California has amazing natural features including beaches, mountains and some of the world’s most famous national parks. Childhood is a great time to teach kids about preserving and appreciating the natural world. And what better way to do that than by setting up a tent or parking your RV at a campsite? Luckily, parents from the Golden State have a few standard locations that they swear by. Generations after generations of families head to specific spots across the state to become one with nature. Here are some great family-friendly campgrounds in California.
Big Basin Redwoods State Park is the perfect spot for a first-time camping trip thanks to the amazingly supersized old growth redwood trees. You can hike from the forest to the oceans on a famous trail or try for something a little easier. Waterfalls, animals and cabins for rent complete the ease of an experience meant to be relaxing and memorable.
If you are looking for something a little more accessible, then Henry Cowell is the way to go. It’s said to be an easy hike to the campground and there are shorter trails and things for tiny legs to experience, while still being surrounded by towering redwood trees. Kids are sure to be further delighted by nearby Roaring Camp Railroad, which includes trains that run on steam engines. Great views for parents paired with activities for kids makes it a prime camping trip for getting away without getting away.
For parents that don’t want to bother with the hassle of tents and cookouts, the city of San Jose offers residents (and guests from other cities!) a chance to summer camp. There’s a camp store for forgotten items and fishing is available. You get to stay out under the stars and experience the beauty of the Sierra Mountains and Yosemite.
Both camping and fishing can be found at Lake Hemet. There are also cabins, opportunities for lake swimming, a water park and of course amazing views of the surrounding area. Lake Hemet tends to be a family vacation spot that is not too far from many cities and suburbs in Southern California, and offers plenty of activities so that nobody in the family gets bored. Many of California’s native-born celebrities have fond childhood memories of celebrating birthdays and holidays while camping at Lake Hemet.
Slightly north and west of Santa Monica, on the Pacific Coast Highway is Leo Carrillo State Park. For many local kids, it’s their first camping trip. You can make reservations through Reserve America and bring your own RV or pitch a tent. The campground is located across the road from one of the world’s most beautiful beaches. There are trails on the mountain side and tide pools on the ocean side that are great for getting a glimpse of sea creatures. Named for an actor and preservationist, Leo Carrillo is a great place to learn about respect for the natural world.