Best Places to Camp in Northern California

Planning a camping vacation in North California?

North California is easily one of the best regions in the United States to enjoy a camping trip, and there is literary hundreds of places where you can lay out a tent, so it can be daunting choosing a spot.

If you're looking for ideas on where to go, we've rounded up a list of some of the best spots to camp out in NorCal:


Salt Point State Park and Sonoma Coast State Beach in Jenner are without a doubt, two of the best places to camp in Northern California.

Both Salt Point and Sonoma Coast boasts breathtaking cliff scenery and hiking trails along the cliffs where you’ll be able to stop to enjoy gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean and catch whale sightings.
Best Places to Camp in Northern California
places to visit along the California coast
Having said this, Sonoma Coast is the most popular spot for two reasons. First, camping in Sonoma Coast cost around $27 per night. Second, you’re not far from Santa Rosa (see things to do in Santa Rosa) and Doran Beach, which is one of the best beaches in Northern California for swimming and boogie boarding.

Another great thing about Sonoma Coast is that you’ll be able to hire kayaks from the visitor's center for fun trips along the mouth of the Russian River.

Van Damme State Park

Van Damme SP is one of the best places to camp in northern California as the views of the Mendocino coast are simple breathtaking.

Van Damme SP is also located nearby the Little River Airport, Mendocino town, Little River Golf Course, and the sea caves of the Big River and the Russian Gulch where you’ll be able to enjoy fun kayaking trips.
Van Damme Camp in Northern California
Van Damme SP also boasts many trails for mountain biking and hiking such as the renowned Fern Canyon Trail. There is also Van Damme Beach at the mouth of the Little River which is popular spot for abalone diving and launching sea kayaks.

As far as campsites go, Van Damme Beach State Park has about 80 camping spots which cost about $36 per night.

DL Bliss State Park

DL Bliss State Park isn't only one of the most popular camping spots in Lake Tahoe but also one of the best places to camp in northern California.

What makes DL Bliss State Park such a popular camping spot is its close location to South Lake Tahoe and Lester Beach This means you're just meters away from the lake, which is great if you’re bringing your own boat.
DL Bliss SP in Northern California
Best Places to visit in California
DL Bliss SP is also home to the popular 2-mile Rubicon Trail, which runs past the beautiful Emerald Bay and Vikingsholm Castle where you can enjoy a tour for around $8.

The campsites in DL Bliss State Park are family-friendly and cost around $35 per night, though you’ll have to make reservations 4 weeks in advance to guarantee a spot.

China Camp State Park

China Camp State Park is definitely one of the best places to camp in Northern California as it offers amazing views of San Pablo Bay.

China Camp boasts both steep and easy trails which makes China Camp a very popular spot for hiking and mountain biking.
China Camp in Northern California

China Camp SP is also home to the historic Chinese shrimp fishery where you can see the original shrimp dying shed and the floating houses.

There is no doubt that one of the best things about camping in China Camp State Park is its great location nearby the towns of San Rafael and Santa Venetia, and San Francisco.

Camping in China Camp SP costs around $25, though Camp China doesn’t boast one of the biggest campsites (about 26 tent sites) so you’ll want to make an early reservation.

McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park

McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial is located within the Shasta National Forest, and it's one of the best places to camp in northern California hands down!

The main reason most people come here to camp is to see the Burney Falls, which are simply breathtaking!

You can get nice views of the falls from the parking lot, though you’ll get the better views by taking a hike along the Burney Falls Loop Trail, which is one of the easiest trails in the park.
Mc Arthur Memorial in Northern California
popular national parks in California
McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial SP is also a popular spot for wildlife watching, and you can enjoy pleasant swims in the lake.

McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park has over 100 campsites as well as cabins. Camping costs about $20 per night; while the cabins cost around $70 per night.

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