Best family camping spots in California
California features beautiful beaches, breathtaking mountains and scenic deserts, offering a wide assortment of camping destinations that your whole family will enjoy. From Big Bear Lake in Southern California to D.L. Bliss State Park in Lake Tahoe, we have compiled a list of some of the best family camping spots in the state.
Big Bear Lake
For mountain camping in Southern California, head to Big Bear Lake. In the wintertime, this is a hot spot for skiing. However, when summer comes around there is still plenty to do. You can rent a cabin, pitch a tent or bring your RV. Campers enjoy an array of activities including fishing, kayaking, hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. Surrounded by the San Bernardino National Forest, Big Bear Lake features an abundance of trout, bass, catfish and other fish. Though once populated by grizzly bears, these animals haven't been seen here since the early 1900s. However, it's not unusual to spot black bears, coyotes, raccoons, snakes, mountain lions and other wildlife.
Pismo State Beach
For camping at the coast, you can't beat Pismo Beach. Located on the central coast of California, the area features horseback riding, fishing, ATV-ing, swimming, surf fishing, clam hunting and much more. The tree-lined white beach is absolutely gorgeous and a hot spot for families, as well as couples. The Oceano Area and North Beach campgrounds are inland behind the dunes -- easy walking distance to the shore. RVs and tents are both welcome.
Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Located just north of Boulder Creek, Big Basin Redwoods State Park is California's oldest state park. Featuring 18,000 acres of redwood forest, this amazing park is perfect for camping. The area offers hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking and more. You may be surprised by the spectacular waterfalls and lush canyons. Big Basin features 146 family campsites located in four campgrounds. Each campground has restrooms, showers and drinking water, while each site has a picnic table and fire ring. Some of the campsites are for tent camping only -- others allow RVs, but no hook-ups are available.
D.L. Bliss State Park
Located along Lake Tahoe's west shore, beachside camping spots at D.L. Bliss State Park are in high demand. But if you find one, you certainly won't be disappointed. This family-friendly campground offers spacious sites, hot showers and well-maintained grounds. You can swim at the sheltered cove at Lester Beach, hike to Balancing Rock or explore the historic lighthouse.
Big Lagoon County Park
Come to Trinidad, California, to camp along a three-mile protected lagoon bordering the Pacific Ocean. Big Lagoon County Park features brackish water that is rich with trout, river otters and shorebirds. You can launch a canoe or kayak right from your campsite, or enjoy a number of other water activities such as sailing, windsurfing, boating, swimming and more. Big Lagoon County Park is a great spot for picnicking, whale watching and enjoying a day (or a week) in the sun. Campsites have picnic tables, fire rings and flush toilets, but no showers.
Check out more top camping vacation destinations for families >>
Campfire cookout ideas
Foil-wrap campfire desserts
When you've had enough of s'mores, here are some yummy dessert alternatives to cook on your campfire.