To visit San Francisco is to visit one of the world’s most visited cities. It is easy to forget that San Francisco is also home to some of the top camping locations in the United States, given the city’s reputation for stunning scenery, iconic landmarks, and vibrant city life. Campers of all stripes will find a variety of options in San Francisco, from parking an RV to setting up a tent on the shore. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at some of the best San Francisco camping locations.
#1. Kirby Cove Campground
A lot of people go camping at Kirby Cove Campground in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area of Marin County, California, in the United States. The campground’s vantage point on a bluff above the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco Bay is unbeatable.
Each of the five campsites at Kirby Cove Campground provides enough for up to six people and two tents. All of the campsites provide cooking facilities like stoves, refrigerators, and microwaves, as well as more traditional amenities like picnic tables and fire pits. There is a vault toilet at the campground, but no running water, so campers need to carry their own supplies.
Kirby Cove Campsite is reached via a strenuous descent to a beach. Hikers should be equipped for the steep descent and the trail’s potential difficulty during its roughly 1.5 miles of length. Kirby Cove Campsite requires advanced reservations, which can be made on the recreation.gov website up to six months in advance. The campground is available from May to October, however, guests are encouraged to book in advance due to the high demand.
#2. Rob Hill Campground
Camping is available at Rob Hill Campsite in San Francisco’s Presidio. Because of its beautiful setting and accessibility to San Francisco’s attractions, it is a favorite choice among campers. Camping is available in one of four group sites that can fit up to 30 people, or in one of three individual sites that can fit up to 8 people.
Picnic tables, barbecue pits, restrooms, showers, and a campfire circle are just some of the facilities available to guests at Rob Hill Campsite. Guests must make reservations at least one day in advance, and the campground is open all year.
The Golden Gate Bridge, the Presidio Visitor Center, and Crissy Field are just a few of the neighboring attractions that campers at Rob Hill Campsite can take advantage of during their stay. The vibrant city of San Francisco, with its many cultural landmarks, shopping, dining, and entertainment opportunities, is only a short drive from the campground.
#3. Pantoll Campground
Campers love the Pantoll Campsite at California’s Mount Tamalpais State Park in Marin County. Situated at an elevation of 1,350 feet, the campground provides breathtaking panoramas of the mountains and valleys in the vicinity.
There are 16 campsites at the campground, and each one can fit up to 8 people and 2 cars. All of the campsites provide cooking facilities like stoves, refrigerators, and microwaves, as well as more traditional amenities like picnic tables and fire pits. On-site amenities like bathrooms and water dispensers are also provided.
Many popular routes, such as the Dipsea Trail and the Matt Davis Trail, begin near Pantoll Campground, making it a great destination for hikers and cyclists. Birdwatching, astronomy, and nature photography are also available for guests. Pantoll Campsite is a popular destination, so make sure to book in advance, especially for the summer (May-October). You can either phone the park directly or use the ReserveCalifornia website.
There are a number of campgrounds in the San Francisco camping area that are large enough to accommodate recreational vehicles. The following are a few of the area’s most frequented recreational vehicle campgrounds:
#4. Olema Campground
Just north of San Francisco, you’ll find Olema Campsite right near the Point Reyes National Seashore. They provide a wonderful setting for a variety of outdoor pursuits, from bird watching to hiking to kayaking to simply lounging on the beach. Close by is 65,000 acres of protected park and wilderness, home to diverse wildlife and breathtaking scenery.
If you and your family are looking for a place to spend quality time outside, then pack up your books and hiking gear and head to their outdoor family location. The town of Point Reyes Station, where you’ll find a grocery shop and hardware store, is only two miles away and has everything you need. In addition to being a hardware store, it also sells sports gear and a selection of camping and RV necessities.
Olema and Point Reyes Station are both great places to visit because they have great restaurants and stores. Internet, water, sewer, bathrooms, and electricity are just some of the facilities offered at Olema Campground. The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, Chinatown, the Financial District, the Presidio, Coit Tower, the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, and Greens Restaurant are all within easy walking distance.
#5. Candlestick RV Park
Camping at Candlestick RV Park is convenient for individuals, couples, and large groups. RV campers who aren’t up for true “roughing it” in the wilderness will appreciate the proximity of modern conveniences like free Wi-Fi, a laundromat, a grocery shop, and a shuttle service.
You can drive your rented RV a few miles to some of San Francisco’s most famous landmarks and relax at this scenic RV park. Its central location makes it simple to visit any of San Francisco’s famous landmarks, such as Alcatraz, Underwater World, the Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown, Pacific Bell Park, and many more. In addition, several of the park’s attractions can be reached via shuttle bus.
There are only 165 full-hookup RV sites and 24 tent-only sites at Candlestick RV Park in San Francisco. Drinking water, flush toilets, showers, laundry facilities, and garbage collection are just some of the conveniences offered at the park. In addition to a general store, a game area (with a big-screen TV), and free WiFi, campers can enjoy a number of other amenities. Likewise, there is reliable cell phone coverage.
#6. Half Moon Bay RV Park
At the Half Moon Bay RV Park and Campground, you’ll find everything you need for a relaxing and enjoyable coastal camping experience in Northern California. They provide the most welcoming service of any coastal campground because of their family-run roots. The campgrounds are conveniently located near stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues, so you can bring everything you need to set up your RV.
Tent camping is ideal at Half Moon Bay Campground. The trails along the shore are easily accessible from their clean, secluded campground. In addition, there is a full barbecue pit, a volleyball court, and a horseshoe pit for your use. There is a fantastic bar not far away with delicious cuisine, fun games like Shuffleboard, and exciting sporting events to watch.
They provide full laundry facilities, wireless internet, showers, and restrooms. Very beautiful ocean vistas can be found in Half Moon Bay. Activities like surfing, stand-up paddling, horseback riding on the beach, and long-distance cycling along the coast are all within easy reach of the campground.
In addition to its many other attractions, San Francisco is also known for its numerous gorgeous beaches, several of which also have camping. The following are examples of some of the better local camping beaches:
#7. Ocean Beach
The 3.5-mile stretch of Ocean Beach that marks San Francisco’s western boundary extends from Richmond through the entirety of the Sunset District and all the way to Sloat Boulevard. The huge beach is one of San Francisco’s best outdoor places, despite the fog that often covers it.
Surfing, sunning at the pier, and browsing through the various surf shops, taco stands, and one-of-a-kind local boutiques are just a few of the reasons why people love this small coastal town just north of Point Loma. Ocean Beach is known for its vintage Southern California atmosphere, welcoming inhabitants, excellent restaurants and microbreweries, and exciting nightlife.
#8. Baker Beach
Baker Beach is a mile-long stretch of sand beneath serpentine cliffs in the southwest corner of the Presidio, and locals know that when the fog and wind finally leave, it’s time to go. It’s a fantastic beach and among the nicest in San Francisco.
Be sure to get here early on warm days and weekends, as this is one of the park’s beaches close to the Golden Gate Bridge. Many people will visit Baker Beach, so the parking lot and the lots on Bowley Street will fill up fast.
At low tide, visitors can see sea stars, while gray-green serpentine rock formations and native wildflowers bloom continuously on the dune fields throughout the year. Observe the sky and you might see a V-formation of Brown Pelicans or a Red-tailed Hawk on the prowl for an afternoon snack. Likewise, the ocean is home to dolphins and harbor seals, some of which will occasionally pop their heads above the waves to take a look around.
Tips for Camping in San Francisco
An unforgettable camping trip in San Francisco can be had with a little forethought and planning. Any campers in the vicinity, here are some pointers:
During the busy summer months, San Francisco’s many camping spots often reach capacity rapidly. Make sure you get a table by calling ahead and making reservations.
Check the weather
Even at the height of summer, San Francisco’s notorious fog can make for a chilly day. Don’t forget to bring along weather-appropriate attire and equipment.
Be mindful of wildlife
Raccoons, skunks, and even coyotes call San Francisco home. Don’t leave perishables out overnight and always use adequate storage for garbage.
Respect the environment
San Francisco is widely admired for its scenic parks and other outdoor areas. You can do your part to keep them that way by adhering to the rules of Leave No Trace camping, such as taking out what you bring in and packing all rubbish out.
Is Camping Legal In The USA?
In the United States, yes, camping is perfectly legal. It’s important to check the restrictions of the park or campground you plan to visit, as they can differ from place to place, even within the same state.
Do You Need A Permit To Camp In California?
Depending on where in California you intend to camp, a camping permit can be required. There are campgrounds and parks that operate on a first-come, first-served basis while others that require reservations and permits.
Is Camping Free In The USA?
No, free camping is not the norm in the United States. Certain camping choices, such as dispersed camping on public lands, are free of charge, but most campsites do. Costs might fluctuate substantially based on factors like proximity to attractions and peak seasons.
Though famous for its urban culture and attractions, San Francisco is also a fantastic getaway for nature lovers. San Francisco is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, with a wide range of campgrounds, beaches, and other outdoor pursuits to choose from. The wonderful outdoors can be enjoyed in San Francisco whether you’re wanting to camp out, park your RV, or just spend a day at the beach. Now is the time to get your kit together and see what this stunning city has to offer.