are camping sites open in california

Are camping sites open in California? With the beautiful weather, picturesque surroundings, and plethora of activities to enjoy, it’s no wonder why camping is such a popular activity in the Golden State. All kinds of outdoor enthusiasts, from families with young kids to seasoned nature-lovers, head to the campgrounds to catch a breath of fresh air, appreciate the scenic landscapes, and unwind in the great outdoors. But, with the ongoing pandemic, it’s worth taking a look at the current state of camping grounds in California to see if they’re open for business and what kind of restrictions you might encounter.

So, are camping sites open in California? Generally speaking, yes – many of them are. However, with the pandemic still very much a reality, things are slightly different than what you might expect. In order to keep campers safe and prevent the spread of Covid-19, many campsites have implemented special rules, guidelines, and precautions. From social distancing protocols to the requirement of face masks, there are a number of things you should keep in mind if you’re planning on camping in the state anytime soon. That being said, don’t be discouraged – with the right preparation and mindset, camping in California can still be the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

California Camping Guidelines

Camping is a beloved pastime in California, with various sites around the state that offer stunning natural landscapes for visitors to enjoy. However, with the ongoing pandemic, many campgrounds have been closed or have limited availability. For those interested in camping in California, it’s essential to know the guidelines and restrictions in place to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Current California Camping Restrictions

  • Campgrounds in regions under a stay-at-home order are closed or have limited availability.
  • Group campsites are closed, and only members of the same household may share a campsite.
  • Visitors are encouraged to bring their food and supplies to limit contact with others.
  • Masks are required in shared spaces, such as restrooms and common areas.
  • Campfires are allowed in designated fire rings only, and visitors should check with campground staff for local fire restrictions.

Safety Precautions

Campers should take steps to protect themselves and others while enjoying the outdoors. In addition to wearing masks and practicing social distancing, visitors should:

  • Wash hands frequently, especially after using shared facilities.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in campsites and RVs.
  • Stay in their designated campsite area and avoid congregating with others.
  • Check with campground staff for any additional rules or restrictions in place.

California Camping Sites

Despite the current restrictions, many California camping sites are open and available for visitors. Along the coast, popular campsites like Leo Carrillo State Park and Big Sur State Park offer stunning ocean views and hiking trails. Inland, visitors to Joshua Tree National Park can enjoy unique rock formations and stargazing opportunities.

Campground Location Availability
Leo Carrillo State Park Malibu Open with limited availability
Big Sur State Park Big Sur Open with limited availability
Joshua Tree National Park Twentynine Palms Open with limited availability

Before planning a camping trip, visitors should check with the individual campground for availability and any additional guidelines or restrictions in place.

Best California Campsites

California is a camping paradise for enthusiasts and adventurers who seek the perfect outdoor experience. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or a new recruit, California’s diverse landscape has plenty of camping sites to cater to your preferences.

  • Yosemite National Park: Known for its breathtaking waterfalls, giant sequoias, and granite cliffs, Yosemite National Park offers a camping experience like no other. The park has 13 campgrounds, with over 1,400 accessible campsites, some of which can be reserved up to 5 months in advance. Campers are able to take advantage of the park’s hiking trails, rock climbing, and scenic drives.
  • Big Sur: Big Sur is a stretch of ruggedly beautiful coastline located along California’s central coast. The area has many state parks, with a range of camping sites to choose from. Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is a popular choice among campers, offering over 200 campsites nestled under the shade of giant redwoods. The campsite is perfect for hikers, among other activities such as beachcombing and animal watching.
  • Joshua Tree National Park: Joshua Tree National Park is located in southeastern California, and encompasses two different desert ecosystems: the Mojave and the Colorado. This National Park boasts 9 campgrounds, containing over 500 campsites in total. Joshua Tree has some of the best rock formations in the world, offering campers a chance to explore, hike, and even rock climb.

Best Campsites for Families

If you’re camping with your family and kids, you’ll want to pick a camping site that caters to young children. Here are a few of California’s kid-friendly camping sites:

  • Camp Richardson: Camp Richardson is situated along the shore of Lake Tahoe, offering plenty of opportunities to swim, fish, and boat. The campsite has tent and RV camping, and cabins for rent. The site provides a large playground, volleyball and basketball courts, and bike rentals.
  • Leo Carrillo State Park: Located in Malibu, Leo Carrillo State Park has plenty of campsites suited for families. Kids can explore the tide pools, and take in the vast expanse of sandy beach and rocky caves. The site also has a nature center, which provides interactive exhibits, guided hikes, and educational programs.
  • Jalama Beach County Park: Jalama Beach Park is situated on the central coast of California, about an hour north of Santa Barbara. The site offers a variety of camping sites, ranging from pull-through RV slots to tent sites near the beach. The Park also has a snack bar, a small store, and a playground area right on the beach.

Camping Site Amenities

When choosing a camping site, it’s important to evaluate the amenities available. Some of the California campsites have minimal amenities, so it’s advisable to prepare ahead of time or check a park’s website to determine what is available. Here are some of the basic amenities you’ll find at most California campsites:

Amenities Description
Restrooms Most of the campsites have public restrooms with flushing toilets and hot showers, but others may have composting toilets or no showers.
Picnic Tables and Fire Pits Many California campsites have picnic tables and fire pits at individual sites for cooking and gathering.
Water Spigots Water spigots are scattered throughout California campsites for drinking water or washing dishes.
Dump Stations RV campsites are often equipped with dump stations for sewage disposal.

California is a great place to camp. Whether you’re looking for a scenic coastal vacation, a hiking or rock climbing adventure, or a place to relax with your family, California has many amazing campsites to choose from.

Camping Reservations in California

In California, camping is a popular outdoor activity, but with limited campsite availability, it can be a challenge to secure a spot. Fortunately, California has a reservation system that makes it easy to book a campsite in advance. Here are three important things you need to know about camping reservations in California:

Reservation Period

  • Reservations for California state campgrounds can be made up to six months in advance.
  • For popular campgrounds, reservations sell out quickly, so it’s important to plan ahead.
  • There are also non-reservable campsites available on a first-come, first-served basis at many state campgrounds.

Booking Options

There are several ways to book a campsite reservation in California:

  • Online: The easiest way to make a reservation is online at the Reserve California website.
  • By Phone: Reservations can also be made by phone by calling the Reserve California call center.
  • In Person: Some campgrounds have on-site kiosks where you can make a reservation in person.

Campsite Fees

The price of a California campsite reservation varies depending on the type of campsite and the time of year. Basic campsites with no amenities start around $20 per night, while campsites with electricity and water hookups can cost up to $50 per night. Additionally, there are fees for reservation changes or cancellations.


Make sure to plan ahead and book your campsite reservations in advance, especially if you are planning to camp during peak season. Knowing the reservation period, booking options, and campsite fees can help ensure a successful camping trip in California.

Campsite Type Price (per night)
Basic Campsite $20-$35
Campsite with Electric Hookups $35-$50
Premium Campsite $50-$75

Note: Prices may vary depending on the campground and time of year.

Top Tips for Camping in California

Camping in California is a thrilling experience. It is a perfect outdoor activity for those who like to explore and be one with nature. However, camping in California can be risky if you are not well-prepared. You may encounter different wildlife, weather conditions, and terrains that could make your stay in the wilderness difficult. Here are the top tips for an enjoyable camping experience in California:

  • Choose the Right Campsite
  • California has hundreds of campgrounds that cater to different kinds of camping, including RV camping, car camping, and tent camping. When picking a campsite, it is essential to consider the location, accessibility, and the type of camping gear you have. National parks like Yosemite National Park and Joshua Tree National Park are excellent options for exploring California’s renowned outdoor beauty.

  • Plan Your Meals
  • It is essential to plan your meals ahead of time to avoid running out of food while camping. Prepare your menu according to your taste and the weather condition. For example, you can pack hearty soups and stews for cold nights and grilling meats and vegetables for sunny days. You can also bring a portable grill or camping stove to cook your food. Don’t forget to pack enough snacks and water for your trip.

  • Be Prepared for Different Weather Conditions
  • California has a diverse terrain that can produce different weather conditions, especially in the mountains. It is essential to pack appropriate gear for different climates, such as rain gear, warm clothes, and layers. Check the weather report for the areas you plan to visit, as the temperatures could drop significantly at night in some regions.

  • Pack the Right Gear
  • Having the right gear is essential for a successful camping trip. Make sure to pack durable and comfortable camping gear, such as tents, sleeping bags, and mattresses. Don’t forget to pack a first aid kit, insect repellent, and sunscreen. You can also bring camping chairs, tables, and lanterns to make your stay in the wilderness more comfortable and enjoyable.


Camping in California is an incredible experience if you are well-prepared for it. It is essential to do your research, know the weather, pack efficiently, and choose the right campsite to make your stay in the wilderness comfortable and enjoyable. With these top tips, you can ensure that your camping experience in California is safe and memorable.

California Camping Safety Measures

When planning a camping trip in California, it is important to prioritize safety. Following are some of the safety measures that should be considered:

  • Check the weather forecast: Before heading out on your camping trip, be sure to check the weather forecast. California is a diverse state, and weather conditions can vary significantly depending on your location. It’s essential to know what kind of weather to expect so you can pack appropriate gear and plan accordingly.
  • Bring proper equipment: Depending on the location and conditions of your camping trip, certain equipment may be crucial. Some examples include a first aid kit, GPS or map, extra food and water, warm clothing, and proper footwear.
  • Be aware of wildlife: California is home to many types of wildlife, including bears, mountain lions, and rattlesnakes. It’s important to know what kind of wildlife may be present in the area you’ll be camping in and how to avoid encounters.

In addition to these general safety measures, there are specific regulations and guidelines that must be followed when camping in California. The following are just a few examples:

California state parks require that all vehicles have a camping or day-use reservation. Reservations can be made online or by phone in advance of your trip. Additionally, all campers are required to follow park rules and regulations, and fires are only allowed in designated areas.

The United States Forest Service oversees several campgrounds in California, and each site has its own regulations. Some campgrounds may have fire restrictions, while others may allow fires. Be sure to research the specific regulations for the campground you plan to visit.

Campground Regulations
Yosemite National Park All food and scented items must be stored in bear-resistant lockers or canisters. Fires only allowed in designated areas.
Joshua Tree National Park Camping only allowed in designated sites. No fires allowed.

By doing your research and following these safety measures and regulations, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable camping trip in California.

Camping Equipment Must-Haves

When planning a camping trip to any of California’s stunning outdoor destinations, it’s essential to have the right equipment. Proper gear ensures that you stay comfortable, safe, and prepared for whatever surprises the wilderness may hold. Here are six camping equipment must-haves:

  • Tent: Choose a tent that is both spacious and easy to set up. It should have sturdy poles, proper ventilation, and water-resistant material to survive California’s natural elements.
  • Sleeping Bag: Look for a sleeping bag that is suitable for the season and climate of your camping destination. A high-quality sleeping bag should be made of insulative materials, lightweight, and packable for easy transport.
  • Camp Stove: Bring a camp stove with enough power to cook your meals and last the entire trip. Opt for one that runs on propane, is easy to use and clean, and has an adjustable flame.
  • Cooler: A quality cooler is essential for keeping food and drinks cold and safe from wildlife while camping. Ensure that your cooler has enough space, seals well, and has excellent insulation qualities.
  • Lighting: Bring both a flashlight and a headlamp to light your way. Opt for lighting that has multiple settings and long battery life.
  • First Aid Kit: Always carry a fully stocked first aid kit to tackle any injuries or illnesses that may arise. Your kit should include bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, tweezers, and any other necessary medication.

Investing in the right camping equipment makes a significant difference in your camping experience. Quality gear not only ensures your safety but also makes your trip more comfortable and enjoyable.

Additionally, make sure you dispose of all waste in the appropriate manner, respect the natural environment, and follow all park regulations to help preserve California’s natural beauty.

Happy Camping!

Eco-Friendly Camping in California

Camping can be a fantastic way to experience the great outdoors while minimizing your environmental footprint. In California, there are a number of eco-friendly camping sites that are perfect for the conscientious adventurer.

  • Big Basin Redwoods State Park: Located in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Big Basin Redwoods State Park is a beautiful oasis of ancient trees and stunning vistas. The park features a number of campsites that are committed to sustainable practices, including recycling and waste reduction initiatives.
  • Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park: Nestled among the breathtaking cliffs of Big Sur, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park offers visitors a chance to experience one of the most stunning landscapes in California. The park’s campsites are designed to have minimal impact on the environment, with composting toilets and a commitment to leave-no-trace camping.
  • Anza-Borrego Desert State Park: For those seeking a more rugged camping experience, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is a great choice. The park’s campsites are located in the heart of the stunning Sonoran Desert, and are committed to reducing water and energy usage. Visitors can hike, bike, and stargaze amidst the unique beauty of the desert.

In addition to choosing an eco-friendly campsite, there are a number of steps you can take to reduce your environmental impact while camping in California. Here are few tips:

  • Leave no trace: Always pack out everything you pack in, including food scraps and litter.
  • Use reusable gear: Opt for reusable plates, bowls, and utensils instead of disposable options.
  • Minimize your energy usage: Turn off lights and electronics when not in use, and consider bringing a solar-powered charger for your devices.
  • Respect wildlife: Keep a safe distance from animals, and never feed them.

By choosing an eco-friendly campsite and practicing sustainable habits while camping, you can enjoy the beauty of California’s natural landscapes while minimizing your impact on the environment.

Are Camping Sites Open in California FAQs

Q1: Are camping sites in California open right now?

A1: Yes, camping sites in California are currently open with some restrictions due to COVID-19.

Q2: How can I book a camping site in California?

A2: You can book a camping site in California online through the California State Parks reservation system or by phone.

Q3: Can I camp in a California national park?

A3: Yes, California national parks are open for camping with some restrictions.

Q4: Are there any fire restrictions in place for camping in California?

A4: Yes, there may be fire restrictions in place due to the dry conditions in California. Check with the park or campground for the latest information.

Q5: What safety guidelines are in place for camping in California during COVID-19?

A5: There are several safety guidelines in place, including wearing masks in common areas and practicing social distancing. Check with the park or campground for the latest information.

Q6: Can I bring my pet to a camping site in California?

A6: Pets are allowed at most camping sites in California, but there may be restrictions. Check with the park or campground for the latest information.

Q7: Are RV camping sites open in California?

A7: Yes, RV camping sites are open in California with some restrictions due to COVID-19.

Closing Thoughts

Thanks for reading! We hope this article has helped answer some of your questions about camping sites in California. Remember to check with the park or campground for the latest information before planning your trip. Stay safe and happy camping!