California has more places to go camping than you could count. The range from minimalist spots on federal land to upscale RV resorts with "glamping" (glamorous camping) that rivals the nicest hotels.
I'm not going to give you an unfiltered list of every campground in California. Enough people have done that already and I don't find it particularly helpful. Instead, the campground lists below feature the nicest, most conveniently located, best-rated options for camping in and around some of California's busiest tourist spots.
Camping in Southern California
Catalina is a gorgeous place, with lots of well-protected open spaces. Getting there with your camping gear can be worth it - but it's also a hassle. Find out what you can take on the boat - and what you can't - and get some ideas for ways to enjoy the experience without the drudgery.
Death Valley Summers are hot, but in winter when temperatures are comfortable, Death Valley is a great place to camp, away from all the city lights - especially during a meteor shower
You'll find a lot of options for RVs and tent campers near the theme park, some with lots of nice amenities and all within close driving distance
You'll only find a couple of campgrounds in the heart of Los Angeles, but we've got some good alternatives not too far away
San Diego is California's best city if you want to camp right in the middle of things, with several nice campgrounds that are very close to all the attractions, some of them right on Mission Bay
The appeal of Big Bear is its location: close to Los Angeles, in the mountains and near a lake. Unless you have the gear, it's better in summer than winter
Camping on California's Coast
The Big Sur coastline can be spectacularly scenic, but don't count on finding a campsite with a view. What you will find are some great places, tucked into pretty forests or beside a stream
Places to camp in and around Cambria, Morro Bay, San Simeon and Hearst Castle
California's northern coast offers some pretty spots for camping, on the beach or beside the river
Campgrounds around the Monterey peninsula
The big draw in Pismo Beach are the nearby sand dunes, and you'll find a wide range of places to camp that are near the beach
The area around Santa Barbara is sometimes called the "banana belt" for its mild climate, making it a great camping destination almost year round
The hard part about finding a place to camp around Santa Cruz is deciding whether to do it on the beach or in the mountains
Camping in Northern California
California's most scenic lake is a great place for summer camping, with some nice places in around the lake and in the nearby forests
Napa may be better known for luxury resorts and cozy B&Bs, but you'll also find a few good places to camp in the area
You won't find a place to pitch your tent or hook up your RV in the city of San Francisco, but there are a few campgrounds nearby
Like its busier neighbor to the north, Sequoia offers some nice mountain campgrounds, inside and outside the national park
Two of the most scenic natural areas in northern California are Mount Shasta and nearby Shasta Lake. And lucky you, you can camp there.
Yosemite is one of California's most popular camping spots, with all kinds of options in the park and nearby, including tent camping, tent cabins, and RV spots