California has some of the best campervan camping spots in the United States, if not the world. The Golden State features nine national parks, including the iconic Yosemite; 840 miles of coastline; and wonders such as the world’s tallest trees and the hottest place on the planet.
Whatever your style of travel, from a more rustic camping trip to a glamping experience, there are dozens of fantastic campervan and RV sites in California. Here are some of the best across the state, so you’re never far from your next road trip, whether you’re in Los Angeles or San Francisco.
Southern California – Campervan Campgrounds Outside of Los Angeles
Malibu Creek State Park Campground – Malibu, California
Located just 25 miles from downtown Los Angeles is Malibu Creek State Park Campground. This nearby getaway with its oak and Sycamore trees along 14 miles of meandering Malibu Creek truly takes you away from the bustle of the city. Once you’ve settled into one of the 62 campsites, hikers can enjoy the 15 miles of trails following Malibu Creek from the Santa Monica Mountains to the Malibu Lagoon. Enjoy scenic views of volcanic formations and natural pools.
Be in nature and do some hiking, biking, and horseback riding. You’ll also find fire rings, drinking water, picnic tables, an RV dump station, restrooms, and showers as part of the amenities.
As a bonus, you’ll get a taste of Hollywood out in nature as M*A*S*H and Planet of the Apes were filmed at this location before it became a state park.
Remember to call ahead as Malibu Creek Campground gets busy quickly, thanks to its ease of access.
Jumbo Rocks Campground – Joshua Tree National Park
Around 150 miles from Los Angeles, Jumbo Rocks Campground offers 124 campsites within the iconic Joshua Tree National Park. You’ll be in close proximity to great hiking trails and famous rock formations, including Skull Rock, Juniper Flats, and Pleasant Valley Trail – just a hop, skip and jump away from your campsite. See everything in glorious technicolor, as wildflowers are in bloom almost year-round.
Part of the charm of Jumo Rocks is that you are truly close to nature. Limited amenities are available, and you’re required to haul in firewood for campfires (only within the provided fire rings, of course). You will also need to bring plenty of your own drinking water as potable water is not available here.
This makes a perfect stop before visiting Death Valley too.
Ocean Mesa at El Capitan – Santa Barbara
One of the best RV parks in Southern California is Ocean Mesa at El Capitan, Santa Barbara, about a two – hour road trip from Los Angeles. Ocean Mesa’s location along the famed 101 makes it ideal for exploring southern California.
Get gorgeous views of the Gaviota Coast, Pacific Ocean, and Santa Ynez Mountains. In the unlikely event that you’ve had enough of exploring, you’ll be entertained by movie nights, wine tastings, and seasonal concerts.
The park features full utility hookups, pull-through, and back-in sites, and can accommodate rigs up to 50 feet long. Other amenities include Wi-Fi and cable TV, a fire pit and grill at every site, a heated pool and spa, laundry facilities, and a general store to make for a luxury camping experience.
Already visited all of these campgrounds? Check out our Top 8 Campervan Campgrounds & RV Parks Near Los Angeles.
Northern California – Campervan Campgrounds Outside of San Francisco
Ramblin’ Redwoods RV Resort – Crescent City
The California Redwood forests are some of the most amazing natural wonders in the world, and Redwoods RV Resort, located in Crescent City, offers one of the best ways to see them. The newly-renovated resort is nestled among spruce, hemlock, Douglas fir, and Redwoods. It is situated just minutes from Redwood National and State Parks, Redwood National Forest, Del Norte Coast Redwood State Park, and Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park.
The park’s 80 sites have full hookups and 50 amp electric, restrooms, hot showers, laundry facilities; a playground; and an on-site store. They also provide tent camping, for those who want to get back to basics, and fully-furnished rental cabins, for campers wanting a little more space.
San Francisco RV Resort – San Francisco
For an authentic California experience in your RV or campervan, consider San Francisco RV Resort. It is perched on cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean and situated only 15 miles from some of San Francisco’s most famous sites, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Half Moon Bay, and Alcatraz. In terms of location alone, San Francisco RV Resort is one of the best RV campgrounds in California: campers are treated to spectacular ocean views (and sunsets) and are just steps away from the beach.
The resort offers full hookups at most sites, restroom, shower, laundry facilities, and a picnic and barbecue area. Amenities include an outdoor pool and hot tub, clubhouse, and playground. Everything you need if you’ve got children with you. There are 162 paved and level campsites—all of which are oceanfront. Note that the sites right on the ocean have no hookups.
North Pines Campground – Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park, a three- to four-hour campervan drive from San Francisco, offers some of the most beautiful scenery in the world and some of the best camping and hiking trails in California. Visitors can soak in Yosemite’s wonders through a range of outdoor activities, including hiking, backpacking, climbing, horseback riding, fishing, and more.
With its proximity to nature, North Pines Campground is perfect for hikers! It is one of three reservation campgrounds in Yosemite Valley, situated right in the heart of Yosemite National Park. North Pines is on the banks of the Merced River and features 81 single-family campsites for tents, RVs (up to 30 feet long), and trailers. The roads and parking pads are paved, and there are flush toilets, drinking water, and an RV dump station. Campers can grab a meal and take a hot shower at nearby Curry Village. Note that North Pines Campground opens in April and closes in early November.
These are just a few of our favorites. For more campervan campgrounds near San Francisco, check out our article, Top 7 Campervan Campgrounds & RV Parks Near San Francisco.
Big Sur and the Central Coast Campervan Campgrounds
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Campground – Big Sur
Located 26 miles south of Carmel on Highway 1, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Campground is found in the redwood forest above the Big Sur coast.
Redwood, oak, and sycamore trees line the river, and trails lead you to stunning views of the Big Sur Valley and Big Sur River Gorge. The state’s most popular wildflowers fill the slopes of Big Sur in April – the California poppy, there’s no better way to see them.
Campsites here offer RV access, although there are no hookups available. This campground is an extremely popular getaway; make a reservation, so you avoid missing out.
Cava Robles– Paso Robles
Nestled in the Paso Robles wine region is Cava Robles, which offers a more upscale camping experience. Guests have complete access to the resort’s pools, spas, wellness center, and restaurant, as well as activities such as outdoor movies and—of course—wine tasting. Campsites are spacious and feature full hookups, a picnic table, a fire ring for campfires, and a concrete patio. You can also bring your furry loved one; Cava Robles is pet-friendly and has a dog park.
Wanting more Big Sur suggestions? Visit our post, These Big Sur Campgrounds Should be on Your Bucket List!
California Beach Campgrounds
Moro Campground – Laguna Beach, California
Moro Campground at Crystal Cove State Park in Laguna Beach is another quick drive from Los Angeles. Moro Campground is a great stop where you can be a beach bum before continuing a road trip along the Pacific Coast.
Moro offers all of the essential activities for the perfect beach campout. You can relax and get a tan, go fishing, and hiking, before ending off with a barbecue.
Please take note: Only compressed gas barbeques are permitted on the beach and in campsites. Open flames are prohibited.
Refugio State Beach Campground – Santa Barbara County, California
Another great campground situated nearby is Refugio State Beach. Embodying the quintessential California camping experience, you’ll find lush palm trees, salty sea breeze, and gorgeous sunshine.
Refugio State Beach Campground offers the best of California without unnecessary fuss. The 63 campsites make a great home base to return to after surfing or exploring the tidepools at El Capitan, kiteboarding at Leadbetter Beach, biking the Ansio Trail, or fishing at the Gaviota Pier.
This rustic Southern California campground does not have RV hookups, so pack a tent or prepare solar power sources. For safety, there is a curfew for those under 18 years old after 8.30 pm, and if your furry friend is coming, dogs must be leashed.
San Elijo State Beach Campground – Encinitas, California
If you’re looking for a bigger escape from Los Angeles, San Diego makes an excellent Southern California camping trip. The allure of the San Diego coast lies in its abundant golden sand and turquoise, shimmering water.
To the north of San Diego, San Elijo State Beach Campground is a popular stop on a larger getaway. Situated on the bluffs, campers enjoy unparalleled views while affording convenient access to the waterfront. Water sports and activities are the must-do’s here – fishing, swimming, suntanning, snorkeling, and surfing are just some of your options.
This location gives a more urban vibe compared to more rural campgrounds due to the proximity of campsites and the presence of a convenience store and fast-food restaurants. You won’t feel too far from home!
With 820 miles of beachfront and over 400 public beaches, we simply could not list all of the best beach campgrounds in this article. Check out our Best Beach Campgrounds & RV Parks in California for additional hot spots for beach enthusiasts.
California is full of fantastic campervan campgrounds located in some of the most scenic parts of the United States. Book your campervan today out of San Francisco or Los Angeles, and get ready for an epic campervan road trip!
About the Author
Bastian is the Sales & Marketing Manager here at Travellers Autobarn. He holds a Master of Commerce in Marketing and International Business Management, and 20+ years experience in campervan hire, road trips and travel.