Camping in Northern California: Top Leading National Campgrounds for Camping Experience

Are you stressed from the urban life in Cal? Worry not, because driving a few miles from the city can bring you to nature’s haven. You should head to the northern parts of the Gold coast and find out the different camp areas that the area offers. Many of the popular destinations provide many options, activities, and amenities. If you like potholes, shore, recreation ground, mountains, forests, and more, Camping in Northern California has them.


WHY CAMP IN NORTH GOLD COAST?

The varied northern Cal regions offer a wide range of tenting opportunities from rugged shore to towering redwoods in the redwoods state park, from shimmering potholes to snow-capped volcanoes.

You will surely enjoy the panoramic sights in Northern California, like its sandy shore, fern canyons, potholes, and rock formations. Coastal and shore tenting is available.


15 BEST NORTH CALIFORNIA’S CAMPGROUNDS AND ALSO CLOSE BEACHES

CA has numerous parks and camp areas that you can go to during your trip. The Northern Region of CA is rich with natural assets and beautiful landscapes. You will surely be in awe of the panoramic views you will see along the way. We have listed some of the excellent campgrounds and parks that you should include in your list.

1. LASSEN VOLCANIC NATIONAL PARK

(Credits to Active)

Lassen Volcanic belongs to the recreation ground of the USA in northeastern Cal. You will surely appreciate the main highlight of the campgrounds in Oregon, towards Northern California. LVNP is a unique part of the world where you can find four types of volcanic formations – shield, plug dome, cinder cone, and stratovolcano. Other notable features of the recreation ground are new potholes, jagged peaks, and smoking fumaroles.

CAMPSITE HISTORY

The park was initially two separate national monuments designated by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907. The Lassen Peak National Monument and Cinder COne national Monument are there. A series of eruptions occurred from 1914 to 1917 that affected the landscape. Because of the beauty of the area and the repetitive activities, it was established as a national park in 1916.

NATURAL ASSETS

The park showcases volcanic landscapes. The geologic formations in the park are stunning and will surely be appreciated by enthusiasts. 

The western part of the park features lava pinnacles created by lava flows, jagged craters, and many sulfur vents. Can find some glaciated canyons and lakes in the area.

BASIC INFORMATION

NAMELassen Volcanic
ADDRESS38050 Highway 36 East Headquarters
Mineral, CA 96063
OPERATION HOURS9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
OPERATION TIMEOpen All-year-round except for Holidays
CHECK-IN TIME1:00 PM
CHECK OUT TIME12:00 PM
RATESWinter Pass – 10.00 USD
Valid for 1-7 days at LVNP between December 1 and April 15.

Vehicle Pass – 30.00 USD
Valid for 1-7 days at LVNP between April 16 and November 30

Motorcycle Pass – 25.00 USD
Valid for one motorcycle regardless of the number of passengers. Valid for seven days at LVNP.

Individual Entrance Pass – 15.00 USD
The entrance fee for a visitor traveling on foot, bicycle, or for individuals traveling together in a vehicle as a non-commercial, organized group.
Valid for seven days at LVNP.
RESERVATIONSwww.recreation.gov
GOOGLE ADDRESS LINKhttps://goo.gl/maps/aqTGVc1omiy2Axys7
CONTACT +1 530-595-4480.

TENTING

You can pick from the seven campgrounds of LVNP. You may also make reservations for hutments at recreation.gov. Other camps allow walk-in reservations. If you drive an RV or with trailers, you will find it preeminent and accommodated at the lakes of Manzanita, Butte, and Summit campgrounds. There are no hookups in the recreation ground; Manzanita has the only dump station available. 

The sites are limited to three tents, six people, and two vehicles per site. Group sizes are limited to 10 to 25 people and six vehicles. You are allowed to make a campfire only at designated fire rings, extinguish them when done. You may gather firewood, but you can only utilize dead wood; you cannot cut wood from standing trees. There is available firewood for purchase at the Manzanita Lake Camper Store and gift store inside the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center.

Tenting on the grounds listed below is permitted. You have a permit to camp in the backcountry provided. It would be advisable not to camp outside of established encampments because it is prohibited, including boondocking. Dispersed tenting is allowed in many areas, so utilize them.

Pets are allowed and welcome in the encampment, provided they are attended to and restrained using a leash. They do not allow pets on trails or recreation ground facilities.

Some sites are ADA accessible and offer amenities that suit your needs.

Campground
Elevation
Butte Pothole
• Group Sites
• Stock Corral
6100 ft
Juniper Pothole
• Group Sites
• Stock Corral
6800 ft
Lost Creek Group 5900 ft
Manzanita Pothole
• Group Sites
• Encamp Chalet
5900 ft
Summit Pothole
• North
• South
• Stock corral
7000 ft
Southwest Walk-in 6700 ft
Warner Valley 5600 ft
# of Sites Fee Features
101
6
1
$22
$62 / $35
$37
• Accessible Sites
• Vault Toilets
• RV sites
• Reservable Sites
• Boat Launch
18
2
1
$12
$32
$30
• Vault Toilets
• Boat Launch
• Reservable Sites
8$62 • Vault Toilets
• RV site
• Reservable Sites
179
5
20
$26/ $15
$72
$76-$101
• Accessible Sites
• Flush Toilets
• Vault Toilets
• Dump Station
• RV site
• Shower and Laundry
• Boat Launch
• Reservable Sites
46
48
1
$24/$15
$22/$15
$37
• Accessible sites
• Flush toilets
• Vault toilets
• Boat Launch
• Reservation only Sites
• RV sites
20$16/$10 • Flush toilets
• Vault Toilets
• No Reservations
18$16 • Vault toilets
• RV site
• No Reservations

Here are some of the activities that you can experience during your trip to LVNP:

ACTIVITIES AND AMENITIES
• enting
• Wildlife Watching
• Swimming
• Paddling
• Horseback Riding
• Hiking
• Auto Touring
• Picnicking
• Catching fish
• Biking
• Boating
• Horse Riding
• Drinking water
• Flush toilets
• Utility sinks
• Trash Receptacles
• RV’s Allowed
• Pets Allowed
• Picnic Table
• Fire Ring
• Bear Resistant Storage Lockers
• Dump Stations

2. YOSEMITE NATIONAL STATE PARK

(Credits to Travel Yosemite)

Yosemite Recreation ground has been the icon of America’s natural beauty. You will find yourself and many visitors amazed by what nature offers in this recreation ground. If you want a unique adventure or vacation of a lifetime, this is the place for you. Nature lovers will enjoy plunging themselves in the tranquility of nature.

You will indeed be drawn to the scenic waterfalls, giant sequoias, thriving wildlife, and mesmerizing cliffs.

HISTORY

Early inhabitants of Yosemite valley were indigenous natives known as Ahwanechee, meaning the “dwellers in Ahwahnee.” They lived there for nearly 3000 years, but researchers believed that humans had visited the area as early as 8,000 to 10,000 years previously.

The valley was the center of the Cal Gold Rush in the mid-19th century; over 90,00 European-Americans went to the area to compete for resources. Wars have been inevitable for the natives and the foreigners.

After these wars, some Native Americans continued to live within the boundaries of Yosemite. Many Indians supported the developing tourism industry by working as laborers or helpers. Later, the Indians became part of the tourism industry by selling baskets or performing for tourists. In 1969, the National State Parks Service removed the remaining Native people from their homes and wrecked their village as a fire-fighting training exercise. A redeveloped “Indian Village of Ahwahnee” has been erected behind the Yosemite Museum, located next to the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center.

Dr. Lafayette Bunnell was the one credited for naming Yosemite valley. He believed that the name Yosemite meant a grizzly bear. He was the one who wrote an impression of the valley in his The Discovery of the Yosemite.

Shortly after, more and more people started to move to Yosemite. It became a National recreation ground in 1916.

OFFERS NATURAL FEATURES

Yosemite valley is only a fraction of the land recreation ground, but this is the most popular for the visitors where they choose to stay. The Tunnel View is the first view that you can snapshot. There is a granite cliff named El Capitan that looms over Yosemite Valley. It is one of the most renowned rock climbing destinations on the globe. It provides a diverse range of climbing trails and is open all year round. 

You will be amazed by the towering Granite Domes such as Sentinel Dome and the Half Dome, which is thousands of feet high. There are a lot of picturesque domes in the recreation ground. Scenic areas like the Tuolumne Meadows, Dana Meadows, Cathedral Range, Clark Range, and the Kuna Crest. You can find peaks with red metamorphic rocks in the Sierra Crest and Pacific Crest Trail that run through Yosemite, such as Mount Dana and Gibbs. Granite peaks are present, like Mount Conness. Mount Lyell is the tallest point in the recreation ground at 13,1200 feet. There, you will find Lyell Glacier, the largest glacier in YNP and one of the few remaining today.

The recreation ground has three groves of old giant sequoia trees, the Mariposa Grove with 200 trees, the Tuolumne Grove with 25 trees, and the Merced Grove with 20 trees. This tree species grows larger than any other. It is one of the tallest and most ancient tree species.

BASIC INFORMATION

Below is the information about the recreation ground; if you want to find out more, visit www.nps.gov.

NAMEYosemite National Parks
ADDRESSTioga Rd Hwy 120 & Hwy 140 Yosemite National Parks, CA 95389
OPERATION HOURSStandard: Open 24 hoursOpen: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
OPERATION TIMEAll-year-round except for holidays
RATESYosemite Annual pass – $70

The Annual pass provides free entrance to Yosemite for twelve months from the purchase date.

National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual pass – $80

The Annual pass includes entrance and standard amenity fees and federal fee areas, valid for 12 months from the purchase date. It replaces the Golden Eagle Pass.

Senior pass – $80

It is the lifetime or annual admission and discount pass for US citizens or permanent residents aged 62 or older. A yearly version of this pass, valid for 12 months, costs $20.

Access pass – $0

It is the lifetime admission and discount pass for US citizens or permanent residents with permanent disabilities.

An annual pass for US Military – $0

The annual pass includes entrance and standard amenity fees for all active US military personnel, and their dependents are valid for 12 months from the issuance date. (For active-duty military personnel and dependents with proper identification (CAC Card or DD Form 1173).)

Non-commercial car, pickup truck, RV, or vehicles with 15 or fewer passenger seats – $35 -This fee is valid for seven days.

Motorcycle – $30

The fee is valid for seven days. The cost is per motorcycle (not per person).Foot, bicycles, horses, or non-commercial buses or vans with more than 15 passenger seats – $20 

This fee is valid for seven days. People 15 years and younger are free. The cost is per person.

Commercial Tour (sedan up to six seats) – $25The fee is $25 plus $15 per person.

Commercial Tour (van, 7-15 seats, regardless of occupancy) – $125

Commercial Tour (minibus, 16-25 seats, regardless of occupancy) – $200

Commercial Tour (motor coach, 26 or more seats, regardless of occupancy) – $300

Commercial Tour (motor coach, 26 or more seats, regardless of occupancy) – $300
RESERVATIONSrecreation.gov
GOOGLE ADDRESS LINKhttps://goo.gl/maps/iZ2iuxwELPYnkTqR9
CONTACT +1 209 372 0200

TENTING

Tenting is a favorite activity in Yosemite. Make sure you plan and decide on the options for the enjoyable activities you wish to do. Here are encampment details that will help you decide on where to camp

Campground
Elevation
# of Sites
YOSEMITE VALLEY
• Upper Pines
• Lower Pines
• North Pines
• Camp 4
4000 ft238
60
81
36
SOUTH OF YOSEMITE VALLEY

• Wawona
• Bridalveil Creek

4000 ft

7200 ft
93

110
NORTH OF YOSEMITE VALLEY

• Hodgdon Meadow

• Crane Flat

• Tamarack Flat

• White Wolf

• Yosemite Creek

• Porcupine Flat

• Tuolumne Meadows


4900 ft


6200 ft

6300 ft


8000 ft

7700 ft


8100 ft


8600 ft

105


166

52


74

75


52


304
Fee Features
$26
$26
$26
$6/ head
• RV SITES
• ADA Sites
• Tap Water
• Some sites require a reservation
$26

$18
• RV SITE
• First come, first served sites
• Reservable sites
• ADA sites – 2
• Tap Water
$26


$26

$12


$18

$12


$12


$26
• Tap Water
• Some RV sites
• First come, first served sites
• Reservable sites
• Creek Water

Some encampments require a wilderness permit, like the Backcountry ground at Little Yosemite Valley and near the High Sierra camps. They are not part of the reservation system of the campgrounds.

Fun activities await you at Yosemite. Prepare for the activities you want to experience, and have a blast!

ACTIVITIES AND AMENITIES

  • Paddling
  • Auto Touring
  • Biking
  • Boating
  • Climbing
  • Tenting
  • Catching fish
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Swimming
  • Stargazing
  • Picnicking
  • Snapshot
  • Wilderness Tours
  • RV sites
  • Historic and Cultural Site
  • Dump Stations
  • Horse Hutments
  • Tap water
  • Vault Toilets
  • Ranger and Nature Programs
  • Rock Climbing
  • Snowshoeing
  • Skiing
  • Tennis
  • Golfing
  • Ice Skating
  • Winter Sports

3. CHANNEL ISLANDS NATIONAL RECREATION GROUND

(Credits to Recreation)

Channel Island recreation ground showcases five magnificent islands and the ocean environment. This place protects the rich natural and cultural resources and preserves them. You will see thriving wildlife and plant species on the islands. Researchers in this area found Archeological resources that made history. 

The islands have been isolated for thousands of years and created a unique ecosystem. Now it is time for you to explore them and enjoy what the public recreation ground offers.

READ HISTORY

Records show that Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo first observed the islands in 1542. More than two thousand Chumash inhabited the three northern islands. The Chumash are native American people who inhabited central and southern coastal regions and the Channel Islands. There were eleven villages on the islands. The two islands named Santa Barbara and Anacapa islands were designated a public monument in 1938. The remaining islands were combined with the memorial in 1980 and made the CINP that we know today.

OFFERS NATURAL FEATURES

The islands are thriving with significant natural and cultural resources. The different islands offer a lot of activities that you can do. There are more than two-thousand species of plants and animals within the recreation ground. Additional endemic animals like the deer mouse, island fence lizard, and more.

The Channel Islands recreational activities offer backpacking, tenting, hiking, scuba diving, and angling. CINP is famous for its large number of complex, beautiful sea caves. One of the popular activities is kayaking through the sea caves.

BASIC INFORMATION

If you are new to the island, here is the necessary information that you could use.

NAMEChannel Islands
ADDRESS1901 Spinnaker DriveVentura, CA 93001
OPERATION HOURSOpen 24 hours
OPERATION TIMEAll-year-Round except for holidays
CHECK-IN TIME
CHECK OUT TIME
RATESEntrance – $0.00
There is no entrance fee to visit the CINP.
RESERVATIONSTransportation Reservations
Advanced reservations for boat and plane transportation to the islands are required.
Please contact the recreation ground concessionaires for reservations.
recreation.gov
GOOGLE ADDRESS LINKhttps://goo.gl/maps/Q7VQxD6fRSfDZwRt6
CONTACT +1 877 444-6777+1 805 658 5730

TENTING

Tenting is permitted all year round on all the islands in CINP. The National Service manages the recreation ground. Tenting conditions are primitive; there are areas designated for campers. 

Campground# of Sites
ANACAPA ISLAND CAMPGROUND

(Credits to Nps.gov)
7
SANTA CRUZ ISLAND SCORPION CANYON CAMPGROUND

(Credits to Nps.gov)
31

(25 individual sites, 6 group sites)
SANTA ROSA ISLAND CAMPGROUND

(Credits to Nps.gov)
15
SAN MIGUEL ISLAND CAMPGROUND

(Credits to Nps.gov)
9
SANTA BARBARA ISLAND CAMPGROUND

(Credits to Nps.gov)
10

Fee
Features
$15/ day/Site
• Food Storage Lockers
• Staff/ Volunteer on-site
• No water
• Vault toilets
• Picnic Table
• Pit toilet
• 157-stair climb
$15/day/individual site

$40/day/group site)
• Reservations required
• Primitive encamp
• Food storage locker
• Host on-site
• Potable water
• Vault toilets
$15/day/site
• Reservations required
• Wind shelter
• Food table
• Food storage box
• Toilet
• Potable water
• Host on-site
$15/day/site
• No water
• Food storage lockers
• Vault toilets
• Picnic table
• Wind shelter
• Pit toilets
$15/day/site
• No water
• Food storage lockers
• Host on-site
• Vault toilets
• Picnic table
• Primitive encamp

ACTIVITIES AND AMENITIES

  • Snorkeling
  • Boating
  • Tenting
  • Hiking
  • Picnicking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Catching fish
  • Paddling
  • Swimming
  • Diving sports

4. BURLINGTON CAMPGROUND, HUMBOLDT REDWOODS STATE PARK

(Credits to Humboldt Interpretive Association)

Suppose you would like to see the historical trees that withstand thousands of years. The Humboldt should be your next stop. They now classify the recreational area as a World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve. Be amazed by the sequoias of the Cretaceous Period.  

READ HISTORY

Humboldt comes third in the most significant recreation ground in the System containing Rockefeller forest, the world’s largest remaining ancient sequoias. Thanks to the three men from San Francisco that made out on an excursion to the sequoias in 1917, the encampment exists today. 

During the mid-1990s, loggers came to the recreation ground to cut down tall ancient sequoias. John C. Merriam, Madison Grant, and Henry Fairfield Osborn saw the demolition of the grand sequoias. They were motivated to begin the development to save the remaining parts of the wood; after three years of preservation, the recreation ground became famous.

A catastrophic flood in 1995 and a more devastating loss in 1964 added fuel to the flames to acquire more lands and spend millions of dollars expanding the recreation ground for approximately 25,000 acres done in the 1970s to restore the damages, build and preserve the recreation ground. Through the league’s determination and efforts to continuously raise money and work together, the recreation ground further expanded to 53,000 acres: and out of it, 17,000 acres of the recreation ground redwood forest was preserved, considering it as the gigantic ancient sequoias left on the planet that attracts millions of visitors. 

OFFERS NATURAL FEATURES

Humboldt sequoias provide numerous ways to enjoy and explore the place, whether you had just one day or a week-long vacation. This encampment has natural wonders such as a waterway to swim, fish, ride a kayak, and canoe. The recreation ground showcases more than 100 miles of trails to hike, bike, and horseback ride, or simply relax and gaze at the delightful scenery. Just a minute’s drive away, you can find signature areas such as Gould Grove Nature Trail, Founder’s Grove, the Women’s Federation Grove, and the Avenue of the Giants. 

BASIC INFORMATION

NAMEHumboldt Redwoods
ADDRESS17119 Avenue of the Giants, Weott, CA 95571, US
OPERATION HOURSThe Visitor Center is open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas.

9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Apr. – Oct.
10:00 AM – 4:00 PM, Nov. – Mar.
OPERATION TIMEOpen year-round
RESERVATIONSVisit Reserve Cal or call 800-444-7275. Lodging and tenting must be reserved six months before the arrival date. 
GOOGLE ADDRESS LINKhttps://goo.gl/maps/3oD7MDLxkPTSeoYK8
CONTACT +1 707 946 2409+1 707 946 1811

TENTING

Burlington encampment is accessible all year round. It is located next to the Visitor center on the Avenue of the Giants, and you can find it 2 miles south of Weott. Burlington encampment has 57 sites in the old and second-growth sequoias. There are hike and bike sites for guests. Moreover, you can find a short nature trail that leads to a waterway for swimming and angling. A summer bridge can provide you access to additional Hiking trails.

Fee
$35 / day$8 for every extra vehicle/ day

ACTIVITIES AND AMENITIES

  • Hiking
  • Tenting
  • Running
  • Kayaking
  • Canoeing
  • Museums
  • Guided tours
  • Exhibits
  • Swimming
  • Bicycling
  • Picnicking
  • Horseback riding
  • Nature 
  • Group hutments
  • Environmental hutments
  • Historical and Cultural Sites

5. MCARTHUR-BURNEY FALLS MEMORIAL

(Credits to Burney Falls Org.)

Relaxation and serenity. Just the sound of the waterfall will surely bring you into an excellent mood. If you are looking for a place with a wide variety of activities, this recreation ground is the one you are looking for. McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial is a perfect place to spend your vacation. It is one of the leading recreation grounds in Cal.  

READ HISTORY

The land was named the magnificent Burney Falls after the pioneer colonist Samuel Burney. Burney transferred to the area in the 1850s. After that, during the late 19th century, the McArthur Family stayed. Their descendants were the ones who maintained the waterfall and nearby land and fought against development. They purchased the property and presented it as a gift to the land in the 1920s.

NATURAL FEATURES

Visitors can find the recreation ground within the Cascade Range and Modoc Plateau natural region. It encompasses more than nine hundred acres of forest and five miles of streamside and potholes shoreline; it includes Lake Britton.

You will surely enjoy the recreation ground’s main highlight, the Burney Falls, which is 129 ft high. There are underground springs in the recreation ground that is the source of water of Burney Creek. You can swim at the basin where the waterfalls fall. The creek is connected to Britton.

The landscape of the recreation ground resulted from volcanic activity and erosion from weather and streams. 

Britton region is accessible to all recreation ground visitors and guests for boating, swimming, and water recreation, and a small portion is reserved for catching fish. The water flowing into Pothole Britton from Burney Creek stays approximately 42 degrees Fahrenheit, or 6 degrees Celsius. The visitors and guests who do boating can enjoy the 9-mile long pothole and explore numerous nooks and crannies well beyond the borders of McArthur–Burney Falls Memorial. You will see a rail bridge used in the 1986 movie Stand By Me, the Pit River Dam. Canoes, kayaks, paddleboats, or motorized patio boats are rentable.

BASIC INFORMATION

NAMEMcArthur-Burney Falls Memorial
ADDRESS24898 CA-89, Burney, CA 96013, US
OPERATION HOURS8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
OPERATION TIMEAll-Year-Round
CHECK-IN TIME2:00 PM
CHECK OUT TIMENOON
RATESRecreation ground Day Use – $10 per vehicle

Seniors – $9

Bus – $100

Oversized fee $20

The launch fee is $10

Encamp – $35 per day

RV Dump Station is $10 per dump.
RESERVATIONShttp://www.reservecali.com/
GOOGLE ADDRESS LINKhttps://goo.gl/maps/6ysM5YEoQC722poq9
CONTACT +15303352777

TENTING

McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial Recreation ground provides 102 encampments. Seventeen sites are available for tents only, while the rest can accommodate RVs, trailers, and tents. There are available bike and hike sites. The rustic one and two-bedroom chalets are available for rent. Feel the breeze through the pines, smell the fragrant campfire, hear the waves tenderly lap the shoreline.

Fee
$15 ( Environmental Campsite)•For Hikers 
• Burney Creek
$5 per person (Hike and bike site)
$35 per day • RV trailers
• RV
(Max 32 feet)

There are 24 one- and two-room cabins available for rent for visitors who did not equip for tenting. Each cabin is within walking distance of restrooms, showers, and the camp store. Visitors must have their bedding and lanterns because the cabins do not have electricity or running water.

ACTIVITIES AND AMENITIES

  • Boating
  • Tenting
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Catching fish
  • Swimming
  • Windsurfing
  • Geocaching
  • ADA Accessible
  • RV dump station
  • RV accessible
  • Historical Site
  • Picnic Areas
  • Visitor Center
  • Scuba Diving
  • Shore Area
  • Camp tore
  • Restrooms

6. LAVA BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT

(Credits to Tripadvisor)

HISTORY

Like most of the landscape you will see in Southern Oregon and Northern Cal, LBNM is immersed with historical significance. Over the last half-million years, volcanic activities have shaped this landscape harshly. The LBNM lies on the northeastern edge of the Medicine Lake Volcano. It occupies the most extensive total area engulfed by a volcano in the Cascade Mountain Range. The Lava Beds are in a highly significant physiographic location, lying at the juncture point of the Sierra-Klamath, the Cascades, and the Basin. 

Established the Lava Beds in November of 1925. The land the recreation ground engulf is over 46,000 acres. In 1991, they added LBNM to the National Register of Historic Places.

While enjoying the place, you will find Petroglyph Point, one of the US’s most extensive Native American rock art panels.

NATURAL FEATURES

Lava Beds has different geological landscapes. It showcases various volcanic formations that include fumaroles, lava tubes, cinder cones, pit craters, spatter cones, hornitos, lava flows, mars, and volcanic fields.

Lava Beds is a land of turmoil, both geological and historical. Over the last half-million years, volcanic eruptions on the Medicine potholes shield volcano have created a rugged landscape dotted with diverse volcanic features. More than 800 caves, Native American rock art sites, historic battlefields and encampments, and a high desert wilderness experience await you! You can visit the recreation ground any time of the day; we ask that you screen for white-nose syndrome at the visitor center before entering any caves.

BASIC INFORMATION

NAMELava Beds Monument Cali
ADDRESS1 Indian Well HQ Tulelake, CA 96134
OPERATION HOURSAll-year-Round except for Holidays
OPERATION TIMEOpen 24 hours
CHECK-IN TIME
CHECK OUT TIME
RATESEntrance Fees:

Lava Beds Entrance Fee – $25

The entrance fee is given for seven days and can be paid for with cash, check, or credit card. The entrance fee is per vehicle.

Entrance Passes:

Lava Beds & Crater pothole Annual pass – $45

The annual pass is given for one year at LBNM and Crater pothole Public recreation ground.
RESERVATIONShttp://www.nps.gov/labe/index.htm
GOOGLE ADDRESS LINKhttps://goo.gl/maps/U5M3tFxpU1FJy8V98
CONTACT +1 530 667 8100+1 530 661 8113

TENTING

Lava Beds only has one encampment: the Indian Well encampment, half a mile from the visitor center and cave loop. There are over 40 sites available in the encampment on a first-come, first-serve basis. Sites can accommodate tents, pickup campers, small trailers, and motorhomes up to 30 feet.

Sites are $10 per day per site and include a picnic table, fire ring, and cooking grill. Wood fires are permitted unless otherwise posted. 

Reservations are accepted for group encampments with a minimum of fifteen people. You may make up reservations three months in advance. Call the visitors center so you can save a spot. The majority of the encampments are on a first-come, first-served basis.

ACTIVITIES AND AMENITIES

  • Caving
  • Hiking
  • Tenting
  • Wildlife viewing
  • Visitor Center
  • Backcountry Tenting
  • Group Tenting 
  • RV Accessible (some sites)
  • Trailer Site

7. SONOMA COAST PARK CAMPSITES

(Credits to Cal Public recreation ground)

READ HISTORY

The earliest human immigrants were from the Native American Coast Pomo and Miwok tribes. As early as 1849, archaeologists found traces recorded on this property, and to date, they saw many prehistoric kitchen middens and other types of tribal dwelling evidence. The property is part of the Mexican land grant Rancho Bodega. The Russians have begun logging the old-growth forests directly above the coastal prairie in the early 19th century.

NATURAL FEATURES

Sonoma State Shore showcases coastline with shore, reefs, caves, tidepools, headlands, and natural arches. With shores spanning more than ten miles and land awning 5,000 acres, this shore is one of the largest in the land. The recreation ground extends from Bodega Head to the Russian waterway. You can walk on the five-mile trail system in the dunes. The shore is home to one of Cal’s largest seal rookeries. During the winter season, Bodega Head is one of the finest whale-watching sites on the North Coast. The recreation ground is thriving with many kinds of seabirds. The ocean and waterway frontage offer perch, salmon, steelhead, and smelt angling.   

BASIC INFORMATION

NAMESonoma Coast
ADDRESS7095 Highway 1Bodega Bay CA, 94923
OPERATION HOURSDawn to Sundown
OPERATION TIMEAll-year-round
RATESDay Use:   

$8 per vehicle

$7 per vehicle for seniors

The bus fee for 10-24 passengers is $50

The bus fee for 25+ passengers is $100

Tenting: 

Bodega Dunes  $35 / day

Hike & bike site $5

Wrights Shore $35 / day

Premium $45 / day

Willow Creek $25 / day- UNAVAILABLE

Pomo Canyon $25 / day

Extra vehicle:  $8/ day
RESERVATIONShttp://www.reserveamerica.com/campgroundDirectoryList.do?contractCode=ca
GOOGLE ADDRESS LINKhttps://goo.gl/maps/ifmeJ5kCJVxLaVwMA
CONTACT +1 707 875 3483

TENTING

  • Wright’s Beach campsites

(Credits to Cal Seashore)

You can camp at 27 available developed encampments located at the shore. There are no available showers, but campers may utilize the hot showers at the nearby Bodega Dunes encampment. Your trailer’s maximum length should be 27 feet; no hookups are available. Each site has fire rings, picnic tables, and paved garage space. Running water and flush toilets are nearby. When the encampment is all occupied, visitors may use the Wright’s Shore Picnic area’s overflow area for stand-alone vehicles. This area is near the roadway adjacent to the kiosk. You should have a reservation, especially during peak season and weekends.

  • Bodega Dunes campsites

(Credits to Cal Seashore)

There are ninety-eight encampments with flush toilets, hot showers, and a trailer sanitation dump station. The maximum trailer length is 31′, no hookups are available. Campfire and Junior Ranger programs occur in the summer months. The day-use area includes a disabled-accessible boardwalk out to a classic sandy shore. No pets and no campfires are allowed on the shore to protect the snowy plovers.

  • Willow Creek Environmental Camp

(Credits to Bay Nature)

You can enjoy 11 primitive encampments with fire rings, picnic tables, and pit toilets on this site. Walk to the sites within a quarter-mile from the garage. They are the only recreation ground encampment on the Russian River. Willows shade sites but near a large sea for swimming and angling. The stream can see blue herons, egrets, osprey, and occasionally waterway otters. You are not allowed to bring dogs or pets to protect the wildlife in the area. These sites are not available on the reservation system. Make sure you are updated and call before reserving. This camp is unavailable seasonally.

  • Pomo Canyon Environmental Camp

(Credits to the Press Democrat)

There are 20 encampments with fire rings, picnic tables, pit toilets, and running water nearby available for guests. Encampments are near the garage lot, and one is ADA accessible. Camps are laid down in a majestic redwood grove among the ferns. A three-mile trail to Shell shore takes off from the encampment, traversing seasonal streams and rising into the grassland with panoramic views and, finally, the blue ocean. You are not allowed to bring dogs or pets to avoid damaging or disturbing wildlife. This encampment is not available on the reservation system.

ACTIVITIES AND AMENITIES

  • Hiking
  • Tenting
  • Picnicking
  • Shore Tenting
  • Biking
  • Facilities Day use
  • Sonoma Coast Visitor Center
  • Group Tours
  • Wildlife viewing

8. TAHOE RECREATION AREA

(Credits to Cal Public recreation ground)

The beauty of pothole Tahoe attracts thousands of visitors from all over the globe. You will surely enjoy the scenic destinations and beautiful activities in this area. 

READ HISTORY

Lake Tahoe Basin was the result of vertical motion faulting of the earth. Some of the uplifted blocks created the Carson Range in the eastern region and the central Sierra Nevada crest in the western region. Many varying geological processes created the landscape of the PotholeTahoe Basin. 

Pothole Tahoe is the youngest of many extensional basins of the Walker Lane deformation zone between the Sierra Nevada-Great Valley Block and North America.

OFFERS NATURAL FEATURES

The main highlight of the Tahoe Recreation Area is Pothole Tahoe itself. You will find that this is the biggest attraction in the area. It is one of the deepest potholes in America, with a depth of 1645 feet. TSRA has a share of its 72 miles of beautiful white sandy shores.

You can find a paved bike path leading twenty miles south within the west shore of Lake Tahoe. You can have fun catching fish, swimming, kayaking, and paddleboarding. You may rent bikes and kayaks available around Tahoe City.

BASIC INFORMATION

NAMETahoe State Park
ADDRESSHighway 28, Tahoe Public Park,
Tahoe City, CA 96145
OPERATION HOURS10:00 AM to 8:00 PM
OPERATION TIMEAll-Year-Round
CHECK-IN TIME2:00 PM
CHECK OUT TIMENoon
RATES$35 per day
RESERVATIONShttp://www.reservecalifornia.com/+1 800 444 7275
GOOGLE ADDRESS LINKhttps://goo.gl/maps/WE4wtzWrEBFnpPr36
CONTACT +1 530 583 3074+1 530 525 7982

TENTING

TSRA encampment has 31 available tent & RV encampments combined. The recreation ground can accommodate recreational vehicles up to 21 feet and trailers up to 15 feet long. The encampments are in the middle of Ponderosa and Jeffrey Pine trees. You may immerse yourself in the beauty of Tahoe; the majority of the sites have potholes side views.

You may utilize showers and restrooms available to guests. Tahoe Recreational Area does not have hookups or dump stations and leading choice for tenting or the use of smaller trailers and RVs.

ACTIVITIES AND AMENITIES

  • Tenting
  • Dogs Allowed
  • Flush toilets
  • Showers
  • Picnic Sites
  • Swimming
  • Windsurfing
  • Trails
  • Angling pier
  • Stores
  • Laundry
  • RV sites
  • Trailer Sites
  • RV Accessible
  • Hiking
  • Biking

9. EMERALD BAY PARK

(Credits to TripAdvisor/TA)

Come and enjoy the rugged shoreline and the blue-green water of Emerald Resort, one of the world’s most scenic places.

READ HISTORY

The Emerald Resort has proclaimed a Public Natural Landmark for its brilliant panorama of mountain-building processes and glacier-carved granite in 1969

A few years later, the country designated the landmark an underwater public recreation ground in 1994. It is the home for many boats, launches, and barges used in the potholes before the turn of the century, during the peak of Emerald Resort, and used in the construction of Vikingsholm.

OFFERS NATURAL FEATURES

Emerald Resort engulfs the entire shoreline of the gulf. Eagle Point encampment is situated right on Eagle Point on the south side of the gulf’s mouth, giving recreation ground visitors views of both Emerald Result and the area of Lake Tahoe. Several encampments in the world have such magnificent environs. They renovated the encampment in 2015.

BASIC INFORMATION

NAMEEmerald Resort
ADDRESS138 Emerald Bay Rd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
OPERATION HOURS7:00 AM to 7:00 PM
OPERATION TIMEDepending on weather and Season
CHECK-IN TIME
CHECK OUT TIME
RATES$35 per dayPremium sites $45
RESERVATIONShttps://www.reservecalifornia.com/
GOOGLE ADDRESS LINKhttps://goo.gl/maps/DuzfVYkG8zVsVXW4A
CONTACT +1 530 541 3030

TENTING

Tenting grounds at Emerald Resort are in different parts of the area. There are 97 encampments, and half of those are for standard tenting and accommodate only tents, recreational vehicles, and trailers. In addition to that, there are 45 sites for tenting. The minimum number of people encampments can accommodate four, and the maximum is eight for some sites. You may as well have the option to stay at premium sites with the lake’s outstanding views. Another option is the boat-in encampments, which are twenty in total. They are located on the north side of Emerald Resort.

Eagle Point encampment

Eagle Point encampment is a popular tenting spot during the summer season. Each family campsite can accommodate a maximum of eight persons. In addition, the sites can accommodate up to two vehicles. If you have any additional vehicles, you may recreation ground them at the Campfire Center.

Boat-In encampments 

You can find the Boat-In encampment on the north side of Emerald Resort. Buoys are available, and tenting takes place on the lakefront encampments. The Boat Camp is open in the summer season only. On Memorial Day weekend, the encampments are first-come, first-served. The encampment will be on reservations in mid-June.

ACTIVITIES AND AMENITIES

  • Boating
  • Boat rentals
  • Family hutments
  • RV access
  • Catching fish
  • Guided Tours
  • Scuba Diving
  • Sea Area
  • Restrooms and Showers
  • Hiking Trails
  • Historical and Cultural Site
  • Picnic Areas
  • Visitor Center
  • Exhibits
  • Swimming
  • Nature and Wildlife Viewing
  • Geocaching
  • Museums

10. BOTHE-NAPA VALLEY PARK

(Credits to Napa Valley)

READ HISTORY

Dr. Charles M. Hitchcock bought a thousand acres of Rancho Carne Humana in 1872 and built a country home beside Ritchey Creek. He called it “Lonely.” More than a century later, the beautiful trails beside the creek endured the time and became Bothe-Napa Valley.

OFFERS NATURAL FEATURES

The majority of the recreation ground landscape is rugged, with up to 2,000 feet elevations. You can see the forests on the north-facing slopes and in canyons and brushy landscape on the south-facing slopes. The sequoias grow only near creeks or springs.

Plantlife encompasses much of the recreation ground’s landscape, principally volcanic, but you can see the sign of the area’s volcanic history in the volcanic ash cliffs of upper Ritchey Canyon.

The recreation ground is home to numerous wildlife like raccoons, gray squirrels, deer, foxes, bobcats, and coyotes. You will seldomly encounter them because most of them hide in the woods and the area’s brushy parts. 

BASIC INFORMATION

NAMEBothe-napa Valley
ADDRESS3801 St Helena Hwy, Calistoga, CA 94515
OPERATION HOURS8:00 AM to Sundown
OPERATION TIME
CHECK-IN TIME2:00 PM
CHECK OUT TIMENoon
RATES$8 per car
$7 per senior
$4 for ADA

Cal Passes are honored
RV Encamp – $35 per day/ vehicle
$8 for additional car

Tenting – $35 per day

Bike Site – $6 per person

ADA accessible Drive-in – $35 per day

Group Campsite – $125 per day

Yurts – $60 per day
RESERVATIONShttp://www.reservecalifornia.com/
GOOGLE ADDRESS LINKhttps://goo.gl/maps/mD5S6ajitm6oGDr86
CONTACT +1 707 942 4575

TENTING

Bothe-Napa Valley provides Ritchey encampment, managed by Napa County regional recreation ground and Open Space District, as its tenting spot. 

Ritchey encampment has 23 encampments for RVs, trailers, or tents. They offer 18 tent sites. Half of them are regular tent sites that may be reserved. The other 9 are walk-in tent sites, which are first-come, first-served. The walk-in sites only accommodate five people per site and one vehicle. Campers enjoy the gentle sounds of the creek passing nearby. 

Ten Yurts are in the recreation ground, some located in the encampment and others in Yurtville. The Yurtville Yurts pick up many highway noises while those in the encampment are well shielded from outside noise. The recreation ground includes a Group Campsite. In addition, the Ritchey encampment has a hike & bike site.

ACTIVITIES AND AMENITIES

  • Hiking
  • Cycling
  • Horseback riding
  • Tenting
  • Trails
  • BBQ grill
  • Potable water
  • Picnicking
  • Accessible Trails
  • ADA accessible
  • RV port
  • Restrooms
  • Fire Ring
  • Picnic Tables

11. VAN DAMME PARK

(Credits to Mendocino Area Association)

You can find Van Damme {Public recreation ground within the Mendocino coast. You can enjoy tenting on the recommended sites beside the Little Stream and the ridge known as Highland Meadow. We are sure that you will take delight in the shore experience, scuba diving, abalone angling, hiking, kayaking, and simply sightseeing.

HISTORY

Van Damme was named after Charles Van Damme. He was born at Little River in 1881 to the early immigrant John and Louise Van Damme, a Flemish couple. Upon his arrival in Mendocino County, Van Damme later worked in the lumber mill at Little Stream. His children were raised in this area, including Charles, whose love for the area prompted his land acquisition. After some years as an excellent operator of the Richmond-San Rafael ferry line, he acquired a plot of ground within the redwood coast. Upon his death, this area became part of the Country recreation ground System in 1934.

NATURAL FEATURES

VDSP showcases a scenic shore, rich greenwood, and tenting spots. You can explore the pygmy woods or launch a kayak into a protected fjord. You can immerse yourself in nature by hiking, jogging, and cycling the Fern Canyon Scenic Trail beside Little Rivers.

VDSP is rich in historical and natural resources, which will pique your interest.

BASIC INFORMATION

NAMEVan Damme
ADDRESS8001 CA-1, Little River, CA 95456
OPERATION HOURS8:00 AM to 9:00 PM
OPERATION TIMEVaries in Season / All-year-round
CHECK-IN TIME
CHECK OUT TIME
RATES$45 per day ($45 in off-season)

Hike & bike – $5 per person
Enroute primitive site – $35

Group Tent Site – $160 per day
RESERVATIONShttps://www.reservecalifornia.com/CaliforniaWebHome/

+1 800 444 7275
GOOGLE ADDRESS LINKhttps://goo.gl/maps/hHANbCpxT2rBDhoT7
CONTACT +1 707 937 5804

CAMPING

You can choose where you can camp from the 68 sites that the VDSP encampment provides. There are five tent-only encampments at the eastern part of the encampments, while the rest can accommodate trailers, recreational vehicles, and all types of tents.

Tenting with the Family

Van Damme provides more than 65 drive-in sites: 63 standards, five tents only, and 1 for groups. Spring through fall; reservations are strongly recommended. 

Moreover, there are nine environmental encampments that you can reach by hiking a couple of mikes up Little Stream from the main campsite. The nation’s recreation ground encampment provides a Hike and bike campsite and a group campsite. These encampments are first-come, first-served basis sites.

Kid-Friendly Tenting

Summer interpretive activities your kids can indulge in include hikes, campfire programs, and junior ranger programs. Schedules for this activity are present in the recreation ground. The hikes and campfire programs are ready for all ages. The junior ranger programs are for visitors aged seven to twelve.

ACTIVITIES AND AMENITIES

  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Birding
  • Jogging
  • Kayaking
  • Botanizing
  • Catching fish
  • Trails
  • Tenting
  • Hike and bike campsite
  • Group Campsite
  • Showers
  • Dump Station
  • RV accessible (35 feet)

12. AHJUMAWI LAVA SPRINGS PARK

(Credits to Cal Public recreation ground)

You will find Ahjumawi Lava Springs in northeastern Shasta County accessible by boat. You should explore this unique area of lakes, underwater springs, and streams that you can find all over the Fall River Valley basin. Furthermore, we are sure that you will enjoy boating or canoeing towards the encampments.

HISTORY

The recreation ground’s name commemorates the Achomawi, the northerly nine bands of the Pit River Tribe of the Native Americans who lived in the northeastern part.

Achomawi or Ahjumawi translates to where the water comes together. The native people took care of the local waterways, monitoring spawning beds, and restricting catches to sustain the fish population they used for food. There are still Achomawi living in the area.

NATURAL FEATURES

The recreation ground itself sits on one of America’s most extensive systems of underwater springs. The water in the springs originates from the snow that melted from the Medicine Lake Volcano Highlands.

Ahjumawi Lava Springs is where the Modoc Plateau converges to a coastal bioregion. This region was formed by volcanic activities that terraformed the area and the geological features. You will see that lava tubes and craters filled with spring water.

The waters from Big Lake, Tule River, Ja She Creek, and Fall River all come together at ALSSP, just like the name Ahjumawi suggests.

The Flora and fauna of the recreation ground are thriving. You will be able to observe different plants and animal species. You will surely enjoy the recreation ground, especially if you are a nature lover.

BASIC INFORMATION

NAMEAhjumawi Lava Springs
ADDRESSMcArthur, CA 96056
OPERATION HOURSSunrise to Sundown
OPERATION TIME8:00 AM to 10:00 PM
CHECK-IN TIMEAnytime
CHECK OUT TIMENoon
RATES$15 per day
RESERVATIONShttp://www.reservecalifornia.com/
GOOGLE ADDRESS LINKhttps://goo.gl/maps/naB671CQnxioAPwq6
CONTACT +1 530 335 2777

CAMPING

There is no reservation system for tenting, and it is first to come – first served. There are nine encampments, spread from more than a mile from the boat launch to three miles. Each site has a food locker, a fire ring, and a picnic table that you can utilize. You must bring your water or filter available water at the recreation ground. Make sure to pack the necessary things you need for tenting and other activities.

You may choose from the recreation ground’s three primitive encampments – Horr Pond, Crystal Springs, and Ja She Creek. All encampments are only accessible by boat. Each encampment has three encampments. There is no drinkable water at the encampments, so bring your own. There are no dump stations, so clean as you leave.

ACTIVITIES AND AMENITIES

  • Boating
  • Tenting
  • Primitive encamp
  • Floating Camps
  • Hiking
  • Catching fish
  • Geocaching
  • Fire Ring
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Nature Sites
  • Historical Site
  • Cultural Sites
  • Boat Ramps
  • Canoeing
  • Restrooms
  • Picnic Table
  • Food Lockers

13. EL CAPITAN STATE PARK 

(Credits to Cal Seashore)

If you visit Santa Barbara and the Ventura County coast, you have many beautiful places to explore. You can drop by El Capitan State Park Shore encampment and enjoy one of the country’s top tenting destinations. There are a lot of things to experience at the shore.

HISTORY

El Capitan was a privately owned encampment during the 1930s. Cali purchased 111 acres of Rancho Cañada del Corral in 1953. They included even the private encampment. The nation used the land to establish ECSB.

NATURAL FEATURES

ECSB showcases the natural landscapes of rocky tidepools, sandy shore, and stands of oaks and sycamore beside El Capitán Creek. It’s the perfect place for swimming, fishing, surfing, picnicking, and tenting. A stairway provides access from the bluffs to the shore area.

BASIC INFORMATION

NAMEEl Capitan State Beaches
ADDRESS1 El Capitan State Beach Rd, Goleta, CA 93117
OPERATION TIMEOpen All-year-round
CHECK-IN TIME2:00 PM
CHECK OUT TIMENoon
RATESPeak season (March – November) – $45

Premium sites peak season – $55

Hike & bike site $10
RESERVATIONShttps://www.reservecalifornia.com/
GOOGLE ADDRESS LINKhttps://goo.gl/maps/DqYN5B5D7iXjkFeD7
CONTACT +1 805 968 1033+1 805 585 1850

CAMPING

The shore encampments at ECSB offer 119 standard sites to accommodate your tenting for recreational vehicles, trailers, and tents. There are nine encampments for RVs and trailers only. You can also avail the 5 Group camps that ECSB has to offer.

El Capitan State Shore Group Sites


Campground
Capacity
Anza32 people
Portola40 people
Ortega Tent Only50 people 
Cabrillo Tent Only60 people
Drake Tent Only60 people 

Vehicle Capacity

Fee per day
8 vehicles 8 vehicles 
10 vehicles10 vehicles
10 vehicles10 vehicles
15 vehicles 15 vehicles 
15 vehicles15 vehicles

ACTIVITIES AND AMENITIES

  • Tenting
  • Hiking
  • Surfing
  • Kiteboarding
  • Fishing
  • Hang gliding
  • Beach Activities
  • Kayaking
  • Boating
  • Boat rentals
  • Picnic table
  • Fire ring
  • Grill
  • Restrooms
  • Flush toilets
  • Amphitheater
  • Stores
  • Hike and bike site
  • RV accessible
  • Trailer Sites
  • Group encampments

14. CRYSTAL COVE STATE PARK

(Credits to Irvine Standard)

HISTORY

Crystal Fjord was primarily part of the Irvine Ranch. The ranch was owned by the Irvine family and The Irvine Company for almost a hundred years. The cottages evolved during the early 1920s to 1930s and were initially built by informal immigrants. In 1940, the Irvine Company began a formal leasing system with the people there.

NATURAL FEATURES

Crystal Fjord is a stretch of coastal cliffs and coastline fjord with panoramic sights. You can find the recreation ground between the Pacific Coast Highway and the Pacific ocean found north of Laguna Beach. 

Visitors may enjoy the three miles of seashore and tidepools, explore 1,400 acres of Marine Conservation Area, underwater recreation ground, bluffs, and canyons.

There are thriving wildlife species in the area. More than 180 species can be found in the recreation ground throughout the year. Animal lovers will surely take delight in the reptiles.

BASIC INFORMATION

NAMECrystal Fjord
ADDRESS8471 N Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach,
CA 92651, United States
OPERATION HOURS6:00 AM to Sundown
OPERATION TIMEOpen All-year-round
CHECK-IN TIME9:00 AM
CHECK OUT TIME9:00 AM
RATES$15 per day / vehicle / additional vehicle

$55 Tenting
RESERVATIONShttps://www.reservecalifornia.com/

+1 800 444 7275
GOOGLE ADDRESS LINKhttps://goo.gl/maps/Za3sx6gtPVMmNTm46
CONTACT +1 949 494 3539

CAMPING

You can stay at the recreation grounds Lower Moro, Upper Moro, and Deer Canyon encampments. These sites are not for shore tenting. These sites are primitive tent sites accessible by foot. You will surely enjoy the three-mile hike inland from the garage area.

Drinking water is not available. You should clean your area and not leave any garbage.

Campfire is not allowed; stoves are the only ones permitted. 

You cannot bring your pets to the recreation ground; yes, we know it is sad.

ACTIVITIES AND AMENITIES

  • Tenting
  • Hiking
  • Tide Pool Exploration
  • Swimming 
  • Surfing
  • Bicycling
  • Wildlife viewing
  • Seashore cottages
  • Visitor Center
  • Restaurants
  • Garage
  • Coastal Terrace
  • Museums

15. JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK

(Credits to NBC Los Angeles)

HISTORY

Joshua Tree was proclaimed a public monument in 1936 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and accorded public recreation ground status in 1994.

NATURAL FEATURES

The recreation ground is home to old rocks that date back billions of years. The landscape was a product of volcanic activity and tectonic plates moving. The rock landscapes of JTNP are thanks to the groundwater in the area.

BASIC INFORMATION

NAMEJoshua Tree
ADDRESS74485 National Park Drive
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277-3597
OPERATION HOURSOpen 24 hours
OPERATION TIMEOpen All-year-round
RATESEntrance Fee – $30

7-day vehicle permit, admission for
passengers of a single, non-commercial
vehicle on the day of purchase, and six days.

Motorcycle Entrance Fee – $25

7-day entrance permit, per motorcycle.

Individual Entrance Fee – $15

7-day entrance fee, per person

Joshua Tree Annual Pass – $55

The pass is given for twelve months from
the purchase date. The pass includes the
entrance fee to JTN Park for the
contracting party and accompanying
passengers entering a single,
non-commercial vehicle. Can buy Joshua
Tree Annual Passes at recreation ground
entrance stations and visitor centers.
RESERVATIONShttps://www.recreation.gov/
GOOGLE ADDRESS LINKhttps://goo.gl/maps/yJzsfyuV5QKifvxs9
CONTACT +1 760 367 5500

CAMPING

If you plan to do tenting in the summer season, all encampments are first-come, first-served. You don’t need a reservation. However, some encampments may be closed during this time.

The majority of the sites in the recreation ground are by reservation from September to May. There are more than 500 encampments available, which are many options for your trip.

Joshua Tree National recreation ground

CampgroundCampsitesElevationFee per dayAmenities
Black Rock99 sites4000 ft$25 • Water
• Flush toilets
• Tables
• Fire grates
• Dump station
Cottonwood62 sites3000 ft$25 • Water
• Flush toilets
• Tables
• Fire grates
• Dump station
Indian Fjord101 sites3200 ft$25 • Pit toilets
• Tables
• Fire grates
• No water
Jumbo Rocks124 sites4400 ft$20 • Pit toilets
• Tables
• Fire grates
• No water
Ryan31 sites4300 ft$20 • Pit toilets
• Tables
• Fire grates
• No water
Belle18 sites3800 ft$15 • Pit toilets
• Tables
• Fire grates
• No water
Hidden Valley44 sites4200 ft$15 • Pit toilets
• Tables
• Fire grates
• No water
White Tank15 sites3800 ft$15 • Pit toilets
• Tables
• Fire grates
• No water

ACTIVITIES AND AMENITIES

  • Tenting
  • Hiking
  • Photography
  • Birding
  • Stargazing
  • Biking
  • Rock climbing
  • Ranger programs
  • Backpacking
  • Horseback riding
  • Biking
  • Rock climbing

BEST TO PREPARE ALONG THE ROAD FOR GREAT CAMPING TRIP

For an encamp trip, roaming around Northern Cal is not a walk in the recreation ground. But it could make your life easier if you have the proper gear for tenting. Check on news information like weather and other valuable data about North Cal so you will not be surprised. We have come up with a list to help you decide what to bring during your tenting on Northern Cal. This list is for tenting and RV encampments alike.

  • Tent – choose your desired tent for Cal tenting based on the number of people to use it. Check out online reviews for tents so you will know what to buy. There are many tents to select from online or to your nearest store. The tent must be your precedence when in camp; the evening could be cold, and the days could be so scorching, you need somewhere to relax and be at home while on your encamp journey.
  • Portable Grill/ Stove – portable cooking tools are essential when in camp. A portable cooker helps prepare your meals. Check online reviews if you are having a hard time picking one.
  • Cooler/ Food Storage – secure and keep your food safe if you are in camp for days. It would be advisable to have a durable storage box for food not to be spoiled. You can add some ice and make your drinks chilled.
  • Tenting Mattress – some grounds are not smooth and may hurt your back, primarily if you lie down your tent on the ground. Choose a mattress that can fit perfectly inside the tent you have.
  • Awning – one of the significant additional upgrades to your recreational vehicle if you want extra shade or put up tables beside your RV. Many item reviews for awning can be helpful for you to pick the right one. Northern Cal can be pretty hot during sunny days. It is better to have a protective shade.
  • RV TV – if you are tired of the activities and still want some entertainment, turn on the TV! If you have a television in your RV, you won’t get tired at all. Having options for recreation while on a trip is best for you. Can update you with the news and weather if you have one.
  • RV LED BULB – having an extra bulb in case of emergency replacement is an absolute must, especially if you plan for an overnight. During the evening you need light so have an extra.
  • RV Air Condition – traveling in comfort is the best. If the recreation ground or encampment you plan to travel to has high temperatures, a working AC unit is what you need for your RV, and it should be reliable. A suitable AC unit will help maintain the temperature during the scorching seasons. Northern Cal generally has hot and dry summers, so better prepare for it.
  • RV Dehumidifier – buy a humidifier and use it to control the humidity to avoid high levels that can cause your RV to be moist. It may pose some problems if you don’t have one installed. Having a dehumidifier will be helpful to maintain comfort in the RV. There is a high chance of high humidity in Northern Cal, so always be prepared.
  • RV GPS – like any trip, you should have a guide. A functional GPS is crucial if you do not know where you are traveling in Northern Cal. Check reviews online to pick a quality GPS. Your phone’s GPS is not always working, so it is better to have one installed in the RV. A GPS is helpful in situations like these.
  • RV Sewer Hose – some encampments have sewage hookups. You must have a reliable sewer hose so that it won’t leak. Look for a sewer hose review that will be helpful for you to get a quality one. If you plan to stay for a few days, your tanks may get filled. You can empty them through sewer hookups by using your sewer hoses.
  • RV Lock  – a durable lock is vital to secure your belongings. It would help if you always kept your recreational vehicles in check. Doors and windows should permanently be shut because wild animals can come inside your RV and destroy some of your stuff inside. Check out a lock review online for guidance.
  • RV Converter – You don’t want to damage your appliances, so it is essential to have a converter. Some appliances require a specific output so that a converter will come in handy.
  • RV Tow Dolly – if you have a vehicle or trailer to tow, this comes in handy. A tow dolly can be helpful during an emergency. Ensure you install a durable and reliable tow dolly to serve its purpose well.
  • Instant Foods – you must pack instant, canned foods, food packs for additional supplies. It can be for urgent needs or just added for the fresh foods you plan to eat.
  •  Utensils – You should bring your portable utensils to minimize your carbon footprint while visiting recreation grounds. If you bring disposable ones, clean them as you leave, don’t just throw them anywhere. 
  • Personal hygiene – clean yourself after a tiring day of activities. Some camps have showers, so you need your bathroom supplies.
  • First Aid supplies – you better be prepared for any eventuality. If you get hurt or have a minor accident, it is better to have the tools to treat your injuries before heading to the hospital for the proper treatment. Having first-aid can minimize the chance of aggravating an injury.
  • Toilet Paper – make sure you have the toilet paper brand that you are comfortable using. Check out the review for toilet paper; it will be helpful.
  • Clothes – some activities may get you all dirty while in North Cal. Get changed for extra comfort while doing activities.
  • Foldable table – having a handy table while eating with the family. Just store it away easily when done. Folding tables are space savers.
  • Foldable Camp Chair – this chair is perfect to put up beside your campsite or RV. They can easily be stored when not needed.

NIGHT GEAR

  • Sleeping bag
  • Pillows
  • Gravel tent pad ( for rough ground)
  • Extra Blankets
  • Screen tent

MEDICAL SET

  • First Aid Kit
  • Ointment
  • Aloe Lotion
  • Medicines for allergies
  • Saline Solution
  • Band-aids
  • Towels

GENERAL CAMPING SET AND TOOLS ALONG THE ROAD

Here are some additional items that will aid you in your encamp trip. Remember, this is not a mandatory guide; however, it is better to prepare for your trip.

  • Rucksack
  • Flashlight plus batteries
  • Solar charger
  •  cables
  • Thermacell bug spray/ repellent
  • Water filter
  • GPS
  • Propane-powered lantern, solar-powered lights, or awning lights Cell signal booster
  • Compass
  • Pocket knife, multi-tool, pliers, and wrenches
  • Binoculars
  • Rope, cable ties, and duct tape
  • Hammock, mat patio, or patio rug 
  • Extension
  • Travel chairs plus folding table (if not given)

TOILET ESSENTIALS ALONG THE ROAD

Some encampments and sites offer toilet amenities, but some are just primitive encampments. You must bring towels, toilet paper, shampoo, alcohol, etc. You should bring comfy slippers so you can relax and not walk barefoot.

COOKING PARAPHERNALIA ALONG THE ROAD

Here are the available cooking materials you need when tenting. Remember that not all encampments allow some cooking tools, so you should review the regulations.

  • Utensils
  • Plates
  • Tumblers
  • Airtight containers
  • Ziplock bags
  • Portable stove or grill 
  • Cooler
  • Cooking oil

MISCELLANEOUS TRAVEL SET

Traveling and tenting sure do take a lot of effort and expenses. If you are on a budget, we do not recommend you bring a lot. But if you can, here are the things that you can add to your bag for a memorable encamp trip in Northern Cal.

  • Memory Cards
  • Cameras 
  • Drones (check for encampment regulations)
  • Toys for Kids 
  • pet essentials
  • Board games/cards ( for additional fun)
  • Telescopes
  • Night vision eyeglass
  • Bikes
  • Extra batteries
  • Power bank

GENERAL GUIDELINES

Here are Cali Public recreation grounds and other encampments’ general guidelines to give you a summary of the regulations. The Department of Parks and Recreation strictly enforces these regulations to protect the areas and future generations. It is essential to ensure your safety. Remember to adhere to these regulations so your trip will be a pleasant one.

Tenting

Due to the current news restrictions because of COVID-19, recreation grounds and encampments have stricter guidelines to follow protocol. Encamp is allowed in most recreation grounds, but you must follow the regulations to maintain your safety and those around you.

Some encampments are still temporarily unavailable. Most encampments have reopened with modifications using this phased and regionally driven approach.

Cali recreation ground departments are making an effort to increase land recreation ground access while complying with state and local public health ordinances. The management will post current news and advise you of the changes in advance.

Natural Features

The main attractions of the recreation ground are its ecosystem and the plants and animals inside them. The Federal regulations protect them from being exploited. Remember to follow each recreation ground’s regulations to avoid disturbing and destroying these natural resources.

Camp Fires

Making a campfire is only permitted in facilities that allow the activity. Disastrous fires are being avoided by encampments that prohibit this activity. You must be responsible for putting out the fire you created on your site. Use extreme caution in dealing with fire to avoid damaging natural resources.

Animals

Pets. Not all encampments and recreation grounds allow pets. Some of them allow you to enjoy the area provided that you keep them on a leash. Keeping them on a leash will prevent damaging or disturbing other wild animals or visitors in the area.

Hunting. Firearms or loaded weapons like air rifles are not allowed in the System. There are some exceptions for areas designated as hunting areas by the Federal Admin that manages recreation grounds.

Wood. The gathering of down wood is prohibited. This regulation is to maintain the natural conditions of the recreation ground. They store fuel. Do not remove any wood or damage any trees in the recreation ground you visit.

Drones. Drones are allowed in some recreation grounds, seashores, and recreational areas. Just make sure you contact the place you visit and ask if drones are allowed. Adhere to rules and regulations so you will not incur any violations and fees.

Wild Animals. You can enjoy viewing the thriving wildlife of the recreation ground while not disturbing them. Do not try to interact or touch them to maintain your safety.

Smoking. Smoking is not allowed in recreation grounds except in designated areas.

Vehicles. There are designated garage areas for vehicles. Do not layby illegally to avoid inconveniences the management and other people. Adhere to pavement regulations like the speed limit to avoid danger.

Garbage. Clean as you leave, some sites have dump stations, and some do not. Nevertheless, cleanliness is a priority, so be part of it to maintain the recreation ground’s integrity.


CONCLUSION

Encamp in North Cal is rated as a fun and exciting experience that you can have. The place has many recreational activities that you can explore alone or with your friends and family.

We hope to give you ideas on what to expect on your trip to North Cal. Nature is the best haven rated for relaxation from your urban life. If you have the chance for a break, grab it and head to some of the destinations we provided you.

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