San Francisco and the whole Bay Area is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States, and sometimes that can get you feeling trapped in the city life. With the hustle and bustle of tech start-ups and Fortune 500 companies, it feels like an endless cycle of work commitments. But the great Golden Coast of California is home to some breathtaking outdoor areas that are close to downtown San Francisco. You may be thinking you have to go to Big Sur or Yosemite, but there are some picturesque places to go camping near San Francisco that are readily accessible for your next adventure!

Headed to San Francisco? Check out these other postings for urban outdoor adventures in and around San Francisco:

Picturesque Places to Go Camping Near San Francisco

Rob Hill Campground - Camping Near San Francisco

Rob Hill Campground

  • Distance from San Francisco: 5 miles from Fisherman’s Wharf (in the city)
  • Types of Campsites: Tent only
  • Open Dates: April 1st to October 31st 
  • Reservations and Cost: Reservations are required, $132/night per site

Rob Hill Campground is a great option if you’re looking for a mix of accessibility but still want that feeling of being in the great outdoors. It is located on the Presidio – a 1,400-acre park dedicated to preservation – northwest of San Francisco’s city center and on the south end of the Golden Gate Bridge. They have four campsites that can accommodate 30 people each, and according to their website, they are one of just two campgrounds located within San Francisco’s city limits.   The campground is perched atop the Presidio’s highest point above Baker Beach. From here you can explore the hiking and biking trails, have a relaxing day at the beach, or take in scenic views like the Golden Gate Overlook or the Marine Cemetery Vista. Amenities include potable water, restrooms, and food storage lockers. 

Candlestick Point State Recreation Area

  • Distance from San Francisco: 7 miles (about 15 minutes by car)
  • Types of Campsites: Tent only
  • Open Dates: March to October
  • Reservations and Cost: Reservations are required, price varies

Candlestick Point State Recreation Area is another option for camping near San Francisco. It’s located on the west side of the bay which makes it ideal for numerous activities. Not only is it one of the best windsurfing spots in the bay, but it is also known for its fishing and migratory bird watching. Additionally, there are numerous hiking and biking trails, boating options, and spectacular views of the bay and nearby San Bruno Mountain State and County Park.  Your outdoor getaway here will be comfortable as they offer restrooms, showers, and drinking water. It’s a perfect place if you’re in need of an escape from the city life for a weekend. 

Kirby Cove Campground - Camping Near San Francisco

Kirby Cove Campground

  • Distance from San Francisco: 10 miles (30 minutes by car)
  • Types of Campsites: Tent only
  • Open Dates: Mid-March to end of November
  • Reservations and Cost: Reservations are required, $75/night for a picnic area and $40/night for a tent-only site

Kirby Cove Campground, located in Golden Gate National Recreation Area, is a fan favorite for city-dwelling campers and road travelers alike. Nestled just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, you’ll have views of the bridge, the skyline, and the coastline. It’s a short walk down to the beach, and you’ll find there are numerous San Francisco hikes to be explored on foot or by bike. One of the most popular attractions is the Point Bonita Lighthouse.  Amenities include toilets, food lockers, BBQs, and tent pads. You’re also within 30 minutes of Muir Woods National Monument, Mount Tamalpais State Park, and downtown San Francisco. Site reservation works on a three-month rolling basis – and they will fill up quickly (!) – so hurry and make that reservation for great camping near San Francisco!

Angel Island State Park

  • Distance from San Francisco: 1 hour by ferry
  • Types of Campsites: Tent only
  • Open Dates: Year-round
  • Reservations and Cost: Reservations are required, site fees start at $30/night

Angel Island State Park is one of the more unique locations on the list, and it is one of the few hidden gems still left in the Bay Area. Location just north of San Francisco, a ferry from the city center or Tiburon is necessary to reach this location.  It’s full of hiking and biking trails, views of the city, and a rich history. Angel Island State Park offers tours and learning opportunities to discover the history of the island and its inhabitants, and it’s also home to excellent windsurfing, surfing, and fishing spots.

China Camp State Park - Camping Near San Francisco

Back Ranch Meadows Campground

  • Distance from San Francisco: 23 miles (40 minutes by car)
  • Types of Campsites: Tent only
  • Open Dates: March to October
  • Reservations and Cost: Reservations are recommended and walk-ups are possible (if available), $35/night or $5/night to bike or hike in

Just on the edge of the San Pablo Bay is China Camp State Park, and Back Ranch Meadows Campground is located on the northern end of this park. They have 33 sites with picnic tables, food lockers, portable water, and fire rings. Hidden in a dense forest, this area is a little more secluded than the aforementioned sites. During your stay here, you have access to the whole park, which is complete with hiking and biking trails, scenic overlooks, and even museums. Trails range from an easy three-quarter-mile jaunt to seven-mile hikes like the Shoreline/Bayview Loop Trail!

Anthony Chabot Campground

  • Distance from San Francisco: 27 miles (45 minutes by car)
  • Types of Campsites: Tent and RV
  • Open Dates: Year-round
  • Reservations and Cost: Reservations are required, $25/night for a tent or $45/night for an RV

A bit inland toward Oakland is Anthony Chabot Campground, right above Lake Chabot in Anthony Chabot Regional Park. The geography here changes from grasslands to chaparrals and eventually to eucalyptus groves, where Anthony Chabot Campground is located. The lake provides many activities including kayaking and canoeing, paddleboarding, hiking, and horseback riding.  The grounds are outfitted with restrooms, showers, and drinking water with 12 RV hookup sites, 53 drive-up tent sites, and 10 hike-in sites. These grounds are very accessible for all types of campers, and its location near a lake makes it a bit different from the rest of the list. 

Anthony Chabot Campground - Camping Near San Francisco

Francis Beach Campground

  • Distance from San Francisco: 30 miles (50 minutes by car) 
  • Types of Campsites: Tent and RV
  • Open Dates: Year-round
  • Reservations and Cost: Reservations are recommended and walk-ups are possible (if available), $35/night for standard, $50/per for an RV hookup, and $7/night to bike or hike in 

Half Moon Bay is a popular destination in Northern California and for good reason. Francis Beach is the main hub of the area, and it’s known for its beautiful beaches, coastline views, surfing, whale watching, and so much more – a reason why it makes for some of the best camping near San Francisco.  The campground is located adjacent to the beach. Amenities include RV hookups, showers, and even WiFi – camping with a bit of luxury! The paved coastline walking and biking trail makes it perfect for cyclists. Make your reservation far in advance because it can sometimes be booked out for months.

Lawson’s Landing

  • Distance from San Francisco: 62 miles (1 hour and 30 minutes by car)
  • Types of Campsites: Tent and RV (no power hookups)
  • Open Dates: Year-round
  • Reservations and Cost: Reservations are required, $47.25/night for a tent and $52.50/night for an RV

Lawson’s Landing is a historic fishing, boating, and clamming community that sits just at the mouth of the Tomales Bay. The campground has been family owned and operated since 1957. Besides boat activities, there are tons of trails to be explored as well as kayaking, surfing, and windsurfing opportunities. The campground has drinking water, toilets, and a general store that’s open on weekends. Although this is a great family-friendly campground that makes camping near San Francisco accessible to many, it continues to see many of the same campers year in and year out. Reservations can be made up to four months in advance, so start planning your next camping adventure!

Point Reyes National Seashore - Camping Near San Francisco

Wildcat Campground

  • Distance from San Francisco: 35 miles (1 hour and 15 minutes by car)
  • Types of Campsites: Tent and walk-in only
  • Open Dates: Year-round
  • Reservations and Cost: Reservations are required, $30/night

The next campground on our list is a bit more remote and only accessible by foot, bike, or horseback. Wildcat Campground is located in Point Reyes National Shoreline just north of the Bay Area. It is situated on a bluff near the coast just a short walk from the beach. You can access the grounds via a 6.3-mile hike from the Bear Valley Trailhead, a 5.5-mile hike from the Palomarin Trailhead, or a 6.7-mile bike ride on the Stewart Trail.  Don’t let the distance and remoteness bother you too much if you have the right gear and outdoor knowledge! It’s a beautiful area with no vehicles or city distractions. The Point Reyes National Seashore is scattered with beaches, trails, and uninhabited forests. From the campground, you are also within walking distance of Alamere Falls, Wildcat Lake, and Abalone Point. 

Coast Campground

  • Distance from San Francisco: 46 miles (1 hour and 30 minutes by car)
  • Types of Campsites: Tent and walk-in only
  • Open dates: Year-round
  • Reservations and Cost: Reservations are required, $30/night

This site has a similar setup to Wildcat but doesn’t require as much hiking to reach it. Also located in Point Reyes National Shoreline, Coast Campground is accessible from s two-mile hike on the Laguna and Fire Lane Trails. It’s only about a 200-yard walk down to the beach and about a 700-yard walk down to the tidal pools.  This campground is popular for its water access and relative remoteness compared to Wildcat. While there is no cell service, it does have drinking water, restrooms, and food lockers year-round. 

Mount Tamalpais State Park - Camping Near San Francisco

Pantoll Campground

  • Distance from San Francisco: 20 miles (45 minutes by car)
  • Types of Campsites: Tent only
  • Open Dates: Year-round
  • Reservations and Cost: First come, first served

Pantoll Campground is another walk-in-only campground. Luckily, it is only about 100 yards from the parking area, making it easy to go back and forth. While it doesn’t feel as remote as Wildcat, you are definitely still disconnected from city life but still camping near San Francisco. It’s located in the Muir Woods just below Mt. Tamalpais in Mount Tamalpais State Park. Feel free to enjoy your time picnicking, hiking, and taking in the beautiful views from the mountain tops and hiking trails. With the higher elevation, you’ll be able to see the Marin Hills, the Bay Area, Mt. Diablo, and the Pacific Ocean. It is first come, first served so you can usually snag a spot, but make sure to plan ahead on long weekends and holidays!

Bootjack Campground

  • Distance from San Francisco: 20 miles (45 minutes by car)
  • Types of Campsites: Tent only
  • Open Dates: Year-round
  • Reservations and Cost: First come, first served

Bootjack is another great walk-in option in Mount Tamalpais State Park and about a half-mile walk from Pantoll Campground. You’ll be able to enjoy all the same trails and views as Pantoll. Both grounds are outfitted with toilets and drinking water.  You can check out the .75-mile Verna Dunshee Trail, the .5-mile Old Mine Trail or take the Steep Ravine trail down to Red Rock Beach. These two sites are a great weekend getaway from San Francisco or a great option if you’re just stopping through the area. They offer easy access to the rest of Muir Woods and the coastline.

Samuel P. Taylor State Park

  • Distance from San Francisco: 30 miles (1 hour by car)
  • Types of Campsites: Tent and cabin 
  • Open Dates: Year-round
  • Reservations and Cost: Reservations are recommended, $35/night for a tent and site fees vary for a cabin

Up a little further north of Mt. Tamalpais is Samuel P. Taylor State Park and campground. This is a relaxing area under the canopy of the towering redwoods and a great option for camping near San Francisco. There are tons of trails to explore and excellent fishing in the nearby creeks and Kent Lake. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of spawning salmon in Lagunitas Creek during the rainy season.  This comfortable campground comes with showers, drinking water, and picnic areas. For more fun, you can also do some horseback riding, check out the historical and cultural sites, or try some wildlife and nature viewing. 

Golden Gate Bridge - Camping Near San Francisco

Additional Camping Resources

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Want to spend a night under the stars? These are some of the best parks and nature areas for camping near San Francisco!