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North California Family Friendly Campgrounds

North California in orange

updated April 2023

It’s the perfect time to start planning a North California camping trip with the family.  California has so many campgrounds you are sure to find the perfect place to spend some relaxing days hiking, fishing, swimming, and boating.  If you are looking for a kid-friendly campground we’ve listed 18 of the best family campgrounds for Northern California.

Camping in California does not HAVE to mean roughing it!  The campgrounds we’ve profiled are chock full of family-friendly features and activities to keep even the tween & teens happy and involved.  Whether you are a seasoned camping pro or going on your FIRST camping trip — we promise – you’ll enjoy these campgrounds.

As parents ourselves, we know what’s important for a successful family camping trip.

  1. CLEAN BATHROOMS – so important for tent campers who rely on clean, well-maintained bathrooms and showers! Even if you have a bathroom with your RV, its essential to have nice bathrooms when you are out and about exploring the parks.
  2. KIDS’ AREAS & ACTIVITIES. While it isn’t essential to have organized activities for children, they are nice to have as an option.  In addition – playgrounds and kid-friendly hiking trails are a must. (Click here for tips on camping with toddlers)
  3. CAMPSITE PRIVACY. No one wants to drive a couple hours from home with all their camping gear to just be crammed into a campsite practically on top of their neighbors!  We know we’re back-packing into the wilderness, but bonus points for those campsites who have a measure of privacy so you can at least pretend you are miles away from society.

With these criteria in mind, here is our suggested list of best campgrounds for families in North California.

1111 2nd St
Crescent City, CA 95531

Phone:  707-464-6101


Info Sheet on Park

Jedediah Smith map

The whole family will enjoy exploring the miles of trails through Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.  The majestic trees and the peaceful nature setting is a relaxing and rejuvenating place to just enjoy nature.  From mid to late summer, the Smith River water levels are low enough to provide a natural water playground for kids (and adults) of all ages.

There are interpretive programs (summer), fishing, and scenic, foresty campsites.  Camping season is open year-round.  Campground amenities feature clean restrooms and hot showers ($).

Facilities 10,000 acre park
Really, really, REALLY big trees
World Heritage Site & Biosphere Reserve
Nature store
Restrooms with flush toilets
RV dump stationBoat rampMiles of hiking trails
Bike trails
White water rafting

RV/Tent/Trailer Sites

Campsites: 86
Site features: Can accommodate tents, trailers up to 21 ft and RVs up to 25 ft.  Picnic table, fire ring, campfire grate, and food storage locker.  Max 8 people per site

Hike/Bike Sites:

Campsites: 5
Site features For walk-in/bikers only. Picnic table, fire ring, grate, food storage locker.

Group Camping Site:

Campsites: 1
Site features Can accommodate up to 50 people/15 vehicles.


Camper Cabins: 4
Site features
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sign entrance to Del Loma RV park in CA


21720 Hwy 299
Big Bar, CA 96010

Phone: 530-623-2834


del loma map

A low-key, family-friendly campground with large grass and river sites near fishing, hunting and rafting.  Kids will enjoy mini golf, the swimming pool, as well as hiking and biking on nearby trails.  Facilities are on the older side, but campers report that they are well-maintained and clean.

Facilities Laser Tag park ($)
Fishing (King Salmon, Steelhead)
Game Room
Mini Golf
Swimming Pool
Volleyball Court
BeachCamp Store
Dump Station


Campsites: 58
Site features: Level sites, some with 30/50 amp full hook-ups.  Plenty of room for pop-outs.  2 tents per site or 1 rig + 1 tent per site.
8'x16' RV patio rug with carry case made from recycled plastic


4239 W A Barr Rd
Mt Shasta, CA 96067

Phone: 530-335-2777


Park Brochure

McArthur map

McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park is within the Cascade Range and Modoc Plateau natural region.  There is forest and five miles of streamside and Lake Burney shoreline.  The amazing 129-foot Burney Falls is the centerpiece to this state park.

Kids can swim and wade in both the Falls and Lake Britton.  You can also rent boats (or bring your own) for boating on the lake as well as fishing for trout, bass, bluegill and crappie.  Enjoy a leisurely afternoon picnicking at one of the many family picnic tables near the lake, creek, and visitor center.

There are several hiking trails, including Burney Creek Trail which leads through the backcountry and Pioneer Cemetery Trail – a biking and hiking trail which follows a historic wagon trail to the Pioneer Cemetery.

Facilities Hiking trailsPacific Crest Trail passes thru the park
Boat Ramps
Boat Rentals
Dump Station
Horseback Riding
Picnic Areas
Learning/Visitor Center
Interpretive Exhibits
Scuba Diving/Snorkeling
Camp Store
Wheelchair Accessible

Tent Sites:

Campsites: 17
Site features: Picnic table, food lokcer, fire ring.  Restrooms with flush toilets, showers & tap water are nearby.

RV/Camper Sites:

Campsites: 85
Site features: Picnic table, food lockers, fire ring.  Restrooms with flush toilets, showers & tap water are nearby.


Cabins: 24
Site features: 1 and 2-bedroom cabins.  Walking distance to Burney Falls.  Well-insulated, equipped with propane heaters, platform beds & foam pads, covered porch.  Campfire ring, picnic table and space to pitch a tent.  (bring your own sleeping bags and lanterns).  No electricity or running water.
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Near Redding and Susanville

Phone: 530-595-4480


Lassen map

Lassen Volcanic National Park campgrounds are located between 5,700 – 6,800 ft – so be prepared for chilly mornings and nights.  There are eight separate campgrounds throughout the park with over 500 campsites.

With over 150 miles of hiking trails, you could quite literally spend a week hiking and never walk the same trail twice.  In the winter snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are popular.  There are ranger-led programs in both summer and winter for all ages.

Facilities Steaming fumaroles (opening near a volcano through which hot sulfurous gases emerge)
Volcanoes150 miles of hiking, biking trailsMuseumPaddleboard, kayak on Manzanita Lake

Cross-country skiing


8 Campgrounds in Lassen Volcanic

Butte Lake Campground
Open Dates: 5 June – 20 October

Campsites: 101
Site features: Vault toilets, drinking water (No water after Sept 8th.), Boat launch, RV sites, Partly reservable.
Group sites: 6
Site features: Vault toilets, drinking water (No water after Sept 8th.  ), RV sites, Reservations required.

Juniper Lake Campground
Open Dates: 26 June – 6 October

Campsites: 18
Site features: Vault toilets, Boat launch. Water not available (lake water only)
Group sites: 2
Site features: Vault toilets, Boat launch, Reservations required.  Water not available (lake water only)

Lost Creek Group Campground
Open Dates: 19 June – 22 September

Campsites: 8
Site features: Vault toilets, drinking water, RV sites, Reservations required.

Manzanita Lake Campground
Open Dates: 1 June

Campsites: 179
Site features: Flush toilets, vault toilets, drinking water, boat launch, RV sites, Pay showers/laundry services nearby, dump station, partly reservable
Group sites: 5
Site features: Flush toilets, vault toilets, drinking water, boat launch, RV sites, Pay showers/laundry services nearby, dump station, reservations required
Camping Cabins: 20
Cabin features: Accessible, vault toilets, drinking water, boat launch, pay showers/laundry services nearby, dump station, reservations required.

Summit Lake NORTH Campground
Open Dates: 26 June – 29 September

Campsites: 46
Site features: Flush toilets, drinking water, boat launch, RV sites, Partly reservable

Summit Lake SOUTH Campground
Open Dates: 26 June – 29 September

Campsites: 48
Site features: Vault toilets, drinking water, boat launch, RV sites, Partly reservable.

Southwest Walk-In Campground
Open Dates: 1 June

Campsites: 20
Site features: Flush toilets, vault toilets, drinking water, No reservations.

Warner Valley Campground
Open Dates: 12 June – 12 October

Campsites: 20
Site features: Vault toilets, drinking water, RV-sites, No reservations.
little boy standing on a bright yellow beach mat


12593 Donner Pass Rd
Truckee, CA 96161

Phone: 530-582-7892


Park Brochure

Donner map

The infamous Donner Party’s journey West back in the 1830’s is one of the tales from history that few can forget!  Families can come visit this beautiful state park located just east of the Donner Pass in the Sierra Nevada.  Learn more about the Donner tragedy, the Chinese railroad builders, Washoe life, the 1840s emigration and more at the extensive visitors center.

Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy fishing for Kokanee salmon and trout from Donner Lake and Donner Creek.  Camping is open Memorial Day to mid-October (weather permitting).  At Donner Lake you can picnic and swim and lounge at the sandy beach.

Facilities Public boat launch (fee)
Boat rentals
Hiking trails
Picnic Areas
Guided tours
Pioneer Monument
Visitors Center
Restrooms with hot showers
Sanitary Dump
Pets Allowed
ADA Accessible

Camping Sites:

Campsites: 154
Site features: Picnic table, food locker, fire ring.  Max 8 people per site.  Pets OK (on leash and always attended).  Max length of trailers is 24 feet.  Max length of RVs is 28 feet.  No Hookups.


1900 Jameson Beach Rd
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

Phone: 800-544-1801


camp richardson map

Camp Richardson has plenty of activities for both summer and winter campers.  In the summer there is boating, biking, and hiking, fishing, swimming and more.  In the winter you can cross country ski, snowshoe, ice-skate, and sled!

There is a full-service marina with boat rentals, restaurant on the lake, general store, sports center (where you can rent bikes, paddle boards, and other sporting equipment) and an ice cream shop.

Campsites are walking distance to the lake.

Facilities 20-mile paved bike trail
Hiking trails
Water taxi (bikes ride free)
Camp store
Cell phone service
Sanitary dump
Restrooms with flush toilets and showers
Resort with lodging and dining
Snack bar

Tent Camping:

Campsites: 200
Site features: Picnic table, bear-proof food locker, fire ring.  No pets allowed.

RV Camping:

Campsites: 100
Site features: Water & Electric hookups.  Picnic table, fire ring.  No pets allowed.
REI tent with yellow Mountain Mat camping mat in front garage


Kyburz, CA

Phone: 530-644-2324


wrights map

Families who love to explore the outdoors will enjoy this campground set against the background of the Sierra Nevadas.  Summer activities include bike, hike, boat, fish, swim, horseback ride, off-road vehicle, rock climb, and wildlife watch.  Winter activities – show shoeing, hiking, and shivering.  The campground is in the timber belt and is close to Wright lake shore.

Facilities Hiking trailsWildflowers & birding
40-acre Wrights Lake
Equestrian Trails
Educational programs
Mountain Biking
Off-Roading on Barrett Lake Jeep trail
Overnight hiking permits available
Non-motorized boating
Water (seasonal)

Tent Only Camping:

Campsites: 19
Site features: Picnic table, fire ring, bear-proof food locker.  Pets ok, on leash and attended.

Tent/Trailer/RV Camping:

Campsites: 47
Site features: Picnic table, fire ring, bear-proof food locker.  Pets ok, on leash and attended.

Equestrian Camping (tent/trailer/RV):

Campsites: 15
Site features: Must have at least 1 equine or other pack animal per site.  Vault toilets, piped water, picnic table, fire grill, bear-proof food locker.
8'x20' RV Rug made from recycled plastic with sturdy carry bag
river rapids

Carson Pass Highway
Pioneer, CA 95666

Phone: 530-295-6824


silver lake map

A hidden favorite campground, Silver Lake West is quiet, peaceful, and campsites are private.  The scenery is picturesque and exactly the place to relax and recharge from life.  Kids will enjoy the hiking trails, scrambling on the large boulders, and swimming at nearby Silver Lake.

This is a low-key camping experience for families seeking a special time in nature.

Discount for seniors, disabled, and military.

Facilities Fishing
Swimming beach
Pets OK
Mountain biking trails
Vault toilets, piped water in restrooms
First-come, first served for campsites

Tent/Trailer/RV Camping:

Campsites: 42
Site features: Tents, small RVs, and trailers (max length is 24 ft).  Please fill RV and trailer water tanks prior to arriving at park.
Picnic table, fire ring & grill, bear-proof food locker.

25050 Highway 1
Jenner, CA 95450

Phone: 707-847-3221


Park Brochure

gerstle map

Located on the oceanside of Highway 1 adjacent to Gerstle Cove, a State Marine Reserve.  This is a small family-friendly campground with only 30 sites total.

Kids will love exploring the numerous tidal pools during low tide – just be very careful when handling the animal habitats as it is easy to hurt the fragile marine animals.  You can see sea stars, muscles, sea urchins, and tiny young fish who spend their lives in the tide pools.

Divers come from afar to free dive in the healthy kelp forest located in Gerstle Cove.  You can also boat, windsurf, and fish.  Its possible to spot Gray Whale migrations along the coast January – April.

Facilities Fishing (with valid fishing license)
Tidal Pools
20 miles of hiking & horseback trails
Visitor Center
Interpretive Exhibits
Underwater kelp forest

Tent/Trailer/RV Camping:

Campsites: 30
Site features: Paved pad, picnic table, food locker, fire ring, grill.  Drinking water and flush toilets located nearby.
Reservations strongly advised Mar 15 – Oct 31.
waterproof outdoor playmat made from recycled polypropylene


3095 Highway 1
Bodega Bay, CA 94923

Phone: 707-875-3483


Park Brochure

sonoma map

Sonoma Coast State Park has sandy beaches, secluded coves, rugged headlands, natural arches, a craggy coastline with tide pools and offshore reefs.  Families will enjoy spending their holiday exploring the 16 miles of shoreline along the Pacific Ocean.  From Dec – April there are volunteers at the park to help visitors spot the annual gray whale migration.  Year round you will see harbor seals – with pup season running from Mar- Jun (never approach a seal pup who is alone on the beach – he is just waiting for Mom to come back from feeding in the ocean).

If you have a California fishing license, you can try your luck catching rockfish, perch, salmon, steelhead and smelt.  You can also collect mussels and cockles.  Hike or bring your own horse to enjoy the 5-mile trail system that winds through Bodega Dunes.

Amenities 16-miles of coastline
Visitor center
Whale watching
Picnic areas
Wildlife viewing

Bodega Dunes Campground– the most amenities

Campsites: 99
Site features: Picnic table, food locker, fire ring.  Bathrooms + showers. Max RV/trailer length is 31 ft.  No hook-ups.

Wrights Beach Campground – less fancy, does have bathrooms but no showers

Campsites: 27
Site features: Picnic table, food locker, fire ring.  No hook-ups – max trailer/RV length is 31 ft.  Tap water available at restrooms.

Willow Creek Campground – “Environmental Camp” – primitive, few amenities

Campsites: 11
Site features: Walk-in sites.  Picnic table, fire ring, pit toilets.

Pomo Canyon Campground – “Environmental Camp” – primitive, few amenities

Campsites: 20
Site features: Walk-in sites.  Picnic table, fire ring, pit toilets.
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4000 CA-4
Arnold, CA 95223

Phone: 209-795-1381


lake alpine map

Families will love spending the day at 180-acre Lake Alpine.  You can boat (boat rentals are available), fish, and swim.  There is a 4-mile hike loop around the lake which makes for a great nature hike that isn’t too difficult.

The 25 campsites are all within walking distance of the lake.  Lake Alpine Lodge has a restaurant and a general store to pick up any supplies you might need.  The park rangers offer programs in the summer for families including evening campfire programs.

Facilities Bike trails
Fishing in Lake Alpine
Boating/boat ramp
OHV trails
Rock climbing
Wildlife viewing
Interpretive programs (summer months)
Restaurant (Lake Alpine Lodge)
General Store
Boat rentals

Tent/Trailer/RV Camping:

Campsites: 25
Site features: Picnic table, fire ring, restrooms with flush toilets.  No hook-ups. Pets OK.


Arnold, CA 95223

Phone: 209-795-2334


north grove map

Calaveras Big Trees State Park is home to two groves of giant redwoods.  Families will enjoy the hiking trail that winds through the forest of the mammoth trees.  You can attend interpretive programs taught by park rangers, wildlife lectures, and guided nature walks.  Children ages 7-12 can partake in the Junior Ranger activities and children ages 3-6 can join int the Junior Cubs.

Facilities Historical/cultural site
Picnic areas
Visitor Center
Biking/Hiking trails
Guided tours
Beach area

Tent/Trailer/RV Camping:

Campsites: 58
Site features: Picnic table, food locker, fire ring.  Restrooms with flush toilets located nearby.  Max trailer/camper/RV length is 30 ft.
3 little kids sitting on a beach mat


18 Pinecrest Lake Rd
Pinecrest, CA 95364

Phone: 209-965-3116


pinecrest map

Pinecrest campground is a popular camping spot for families who want to enjoy playing at Pinecrest Lake.  You can rent small boats, go fishing or swimming, or paddleboard at the lake.  There is a 4-mile hiking trail that circles the lake and a paved biking trail.  Senora Pass is located nearby and is a scenic winding highway that has guided people across the Sierra Nevada since 1852.

Due to the popularity of this campground, you need to make reservations for camping anytime Memorial Day Weekend thru Labor Day Weekend.

Facilities Swimming Beach
Bike rentals
Boat rentals
Visitor Center
Hiking trails
Horseback riding trails
Dump station

Tent/Trailer/RV Camping:

Campsites: 196
Site features: No hook-ups.  Picnic table, fire ring.  Paved parking pad.  Drinking water and restrooms with flush toilets nearby.


9999 Redwood Rd
Castro Valley, CA 94552

Phone: 1-888-327-2757


anthony chabot map

Only 30 minutes away from downtown Oakland, Anthony Chabot Regional Park is a local gem for outdoor recreation.  There is year-round camping near Lake Chabot and over 70 miles of hiking and equestrian trails.  The campground has easy access to all the recreational activities the park has to offer.

Facilities Lake Chabot
Fishing (lake stocked with game fish)Canoeing & kayaking
Hiking trails
Horseback riding (equestrian center)
18-hole public golf course
Bait shop
Boat Rental
Camp store

RV/trailer campsites:

Campsites: 12
Site features: Full hook-ups (sewer, water, 30 amp electrical), picnic table, fire ring + grill.  Restrooms with showers nearby.

Hike-in campsites:

Campsites: 10
Site features: Vehicle parking nearby.  Picnic table, fire ring + grill.  Restrooms with showers nearby.

Tent Camping/No-hook up camping:

Campsites: 53
Site features: Picnic table, fire ring + grill.  Restrooms with showers nearby.
family sitting outside their RV with an outdoor rug under the RV awning


Yosemite National Park
Yosemite Valley, CA 95389

Phone: 1-209-372-8502


upper pines map

If you’ve got a trip to Yosemite National Park planned, Upper Pines Campground is a great home base for exploring.  You can hike to Half Dome and Glacier Point is also easily accessible.  There is so much to do in Yosemite National Park that a family can stay busy and entertained for an entire week without a problem.  There are trails, rivers, cliffs, fishing, horseback riding, rafting, cross-country skiing, and more.  The possibilities are endless.

We must offer a small word of warning about Upper Pines Campground: Yosemite is a very, very busy park – every year from April to October MILLIONS of people visit the park.  Know ahead of time, there won’t be peace, quiet, and solitude.  Campsites are close together, there are crowds (get up early to beat the rush on the most popular hiking trails), and it can have the general feel of a big festival.

Amenities 750 miles of hiking trails
Guided tours
Ranger and interpretive programs
Guided horseback rides
Equestrian trails
Biking trails, roads (rental bikes available)
Rock climbing
Winter sports
Dump station

Tent/RV/trailer campsites:

Campsites: 238
Site features: RVs up to 35 ft, trailers up to 24 ft.  Fire ring, picnic table, food locker.  Bathrooms with drinking water and flushing toilets located nearby.  No hook-ups.


21600 Big Basin Way
Boulder Creek, CA 95006

Phone: 1-831-338-8861


Park Brochure

big basin map

Big Basin Redwoods was established in 1902 and is California’s oldest state park.  The main attraction here are the hundreds of gigantic Redwoods – some trees are more than 50 feet around and as tall as the Statue of Liberty.  The trees are ancient, some estimated at 1,000 to 1,800 years old.

Big Basin has four campgrounds all nestled in the ancient redwoods. There is also a horse camp, a group campground, and backcountry trail camps (reservations required).  There are no longer tent cabins due to the complete loss during recent forest fires.

Amenities Redwood trees
80 miles of hiking trails
Abundant wildlife (deer, raccoons, bobcats, birds)
Nature and history center
Bicycling (on fire roads)
Gift shop
General store
Dump station

Standard campsites:

Campsites: 142
Site features: No hook-ups.  Some sites can accommodate RVs up to 27 ft and trailers up to 24 ft.

Group Campground:

Campsites: 4
Site features:  Sequoia Group Campgrounds can accommodate groups up to 50.  Sky Meadow Group Campgrounds can accommodate up 40 people.

Horse Camping:

Campsites: Located at Rancho del Oso
Site features: Reservations required.  No dogs.  Call 831-338-8861 to inquire.


101 N. Big Trees Park Rd
Felton, CA 95018

Phone: 1-831-335-4598


henry cowell map

The entire family can fit inside the famous Freemont Tree at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park.  The 40-acre grove of old growth redwoods is a majestic backdrop to an easy Redwood Grove Loop trail.  You can also fish catch and release for steelhead in the San Lorenzo River.

Take a ride on the heritage railway with an authentic 1880’s steam locomotives with Roaring Camp Railroad.  Take the 75 minute ride through the ancient redwood forest in the open-air cabins – sure to please any train lovers in your group!

Amenities 4,650 acres of forested and open land
Wildlife viewing
Visitor center
40-acre old-growth redwood tree grove
Tourist railroad

Standard campsites:

Campsites: 107
Site features: Picnic table, food locker, and fire ring.  Restrooms with flush toilets located nearby.


42696 Tollhouse Rd
Shaver Lake, CA 93664

Phone: 1-559-841-3134 ext. 6


camp edison map

Camp Edison was built in 1963 and sits in a pine forest adjacent to Shaver Lake.  The campground is open year round with summer and winter outdoor activities that will please any active family.  43 campsites are full hook-up including cable TV and the rest have electric and cable TV.  You can check this website that has a detailed description of every campsite with a photo and notes on ease of parking your camper.

You’ll be able to swim, boat, fish, hike, and view wildlife during your stay at the campground.  There are lots of kids running around and during the summer the camp hosts fun events and activities like ice cream socials and kids’ movies in the amphitheater.  Camp Edison is a solid pick for camping families.

Amenities 35 miles of trails
RV disposal sites
Electric and Cable TV available
WiFi ($)
Boat ramp
General store
Swimming beach
Picnic areas
Tent trailers & travel trailer rentals available

Full Hook-Up Sites:

Campsites: 43
Site features: Electric, water, sewer, cable TV. Picnic table, fire ring.

Partial Hook-Up Sites:

Campsites: 209
Site features: Electric, cable TV. Picnic table, fire ring.
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