8 Must-Visit Camping Areas in Northern California
There are many unique and enthralling sights to see in the northern part of the Golden State, and a camping trip in this region is an experience everyone should enjoy at least once.
Here's a list of some of the best campgrounds in Northern California:
Lassen Volcanic National Park50 miles east of Redding, California 1 of 9
Every type of volcano in the world (shield, plug dome, composite and cinder cone) can be found in this national park. If you want to admire the transformative power of geothermic activity, this is the place for you. Other notable features include pristine lakes, jagged peaks and mysteriously smoking fumaroles. There are several walk-in camping areas in this park, but reservations can be made at the Summit Lake location, a location that will position you right in the middle of the park and at the epicenter of several hiking trails.
Lava Beds National Monument100 miles northeast of Mt. Shasta, California 2 of 9
Similar to Lassen Volcanic, this area has been forged by the violent eruptions of this planet's past. More unique to this monument, however, are the ample lava tubes and caves (over 700) winding and spreading beneath the earth's surface. You could spend countless curious hours wandering these clandestine caverns with nothing but a head torch and a keen sense of adventure.
This area is also replete with cultural history, including the former happenings of Native Americans, homesteaders, ranchers and cave explorers. There's one campground in the park, but there are also options in the nearby areas of Juanita Lake and Little Mt. Hoffman Lookout.
McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State ParkBurney, California 3 of 9
If you enjoy the sight of cascading waterfalls, you won't want to miss this state park. Located just off of Interstate 5 on Highway 89, this park offers a great place to rest for the evening while enjoying the serene ambiance of the encompassing forest. You can camp within the park and make reservations up to seven months in advance.
Redwood National and State Parks30 miles north of Arcata, California 4 of 9
This group of parks contains the tallest trees on the planet, and also offers prairies, river ways and a coastline often associated with that of Oregon. There are several camping options available, but you may want to consider staying at a state or national park to support the park systems. Of the many places to visit in this area, starting with Jedidiah Smith Redwoods State Park is always a great option.
Sonoma Coast State Park30 miles west of Santa Rosa, California 5 of 9
Similar to Big Sur, this park has beaches, natural arches and secluded coves. It's a great place to escape the inland heat to relax and sunbathe, try your luck at fishing, or to simply watch the summer fog roll in and out of the craggy coast. There's one campground here and reservations can be made seven months in advance.
Lake Tahoe CampgroundsLake Tahoe, California 6 of 9
With just one look at this lake, you'll quickly understand why it has attracted the level of fame that it has. Unfortunately, this level of fame also comes with a significant amount of visitors, and weekends can become so busy that the place starts to lose its charm. Luckily, the lake is huge, and once you become familiar with the area, you can avoid the crowds. The Hope Valley Campground in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest and the Fallen Leaf Campground on the south side of the lake are great options.
Chico CampgroundsChico, California 7 of 9
This location is a city center, but it's an exciting region to camp near. Over the years, Chico has developed with outdoor adventure at the heart of its societal integrity. This can be observed when visiting Bidwell Park, strolling the downtown area or taking a tour of the Sierra Nevada Brewery.
Fun camping options in the area include Woodson Bridge State Recreation Area (great for fishing), Colusa-Sacramento River State Recreation Area (great for bird watching) and Lake Oroville State Recreation Area (featuring "floating campsites").
Mount Shasta CampgroundsMt. Shasta, California 8 of 9
Once Mount Shasta comes into sight, you simply can't divert your eyes. It's the fifth highest peak in California at 14,179 feet. The area is exceptional for backcountry skiing, mountain climbing and hiking. At the base of the mountain is the quaint town of Mount Shasta, and this is surrounded by various national forests. Some great places to camp in this region are the Camp 4 Group Campground (which includes 3 waterfalls), Castle Crags State Park (which has stunning views and ample outdoor activities) and Girard Ridge Lookout.