If you love to camp then a rustic setting is a must. These are the real campers. The ones who find pleasure in “roughing it” because they feel that much closer to nature. You sleep better out there, you breathe deeper and you appreciate the sweet spot that mother nature provides. In case you’re having trouble figuring out where to go to get away from it all, we’ve got a few places that will make you want to pitch a tent and spend the night counting the stars.
1. Jenkinson Lake at Sly Park, Pollock Pines
This is one of the prettiest lakes in El Dorado County. Right beside the National Forest and only miles away from Apple Hill - YUM. Camping here is a great time. If you have a boat, even better! Enjoy wake boarding and tubing and a nightly campfire. Campsite hosts do a great job bringing by firewood for sale and the bathrooms get pretty high ratings, but there are no showers. Who needs a shower when you're in the lake all day?
2. Gualala River Redwood Park, Gualala
This place is a big hit with campers all over the west coast. River front spaces, hiking among the redwoods and a great staff make for a wonderful vacation. It is rustic so bring bug spray - you're staying by the river and the woods, people! Raccoons here are apparently the smartest in California so watch your food. But, when you read reviews from folks who have been going here for 30-plus years you know you've discovered rustic camping gold.
3. Patrick's Point State Park, Trinidad
You spoke. We listened. The last camping article had lots of you shouting about this place. So, here it is. And, from what the reviewers are saying it's heaven on earth. Ocean views on nature trails, great staff and one person boasted about sighting whales while they were there. BONUS.
4. Richardson Grove State Park, Garberville
This spot is just magical. It's a favorite place to camp for lots of folks. One camper said it best: "Old-growth redwoods, rare and beautiful as they are, are always worth seeing. Richardson Grove State Park is built around the nucleus of 120 acres of original redwood forest saved by the state in 1922." Bring your family and enjoy this heavenly haven.
5. Stillwater Cove Park, Jenner
Book early. These sites go fast. Take a hike down to the cove. It seems silly to even say anything more after you look at this image. But for the sake of informing you, they have showers here for $1.50 each and HOT water, too. Not as rustic as some places but we're fine with that.
6. Redwood River Resort and Campground, Leggett
these two are BIG fans. This spot is close to The Avenue of the Giants Redwood Park. Located in Leggett along Highway 1 and close to the South Fork of the Eel River, this campground comes highly recommended. It's a win-win for those families with a need for a little more comfort. If you love rustic, there's a great campground. If you love more of a resort feel you can have that, too. Problem solved.
7. Panther Flat , U. S. Highway 199, 2 Miles East of Gasquet2 miles East of Gasquet
One fan boasts, "Can't possibly describe the beauty, we lucked out and saw a meteor shower that night." This remote campground is definitely rustic. Bring your own water! But, the skies are explosive with celestial beauty. The great news is there are still spots you can snag for ZERO dollars, but they go very fast.
8. Patrick's Point State Park, Trinidad
Trinidad has some gorgeous opportunity for camping. When you're alongside the beach does it really matter if your amenities are rustic or not? Who cares! Just pitch that tent and put your feet up awhile.
9. Lake Alpine Campground, Arnold
This spot is family friendly AND dog friendly, too. Kayaking is a great way to pass the time before you take a late night swim. The boulders here are perfect for climbing but make sure to bring water shoes and a chair to sit in so you can enjoy this great place.
10. Uvas Canyon County Park, Morgan Hill
This hidden gem is tucked in the south hills of San Jose. It's perfect for those who don't want to trek all the way to Santa Cruz for some peace. Waterfall Loop is a hike like no other with babbling creeks and waterfalls perfect for that photo-enthusiast. There are only 40-50 parking spots here so get here early. Each campsite comes with a fire pit and picnic table. Some sites are near enough to water so you can fall asleep to the sound of a gurgling stream. Heaven!
What’s wrong? Bummed there’s no time on the calendar this month to go camping? Then how about spending a few hours to regroup and meditate on God’s green earth?
Here’s 15 breath-taking hikes that will hold you over until that camping trip.