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11 Best Campgrounds in Northern California

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A Cook, Software analyst & Blogger.
California, US
1:27 am, December 9, 2023
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Best Campgrounds in Northern California: Love the idea of spending time amidst nature? Camping in Northern California should be on your bucket list. The northern part of the state is quite different from its southern half.

From national parks and forests to stunning lakes and towering mountains, there is a diverse variety of natural landscapes and attractions that add to the charm of Northern California. 

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Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly campground with plenty of activities for kids or wish to enjoy a romantic retreat in nature, you’ll find a campground here that caters to your needs. 

Wondering where to begin?

Let’s help you choose the perfect one with our list of the 11 best campgrounds in Northern California: –

 Angel Island Campground #1

Located off the San Francisco coast, Angel Island Campground has around 16 primitive campsites that are connected through numerous hiking trails.

Best Campgrounds in Northern California

You can easily get a ferry to reach the island. Soak in spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge as you camp here.

Go on the east Bay side of the island if you’re looking to be protected from winds.

Owing to its secluded vibe and stunning surroundings, the spots fill out fast so book accordingly. Prices begin at $30 per night.

Castle Crags State Park Campground #2

Named after granite spires that are millions of years old, Castle Crags State Park is home to around 60 sites.

From hiking on the numerous trails to fishing in the Sacramento River, there are plenty of recreational activities to enjoy here.

Best Campgrounds in Northern California

The park is surrounded by the Shasta-Trinity National Forest and is close to Mt. Shasta, perfect for those who like to explore.

What’s more?

You’ll find all the essential amenities you need here including running water, showers, flush toilets, picnic tables, and fire rings amongst others. Prices begin at $12 per night.

There’s also an adjacent campground called Riverside Campground which is on the south side of the Sacramento River and features around 12 sites.

Indian Well Campground #3

Love the idea of exploring lava tubes?

This may be a perfect choice.

Lava Beds National Monument features a fascinating landscape with its eruptive history. Visitors love to explore its lava tubes.

Best Campgrounds in Northern California

There are around 43 sites available here for tents, small vehicles, and SUVs. Some of them can also be used for small motor homes.

You’ll find picnic tables, cooking grills, and fire pits here. While you’re there, be sure to explore the popular Cave Loop Road where you can go inside the underground lava tubes.

Interested in knowing more? Check out the visitor center. Prices begin at $10 per night. 

Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park Campground #4

Wish to escape into a lush forest with towering trees?

Head to Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park Campground.

Only around 10 miles from Crescent City, this state park is home to 89 campsites for tents and RVs. You’ll find groves of tall trees nearby that add to the park’s popularity.

Best Campgrounds in Northern California

How about driving through the forest on a beautiful one-lane drive?

The campground is close to the historic Howland Hill Road. If you like to fish, the beautiful Smith River is also a short walk away.

Couple that with essential amenities like flush toilets and coin-operated showers. Prices begin at $35 per night.

Burlington Campground #5

Camp amidst some of the most stunning redwood trees in the world at Humboldt Redwoods State Park. It has three campgrounds.

Burlington Campground is the only one where you can camp year-round.

Best Campgrounds in Northern California

It features 57 campsites and offers all essential amenities such as flush toilets, coin-operated showers, potable water, and picnic tables amongst others.

You can easily reach the ground via the Avenue of the Giants, famous for its towering trees.

Wish to explore further?

Across the road from the campground are numerous hiking paths that will take you to the South Fork of the Eel River. The camping fee is around $35 per night.

 Russian Gulch State Park Campground #6

Sip on your favourite drink as you listen to the gentle rumble of the river and look at endless stars in the sky at this beautiful campground.

Located only two miles from the charming small town of Mendocino, this campground is in Russian Gulch State Park where the Russian River flows.

Best Campgrounds in Northern California

You’ll find numerous impressive tidal features such as the Devil’s Punchbowl and bluffs with numerous trails going around.

One of the most popular is the Fern Canyon Trail which goes to a waterfall.

The campsites are for both tents and RVs. You’ll find flush toilets and showers with hot water. Camping here costs around $45 per night.

MacKerricher State Park  #7

Perched north of Fort Bragg, this scenic coastal park draws many campers to enjoy its lush surroundings.

Spread over nine miles of Mendocino coastline, the park has numerous beautiful natural attractions. It features around 140 campsites which are spread across different campgrounds.

Best Campgrounds in Northern California

These are for both RVs and tents and are also open for walk-in campers. The campsites are close to the Pacific Ocean and Lake Cleone.

What’s more?

It’s a short walk from the site to the main beach where you can catch a spectacular sunset.

Got some more time on your hands?

Explore the different landscapes of Inglenook Fen nearby. The camping fee begins at $45 per night.

 D.L. Bliss State Park Campground #8

Love the idea of camping by a lake?

Head to this campground.

Located on Lake Tahoe’s northwest shore, it offers a plethora of recreational activities to enjoy such as fishing, hiking, and swimming.

There’s also an underwater preserve nearby where you can go scuba diving.

What’s more?

You can enjoy mesmerizing views from the nearby Inspiration Point. There are around 250 family campsites here with essential amenities such as picnic tables, fire rings, coin-operated showers, and access to water. The camping fee starts at $35 per night.

Feel like exploring more?

You can explore Emerald Bay State Park and Meeks Bay Resort nearby. 

 Manzanita Lake Campground #9

Sprawled over 100,000 acres, Lassen Volcanic National Park is located on the southern end of the Cascade Range.

You’ll find many impressive natural features here including mud pits, fumaroles, and active volcanoes.

The Manzanita Lake campground is the largest of the seven campgrounds in the park with over 175 sites. Its proximity to the lake shore draws many campers for both tent and RV camping.

No hook-ups are available here but there are flush toilets, showers, drinking water, fire rings, picnic tables, etc. 

Prices begin at $26 per night. With so much to offer, it is one of the best campgrounds in northern California.

Lakes Basin Campground #10

Camp around glacier lakes with lush greenery all around.

Sounds magical, doesn’t it?

Camping at Lakes Basin Campground offers many such experiences. Located in Plumas National Forest, the campground is surrounded by glacier lakes with Gray Eagle Creek nearby.

A trail system emerges from the campground that connects twenty lakes. One of the most popular among them is the Gold Lake which also has a public boat ramp.

There are 22 sites, 11 of which are reservable while the other 11 are on a first-come, first-served basis.

Although there are no hook-ups, you’ll have access to potable water and vault toilets here. It’s for both tents and RVs. Prices begin at $32 per night.

 Gold Bluffs Beach Campground #11

Located in the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, Gold Bluffs Beach features stunning landscapes.

Apart from the scenic shore, there are big trees all around and the splendid Fern Canyon.

The canyon features big walls with fernery. You can explore it through the creek bed. The campground has around 26 sites, all within hearing distance of the ocean.

What’s more?

There are solar showers, fire pits, bear lockers, and potable water available. The road to the campground is narrow and it’s best to not go in larger vehicles. Prices begin at around $35 per night.

So, pick the one that attracts you the most and get ready for an epic camping trip. 

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Q. What is the best time of year to go camping in Northern California?

Summer and Fall are the best seasons to go camping in Northern California. 

Q. How much does camping cost in Northern California?

The average cost for camping in Northern California is around $40 per night. 

Q. What is the most popular campsite in Sequoia National Park?

Lodgepole is the most popular campground in Sequoia National Park. 

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