I have lived in California since 1971. In this time I have learned that camping in California
comes in a number of different locations. You can go from a desert to beautiful snow capped
mountain peaks to gigantic redwood forests.
Here in California we do have over 270 state parks alone that go from the dry desert of Mojave
all the way to the ocean breezy Southern California beaches and up to the pristine parks of
It is really a question of what type of climate that you prefer. We have it all here with our
You can choose by the season if that interests you. You can choose by the view if that floats
If you're looking for the best California campgrounds then you can choose from the beauty of
Yosemite with it's wonderful mountains or you can go to the seashore at one of our ocean front
Here where I live in northern California we have the Truckee area near Tahoe or the Redwood
forests to run too. I also go up to Ice house area near Lake Tahoe on the California side.
A lot of people will run to Southern California coastal areas due to Disneyland and the infamous
So that crowd would do better to camp at the best southern California campgrounds as I don't see
them driving all the way upstate to a northern California campground.
Good thing southern California has a ton of good campsites such as in the Santa Ana Mountains
or how about the Mojave desert or even down in Joshua Tree just to name a few.
I think the best thing about camping in southern California are the beach campsites. There is
nothing like going to sleep near the ocean believe you me!
Down there in southern California they are famous for our sunny weather and sandy beaches so
take advantage of it.
You can find some real good sites at the state parks such as Doheny, South Carlsbad or San Elijo
in southern California.
One thing to note is that each park will have its own fee structure and rules.
Usually if you're paying a daily fee that is only for parking on state property. Otherwise you
won't get charged just for going into the park.
Now that I am on the subject of California campground fees let me state that they are usually
based on the type of site that you're at. We have the developed ones, with flushable toilets and
showers or you can go primitive. Again whatever floats your boat.
Some other considerations to the fees are that you may find some of the California campgrounds
charging more during peak season times. Hey everyone has to make a buck.
Which brings me to the question of what is a good time for you the reader to get out and go
camping in California?
Well, in answer (and I hope this works for you), is that it will depend on the location and the
season. You have to take into account holidays or peak times and when the parks close.
Most of the best California campgrounds are open staring in the months of May or April and
they usually stay open till around September or October.
So, what you want to do is pick a date and location then just reserve a site for you and your
family or friends way in advance. This way you are almost guaranteed to get a site. Remember
the best California campgrounds are in high demand.
I workout with a guy who reserves his yearly California camping trip 7 months ahead every year
as he always wants to get these certain sites that he uses every year for the past 20 years.
But, beware some sites are on a first come first served bases such as Ice House are campgrounds
here in northern California.
Let me let you in on a little secret. The best time to visit a campsite is either Wednesday or
Thursday. Then you can be assured that you can reserve a site and you can check it out to see if
you truly like it.
Good luck! Chris.