Summer is in full-swing, and around here, that’s means it is the perfect time of year to embark on a road trip or camping expedition in or around California!
Let’s be real. The Golden State is one of the most majestic places in the country, with varied terrain ranging from deserts in the South, the mild beaches of the Central Coast, to the thick evergreen forests of Northern California.
And what better way to explore this beautiful state than in an RV? An RV lets you bring the comfort of home (beds, water, electricity) wherever you’re going, whether on the road or deep into the wilderness. RV campsites will widely vary in amenities and features (some offer everything from hot showers, to WIFI and Cable TV, while others are little more than a spot in the woods). But they’re all guaranteed to offer you a convenient, beautiful place to park your RV for the night and relax, with plenty of activities nearby – and maybe even a breathtaking view or two.
So from Diego to the Bay, our list of the best RV campgrounds in California will give you ample ideas for your next trip.
Northern California (NorCal) Campgrounds
15. Doran Beach (Bodega Bay)
North of San Francisco and just south of Bodega Bay is Doran Beach Regional Park, which offers year-round camping for both RV’s and tents. Located in Sonoma County, Doran Beach has more than 120 camping sites with access to more than 2 miles of soft, sandy beaches – perfect for hiking, biking, flying a kite, surfing. A boat launch provides access for kayaking, stand-up paddling and kite surfing, and there are ample places for a peaceful walks on the beach and picnics.
Campground amenities include bathrooms, electrical outlets, flush toilets, and coin-operated showers. There are no RV hook-ups, however. While it may not offer the sweeping panorama’s that Malibu does, it’s definitely got some great beach views.
Note that reservations can be made up to a year in advance – so with this place as popular as it is, it’s probably a good idea to reserve ahead.
14. Anchor Bay Campground (Gualala, CA)
Located along scenic California Route 1 in Mendocino County, about 3 hours north of San Francisco, Anchor Bay Campground is a small, family-owned campground with 27 overnight RV campsites. Each campsite has its own hookup, picnic table and fire pit, and each restroom has coin-operated showers, flush toilets, with hot water and electrical outlets. There is also a dump station.
The campground itself is located in a canyon, among redwood trees and coastal fauna, and opens up to the 1/20-mile long Anchor Bay Beach, which offers plenty of opportunities for sea fishing, kayaking, and diving. The campsite itself is a little bit crowded, but the unparalleled access it offers to the beach helps make up for it.
13. Westport Beach RV Park (Mendocino County)
Another park located on the jaw-dropping beaches of Mendocino County, Westport Beach RV Park and Campground is located just 3.5 miles north of Mendocino Village.
There are 75 RV sites, each of which can accommodate 50-foot-long trailers, has power hookups and satellite TV and WiFi. A camp store offers supplies, and there are two restrooms and hot showers, as well as a laundromat. Campsites are very comfortable spaced for privacy and quiet, as well.
But the real attraction here is the gorgeous Northern California coastline. There are gorgeous ocean views, easy beach access for swimming, boogie boarding, kayaking and surfing, as well as trails for biking and hiking. 100-foot tall white cliffs add a layer of protection from the ocean winds. Overall, this a fantastic place for beach camping and a great place to spend a weekend.
12. McCloud RV Resort (McCloud, CA)
Way up north in the Cascade Range and at the foot of the legendary Mt Shasta, the McCloud RV Resort is a fantastic place to set up base for a weekend (or week) in the great outdoors. Right in the Shasta Trinity National Forest, there are both cabins for rent and tons of RV sites, each with water and electric hookups and cable TV. There are BBQ sites with picnic tables, Wi-Fi, free (!) hot showers and a heated bathhouse. There’s even an on-site laundry facility.
The campgrounds themselves are impeccable manicured and well-kept, and resemble a park more than the backcountry – but if that’s what you’re looking for, it is, overall, a comfortable, pleasant place to set up camp. And of course, you can see Mt. Shasta itself right from your campsite, which means there’s a whole host of activities nearby, from hiking to biking, fly fishing kayaking and whitewater rafting.
Southern California (SoCal) Campgrounds
11. Malibu Beach RV Park (Malibu, CA)
If the pictures of this place aren’t enough to convince you, just remember – it’s in Malibu. Located on a bluff just south of town, Malibu Beach RV Park has over 142 RV campsites, in addition to 35 extra tent sites – most of which offer gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean. Premium camping spots are available for a small upgrade fee, and offer prime, panoramic ocean views. It’s also within short distance to the finest beaches and hiking Malibu has to offer.
This park has all the amenities you could need as well, with self-service washers and dryers, bathrooms with heated(!) showers, propane service and dump station – as well as a host of luxury services such as a TV room, Wifi, and even a convenience store with food, water and snacks. There are also picnic tables at every campsite, and a dish washing facility in the tent area.
And remember…it’s in Malibu. What more needs to be said?
10. Chula Vista RV Park (Chula Vista, CA)
If you’re heading down south to San Diego, the Chula Vista RV Park is a fantastic place to camp out and serve a launching pad for all the activities the city has to offer. Located right on San Diego Bay, the Chula Vista RV Park is surrounded by beautiful landscaped parks and its own 552 slip marina. Calling this RV camping is a little unfair, actually – it’s more of an RV resort. In addition, the marina, the Chula Vista resort has two waterfront restaurants, a pool and jacuzzi, and fitness room, as well as a convenience market and even a Tiki Bar. There’s a boat launch, and the park is within walking distance of San Diego’s own beautiful beaches.
Chula Vista is definitely not where you want to go for a secluded getaway. But if you’re looking to enjoy San Diego and everything it has to offer – like the San Diego Zoo – Chula Vista RV park is a great location to kick up for the weekend.
9. Oakzanita Springs (Descanso, CA)
About an hour inland from San Diego, located 4000’ up in SoCal’s Cuyamanca Mountains, is Oakzanita Springs, an RV camping park open year-round with 118 campsites. Located in a prime spot for outdoor activities, this campsite features quick access to Cuyamanca Lake and Cuyamanca State Park, with dozens of miles of hiking and biking trails that wind through the beautiful rolling hills.
The campsite itself offers many amenities, such as a clubhouse, whirlpool and hot tub, Wifi, and restroom and shower facilities. There’s also a whole host of entertainment options like mini golf, a restaurant, basketball and bocci. Pets are also welcome year-round. You are allowed to have campfires in your campsite, but may only be charcoal or pressed wood due to dry weather conditions.
Oakzanita Springs may not offer the same remote, backcountry experience as a campsite in the Sierra’s, but for a fun weekend getaway not too far from the city – and with lots of outdoor recreation nearby – it delivers.
8. Ocean Mesa at El Capitan (Santa Barbara County)
Located 20 minutes above Santa Barbara – the “American Riviera” – is Ocean Mesa at El Capitan, considered one of the finest campgrounds in all of Southern California. Surrounded by the Los Padres National Forest, Ocean Mesa sits high above the Pacific Ocean and offers some of the most breathtaking views of all the sites on this list.
In addition to 30 tent sites, Ocean Mesa includes 80 RV sites, with an arrangement of pull-through and back-in sites measuring both 35 and 50 feet. Each RV site has its own full hook-up, with both 30 and 50 amps, as well as their own fire pit, grill and picnic table. The sites are also all wide enough to accommodate pop-outs on each side of the trailer.
Of course, this isn’t just a place to camp out. Ocean Mesa provides a kind of luxury that not many other RV campsites do. There’s a heated pool and spa for relaxing in all kinds of weather, Wi-Fi, Cable TV, a snack bar and convenience store, and Ocean Mesa’s Adventure Yurt meeting space. There are over 15 miles of hiking trails adjacent, as well as hundreds more for hiking and biking in the nearby Los Padres National Forest. And of course, Santa Barbara’s beautiful downtown, famous Spanish architecture and sandy beaches are only a short drive away.
Ocean Mesa is an idyllic location for a weekend (or week-long getaway), and many consider it one of the best campgrounds in Southern California – clean, well-maintained and beautiful. t’s not the cheapest place to stay, but there’s some great amenities to go with it.
7. Belle Campground (Joshua Tree National Park)
How about some desert camping? Joshua Tree is one of the most picturesque national parks in the country, on the edge of the Mojave Desert and dotted with thousands of cacti and the eponymous trees. The Belle Campsite is a small RV campground on Park grounds, with 18 RV sites right on the edge of the desert and at 3800’ of elevation. Unlike most of the other campsites we’ve highlighted, this is a truly remote, almost-backcountry spot. There are pit toilets, but no other amenities or water (bring your own).
That’s okay, though, because you’re in Joshua Tree, where the clear desert skies allow for some of the best star-gazing in the world. If you’re into photography, be sure to bring your camera and timer device – it’s just you and Mother Nature (and a few other RV campers, of course), which should allow for some pretty awesome slow exposures of the night sky. There are hundreds of miles of hiking trails, dotted with rocks and expansive desert views, nearby.
6. Joshua Tree Lake RV Park and Campground
Should Joshua Tree fill up, this campground is located right next door at the (tiny) Joshua Tree Lake, on the southern edge of the Mojave Desert. There’s ample RV spots right near the lake (which offers fishing), with power and water hookups. There’s Wifi access, hot showers and toilets, and a dump station. It’s also well maintained and kept.
The real attraction here, however, is the location – just a short drive from Joshua Tree National Park. The park also plans and hosts tons of events year-round, such as their nighttime Astronomy Theater events, Music Jam Astro Event and Solar Parties, all held under the enchanting desert sky and to promote the practice and education of astronomy in the SoCal deserts.
The Sierra’s Campgrounds
5. Lake Isabella KOA Campground (Weldon, CA)
Far inland and away from the coast, nestled in the lower Sierra Mountains and surrounded by Sequoia National Forest, but only a few hours from Los Angeles, is the Lake Isabella RV resort. With 95 sites, the campground is right on the shores of Lake Isabella, where you can go boating and fishing, jet skiing, even windsurfing. There are hundreds of miles of trails for biking, hiking and even off-roading nearby, and you’re just a short distance from skiing, snowboarding and even golfing.
The campsite itself can accommodate trailers up to 60’, and 30-amp hookups. In addition, you can rent cabins or a large tent. There is Wifi, propane, a snack bar and cooking area, as well as showers, laundry facilities and even a coffee bar. A pool is open May through October, and there is even a bike rental facility.
But the best part of this campsite is, of course, the location. You’ve got a view right on the edge of the lake, with the mountains and Sequoia’s just a few minutes away.
4. Dorst Creek Campground (King’s Canyon National Park)
For something a little more remote and secluded, the Dorst Creek Campground is run by the National Park Service and is located in Sequoia and King’s Canyon National Park, at an elevation of 6700 feet high in the Sierra Nevada. Right in the Giant Forest region of the park, the campground provides easy access to the hundreds of miles of trails and acres of ancient giant Sequoia trees. In fact, you’re only a short hike from the famed General Sherman, the largest tree in the world, and Moro Rock, the famous granite dome formation with gorgeous views of the Great Western Divide.
The campsite itself has several areas for both tent and RV campers. There is no electricity or showers, but there are flush toilets and clean drinking water, as well as a free dump station. Picnic tables, fire rings and bear canisters for your food are provided as well.
But if you’re heading up here, amenities aren’t exactly your top priority. You’re situated in one of the most beautiful, pristine forests in the state, with gorgeous mountain views surrounding you. Wildlife can be a treat, too, with bear sightings are very frequent. For a comfortable but peaceful getaway with tons of beautiful hiking trails, this is the place to be.
3. North Pines Campground (Yosemite National Park)
If you’re heading into the Sierras, you might as well head straight for North Pines Campground in Yosemite National Park, one of the most beautiful, illustrious National Parks in the country. While most campgrounds in Yosemite allow RV’s, Northern Pines is probably one of the best and easiest to access. At 4000 feet in the air, it’s a bit a drive with a camper, but is situated at the foot of Yosemite Valley – the most iconic parts of the park.
The campsite itself It offers paved roads and parking spurs, flush toilets, and drinking water. Each campsite contains a picnic table, fire ring, and a food storage locker. There are no water or electric hookups, however.
But when you’re in Yosemite, who cares about amenities? You’re minutes away from some of the most pristine forests, grueling hikes and breathtaking views in the state. You’re also in the heart of Bear Country, so be sure to lock up and store your food in the provided storage lockers.
This place fills up fast, too, so if you’re interested in going – be sure to reserve plenty of time ahead.
2. Fallen Leaf Campground (Lake Tahoe)
Another National Park Service campground, Fallen Leaf Campground is located much further north on the shores of Fallen Leaf Lake – only a mile from the shores of enchanting Lake Tahoe. Fallen Leaf Lake itself, however, is much more secluded and quiet than the popular Lake Tahoe, which makes it fantastic for a quiet weekend – or extended – getaway, offering swimming, boating, tubing, waterskiing, windsurfing, as well as access to dozens of miles of hiking and biking trails.
The campground is generally open May through October, with 188 sites for both tents and RV’s. There are no hookups, but there are coin-operated shower facilities, water spigots and restrooms with flush toilets, and each site includes a bear-proof storage locker, campfire ring and picnic table. Firewood can be purchased at the camp store.
In other words, Fallen Leaf Campground is an awesome place to camp close to Lake Tahoe, with some fantastic views and a decent price, too – only about $30 a night.
1. Camp Edison (Shaver Lake)
Another awesome campsite nestled in the Sierra Nevada, Camp Edison is a massive campsite located on the shores of Shaver Lake in Fresno County. Shaver Lake is man-made lake, formed by the Shaver Lake Dam built by Southern California Edison and finished in 1927. There are 252 campsites, 43 of which are full hookup, with electric, water, sewer and even cable tv. Each site has its own fire ring, BBQ pit, and picnic table, and there are 5 RV dump sites. There are bathrooms with showers, 2 laundromats for doing your laundry, and even Wifi available throughout most of the campground. Approximately 40 campsites are also open year-round, with special rates available October through May.
The location offers access to a variety of fun recreational opportunities, such as boating, jet-skiing, kayaking and canoeing, as well as a biking and hiking on land.