5. NEVADA BEACH CAMPGROUND
This campground is a few miles from South Lake Tahoe, with gorgeous views of the brilliantly blue Lake Tahoe against the backdrop of the mountains. The campground is open from May through October, and is a great spot for families, beginners or all types of adventurers, especially those who enjoy water sports. Reserve a spot online, especially in the summer, for $35 a night. Stay in a tent or an RV, and enjoy access to drinking water, restrooms, and nearby grocery stores and gas stations.
6. CRYSTAL COVE STATE PARK
Crystal Cove State Park is only an hour or two south of Los Angeles, making it the perfect southern California weekend getaway for those just venturing out of the city. The park is near amenities and features miles of sandy Pacific Ocean coastline and bluffs, perfect for swimming, surfing, and hiking. Moro Campground has family sites and RV sites for $55 a night, with water and flush toilets. Camping is possible year-round. Make a reservation online to secure a spot.
7. MINARET FALLS CAMPGROUND
The skiing may end when the snow on Mammoth Mountain melts, but the hiking season is just getting started. Stay in Minaret Falls Campground for prime access to the high alpine lakes, pine forests, and mountain views of the Reds Meadow Valley. The campground is on the shores of the San Joaquin River, right beside the pristine Minaret Falls waterfall. Hike to Rainbow Falls or explore the strange basalt columns of Devil’s Postpile National Monument. Minaret Falls Campground is open during the summer months, and camping is possible without reservations, since it is first-come, first-served. Water and pit toilets are provided and camping costs $23 a night. Families will enjoy this campground, as will adventurers in need of a basecamp while they explore the creeks and vistas of the area.
8. BUTTE LAKE CAMPGROUND
This campground is in the far northeast corner of Lassen Volcanic National Park, right along the edge of the Caribou Wilderness. Camp at 6,000 feet under the shade of pine trees along the shores of an alpine lake. Adventurers seeking solitude will love this spot, as it is away from the larger campgrounds but still close to several trails. Hike up Cinder Cone, swim in Bathtub Lake, summit Prospect Peak or explore the Painted Dunes. The campground is open June through October, weather permitting, and reservations can be made online. It costs $22 a night, and although RVs are allowed, there are no hookups. Water and flush toilets are not provided.
9. COLD SPRINGS CAMPGROUND
Pitch a tent in solitude at a remote campground in Sequoia National Park, surrounded by groves of aspen and evergreen trees. Cold Springs Campground is almost two hours away from the main park entrance, along a road so windy that RVs and trailers are not permitted in the campground. Hikers will appreciate access to plenty of day hikes. Camping costs $12 a night with pit toilets, and there is a seasonal water supply. The campground is open during the summer and into the fall. Campsites are first-come, first-served, with tent sites only.
10. PFEIFFER BIG SUR STATE PARK
Coastal Redwoods, a beautiful river gorge, and ample wildlife viewing opportunities abound at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. The river snakes its way through the park, offering plenty of chances to walk along the river banks under the shade of lush redwood forest. This is a great spot for families, as it is only 25 miles away from amenities at Carmel and has hiking trails for all levels. Camping is possible here year-round, although not all trails and nearby state parks remain open, and reservations are not possible during the winter. It costs $35 for a standard tent site, $50 a night for a riverfront site, or $5 for a hiker or biker site. There is access to water, toilets and showers.