Camping Close to Home

You don’t have to travel far to go camping. The Bay Area has some great campgrounds. Before you pack the car, be prepared: Some campgrounds have COVID-19 restrictions like mask wearing, and campfires have also been banned at some locations because of wildfire danger. Check websites or call to find out about campground rules.



Kirby Cove This campground may be a little rugged, but its view makes it worth it. From Kirby Cove’s sandy beach, you get beautiful views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the city. Within the cypress trees near the beach, there are only five campsites (each accommodating 10 people), so reservations are essential. The sites include pit toilets, barbecue pits, picnic tables and fire rings. But you must bring your own water. Campsites will be available to book beginning Feb. 19. $30-45. Conzelman Road/Battery Spencer, Sausalito. 415-331-1540. 

China Camp State Park This park offers intertidal salt marshes, meadows and oak habitats, hiking and an 1880s Chinese shrimp-fishing village that is now a museum by the bay. All of the campsites at Back Ranch Meadows campground are hike-in for tent camping only. The sites are no more than 300 yards from the parking area. 730 N. San Pedro Road, San Rafael. 415-456-0766. 


East Bay

Del Valle Regional Park –This 4,000-plus-acre park near Livermore is home to a 5-mile lake for boating and swimming. Its family campground includes 150 sites, many of which allow dogs for an additional $2 per day fee. 1-888-327-2757, option 2.

Anthony Chabot Regional Park This campground is only 35 minutes from downtown Oakland but feels a world away. The family campground overlooking Lake Chabot has 75 campsites. 1-888-327-2757, option 2.


Half Moon Bay State Beach This campground has tent, group and hike and bike campsites. It also features RV access.Dogs are not allowed on the beach, but are allowed, on leash, in the campground, day-use picnic areas and on the Coastal Trail. 95 Kelly Ave., Half Moon Bay. 650-726-8819.

San Mateo County Memorial Park With a swimming hole, more than eight miles of hiking trails and a store, this is one of the most popular campgrounds in the area. Surrounded by beautiful old-growth redwoods, it has 158 campsites, flush toilets, showers and water. No dogs or pets are allowed. Overnight camping is closed until spring 2021. 9500 Pescadero Creek Road, Loma Mar. 650-879-0238. 

Silicon Valley

Mt. Madonna County Park This nearly 4,000-acre park nestled in a redwood forest has family campsites, RV sites, yurts and group camping. Two pets are allowed per campsite and must be kept on a maximum 6-foot leash during the day and in a confined area at night. Leashed dogs are allowed on trails. $34 per night. 7850 Pole Line Road, Watsonville. 408-355-2201.

Uvas Canyon County Park On the eastern side of the Santa Cruz Mountains, this lushly wooded 1,000-plus acre park has six miles of hiking trails and a one-mile Waterfall Loop. Dogs are permitted in all areas but must be on a 6-foot leash and confined at night. Maximum of two dogs per campsite. 8515 Croy Road, Morgan Hill. 408-779-9232. 

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park While this campground was affected by the CZU Lightning Complex Fires, it is starting to reopen some of its campgrounds. Group and hike and bike campsites will remain closed. This state park in a redwood forest welcomes leashed dogs in the campground, picnic area and on Pipeline Road, Graham Hill Trail and Meadow Trail. 2591 Graham Hill Road, Scotts Valley. 831-335-4598.

Teresa Mills-Faraudo is an associate editor at Bay Area Parent.