Best Tent Camping Spots in Northern California

Published July 8th, 2022 by Allen Campbell

best tent camping spots in northern california

Wondering where to go camping in Northern California? If you are planning a camping trip to Northern California, you have a lot of choices when it comes to finding the perfect campsite. With beautiful views of the old-growth forests of Redwood National and State Parks is a great choice for those who want to appreciate nature’s beauty.

Here are some of the best tent camping spots in Northern California, packed with all the information that will help you in planning the perfect camping trip. From scenic spots with great views to secluded locations that offer privacy, you’ll find everything you need to enjoy your time in nature.

Best Tent Camping Spots in Northern California: Summary

D.L. Bliss State Park Campground, South Lake Tahoe

D.L. Bliss State Park Campground, South Lake Tahoe (1)

D.L. Bliss State Park Campground is a beautiful campground located on the southwest shoreline of Lake Tahoe. This campground is surrounded by gorgeous scenery, making it a perfect place to camp and enjoy the outdoors.

If you love underwater activities, the D.L. Bliss State Park Campground is a perfect place for SCUBA diving and swimming. If you enjoy hiking, the campground has several trails that wind through the nearby forests and offer stunning views of the lake.

This State Park is usually booked throughout the summer, so make sure to reserve your spot early. It has 140+ campsites to offer for family members and friends who are looking to enjoy the outdoor experience together.

It is only 13 minutes (20 Miles) from South Lake Tahoe. You can take up to 7 people and one vehicle but there would be an extra fee of $10 for an additional vehicle. If you are taking an RV, it should be 18 feet or less. If you are taking a trailer, it should be 15 feet or less.

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Kirby Cove Campground, Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Kirby Cove Campground, Golden Gate National Recreation Area

If you are searching for a quiet camping experience with some of the most impressive views in California, look no further than Kirby Cove Campground. This campground is located at the north end of Golden Gate National Recreation Area and consists of only five sites; making it a hidden gem with little-known access to some of the most incredible scenery in the state.

Due to its fewer number of sites, Kirby Cove Campground is highly sought after and reservations are required in advance, particularly during peak season. The campground is situated in a forested landscape and can be easily reached by a short and easy hike from the Golden Gate Bridge.

Burlington Campground, Humboldt Redwoods State Park

Burlington Campground, Humboldt Redwoods State Park

Get out of town and into the redwoods! Just 30 miles south of Eureka, Humboldt Redwoods State Park is the perfect place to escape from city life and enjoy some peace in nature.

The park has to offer three different campgrounds, 100 miles of hiking trails, and 250 campsites. The Avenue of the Giants is a 32-mile road that leads you to the campground and It connects to other areas of the park, such as Women’s Federation Grove.

Also, you can see 57 sites consisting of huge trees, which will make you feel like you are in another world. These trees can reach over 350 feet tall.

Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park Campground, Redwoods National and State Parks

Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park Campground, Redwoods National and State Parks

Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park Campground is a family-friendly campground located in the heart of Redwoods National and State Parks. The campground offers stunning views of the redwood forest and is situated close to many hiking trails. Also, the 89 campsites available offer ample space for your tent, RVs (Recreational Vehicle), and car trailers.

The campground is not very far from Crescent City, making it a convenient option for those who want to explore this part of California. Additionally, the campground is open all year round, so visitors can enjoy the beauty of nature no matter the season.

It offers a unique camping experience with its proximity to Howland Hill Road, a 1-lane drive through the big forest. If you want to catch fish, the Wild and Scenic Smith River is present just a few miles from the campground.

The Redwoods National and State Parks have backcountry campsites for those who want some peace among the redwoods.

Indian Well Campground, Lava Beds National Monument

Indian Well Campground, Lava Beds National Monument

This National Monument is home to many amazing geological features, one of which is the Indian Well Campground. This campground is located in the northern part of the monument and offers visitors to explore the new geological areas in California.

It has only a single campground (i.e Indian Well Campground) which is located on a first-come, first-served basis and offers 43 sites that can fit in tents or small camper vehicles with ease. Also, some of the sites can accommodate larger vehicles that are 30 feet long.

If you are visiting the Lava Beds National Monument, you will want to check out the natural landscape and explore the nearby caves. The caves are a big attraction for visitors and you can find the caves on Cave Loop Road, where you will need to confirm with a visitor center before you go underground lava tubes.

Castle Crags State Park Campground, Castle Crags State Park

Castle Crags State Park Campground, Castle Crags State Park

Castle Crags State Park is an unbeatable location if you’re an outdoor enthusiast. It is something for everyone, whether you’re interested in hiking, camping, or fishing. All these activities are conducted in the Sacramento River.

It is surrounded by the Shasta-Trinity National Forest and is located nearby Mount Shasta city. It is named after the granite crags and spires formation within its borders. The rocks here are millions of years old.

This State Park offers more than just camping, it has stunning views that will surely take your breath away. There are over 60 sites available at this location and it is one of the most popular campgrounds in the area. If you are planning to visit during the summer months, it is important to book your reservation in advance as sites fill up quickly.

At the riverside campground, there are additional first-come-first-serve campsites. If you don’t know where is a riverside campground, it is near the south side of the Sacramento River.

The McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park is also a great place to visit if you’re looking for a place to enjoy some camping. It is very closed to the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Tents and RVs are both welcomed here, and there are 100 sites to choose from.

Graham Hill Campground, Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park.

Graham Hill Campground, Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park.

Located in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Graham Hill Campground is a great place to spend the day hiking and enjoying nature. It has more than 100 campsites and is only 5 miles from the beach. The towering trees around the campsites give a feeling of privacy and seclusion, making it a great place to relax and enjoy the day.

There are no hookups available at Graham Hill Campground, and there is a maximum length of 31 feet for RVs. The nearby bicycle path takes walkers along Eagle Creek Trail, which leads to Redwood Grove Loop Trail. Visitors can also find a variety of activities such as hiking and exploring.

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is also nearby to Graham Hill Campground and offers visitors a chance to explore the oldest state park known as Big Basin. This state park has nearly 150 campsites that are spread out over four campgrounds. Also, there are hiking areas that are popular with those who enjoy the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail.

Beal's Point Campground, Folsom Lake State Recreation Area.

Beal's Point Campground, Folsom Lake State Recreation Area

There are 3 campgrounds in Folsom Lake SRA and Beals Point is the most popular, due to its location on the western shoreline, close to the Folsom Dam. The campground offers year-round camping, with spots close to the water.

There are only 69 sites available and if you are thinking to visit Beals Point Campground in summer, it is best to book your reservation ahead of time, as the campground can fill up quickly during the high season. However, if you are planning to camp in winter, there is no need for reservations as it works on a first-come/first-served basis.

You can enjoy potable water and hot showers all year long, as well as a swimming beach that is open during summers.

On the North side of the campground, there are several public boat ramps for driving your boat to the Peninsula Campsite, which is located on the north end of the Folsom lake SRA and can be reached with a 10-mile drive through scenic terrain.

MacKerricher State Park.

MacKerricher State Park

The expansive site offers visitors the chance to explore nine miles worth of Mendocino coastline, with various water habitats, plant life, and animals. There are over 140 campsites available for you to spend a few nights under the stars, and wake up to the sound of waves crashing against the shore.

Watching the sunset from one of the MacKerricher campgrounds is an experience you won’t soon forget. It is not far from the sites to the beach, so you can easily make your way down to the beach to watch as the sun sinks below the horizon.

Glass Beach and the Pudding Creek Trestle are two of my favorite places that touch the south end of the MacKerricher State Park.

Antlers Campground, Shasta-Trinity National Forest.

Antlers Campground, Shasta-Trinity National Forest.

The Antlers Campground is a perfect place to camp if you are looking for some serene surroundings and beautiful views of the water. You can take your pick of accommodations, whether you prefer tents or RVs, and there is plenty of space to spread out and enjoy the shady oak forested areas.

If you want to enjoy some time on the water, the Amphitheater and Antlers Public Boat Ramp is close by, making it easy to get out and explore. The nearby Lake Shasta Caverns is also a popular day-trip destination, so you can easily fill your days with adventure while staying at Antlers Campground!

Also, the Shasta-Trinity National Forest is a vast and pristine landscape perfect for camping. It offers a variety of dispersed camping spots throughout its many acres and if you are looking to spend your night lakeside, Hayward Flat Campground at Trinity Lake is a great option.

Nearby the Shasta and Trinity Lake area, there are some beautiful scenic lakeside camping spots at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area.

Lakes Basin Campground, Plumas National Forest

_Lakes Basin Campground, Plumas National Forest

Located in the Lakes Basin Recreation Area of the Plumas National Forest, the Lakes Basin Campground is a beautiful spot for a weekend getaway. With over 30 RV and tent sites, the campground offers plenty of space for visitors to spread out and enjoy the stunning scenery.

The area is known for its abundant hiking and fishing opportunities, and several trails start right from the campground. You’ll also have access to at least 20 lakes, including the impressive Gold Lake, which is only a short walk away.

There are 22 campsites at Lakes Basin, and half of them can be reserved in advance and are mostly occupied by trail hikers, mountain bikers, and horse riders. The other half-sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The maximum trailer length is 26 feet and there are no hookups available, but there are vault toilets and potable water on site. The public boat ramp on gold lake provides easy access for both anglers and paddlers.

Upper Pines Campground.

_Upper Pines Campground

With 238 campsites available all year round, Upper Pines Campground is a great place to camp in the Yosemite Valley, as long as it doesn’t rain. You can take your RV or trailer, but it can’t be more than 35 feet long if it’s an RV or 24 feet if it’s a trailer. You’re also limited to having two vehicles per campsite and up to six people.

There are no issues to have a dog at this campground, but you must always keep them on a leash and never leave them unattended. You also can’t let them run around without monitoring as it’s against the rules.

In just 36 bucks a night, you’ll get all the comforts of home including flush toilets and tap water. The shower is just a short walk away at Housekeeping Camp or Curry Village. In this deal, you also get a fire ring and picnic table to use during your stay.

Camp Richardson Historic Resort & Marina

Camp Richardson Historic Resort & Marina

Located in a very peaceful and scenic area on the south shore of Lake Tahoe, Camp Richardson offers an easy entrance to the many hiking trails and lakes in the area.

There are also several options for accommodations, with tents starting at $45 per night and RVs going up by about $60 during the week. At weekends the prices increase by about $65 with water and electricity hookups. If you need full hookups, the price is $65 and $70.

The campsite also offers several amenities, including flush toilets and hot showers, picnic tables with fire rings, food lockers, and clean water from natural springs. Moreover, some eatables are also available at the dining marina, ice cream parlor, and coffee shop.

Anthony Chabot Regional Park Campground

Anthony Chabot Regional Park Campground

I highly recommend Anthony Chabot Regional Park Campground to you if you are looking for some outdoor fun like biking and hiking. The routes here are incredible, especially the ones that take you through the grassland or along Lake Chabo.

You no longer have to worry about your RV either, as the campground has 75 campsites and 12 full hook-up sites that can accommodate all of your needs. And if you get tired, there are hot showers and restrooms that you can make use of. You’ll also have access to drinking water, so you can stay hydrated during your time here.

Adventurous activities like horseback riding, mountain biking, and hiking are waiting for you at the Anthony Chabot Regional Park Campground.

Woodside & Gerstle Cove Campgrounds.

Woodside & Gerstle Cove Campgrounds

Situated along the Sonoma County Coast, Woodside & Gerstle Cove Campgrounds offers you a diverse landscape that includes a rugged coastline and caves. You’ll also find beautiful beaches with tide pools to explore here.

Only 8 people are allowed per campsite. In between the Woodside and Gerstle Cove campgrounds, 109 campsites cost $35 per night. Also, the length of RVs is limited to 31 ft. and trailers are 27 feet.

Alike many other campgrounds, you will have to forgo hot showers but, you get to use flush toilets and tap water. Plus, there are always fire rings. Various adventurous activities await you here such as horseback riding, trail hiking, and mountain biking. Scuba diving can also be done in the area if you’re looking for some underwater fun.

Russian Gulch State Park Campground, Mendocino Coast

Russian Gulch State Park Campground, Mendocino Coast

The Russian Gulch State Park Campground is reachable by a two-mile drive north of Mendocino and you can find 26 campsites near the Russian River that offers a fantastic view of the ocean.

This state park takes is just a short drive from the charming town of Mendocino, making it the perfect base for exploring everything that the area has to offer. Both RVs and tent campers are welcome at the Russian Gulch State Park Campground but without any hookups available.

Mendocino Headlands State Park is a photographer’s dream, with its natural views and other beautiful places. Surrounding the village itself there are plenty of options for those who want amazing ocean views.

Around 2 miles from the south of the villages of Mendocino, you will find Van Damme State Park, which offers over 70 sites for camping.

Silver Lake West Campground

Silver Lake West Campground

Silver Lake West Campground features 42 sites that can accommodate up to six people and one vehicle each. The campground is located on the north shore of Silver Lake, and it offers stunning views of the lake and surrounding mountains.

The cost per night is only 30 dollars per person, but discounts are available for seniors, military personnel, and disabled people. These discounts can reduce the cost to as low as 25 dollars per person.

The site does not include showers, but there are vault toilets and piped water available. You can also find storage boxes for bear-proof food lockers, as well as fire rings or grills to cook your meal.

At Silver Lake West Campground you can also find opportunities for fishing, swimming, and hiking. You can also enjoy mountain biking, as the campsite is located near many trails.

Lake Alpine Campground

_Lake Alpine Campground

The Lake Alpine Campground is a perfect place if you are deciding to bring your family on a trip. With only 25 campsites, it’s perfect for those who want to avoid the crowds. According to campsite rules, only 6 people and only 1 vehicle are allowed. But in any case, if you want to bring another vehicle then you have to pay an extra amount. 

You need to make sure your vehicle is no longer than 40 feet because that’s the maximum length for vehicles at the campground.

The site has $27 charges for one night and you will have access to some necessary eatables and restroom with toilets. Guests can also request to use the showers at the lodge.


If you’re looking for a great outdoor adventure and some of the best camping in Northern California, then look no further than these ten tent camping spots. From the stunning views of Lake Alpine to the incredible sunsets of Silver Lake West, there’s something for everyone.

With a variety of activities available, ranging from hiking and mountain biking to scuba diving and horseback riding, you’ll never be bored. So pack your tent and get ready for some of the best camping experiences Northern California has to offer.

Allen Campbell with Master Canopies

Allen Campbell

Allen is a full time writer at and enjoys traveling around the United States and exploring nature. He enjoys writing about canopies as he believes they are extremely crucial in having a successful camping trip whether it be a trip to the beach, mountains, or the open plains.

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