes and Silicon Valley vistas. Grab some friends, snacks, and a sleeping bag and head for the hills!

Photo: Brian Heifferon

Enjoy the great outdoors without leaving San Francisco. Rob Hill Campground is located in Golden Gate National Recreation Area, with a location above Baker Beach that provides mind-blowing sunsets and views of the Pacific Ocean.

Photo: Christian Arballo

Kirby Cove is a one-of-a-kind campsite in the Marin Headlands. The campsite hosts a unique perspective of the San Francisco Bay: a vantage point of the city lights and rugged coastal cliffs. The campsite is small enough to be a tranquil breath of fresh air, with plenty of nearby hiking trails such as to the Bonita Lighthouse. Make your reservation well in advance!

Photo: Austin Brisgyz

Francis Beach Campground is nestled as close to Kelly Ave, one of Half Moon Bay’s most popular surf spots, as you can get. This campground facilitates ample time spent in and around the ocean, with ocean entrance points just walking distance from your tent door. Bring local firewood for a beach bonfire and plenty of supplies to grill fresh fish for tacos - a dinner experience that is guaranteed to exceed any you’d have in a restaurant.

Photo: Sarah Eichstedt

Mount Tamalpais leaves many visitors completely flabbergasted at the natural beauty of the ecosystem. Mount Tam’s Pantoll Campground is a gateway to miles of explorable trails, a unique mountain amphitheater, and views of the San Francisco Bay and the distant coast to the north. If Pantoll Campground is booked, or if you prefer a little extra comfort, check out the nearby Steep Ravine Cabins. 

Photo: Miranda Leconte

Point Reyes National Seashore is the gem of the North Bay. Backpacking to Wildcat Campground will keep everyone entertained: from the first time backpacker or camper to the most experienced. Add Alamere Falls to your route and prepare to be amazed. Watch for whales, elephant seals, and dolphins - and always remember to follow Leave No Trace principles! If the campgrounds in Point Reyes are full, or if you wish to car camp and enjoy day hikes in Point Reyes, check out the nearby and peaceful Samuel P. Taylor campground.

Photo: Skyler Hardy

Spend the weekend in Mount Diablo State Park, and enjoy gorgeous views of the sunrise and sunset over the valley. With miles of trails to explore and plenty of activity options, you’ll be able to truly escape from the hectic nature of daily life.

Photo: Brian Heifferon

Angel Island State Park is in the heart of the Bay Area: accessible via a short and scenic ferry ride from San Francisco or Oakland. This is one of the few Bay Area locations where you can enjoy scenic views of the valley and surrounding scenery while enjoying relative privacy and tranquility.

Photo: Jason Hatfield

Wake up to towering redwoods shrouded in coastal fog, and watch as the marine layer burns off and the sun illuminates this gorgeous forest. Big Basin Redwoods offers access to miles of hiking trails and relatively secluded and peaceful campsites. For those looking to kick your activity level up a notch, Big Basin Redwoods is a popular camping location for the beginning or end of the Skyline to Sea backpacking route. Close enough to Santa Cruz to swing through Pescadero and grab fish tacos on your way home, Big Basin Redwoods has it all.

Photo: Wikimedia

Less than two hours from downtown San Francisco, Bothe-Napa Valley State Park is glamping at its finest. You’ll be able to return to your gorgeous and comfortable yurt after a long day of wine tasting or hiking. The park has a spring-fed swimming pool (perfect for those hot summer days) and lots of tall, old-growth trees. You won’t want to leave this haven!

Photo: Lucas Pols

Big Sur: the gateway to the Pacific. Albeit getting to Big Sur may take a bit more time, the extra driving is well worth it. Prepare to be astonished by the dichotomy of rugged coastal cliffs and soft, sandy beaches. Other nearby Big Sur options include car camping at Andrew Molera State Park or glamping in a yurt or the infamous tree nest at Treebones Resort

Cover Photo: Josiah Roe

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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