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12 Top-Rated Campgrounds near Sacramento, CA

Written by Brad Lane
Dec 2, 2019

Campgrounds stretch in all directions from Sacramento, the capital of California. For camping close to the city without driving too far, the neighboring Folsom Lake State Recreation Area is nestled into the Sierra Nevada foothills, 30 miles from Sacramento, with three lakeside campgrounds available. Farther east in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, it's easy to beat the summer heat by gaining elevation at places like Sly Park Campground and Ice House Campground.

Primitive and free camping can also be found throughout Eldorado and Tahoe National Forest east of Sacramento. The stunning shores of Lake Tahoe are a two-hour drive from Sacramento, and campgrounds like Eagle Point at Emerald Bay State Park offer the perfect escape for weekend camping excursions.

Campgrounds are found in every direction from Sacramento, and areas like Lake Berryessa to the west offer lakeside campsites in the heart of Napa County. Similarly, the lakeshore campsites at Rancho Seco Recreation Area to the south feature activities like boating, fishing, and watching the sunset over the water.

For tent camping, RV parking, and especially lakeside camping near Sacramento, the rich natural splendor of the region is just a short drive away. Find the best place to pitch your tent with our list of the top campgrounds near Sacramento.

1. Beals Point Campground, Folsom Lake Recreation Area

Folsom Lake Recreation Area

Near the Folsom Dam and on the shoreline of Folsom Lake, Beal's Point is one of three campgrounds within this massive recreation area. Offering 49 family sites with picnic tables and fire pits, Beal's Point also caters to RVs with an additional 20 full hookup sites available.

Alongside easy access to a day-use area that juts into the lake from the campground, the Beal's Point Campground also connects with the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail along the American River Parkway.

For those coming from Sacramento, it's just over a half-hour drive from the city, or a 32-mile bike ride on the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail. All overnight guests at the campground have access to potable water and coin-operated showers, and reservations can be made ahead of time online or over the phone.

South of Beal's Point on the adjacent and smaller reservoir within the recreation area, Lake Natoma, the Negro Bar Campground features group sites that accommodate large get-togethers.

Location: Beals Point, Granite Bay, California

Official site: https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=500

2. Ice House Campground, Eldorado National Forest Editor's Pick

Ice House Campground | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

A popular campground located 80 miles northeast of Sacramento within the Eldorado National Forest, the Ice House Campground is on the banks of the scenic Ice House Reservoir. It's great for activities like fishing, paddle sports, and swimming, and the ponderosa pine forest surrounding the campground appeals to all outdoor lovers.

Potable water and pit toilets are available at the campground, and the neighboring Ice House Resort features a general store and café. With over 80 sites available, Ice House Campground accommodates tents and RVs and is generally open between Memorial Day and mid-October.

East along the Ice House Reservoir, the national forest also operates the Northwind Campground and Strawberry Campground, and both feature primitive campsites and less expensive camping rates. A scenic hiking trail connects all three campgrounds in the area. Other great hiking trails are a short drive from the campground, including the tumbling Bassi Falls trail less than 10 miles away.

Address: Ice House Reservoir, Wrights Lake Road, Pollock Pines, California

Official site: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/eldorado/recarea/?recid=71013

3. Mineral Bar Campground, Auburn State Recreation Area

Auburn State Recreation Area | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Encompassing incredible beauty surrounding the North and Middle Forks of the American River, Auburn State Recreation Area can be reached from Sacramento by car in an hour. Over 100 miles of hiking trails span this long, linear recreation area, as well as three campgrounds.

The most popular of Auburn's campgrounds, Mineral Bar Campground, features 18 sites available on a first-come, first-served basis. The narrow road leading to Mineral Bar campground typically deters RVs and trailers from accessing the sites.

Auburn State Recreation Area also features a campground only accessible by boat on Lake Clementine, where visitors can also find a boat launch, marina, and day-use swimming area.

Auburn's third campground, the Ruck-a-Chucky Campground, features five popular sites also available on a first-come, first-served basis. All campgrounds at Auburn State Recreation Area are considered primitive, with only vault toilets available, and all overnight guests need to pack in their own water.

Official site: https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=502

4. Sly Park Recreation Area

Sly Park Recreation Area | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

With nearly 200 sites available, Sly Park Recreation Area is on the edge of the Eldorado National Forest, an hour's drive northeast of Sacramento. Owned and operated by the El Dorado Irrigation District, the campground is centered around the scenic Jenkinson Lake, where activities like fishing, boating, and paddle sports are common. Other popular activities at Sly Park Recreation Area include hiking, barbecuing, and having bonfires in the designated fire pits.

A popular family campground on the weekend, the 190 campsites at Sly Park are spread out between 10 different campground areas. Sly Park caters to tent campers and RVs up to 40 feet in length, and special sites at the recreation area include waterfront sites and a "Pine Cone Strip" area that books up fast for summer weekends. Reservations are available at Sly Park, and some sites are known to book a year in advance.

Address: 4771 Sly Park Road, Pollock Pines, California

Official site: https://www.eid.org/recreation/sly-park-recreation-area-spra-at-jenkinson-lake

5. Coloma Resort

Coloma Resort | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

For luxury camping adjacent to the South Fork of the American River, Coloma Resort provides upscale outdoor amenities under an hour from Sacramento and near the Marshall Gold Discovery Site. Featuring tent and RV camping, the Coloma Resort also offers spacious cabins and a reservable country cottage. Luxurious amenities at Coloma Resort include exclusive riverfront access, a swimming pool, and children's playgrounds, as well as a general store with all the necessary sundries.

Across the American River via a historic bridge, the Marshall Gold Discovery Site is the location of the first ever gold found in California. Spawning an entire movement of people and culture, this site has been historically preserved and now features numerous interpretive exhibits and information about this monumental find. The adjacent Argonaut Cafe in Coloma offers farm fresh entrees and a variety of espresso drinks.

Address: 6921 Mount Murphy Road, Coloma, California

Official site: https://colomaresort.com/

6. Rancho Seco Recreation Area

Blackbird and fisherman on Rancho Seco Lake | Eric Sonstroem / photo modified

Less than an hour southeast of Sacramento, Rancho Seco Recreation Area is centered around the 160-acre Rancho Seco Lake. Popular for water activities like boating, fishing, and swimming, the recreation area features boat rentals and hiking trails on the shore.

The campground at the recreation area includes 32 tent campsites and 18 spots to park an RV, with electric hookups available. It's a popular family destination throughout the year, and reservations are available online.

Address: 14960 Twin Cities Road, Herald, California

Official site: https://www.smud.org/en/In-Our-Community/Visit-our-Recreational-Areas/Rancho-Seco

7. Peninsula Campground, Folsom Lake Recreation Area

Peninsula Campground | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

One of three campgrounds surrounding the Folsom Lake reservoir, the Peninsula Campground features 100 family-friendly campsites in a remote setting. The campground is just over an hour drive from Sacramento, including a curvy nine-mile road from the small community of Pilot Hill. Another popular approach to the Peninsula Campground is boating across the lake and mooring on the shore. The campground can accommodate trailers and motor homes, though no hook-ups are available.

Many of the campsites at Peninsula Campground are universally accessible, as are the shower and restroom facilities. Potable water is also available at the Peninsula Campground. Even with plenty of sites available, it's not uncommon for the campground to fill up entirely on warm weather weekends; reservations are available online.

Two boat launches and an expansive day-use area are located near the campground, and campers can easily access the shore from their campsite.

Official site: https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=500

8. Eagle Point Campground, Emerald Bay State Park South Lake Tahoe Campground

Emerald Bay

A two-hour drive from Sacramento, Lake Tahoe is a stunning body of water and a shimmering destination in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It entices millions of visitors each year with sandy beaches, luxurious resorts, and crisp air at an elevation of over 6,200 feet. Numerous campgrounds surround the southeast side of the lake.

Located in one of the best state parks in California, the Eagle Point Campground within Emerald Bay State Park showcases the splendor of this Sierra Nevada hot spot.

With access to a unique underwater preserve and shipwreck, as well as the historic Vikingsholm vacation home, Eagle Point Campground features nearly 100 sites able to accommodate tents and RVs. All overnight users to the campground have access to flushing toilets and coin-operated showers.

Directly north of Emerald Bay, D.L. Bliss State Park offers over 160 similar spots to spend the night. Other campgrounds at South Lake Tahoe include the nearby Fallen Leaf Campground and Meeks Bay Resort and Marina.

Address: 138 Emerald Bay Road, South Lake Tahoe, California

Official site: https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=506

9. Northwind Campground, Eldorado National Forest

Northwind Campground | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

On the Ice House Reservoir within the Eldorado National Forest, this primitive campground offers more affordable campsites than the neighboring Ice House Campground. Campers from Sacramento can reach Northwind Campground in 90 minutes by car, making this scenic spot great for casual or extended weekend camping, with spacious sites and a feeling of solitude. Vault toilets are available at Northwind Campground, and visitors need to bring their own drinking water.

Official site: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/eldorado/recarea/?recid=71022

10. Pleasure Cove Resort & Marina, Lake Berryessa

Lake Berryessa

Just over an hour drive west of Sacramento, Lake Berryessa is the largest lake in Napa County and a very scenic place to spend the night. Numerous campgrounds and resorts line the shores of this massive reservoir, including the aptly named Pleasure Cove Resort & Marina. Alongside over 90 tent camping sites and an additional 20 sites specifically for RVs, Pleasure Cove also features lakeside cabins and houseboats for rent.

Farther west along Lake Berryessa, the Steele Canyon Campground features 80 campsites that accommodate tents or RVs. Campsites at both Steele Canyon and Pleasure Cove feature picnic tables, fire rings, and access to potable water.

Heading north along the lake, Putah Canyon Campground features an additional 100 sites with similar accommodations.

Official site: http://lakeberryessacampgrounds.com/

11. Skyline Wilderness Park

In the Central California city of Napa, an hour drive from Sacramento, Skyline Wilderness Park is a popular place to park an RV. Featuring nearly 40 sites with full and partial hookups available, Skyline Wilderness Park also offers activities like disc golf, mountain biking, and hiking on over 25 miles of trails.

Tent camping is also available at Skyline Wilderness Park, and all overnight users have access to shower facilities and flushing toilets.

Address: 2201 Imola Ave, Napa, California

Official site: https://skylinepark.org

12. Hampshire Rocks, Tahoe National Forest

Tahoe National Forest overlook

A 70-mile drive northeast of Sacramento, the Tahoe National Forest provides a welcomed respite from the heat and low elevations of the city. Numerous places to camp are spread throughout the 850,000-acre national forest, including many opportunities to primitive camp for free. For developed camping opportunities and access to drinking water and vault toilets, the Hampshire Rocks Campground is a popular place to pitch a tent.

Easily accessed via Interstate 80 and adjacent to the swimmer-friendly South Yuba River, all 31 sites at Hampshire Rocks can be reserved ahead of time, and many are busy during summer weekends.

As well as enjoying the banks of the South Yuba River, other popular activities at the campground include day hiking and backpacking on the nearby Pacific Crest Trail. Other Forest Service campgrounds like Woodchuck Campground and Indian Springs Campground are found within a 10-minute drive of Hampshire Rocks.

Address: 15924 CA-49, Camptonville, California

Official site: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/tahoe/recarea/?recid=55504

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