SAN DIEGO — Summer is almost here, meaning it’s time to explore the great outdoors, and there is no better place to do that in in California.
With the most parkland in the country, there are plenty of opportunities for adventurers to experience the Golden State’s natural wonders — from coastal bluffs and desert badlands to mountain peaks and lush forests.
For many outdoor enthusiasts, camping at one of the over 15,000 sites across the state’s 280 parks is one of the best ways to do just that.
Anyone looking to sleep under the stars this summer can start with one of these California campsites, ranked by the camping website, The Dyrt, among the top spots to camp in the Pacific region of the U.S.
Alabama Hills Recreation Area
Location: Lone Pine, CA
Alabama Hills Recreation Area, located at the base of the Sierra Nevada, is known for its stunning geological formations that rise from the desert floor. From a maze of canyons to towering rock arches and spires, Alabama Hills has multiple hiking trails that offer visitors a chance to explore the desert’s unique ecosystem.
According to The Dyrt, the campsite’s remoteness and clear skies make it an ideal spot for campers to stargaze.
“Visitors can set up camp and enjoy a breathtaking show courtesy of the Milky Way galaxy and its shooting stars and other celestial objects from their front-row seat betwixt the Sierra Nevada and Inyo Mountains,” the camping site wrote.
The campsite is free for visitors. Fires and pets are both allowed, according to The Dyrt. Designated dispersed campsites can be found here.
Gold Bluffs Beach Campground in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
Location: Orick, CA
Gold Bluffs Beach Campground is situated right in the heart of the Redwood National Park system along the Pacific coastline. With the signature rich forests and serene landscapes of Northern California, Gold Bluffs Beach is perfect for nature lovers looking to immerse themselves in an environment teeming with diverse wildlife.
This campsite is perfect for people looking to stroll along the beach, hike through the majestic redwood forest or explore numerous tide pools.
“With its ample opportunities for outdoor adventure, Gold Bluffs Beach Campground is truly a gem in California’s camping scene,” The Dyrt wrote of the campsite.
The campsite consists of 26 sites, each costing about $35 for visitors. Fires are allowed at the site, as well as pets. Reservations for the site can be made through the state’s Reserve California website. More information can be found here.
Location: Lone Pine, CA in Inyo National Forest
Perched above the eastern Sierra Nevada, Whitney Portal is a popular destination for campers looking to hike Mount Whitney, the tallest peak in the continental U.S. The campsite sits 8,360 feet above sea level, providing campers with panoramic views of the mountains and wilderness surrounding the mountain range.
There are about 43 sites in the Whitney Portal, each costing anywhere from $26 to $80. RVs are allowed, as well as pets and fires. Reservations can be made here.
“It’s an unforgettable destination for those seeking a memorable outdoor adventure,” The Dyrt said.
Giant Redwoods RV & Cabin Destination
Location: Myers Flat, CA
Another campsite in the state’s iconic Redwood forests, the Giant Redwoods campsite is perfect for outdoor adventurers looking to experience a beautiful and serene atmosphere among some of the country’s most ancient trees. Giant Redwoods, situated along the Avenue of the Giants, provides access to some of the tallest trees in the world.
The campground has a range of offerings for overnight stays, including tent and RV sites as well as cabins and cottages for wary campers.
“This little gem is a short walk down to the sandy beach on the Eel River and has a few giant redwoods in the campground to marvel over!” one user of The Dyrt wrote.
The campgrounds consist of about 21 sites, each priced around $65 to $85 for a stay. RVs are allowed, as well as fires and pets. Reservations can be made here.
Methodology: Selections for The Dyrt’s Best Places to Camp list were based on reviews and ratings of sites from the company’s community of campers. Rankings were split into regions, including Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Central, Mountain and Pacific.