A Full Guide to California State Parks for Nature Lovers


California, the Golden State, is a haven for nature enthusiasts, boasting an array of stunning landscapes from rugged coastlines to towering redwoods. For those seeking an immersive outdoor experience, California state parks provide an ideal setting, and one of the most popular ways to enjoy these natural wonders is through RV camping. 

In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into why RV camping is a preferred choice in California's state parks and offer valuable tips for beginners. Additionally, we'll highlight 6-8 state parks that are perfect for RV camping adventures.

Why Go RV Camping in California State Parks?

State parks in California are popular in the realm of RV camping for a few good reasons, including:

Scenic Diversity

California is synonymous with diverse landscapes, and its state parks showcase this in abundance. RV campers can navigate through various ecosystems, each offering a unique experience.

Convenience and Comfort

RV camping provides the perfect blend of convenience and comfort for those wanting to explore California's natural wonders. Modern RVs are equipped with all the amenities needed for a comfortable stay, including kitchen facilities, bathrooms, and cozy sleeping quarters. This not only enhances the overall camping experience but also allows travelers to focus more on enjoying the great outdoors.

Freedom to Explore

Unlike traditional camping, where you may be limited to a specific site, RV camping in California state parks allows for greater mobility. With your accommodation on wheels, you have the freedom to explore different areas within the park, choosing the perfect spot to set up camp. 

Tips for RV Camping Beginners

Now that we've explored why RV camping is popular in California state parks let's provide some valuable tips for beginners looking to embark on their first RV adventure:

Choose the Right RV

Select the RV that suits your group size, amenities, and terrain. Renting allows you to explore options and find the best fit. Check out Cruise America’s broad selection of RV rentals.

Plan and Reserve in Advance

Secure your spot by planning and reserving campsites in California state parks well ahead, especially during peak seasons.

Pack Wisely

Pack essentials like bedding, cookware, toiletries, and outdoor gear. Don't forget items such as insect repellent, sunscreen, and a well-stocked first aid kit.

Understand Campground Rules

Know the specific rules of your chosen state park, including campfire regulations, generator use, and pet policies.

Embrace the RV Lifestyle

Enjoy the journey by taking breaks at scenic spots, exploring local attractions, and connecting with fellow campers.

Practice RV Maneuvering

If you're new to driving an RV, practice parking, turning, and backing up in an open space before hitting the road.

Conserve Resources

Mindfully manage limited resources like water and electricity, especially during dry camping or boondocking. Conserve by taking shorter showers and using appliances judiciously.

Top California State Parks for RV Camping

Since there are nearly too many California state parks to count (87 to be exact) we won’t list them all on this page. 

Below, we will share details about 9 of the best California state parks for RV camping. 

1. Humboldt Redwoods State Park

Nestled in Northern California, Humboldt Redwoods State Park is a sanctuary for towering giants, home to some of the world's tallest trees. The Avenue of the Giants, a scenic drive through ancient redwoods, immerses visitors in the awe-inspiring grandeur of nature. RV campers can find solace in the Albee Creek Campground, surrounded by the majestic redwoods, providing a serene and captivating experience.

2. Russian Gulch State Park

Along the rugged Mendocino Coast, Russian Gulch State Park enchants visitors with its coastal beauty and diverse landscapes. RV camping enthusiasts can explore the lush fern canyons, stroll along the beach, and admire the iconic Devil's Punchbowl. The park's campground offers a peaceful retreat, allowing campers to appreciate the sound of crashing waves and the serenity of the coastal redwoods.

3. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Southern California's Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is a mesmerizing expanse of desert beauty. RV campers can revel in the stark landscapes, blooming wildflowers, and surreal sunsets. The park's vast camping areas cater to a range of preferences, from developed campgrounds with amenities to primitive sites for those seeking a more immersive desert experience.

4. Emerald Bay State Park

Overlooking Lake Tahoe's pristine waters, Emerald Bay State Park is a jewel in the Sierra Nevada. RV campers can relish stunning lake views, explore the iconic Vikingsholm Castle, and hike to the park's gem, Eagle Falls. The park's campgrounds offer a unique combination of alpine beauty and lakeside tranquility, providing a memorable setting for outdoor enthusiasts.

5. Crystal Cove State Park

Southern California's coastal allure is embodied in Crystal Cove State Park. With its picturesque beaches, tide pools, and historic cottages, the park captures the essence of a bygone era. RV camping at the Moro Campground allows visitors to wake up to the sound of waves, explore miles of pristine coastline, and witness breathtaking sunsets over the Pacific Ocean.

6. Castle Rock State Park

Situated in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Castle Rock State Park offers a haven for hikers and rock climbers. RV campers can traverse scenic trails, including the renowned Skyline to the Sea Trail, and marvel at the unique rock formations. The park's campground provides a peaceful escape amid the towering redwoods, creating a perfect blend of outdoor adventure and natural serenity.

7. Chino Hills State Park

Tucked between Los Angeles and Orange County, Chino Hills State Park is an urban oasis with a diverse ecosystem. RV campers can explore miles of hiking and equestrian trails, discovering habitats ranging from grasslands to oak woodlands. The Rolling M Ranch Campground offers a convenient base for outdoor activities while providing a retreat from the bustle of city life.

8. Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Nestled in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Big Basin Redwoods State Park stands as California's oldest state park and a testament to the awe-inspiring grandeur of ancient redwoods. RV campers can embark on a journey through lush forests, marvel at towering trees like the famous Father of the Forest, and explore captivating waterfalls along scenic trails. The park's campgrounds, like Sempervirens, offer a serene escape into nature, allowing visitors to bask in the tranquility of the redwood groves and experience the magic of this natural wonderland.

9. Malibu Creek State Park

For a nature escape just outside Los Angeles, Malibu Creek State Park beckons with its diverse landscapes, including oak woodlands, grassy fields, and rugged mountains. RV campers can enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, rock climbing, and bird watching. The park gained fame as a filming location for numerous movies and TV shows. The Malibu Creek Campground offers RV-friendly sites, providing a gateway to the park's scenic beauty and opportunities for adventure amidst the stunning backdrop of the Santa Monica Mountains.

Pick up an RV rental in Los Angeles for your adventure to Malibu Creek State Park.

Each of these California state parks offers a distinctive experience, from the majestic redwoods of Humboldt to the desert landscapes of Anza-Borrego, ensuring that RV campers can find their ideal outdoor haven in the Golden State.

Explore State Parks in California with Cruise America

Cruise America is your premier partner for taking an unforgettable RV camping trip. Reserve an RV rental and pick it up at one of our many convenient locations across the nation. Cruise America’s RV models offer safety and comfort in one for RVers. 

Contact us today with questions, or get started planning your vacation.