Home to 840 miles of coastline, 280 state parks and nine national parks, the Golden State offers many scenic campgrounds. Here are some of our favorites.

Camping is a great way to get out and enjoy the view. While some campgrounds are located in a dirt parking lot, others offer stunning views with countless outdoor activities at your fingertips.

And as the fourth-largest state in the United States, California has more to brag about than most: 163,695 square miles; hundreds of state parks, state beaches, and state forests; and, according to the LA Times, more than 13,000 campsites.

Here are seven California campgrounds you’re dying to write about. We have also included where they are, as well as essential information to prepare for your visit.

California’s Most Scenic Campgrounds

Moro Campground, Crystal Cove State Park

Moro Campground – Crystal Cove State Park; (photo/Rebecca Parson)

Located in Crystal Cove State Park in Laguna Beach, Moro Campground is perched atop a hill with sweeping ocean views. The campground has options for tents and RVs, and it offers easy access to the coast and the canyon.

If you’re feeling adventurous, Moro Campground also has three primitive hiking spots: Deer Canyon Campground, Upper Moro Campground, and Lower Moro Campground. These campgrounds are all worth a visit, but when it comes to views, the bluff campsites are the best.

Crystal Cove is home to 3.2 miles of coastline, 46 historic beachfront cottages, and 2,400 acres of backcountry wilderness, so there’s no shortage of outdoor activities available. Laguna Beach is also home to plenty of art galleries, shops, and fun restaurants, so a trip into town is definitely worth it.

  • Operating season: all year
  • Number of pitches: 32 primitive sites, 27 login sites, 30 non-login sites, 6 ADA accessible sites
  • Costs: $25-75/night

Book a visit

Housekeeping Camp, Yosemite National Park

Housekeeping Camp - Yosemite National Park

The list of California campgrounds would be incomplete without Yosemite National Park. You really can’t go wrong camping in Yosemite, but my family’s favorite camp has always been housekeeping camp.

Located in the heart of the valley along the Merced River, the camp offers bare-bones cabins as well as the option to pitch a tent or sleep under the stars. From the campground there are stellar views of Half Dome and Yosemite Falls – the campground is as scenic as it gets.

The central location provides easy access to the free park shuttle, convenience stores, the river, and several hikes. While in the valley, hike to Vernal or Nevada Falls, float down the Merced, or just sit back and watch the world go by.

  • Operating season: April 8-October 11, 2022
  • Number of pitches: 266 units/sites, with ADA available upon request
  • Costs: $100-150/night

Book a visit

Morro Bay State Park Campground, Morro Bay

Morro Bay State Park Campground - Morro Bay
(Photo/Rebecca Parson)

Located just outside of San Luis Obispo in central California, Morro Bay is steps from a natural lagoon and bay. Offering tent and RV camping, the campground offers views of the bay and the iconic Morro Rock.

Popular activities in the area include sailing, fishing, hiking, surfing and bird watching. One of my favorite things to do in Morro Bay is explore the mudflats at low tide – many fascinating creatures live in the mud, and it’s the perfect place for a mud fight.

The campground also houses a museum with exhibits covering cultural history, Native American life, geology, and oceanography.

  • Operating season: all year
  • Number of pitches: 134 campgrounds (includes 30 RV hookups and 12 ADA-accessible sites)
  • Costs: $35/night, $50/night for hookups

Book a visit

Hidden Valley Campground, Joshua Tree National Park

Hidden Valley Campground - Joshua Tree National Park

If you’ve never been to Joshua Tree, prepare to step into what feels like another planet. The dry desert landscape dotted with Joshua trees and rugged rock formations is unlike anything I have ever seen before.

Home to 44 sites, Hidden Valley Campground is surrounded by oversized rocks and can accommodate both tents and RVs. Joshua Tree is best known for rock climbing, but it also offers incredible hiking, stargazing, and a chance to spot the wildflowers that bloom in the spring.

If you’re trying to tag a campsite, there are plenty of BLM lots just outside the park that you can pitch a tent on.

  • Operating season: all year
  • Number of pitches: 44 pitches (tents and RVs)
  • Costs: first come, first served, $15/night

Book a visit

Pfeiffer Big Sur, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
(Photo/Rebecca Parson)

One of the most iconic parks in the state, Pfeiffer is a must see when visiting Big Sur. Sprawling over 1,006 acres, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is located on the western slope of the Santa Lucia Mountains. Nestled under the redwoods, Pfeiffer Campground offers hiking, biking, car, and RV campsites as well as a cabin.

The park is home to a wide range of wildlife plants and animals – common flora and fauna include redwoods, conifers, oaks, sycamores, poplars, black-tailed deer, gray squirrels, raccoons, skunks and birds.

Often referred to as “mini-Yosemite,” the park offers a number of scenic hikes, bike trails, a scenic waterfall, and plenty of swimming opportunities. Big Sur is one of the most beautiful stretches of the California coast – a visit is a must.

  • Operating season: all year
  • Number of pitches: 189 pitches (tents and RVs) and a chalet
  • Costs: $5 for hike/bike site, $35/night for standard site, $50/night for hookups
  • Maximum stay: yes, 7 nights maximum in high season (stay of 30 days maximum per year)

Book a visit

Shutterstock glamp at KOA Campground (Photo/Ken Wolter)
KOA Campgrounds Are Going Trendy With These Glamping Experiences
With its all-new five-star hipster aesthetic and luxe upgrades, KOA encourages you to try a new way of glamping this summer. Read more…

Rippers Cove, Catalina Island

Rippers Cove - Catalina Island
(Photo/Rebecca Parson)

Located less than 80 km from Los Angeles, Santa Catalina is part of the Channel Islands. Known for diving, hiking and fishing, the island offers a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

The island has a number of wonderful campgrounds, but Rippers Cove takes the cake. The campground is only accessible by boat, which means you must access it by boat, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard.

Although it may take a little longer to get there, staying at Rippers is well worth it, as you’ll be treated to beautiful views and little to no crowds. If you are staying in Rippers, I recommend hiking to the ridge for sunset or sunrise and packing a snorkel mask so you can explore the kelp forest.

  • Operating season: all year
  • Number of pitches: 3 sites accessible only by boat (meaning you either have to go boating, kayaking or SUP)
  • Costs: $23/night/person

Book a visit

Mill Creek Campground, Redwood National Park and State Parks

Mill Creek Campground - Redwood National and State Parks

If you haven’t yet rested your head under a canopy of redwoods, you need to add a visit to Redwoods National Park to your bucket list. Walking through the redwoods is a magical experience, and Mill Creek Campground provides an incredible backdrop for camping.

Home to the tallest trees on the planet, Redwood National Park also includes 40 miles of coastline as well as grasslands, forests and rivers. Offering 145 campsites, the campground accommodates motorhomes, caravans and motorhomes.

Located several miles off the highway, the campground feels far from the civilized world and is both beautiful and tranquil. While you’re in the park, be sure to strap on some hiking boots and explore the hundreds of miles of incredible trails on offer.

  • Operating season: may-september
  • Number of pitches: 145 tent, RV, and trailer sites, and 6 ADA accessible sites
  • Costs: Hiking sites $7/night, standard sites $35/night

Book a visit

Mist falls waterfall and low river in Kings Canyon National Park
See the Sequoias: 7 Best Hikes in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
Looking for the best hikes in Sequoia and Kings Canyon, two of California’s most beautiful redwood-covered parks? We have what you need. Read more…
a woman in a green kayak kayaking on the catalina coast
Everything You Need to Know About Kayaking the Catalina Coast
Located less than 50 miles from Los Angeles, Santa Catalina is an island oasis for adventurers and laid-back beachgoers. Learn more about how to kayak the coast. Read more…