Good Places to camp in the SF Bay area?
May 23, 2005 6:36 AM   Subscribe

What are some good places to camp on the beach in the San Francisco Bay Area?

I recently moved to Sacramento and my wife and I would like to find a scenic, fun place to camp on the beach. We are planning on going in mid to late June, so I'd like to make reservations soon. What are some of your favorite places to go? Locations with nice exploration/hiking potential a plus.
posted by Espoo2 to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Point Reyes National Seashore, hands down (official site here). I spent many summers at their nature camps and backpacking through there, it's quite literally my favorite place in the world.

I can't be much help other than pointing you in that direction, as I was only a teen the last time I was there and now live on the east coast (other people where in more direct control of things like camping permits, etc). But I remember camping on the beach, and at many campsites within a short walking distance of the beach, so you should have lots of options. As far as trails, I spent a whole week backpacking in and around there and was never at a loss for somewhere to go. There is a really great visitor's center as well, you can walk the Fire Trail (right on top of the San Andreas fault line), and hike yourself down the several hundred steps to the lighthouse.

It's a fantastic place, you'll have lots of fun there!
posted by nelleish at 7:42 AM on May 23, 2005

It has been years, but I used to camp near Pescadero State Beach up inthe redwoods. I don't recall whether it was a differently named park or part of Pescaderao SB though. Check out the California State Parks web site for more info.
posted by terrapin at 7:57 AM on May 23, 2005

Mount Tamapais state park (Activities > camping)

Angel Island (campsites)

Golden Gate National Recreation Area

I haven't tried any of these, as I don't like camping, but when I'm hiking, the camp sites sure look idyllic!
posted by jasper411 at 10:02 AM on May 23, 2005

I camped for a weekend once on an unnamed beach off Highway 1 south of the city. There is a whole string of beaches between San Francisco and Santa Cruz - many of them are posted no camping, or say that the parking lot closes at sunset, but some of them don't. Of course if you want something less spontaneous, or need a reserved site with latrines, you'd best go to one of the fine places listed above.
posted by bendy at 10:12 AM on May 23, 2005

My friends rave about a hot springs here that is available at low tide
posted by hortense at 10:33 AM on May 23, 2005

A previous Ask MeFi thread had some good ideas, none of which I've had the chance to try out personally yet, but the campground at Kirby Cove sounds fantastic. It's on the beach with views of the Golden Gate from the campsites. Now I just need to figure out when the NPS starts taking reservations for 2006, so I can try to book some weekend dates! =)
posted by idontlikewords at 11:19 AM on May 23, 2005

I stayed at Half Moon Bay for a weekend in some park I've forgotten the name of, and it was pretty nice. About a half hour of beautiful driving from SF, by lots of sheep-filled fields and produce stands.
posted by mai at 11:44 AM on May 23, 2005

I should point out that there was no hiking nearby, but there was horseback riding in the park along the beach.
posted by mai at 11:45 AM on May 23, 2005

Samuel P. Taylor state park is good. It's on Sir Francis Drake Blvd between San Rafael and Point Reyes. There's great mountain biking and it works as an awesome basecamp for daytrips.

South of San Francisco is Butano State Park. It's nestled in redwoods like Samuel P. Taylor and is very close to the beach. There's hiking and mountain biking opportunies, great views, a waterfall a short hke away and the price isn't too bad. It's south of the city on Highway 1 just outside Pescadero. There are lots of great side trips available like Santa Cruz, Half Moon Bay, Big Basin Redwoods, The Mystery Spot.

Lots of cool things to explore.
posted by loyd at 12:20 PM on May 23, 2005

Second Butano S.P. and Point Reyes. We've never camped right on the beach, but there was so much other stuff to do and see that we didn't care.
posted by DakotaPaul at 4:49 PM on May 23, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for all these ideas, guys.
Keep 'em coming!
posted by Espoo2 at 8:14 PM on May 23, 2005

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