15 Excellent Camping Locations For The Outdoor Enthusiast
Of all the amazing things about Northern California, one of my favorite things is the proximity to almost any type of outdoor activity you can think of. We are a mere hours from the beach, mountains, desert, snow and camping in some of the most incredible forests and landscapes.
In California, temperatures rise sharply a month or so before Summer even begins and usually last well into the Fall. Given that camping typically ranges from about June through October, camping is an activity that is perfect for almost half the year!
With June camping seasons having officially kicked off, here are 15 of the most amazing areas to camp in Northern, CA.
Sly Creek Campground and Reservoir located in Plumas National Forest is about two hours from Sacramento, CA and is a short distance from Strawberry, CA. Typically this campground sees medium to heavy use, given that it has 23 camp sites across the road and directly by the water. The campground is close to the water's boat ramp and is the perfect place to enjoy the sun while you swim for the day. You can score a camp spot here for just $20 bucks, but note that this campground is first come, first serve.
Stumpy Meadows Campground and Reservoir is located by Georgetown, CA and has been a local favorite and deserves a shout out. With the ability to reserve a spot and camp grounds that are usually not incredibly busy, this is an ideal location for a relaxing weekend. It has clear warm water, access to drinking water & toilets and is on the less expensive side at around $22 per campsite.
3. Sugar Pine
Sugar Pine campground has been a Northern, CA favorite for years. Nestled in the gorgeous Lake Tahoe area, this campsite has access to beautiful views, fun hiking trails and much more. Campsites are in the mid-price range at around $35 per site.
The beautiful Scotts Flat Lake campground is located in Nevada City and has over 185 developed tent and RV camp sites for the outdoor enthusiast. Campgrounds 1-9 on the lake usually fill up to capacity quickly, but opting for a campground a little further back still gives you access to the water while adding a bonus of much more seclusion and privacy. The campgrounds run about $32 per site and you certainly can't beat the views and perfect boating conditions.
Worried about getting a spot? Don't be! Lake Camanche features 762 ten and RV sites spread out across hundreds of acres at both North and South shores of the lake. That's right - over SEVEN HUNDRED possible camping sites, making this a great choice for any folks wanting to secure a camping spot anytime virtually year-round. Both shores also feature options for alcohol-free camp sites for more family friendly places to stay. These campground are also more price-friendly at around $28 per site.
6. Donner Lake
Donner Lake campgrounds are easily one of the most popular camping locations on the list, and for good reason! There are working toilets, laundry facilities, hot showers and RV sites with electricity and water, making this ideal for longer stays. Campgrounds at Donner run around $35 per night and there are around 138 sites to choose from.
Perfect for secluded fishing, boating, camping and hiking, Echo Lake which is located in El Dorado County, is ideal for the nature lover! Clear water, easy to moderate scenic hiking trails and a water taxi will give you the fullest Echo Lake experience.
Pipi Campground (pronounced "pie pie") offers 33 RV and 51 tent sites for camping along the middle fork of the Cosumnes River, ideal for great fishing and swimming opportunities. Daily rates start at $22, making it a more inexpensive option for those who want more time for their buck. Campers love this location because camp sites are spacious, bathrooms are never too far & are said to be very clean, and folks often state that you can't hear traffic noise.
Off the beaten path, Mokelumne River is one of the smallest and rugged campsites on our list but what it lacks in campsite space it makes up in beauty and privacy! There are 13 tent and RV sites, which are first come first serve. Mokelumne wilderness is a popular destination for backpackers or equestrian folks, mostly in summer months. This campsite is often times FREE, just be sure to bring plenty of bug spray.
10. Bear River
The Bear River is part of a large network of streams draining the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. Whether you enjoy camping, fishing, water skiing, hiking, or swimming, Bear River Lake Resort is the place to be. With 22 family campsites at $33 per day, there is plenty of space and plenty to do. Something different about this particular location on our list is the ability to rent cabins! Rates start at $117 and lower to $102/night if you stay 2 nights or more. Cabins are the perfect solution for families who prefer a little more comfort while getting the camping in Summer experience.
The gorgeous Emerald Cove Marina at Bullards Bar is camping must this Summer because of the sheer number of things to do. The water is clean and beautiful which makes for an incredible day tubing and skiing on the lake. Campers love this location for the ability to rent water toys and access floating restrooms at various points at the lake. Take a spin in the canoe or kayak before headed back to relax and your campsite, which you can reserve a head of time, taking much of the stress out of the process. There are five various campsites with dozens of tent and RV sites to choose from within each. They all start at $24 per night.
12. Camp Lotus
Camp Lotus, located on the south fork of the American River is one of the best family-friendly sites on our list as it has plenty of space and an on-site deli and store. It has 20 natural campsites with adjacent parking, perfect for groups of 5-50 people. This particular campsite is also ideal for fans of river rafting as the location is central to rafting locations. Campsites start at $27 and be sure to note that unfortunately no pets are allowed.
According to Sierra Nevada Geotourism, "Lakes Basin Campground is located in the Lakes Basin Recreation Area. Located nine miles southwest of Graeagle, California, this recreation area has special geological features. There is breathtaking scenery and over 20 small lakes nearby, most of which are accessible by hiking trails. This area provices a multitude of recreational activities including camping, fishing, boating, hunting, mountain biking, horseback riding, picnicking, hiking, backpacking, swimming, windsurfing and nature study. In the winter visitors can ice fish, snowmobile, cross-country ski and showshoe."
There are 23 campsites available to campers at $19 per site, making it the second cheapest location on the list. Pets allowed!
14. South Lake Tahoe
'The Campground by the Lake', located next to the Big Blue herself, is one of the most popular camp sites in South Lake Tahoe making it a must for the list. Aside from many tent and RV sites to choose from, the campground features a camp store on site, as well as a pool complex for warmer water and tent camper rentals. This location is extra convenient for those who want to eat out and walk around the city while still enjoying a peaceful stay at the campground. Reservations are accepted and campsites start at $55 per night.
15. North Lake Tahoe
If you're more #TeamNorthLake, consider William Kent Campground. With 84 sites available for tents and RVs, there is plenty of space for all. Although not in immediate view of water, there are excellent walking and biking trails to relax on. Being close to town also gives you access to shops and dining to fit the needs of all self-proclaimed "glampers." Rates start at $23/night.