Best Northern California RV Camping: Your Ultimate Guide

Isn’t it wonderful how traveling has a way of invigorating our souls, introducing us to breathtaking landscapes, unique cultures, and captivating experiences?

Now, imagine combining all of that with the comfort of having your cozy home on wheels with you. That’s exactly what RV camping in Northern California offers.

In this guide, we’ll navigate through the fun-filled world of RV camping in the Golden State’s picturesque northern region.

Why choose Northern California for your RV camping adventure?

California is a region as diverse as it is magnificent. Where else can you find sun-soaked beaches, towering redwood forests, vibrant cities, serene wine country, and rugged mountains all within a day’s drive? Northern California is an RV camper’s paradise and there are plenty of reasons why.

The Diversity of Landscapes: Northern California is where the Pacific Ocean’s roaring surf meets peaceful vineyards, and where snow-capped peaks neighbor lush valleys.

Whether you’re a beach bum, a mountain climber, a wine connoisseur, or a nature enthusiast, you’ll find an RV campsite in Northern California that’s perfect for your tastes.

The Unbeatable Weather: With moderate temperatures throughout the year, Northern California is an all-season RV camping destination.

The summers are perfect for a beach getaway, while the winters turn the Sierra Nevada into a snow-laden wonderland. And let’s not forget the colorful hues of fall and the verdant landscapes of spring!

The Unique Californian Culture: Northern California is a melting pot of cultures, where East meets West and where the old coexists with the new.

Experience the welcoming vibe of the locals, attend quirky festivals, explore quaint towns, and visit the many museums and galleries.

Spotlight on top Northern California RV camping destinations

One of the great things about Northern California is its abundance of stunning, diverse, and highly accessible RV camping destinations. Let’s highlight a few favorites that should be on every RV camper’s bucket list.

Yosemite National Park

A Must-Visit: Known globally for its impressive waterfalls, deep valleys, and ancient sequoias, Yosemite is a paradise for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike.

With several RV-friendly campgrounds and countless outdoor activities, Yosemite should definitely be a stop on your Northern California RV camping itinerary.

Redwood National and State Parks

Picture yourself waking up in your RV, opening the door, and being greeted by some of the tallest trees on Earth.

North California Redwood National And State Parks
Foothills Rambler

That’s what awaits you at the Redwood National and State Parks. Camp among the ancient, towering redwoods and spend your days exploring this natural wonderland through its vast network of trails.

Lake Tahoe

Nestled in the Sierra Nevada, Lake Tahoe is a fantastic year-round RV camping destination. With azure waters in the summer, colorful foliage in the fall, snow-capped peaks in the winter, and blossoming wildflowers in the spring,

Tahoe truly is an all-season wonder. The region offers several RV parks with stunning views and easy access to the lake, skiing, hiking, and more.

Lake Tahoe North California
Justin Kenneth Rowley

These top-tier destinations are just the tip of the iceberg. Northern California is packed with beautiful RV camping spots waiting to be discovered, from the rocky Pacific coastline to the serene wine country of Napa Valley, and beyond.

Hidden gem RV Campsites in Northern California

Northern California is dotted with many well-known RV camping spots, but what about the lesser-known gems that are off the beaten path? Let’s explore a few:

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Often overshadowed by its more famous counterpart, Yosemite, Lassen offers equally stunning natural beauty without the crowds.

From bubbling mud pots to serene alpine lakes, there’s plenty to explore here. The park’s campgrounds are RV-friendly and provide a tranquil base for your adventures.

Trinity River

If you’re a fan of water activities, this hidden gem should be on your list. Nestled in the beautiful Trinity Alps, the river offers exciting fishing and whitewater rafting opportunities. There are several quiet and scenic RV campgrounds along its banks.

Trinity River North California

Mendocino National Forest

Offering both lush forests and arid landscapes, this underrated national forest is perfect for RV campers seeking solitude and outdoor adventures.

Plus, the forest’s campgrounds are RV-accessible and often less crowded than those in more well-known parks.

Choosing low-cost or free campsites in Northern California

Navigating the cost of an RV camping trip can often be a challenge, especially when it comes to securing a budget-friendly campsite.

Thankfully, Northern California is blessed with a wealth of low-cost and even free campsites that offer stunning views, accessible amenities, and a close connection to nature. Here are some top picks you’ll want to consider:

  • Glass Creek Campground: Nestled near Mammoth Lakes in the Inyo National Forest, this free campground is a perfect spot for those who enjoy fishing, hiking, or simply being in the great outdoors. Plus, it’s open seasonally from May to October.
  • Jackson Meadows Reservoir: This camping spot located in the Tahoe National Forest offers a number of campgrounds, many of which are free or very affordable. Enjoy boating, swimming, and fishing in the reservoir, or venture onto one of the numerous nearby trails.
  • Redding RV Park: For a more suburban experience, consider Redding RV Park. With very affordable rates, this campground offers full hookups, a swimming pool, and pet-friendly facilities. It’s also a perfect base for exploring the Shasta Cascade region.
  • Bodega Dunes Campground: Located within Sonoma Coast State Park, this budget-friendly campground offers easy access to the beach, hiking trails, and panoramic Pacific Ocean views. There’s a small fee, but the location and scenery make it worth every penny.
  • Dispersed Camping in National Forests: Many national forests in Northern California allow “dispersed camping” for free outside of designated campgrounds. This can be a fantastic budget option for the more adventurous and self-sufficient RV campers. Just ensure you follow all regulations and “Leave No Trace” principles to maintain these beautiful areas.
  • Boondocking on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Land: Similarly, there are areas on BLM land where you can camp for free, typically for up to 14 days. This kind of “boondocking” often means no amenities, but it can lead you to some truly unique and remote spots.

Activities to enjoy during your Northern California RV camping trip

Aside from the natural beauty and tranquility, Northern California also offers a plethora of activities for RV campers. Here are some you should definitely try:

  • Outdoor Adventures: From hiking and mountain biking to fishing and kayaking, Northern California has it all. Explore the famous Pacific Crest Trail, bike along the scenic American River Bike Trail, or try catching some rainbow trout in the McCloud River.
  • Wine Tasting: Northern California is renowned for its world-class vineyards. Take a break from the road and visit the wineries of Napa Valley and Sonoma County. Many offer RV parking, allowing you to sip and savor without worrying about getting back on the road.
  • Wildlife Viewing: Northern California’s diverse ecosystems are home to a wide variety of wildlife. Watch for whales along the coast, spot birds in the wetlands, or look out for bears and deer in the forests.
  • Local Events and Festivals: Northern California hosts numerous events and festivals throughout the year. From food and wine festivals to music events and cultural celebrations, there’s always something going on. Check local event calendars to see what’s happening during your visit.


Northern California offers a cornucopia of experiences that make it a must-visit destination for any RV camping enthusiast.

Whether you’re seeking a luxurious getaway, a budget-friendly adventure, a long-term stay, a family vacation, or a tranquil lakeside retreat, this region has something for everyone.