There’s nothing like sleeping under the stars and being outside in nature. However, picking a rustic spot that is ideal for camping can be a challenge. Of course, you can also pitch your tent oceanside, or maybe even inside a redwood tree to make your dreams come true. If you’re willing to drive out of San Francisco you won’t be happy to find nature, serenity, and views that will last a lifetime. And yes, this is the sort of experience you can get camping mostly around the San Francisco Bay Area and even beyond.
1. Mount Diablo State Park: Oakland
The most scenic spot for camping because you can see clearly over San Francisco, out to the Farallon Islands and beyond. The park is wonderful for enjoying real hot weather with temperature differences as big as 30 degrees between Fog City and this campground. Camp, and enjoy the view from your tent.
2. Rob Hill: Presidio, San Francisco
Rob Hill is located high above four wooded acres above Baker Beach at the Presidio's highest point. Also, Rob Hill is the only campground in San Francisco. The beauty of the campsite is that you can see Sutro Tower, be close to the ocean, and be sleeping among the trees of the Presidio.
3. Point Reyes National Seashore (Coast Camp)
Relatively close to Fog City, and beautiful as well. The beach is only 200 meters from this campground in Point Reyes. Be prepared as you have to hike in about 2 miles, but that means nothing once you see your oceanside home for the night.
4. Kirby Cove
Not only is Kirby Cove one of the closest campgrounds to San Francisco, it’s also one of the most sought-after campgrounds anywhere around the Bay Area. Outside of camping with a great view, it has an open lawn big enough for a football game, a nice pebbly beach, and a truly unique view of the Golden Gate Bridge.
5. Big Basin
Big Basin State Park is a popular camping spot, with hundreds of campsites in the middle of the redwood forest. The setting and trees are rustic and pretty. And why not camp in a tree, if you can?!
6. Redwood Regional Park
The East Bay is full of awesome outdoor attractions especially for camping. There are a number of campgrounds scattered around the area, but two of them provide a good camping experience while still being convenient. Redwood Regional requires are for groups only so you’ll need to find friends to go with you.
7. Angel Island State Park
In the middle of San Francisco Bay sits Angel Island State Park, offering spectacular views of the San Francisco skyline, the Marin Headlands and Mount Tamalpais. You will need to hike about 2 miles to pitch your tent and please be warned, it’ll likely be cold and windy.
8. Haypress Campsite in Tennessee Valley
Haypress Campground is a small, free, walk-in campground located in an out-of-the-way part of the Tennessee Valley area. Be prepared as this campsite is basic, but the grounds here are secluded, serene, and colorful. Lastly, enjoy spectacular views of the entire Marin Headlands.
9. Gualala Point Campground
Gualala Point is a very peaceful campground with relatively few campsites. There is great hiking trails leading along the scenic Gualala River. The best perks are huge redwoods in most campsites, as well as swimming holes and beach access.
10. Trail Camp at Andrew Molera State Park
If you want to get further away from Fog City then head south and strap your tent to your back and hike out to Trail Camp at Andrew Molera State Park. The trail to the campground follows the path of Big Sur River. The stars at night will be dazzling in this part of California.
Did we miss any camping spots in the San Francisco area? Let us know your favorite rustic spot to getaway and camp.