San Francisco, with its bustling city life and iconic landmarks, is undoubtedly a vibrant and exciting place to be. But sometimes, you just need a break from the urban hustle and bustle. Thankfully, the Bay Area surrounding San Francisco is home to a diverse range of camping experiences that offer the perfect escape into nature’s beauty. From breathtaking coastal views to towering redwoods, there’s a campground near San Francisco to suit every outdoor enthusiast’s taste.
In this article, we’ll explore 14 top-rated campgrounds near San Francisco that are sure to make your camping adventure unforgettable. Whether you prefer beachside camping, hiking through ancient forests, or enjoying panoramic vistas, you’ll find the perfect spot to pitch your tent or park your RV. So, pack your gear, leave the city behind, and get ready to embark on an outdoor adventure like no other.
1. Kirby Cove Campground, Marin Headlands
Located in the Marin Headlands, the Kirby Cove Campground offers a tucked-away escape just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. This hidden gem is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, providing campers with unbeatable views of the bay and the iconic bridge. With only five available sites, Kirby Cove offers a peaceful and intimate camping experience.
To reach the campground, campers must take a short walk from the parking area, and each site can accommodate up to 10 people. Reservations are necessary, especially during weekends between March and November. It’s essential to bring your own water and supplies, as there are no facilities on-site. Kirby Cove is a tent-only campground, and three cars are allowed per site.
Adjacent to Battery Kirby, you’ll find the Bicentennial Campground, offering three additional sites with similar amenities. Both campgrounds provide an opportunity to immerse yourself in nature while being just a stone’s throw away from the city.
Address: 948 Fort Barry, Sausalito, California
Official site: Kirby Cove Campground
2. Haypress Campground, Tennessee Valley
Just north of the Golden Gate Bridge in the Marin Headlands, the Haypress Campground awaits nature enthusiasts seeking a serene camping experience. This hike-in campground features five campsites nestled within the verdant Tennessee Valley. The three-quarters-of-a-mile hike from the Tennessee Valley parking area to the campground is relatively flat and offers a pleasant introduction to the campground’s tranquil surroundings.
Each campsite at Haypress can accommodate four tents, making it perfect for small groups or families. Reservations are required, and campers must bring their own water. A vault toilet is available at the campground. For those seeking a longer hike, the Hawk Campground is accessible from the same parking area and offers three sites with similar amenities.
Address: Marin Headlands, Sausalito, California
Official site: Haypress Campground
3. Back Ranch Meadows Campground, China Camp State Park
Nestled on the Marin County coastline near San Rafael, China Camp State Park is a haven for beachgoers, history buffs, and overnight campers. This scenic park showcases the region’s rich heritage, from the indigenous cultures that first settled here to the Chinese fishing village that flourished during the California Gold Rush.
The Back Ranch Meadows Campground at China Camp State Park features 33 developed sites, offering visitors a unique camping experience surrounded by nature. Campers must walk up to 300 yards from the parking area to access the campsites, but wheelbarrows are available to help transport gear. The campground provides potable water, flushing toilets, and a chance to explore the park’s hiking trails.
One popular trail is the Shoreline Trail, which leads campers from the campground to the historic China Camp Village and China Camp Beach. The park’s roads are also a favorite among cyclists looking to enjoy the scenic shoreline views.
Address: 100 China Camp Village Road, San Rafael, California
Official site: China Camp State Park
4. Francis Beach Campground, Half Moon Bay State Beach
Located just 45 minutes south of San Francisco on Highway 1, Half Moon Bay State Beach offers a coastal camping experience that feels like a tropical getaway. With five white, sandy beaches and calm surf, this state beach is a haven for beach lovers.
On the southern end of Half Moon Bay State Beach, you’ll find the Francis Beach Campground. This campground features 52 campsites, some of which are suitable for RVs and motorhomes. Three grassy sites closest to the ocean are reserved for tents. The campground provides potable water, flushing toilets, and coin-operated showers for all overnight guests.
From the campground, you can explore the Half Moon Bay Coastal Trail, which offers stunning views of the coastline. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Mavericks, a popular spot for big wave surfing located just four miles north of the campground.
Address: Kelly Avenue, Half Moon Bay, California
Official site: Half Moon Bay State Beach
5. Juniper Campground, Mount Diablo State Park
For breathtaking panoramic views and stunning sunsets, head to Juniper Campground in Mount Diablo State Park. Located on the summit of Mount Diablo, this campground offers 32 campsites that provide the perfect base for exploring the park’s hiking trails and enjoying the natural beauty of the East Bay.
Reaching Juniper Campground requires a scenic drive up the mountain, but be cautious if you’re driving a large truck or trailer. The route is popular among cyclists, so watch out for bike passing lanes. Reservations are recommended, especially during busy summer weekends.
All overnight guests at Mount Diablo State Park have access to potable water, flushing toilets, and coin-operated showers. If Juniper Campground is fully booked, Live Oak Campground offers an additional 22 sites with similar amenities. The park also has five group campsites available, accommodating up to 50 people.
Don’t forget to visit the Summit Visitor Center for historical information about the park and take a stroll along the Mary Bowerman Interpretive Trail, which leads to the 3,849-foot summit of Mount Diablo.
Official site: Mount Diablo State Park
6. Bootjack and Pantoll Campgrounds, Mount Tamalpais State Park
Escape the city and explore the enchanting beauty of Mount Tamalpais State Park. This sprawling park in Marin County offers over 6,000 acres of redwood groves, hiking trails, and breathtaking vistas. Within its borders, you’ll also find the famous Muir Woods National Monument.
Mount Tamalpais State Park is home to two first-come, first-served campgrounds: Bootjack and Pantoll. Both campgrounds are located on Panoramic Highway, less than six miles from Muir Woods. Overnight visitors will need to take a short walk from the parking area to reach the campgrounds.
At Bootjack and Pantoll Campgrounds, you’ll find a total of 30 campsites, each surrounded by towering redwoods. The campgrounds provide basic amenities, including potable water, flushing toilets, and fire rings. If you’re looking for a unique experience, consider booking one of the eight rustic coastal cabins at the Steep Ravine Cabins and Environmental Campground, situated at the coastal end of the Steep Ravine Trail.
Address: 3801 Panoramic Highway, Mill Valley, California
Official site: Mount Tamalpais State Park
7. Rob Hill Campground, San Francisco Presidio
If you prefer to camp within the city limits, Rob Hill Campground in the San Francisco Presidio is the perfect choice. Situated on the highest point of the Presidio, this campground offers stunning views of Baker Beach and Crissy Field, with the Golden Gate Bridge as a backdrop.
Rob Hill Campground is exclusively for group camping, making it ideal for outdoor enthusiasts looking to connect with friends or family. The campground features two large group sites, each accommodating up to 30 people. Each site has separate picnic and barbecue areas, allowing for shared meals and memorable gatherings. RVs and trailers are not permitted at the campground, ensuring a peaceful and intimate camping experience.
Due to high demand, reservations are highly recommended and must be made in advance.
Address: 1475 Central Magazine Road, San Francisco, California
Official site: Rob Hill Campground
8. Anthony Chabot Family Campground, Anthony Chabot Regional Park
Located just 20 miles from downtown Oakland in the East Bay, the Anthony Chabot Family Campground offers a fantastic camping experience for families and outdoor enthusiasts. Set within Anthony Chabot Regional Park, this campground provides 53 standard sites, 12 RV sites with full hookups, and 10 walk-in campsites exclusively for tents.
Nature lovers will appreciate the proximity of the Honker Bay Trail, which leads from the campground to Lake Chabot. The lake is frequently stocked, making it a great spot for fishing. All overnight guests at Anthony Chabot have access to potable water, flushing toilets, and hot showers.
If you’re looking for additional camping options in the area, consider visiting Redwood Regional Park, which is connected to Anthony Chabot by a hiking trail. Redwood Regional Park features three different group sites, including the Fern Dell Group Campground, which can accommodate up to 50 people. For a different experience, head east to Lake Del Valle Family Campground, operated by the East Bay Regional Park District, and enjoy a camping trip just over an hour away from San Francisco.
Address: 9999 Redwood Road, Castro Valley, California
Official site: Anthony Chabot Regional Park
9. Angel Island Environmental Campsites, Angel Island State Park
For a truly unique camping experience, venture to Angel Island State Park, the largest natural island in the San Francisco Bay. Only accessible by ferry or personal boat, Angel Island offers a sparsely populated landscape with 13 miles of trails, perfect for day hikers.
The island’s trail system leads to three environmental campgrounds, where campers can enjoy the solitude of nature. Each campground offers a single campsite, and visitors must hike in their own gear. The campgrounds provide water and vault toilets for campers’ convenience.
Angel Island State Park also features a small beach, which has an additional environmental campground exclusively for kayakers. If you’re looking for a camping experience that truly immerses you in the beauty of the San Francisco Bay, Angel Island is the perfect destination.
Official site: Angel Island State Park
10. Coast Camp, Point Reyes National Seashore
Point Reyes National Seashore, the only designated national seashore on the West Coast, offers a unique coastal camping experience just an hour’s drive north of San Francisco. While there are no car or RV camping options available, the park provides four hike-in campgrounds, each offering a chance to immerse yourself in the beauty of this coastal wilderness.
Coast Camp, located 1.8 miles from the nearest trailhead, is a popular choice for campers seeking proximity to the beach and the soothing sounds of crashing waves. With 12 individual sites and two group sites, Coast Camp provides a vault toilet and water faucet for campers’ convenience. Reservations are required to stay at any of the hike-in camps in Point Reyes.
Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the park’s extensive trail network, including the Skyline to the Sea Trail, which stretches from the ridge of the Santa Cruz Mountains to the majestic Pacific Ocean.
Address: 1 Bear Valley Visitor Center Access Road, Point Reyes Station, California
11. Samuel P. Taylor State Park
Located on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge, Samuel P. Taylor State Park offers a quick escape from the city. This beautiful park in Marin County features a family campground surrounded by lush greenery and towering redwoods. With approximately 60 non-electric sites, the campground caters to both tents and larger recreational vehicles.
All overnight guests at Samuel P. Taylor State Park have access to potable water, flushing restrooms, and coin-operated showers. Reservations are recommended, especially during the summer season and weekends. Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the park’s hiking trails, which offer excellent views of the majestic redwood trees.
Samuel P. Taylor State Park is also a great starting point for exploring other attractions in Marin County, including the nearby Point Reyes National Seashore.
12. Portola Redwoods Campground, Portola Redwoods State Park
For an enchanting camping experience in the Santa Cruz Mountains, head to Portola Redwoods State Park. This secluded park, located approximately 55 miles south of San Francisco, offers a serene camping experience surrounded by towering redwoods.
To reach Portola Redwoods Campground, visitors must navigate a curvy road leading into the park’s secluded 2,800 acres. This quiet forest setting provides the perfect backdrop for a peaceful camping trip. The campground offers over 50 family campsites, each equipped with picnic tables and fire rings.
While there are no hookups available, the campground provides potable water, flushing restrooms, and coin-operated showers. Portola Redwoods is best suited for tent camping or small recreational vehicles due to the narrow sites and winding entrance road.
Address: 9000 Portola State Park Road, La Honda, California
Official site: Portola Redwoods State Park
13. Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
For a camping experience in Sonoma County, look no further than Sugarloaf Ridge State Park. Situated just 20 miles from the city of Sonoma, this 4,000-plus-acre park offers stunning natural beauty and a wealth of outdoor activities.
Sugarloaf Ridge State Park features 49 campsites available by advance reservation. The campsites are located along one large loop and spur near Sonoma Creek, providing a tranquil setting for campers. The campground offers potable water, flushing restrooms, and coin-operated showers for the convenience of overnight guests.
The park is an excellent basecamp for adventure, with 21 miles of hiking trails to explore. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Robert Ferguson Observatory, where public stargazing is available. Nearby, you’ll find Jack London State Historic Park, which preserves the ranch of the famous author and his final resting place.
14. Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Last but certainly not least, Big Basin Redwoods State Park is a must-visit campground for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. As the oldest state park in California, Big Basin is home to the largest grove of ancient redwood trees south of the Bay Area.
The park offers four different campgrounds, providing a total of 146 campsites. Whether you’re tent camping, RV camping, or seeking a group camping experience, there’s a spot for everyone. The campgrounds are nestled amidst the towering redwoods, offering a truly immersive experience in nature.
All developed campgrounds at Big Basin provide potable water, flushing toilets, and coin-operated showers. Two of the campgrounds, Huckleberry and Sequoia, are open year-round, while reservations are recommended for the others. The park also offers tent cabins and backcountry hike-in campsites for those seeking a more unique camping experience.
With over 80 miles of hiking trails, including the famous Skyline to the Sea Trail, Big Basin Redwoods State Park is a paradise for hikers and nature enthusiasts alike. Please note that a portion of the park was affected by the 2020 CZU Lightning Complex Fire, and some areas may still be closed for regrowth and rehabilitation.
Address: 21600 Big Basin Way, Boulder Creek, California
Official site: Big Basin Redwoods State Park