San Francisco is a city situated within a beautiful Bay Area location. With that, it is never easy to be bored in such a bustling and lively city as it is. It also has many attractions and historical places, such as Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. It is home to many camping locations filled with breathtaking landscapes, hiking spots, and unlimited access to the ocean. Indeed, San Francisco is a great place to reside because of its many available places to have fun.
While you want to explore the best recreational places in San Francisco, you might never get away from the most prominent thing about the city—the traffic. And as a result, you just want to go somewhere where the notorious California traffic isn’t present. If you’re going to reconnect with nature and get out of the long queue of vehicles on the road simultaneously, you should consider some other places outside and near San Francisco.
Before hitting the road and going on your next camping trip, we present in this article the four absolute best camping near San Francisco that will immediately help you get your nature fix in no time.
1. Liberty Glen at Lake Sonoma
|Liberty Glen at Lake Sonoma|
|Distance from San Francisco||1 hour and 37 minutes|
|Animals to see||Deer, turkey, acorn woodpecker, mallard|
|Things to do||Biking, camping, hiking, disc golf, fishing at Lake Sonoma|
If you’re seeking refuge from the bustling streets of the city of San Francisco, then the Liberty Glen campgrounds of Lake Sonoma will be one of your best choices. Here, you can have access to beautiful views of the shoreline, thrilling hikes, and various recreational activities such as archery and disc golf. If you bring your dog with you on the trip, this place has a dog park to let your canine best friend enjoy and stay entertained even in a new environment. While this place is considered a hidden gem, it is a surprise that one night in this campground could only cost around $25-$100, which is a reasonably small price for a great place!
While it is a great place to spend time with the family for recreation, it is also a great place to enjoy and appreciate wildlife. Here, you can find various animal species such as deer, turkeys, acorn woodpeckers, mallards, hummingbirds, wood ducks, squirrels, mule deer, etc. In rare and occasional circumstances, you can also find nesting peregrine falcons. Lake Sonoma itself is also an excellent spot for sport fishing.
2. Kirby Cove at Golden Gate National Recreation Area
|Kirby Cove at Golden Gate National Recreation Area|
|Distance from San Francisco||24 minutes|
|Animals to see||Owl, hawk, falcon, monarch butterfly|
|Things to do||Birdwatching, fishing, hiking, camping|
Kirby Cove, located in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area on the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge, is one of the most popular campgrounds near San Francisco. This popular spot can give you a unique vantage point of the San Francisco Bay and its city lights while enjoying the tranquil breath of fresh air and the view of the sandy beach. If you want a nice picnic within this area, you don’t have to worry as this place has fixings such as pit toilets, barbecue pits, picnic tables, and fire rings for a small $20. Even amid a pandemic, its low cost will undoubtedly draw more visitors.
This place offers not just its campgrounds but also vast wildlife ready to be discovered by tourists and locals considering a visit here. This place has 250 species of birds, 20 reptiles, 11 amphibians, and 53 species of mammals, such as the coyote, bobcat, gray fox, bat, badger, rabbit, and black-tailed deer. Since this is home to many bird species, such as the owl, hawk, and peregrine falcon, birdwatching is also popular.
3. Bothe-Napa Valley State Park
|Bothe-Napa Valley State Park|
|Distance from San Francisco||1 hour and 28 minutes|
|Animals to see||Raccoon, squirrel, deer, fox|
|Things to do||Glamping, hiking, swimming|
Camping? More like glamping! The infamous wine lovers’ favorite area offers a cool and unique glamping experience in its comfortable yurts. As this is a tiny bit away from the most famous vineyards in the world, you can do either wine tasting or hiking at the same time. The park also has a luxurious pool that would cost a few bucks, but it is worth even a quick dip after walking or hiking around the area. For a more relaxing and hassle-free experience, picnicking under the Douglas firs with wine and cheese is a great option.
Wildlife is also at the heart of this area, as it is home to a wide variety of species, including raccoons, squirrels, coyotes, bobcats, and foxes. This place is also home to six different types of woodpeckers. Indeed, Bothe-Napa Valley State Park is a natural wonderland.
4. San Luis Reservoir State Recreation Area
|San Luis Reservoir State Recreation Area|
|Distance from San Francisco||1 hour and 50 minutes|
|Animals to see||Gray fox, black-tailed deer, wild pig|
|Things to do||Boating, fishing, swimming, camping|
Located in the San Joaquin Valley, almost 2 hours away from San Francisco, the San Luis Reservoir State Recreation Area is an ideal spot for recreational activities such as boating, sailing, picnicking, fishing, swimming, and, of course, camping. It has four campgrounds available all year round, and you can choose your pick of on-site accommodations such as bathrooms, drinking water, and shower areas for a small price of $30. If you book your camping during the windy seasons of November to April, you might consider booking an area within the Basalt Campsite, which offers protection from heavy winds with its hard shell roof tents. This campsite is also the closest to the shoreline, so you might have the chance to experience walking along the beautiful shoreline of the park.
This reservoir is also home to different species of animals, with 101 species of birds discovered here. Some of the animals that can be easily spotted within this area are the gray fox, black-tailed deer, wild pig, bald eagle, hawk, owl, geese, and other species of ducks. While boating or fishing, you might catch a few fish species such as largemouth black bass, striped bass, and salmon.
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