California is expected to have 281.5 million visitors in 2023. Tourism in the state is rising rapidly, and it’s easy to see why.
Because it’s such a large state, it’s no surprise that California is a great destination for a family road trip. It features some amazing RV and campervan camping spots and a variety of incredible sights.
If you want an amazing family camping trip and unforgettable experiences, you’ll find plenty of places to go. Featuring breathtaking deserts, sunny beaches, and great redwood forests, it’s hard to go wrong when traveling around California.
This guide will tell you about some of California’s best camping spots and places to visit on your road trip.
1. Yosemite National Park (Upper Pines Campground)
There are few more unforgettable spots in California than Yosemite National Park. If you’re looking to make lasting memories with your family, you’ll want to consider taking a road trip around California and setting Yosemite as your prime destination.
There are plenty of great road trips you can take to or from Yosemite, so you won’t have a hard time finding plenty to do on your trip. Starting from Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Sacramento can allow you to see incredible sights and cruise past some amazing wine country and small towns.
If you’re looking for a great California campground to stay at during a Yosemite road trip, you can’t do any better than the Upper Pines Campground. The Upper Pines Campground is open year-round and can be found at the heart of Yosemite Valley.
This large public RV campground features more than 250 RV sites. It also has great facilities that you can make use of during your stay as well.
2. Death Valley National Park (Furnace Creek Campground)
Another popular national park in California, Death Valley, can also serve as a destination for an unforgettable road trip, particularly if you’re renting a camper van or have an RV. Although the national park is the lowest elevation and the driest out of all of the national parks, its breathtaking views will surely impress you.
While you may not want to visit this destination in the dead of summer, Death Valley is a great place to visit during many other parts of the year. You’ll be able to do some great hiking and walking while in the area, although you can also explore a lot of Death Valley in your vehicle.
While the area has many great campground options, Furnace Creek Campground stands out above the rest. This campground is known as the only campground with reservable sites in Death Valley.
Fortunately, if you decide to reserve a site, you’ll be able to get access to all of the hookups you’ll need for your RV or camper van. Although the campground has tent sites, the RV sites have everything you need to use your camper van to the full extent.
Nearby this campground, you’ll find plenty of shops and restaurants in The Oasis at Death Valley and can even visit a nearby golf course.
3. The Southern California Coast (San Elijo State Beach Campground)
Are you more interested in cooling off in one of California’s amazing beaches than experiencing the scorching heat of Death Valley? If so, then you might want to take a road trip that’s focused on visiting them.
It can be a great idea to take a beach trip where you’ll work your way past some of the state’s best beaches. You may want to start in Southern California in San Diego and then wind through Long Beach and Malibu, hitting beaches such as Venice Beach, Santa Monica State Beach, San Elijo State Beach, and more along the way.
San Elijo State Beach Campground is an excellent option if you’re looking for a great place to park your campervan or RV. This is one of the more popular campgrounds in the state and is located among the bluffs, offering stunning ocean views. From this location, you’ll have plenty to do, including all of your favorite beach activities, such as swimming, surfing, fishing, and snorkeling.
Unlike some rural campgrounds, you’ll also find plenty of amenities, including fast-food restaurants and convenience stores nearby.
4. San Francisco (San Francisco RV Resort)
You can take many different road trip paths from San Francisco, each of which can offer an unforgettable experience to your family.
One of our best recommendations is to start in San Francisco and then work your way toward Big Sur. Although San Francisco and Big Sur have a lot to offer, there’s plenty to see between these two destinations on the famous Highway 1.
If you want to spend some time camping near San Francisco before you head for Big Sur, you might want to visit San Francisco RV Resort. This campground is situated on the cliffs and will be a great place to look out over the Pacific Ocean.
This campground is also close to the city, so you’ll be able to visit all of the amazing San Francisco sites while staying nearby, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Half Moon Bay, and Alcatraz. You’ll find full hookups at most sites here, and there are plenty of amenities available, so you’re sure to have a comfortable stay.
5. Joshua Tree National Park (Joshua Tree Lake RV and Campground)
Another national park that’s well worth paying a visit to is Joshua Tree National Park. Joshua Tree can make either a great stop or destination on an RV or campervan road trip. Joshua Tree offers some amazing hiking trails and plenty of great views of rock formations and desert land.
The destination features plenty of interesting flora, such as yucca trees, and a lot of sights to see in the vast and varied landscape. Make sure that you check out the Salton Sea during your trip if you want to get some truly amazing photographs.
If you want to visit the area for a while, consider staying at the Joshua Tree Lake RV and Campground.
None of the campgrounds inside the park feature hookups, but this campground does because it’s just outside of the park. You’ll also be able to make use of the great fishing opportunities while at Joshua Tree Lake as well.
6. Santa Barbara (Ocean Mesa at El Capitan)
Do you want to take in some amazing views while also stopping by some of the state’s best wineries outside of Napa Valley? If so, you might consider taking a road trip from Santa Barbara to Monterey.
By stopping in areas such as Buellton and Paso Robles, you’ll be able to see some amazing views on the Pacific Coast Highway while also getting access to various activities. Consider visiting wineries in the area, such as Santa Barbara Winery, Kunin Wines, Aronhill Vineyards, and Doce Robles, during your trip.
If you’re looking for an amazing place to camp in Santa Barbara, then you can’t do any better than Ocean Mesa at El Capitan. This campground features full hookups and offers both pull-through and back-in sites. There are great amenities at this campground, including Wi-Fi, cable TV, a heated pool and spa, laundry facilities, and more.
7. Redwood National and State Parks (Ramblin’ Redwoods RV Resort)
No California list of destinations would be complete without the Redwood National and State Parks. The state’s redwoods are a sight to behold and will surely offer a memorable experience to you and your family.
There’s plenty to do in the area besides gawking at the mammoth trees, however. You may want to do some hiking, take a kayak tour, or experience some other outdoor activities while in the area as well.
If you’re looking for a worthwhile campground to visit while visiting the Redwoods, then you can’t do any better than Ramblin’ Redwoods RV Resort. The campground is located in nearby Crescent City and offers 80 sites with full hookups and 50 amp electricity. There are also plenty of amenities as well including restrooms with hot showers, laundry facilities, a playground, and a store.
Ramblin’ Redwoods RV Resort is another great place you should consider if you’re going on a California campervan trip.
Finding the Perfect Campervan Spots for Your Family Camping Trip
If you’re planning to take a family camping trip to California, there’s no shortage of great places to visit. Whether you choose to take a family road trip or there’s one destination you want to visit in particular, the spots above are all well worth your consideration.
Interested in booking a campervan and having an unforgettable California road trip? Get a quick quote now and find the perfect campervan for your needs.
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.