Camping: California Wish List

Dear Students,

Growing up on the East Coast means California is new to me. Here is a list of places I hope to visit with my boys.

Refugio State Park Campground, about 35 miles north of Santa Barbara, Hwy 101. One of the best coastal on the beach campgrounds. Take a walk on the beach and look for sea lions and dolphins.


Refugio State Beach Campground Photo by Ray Anderson of Photos of the West

Camping near the San Andreas Fault at Joshua Tree National Park  Joshua Tree is crisscrossed with hundreds of faults, and is a great place to see raw rocks and the effects of earthquakes. The famous San Andreas Fault bounds the south side of the park, and can be observed from Keys View. Blue Cut Fault in the center of the park can be seen from the hilltop behind Lost Horse Mine. The fault forms the straight, abrupt base of the Hexie Mountains east of Queen Valley.


Hidden Valley Campground, Photo by Doubletee (Flickr)

Los Padres National Forest Set on a bluff overlooking the Pacific, Kirk Creek campground offers an opportunity to enjoy it all – sunsets, wildlife and ocean.


Kirk Creek Campground: Beware the raccoons, enjoy the ocean sights and sounds. Photo by Jones the Cyclist (Flickr)

Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock Canyon State Park

Ricardo Campground: Photo by By SZONE.US Zachariah Boren

McGrath State Beach is one of the best bird-watching areas in California, with the lush riverbanks of the Santa Clara River and sand dunes along the shore. A nature trail leads to the Santa Clara Estuary Natural Preserve. Two miles of beach provide surfing and fishing opportunities, however, swimmers are urged to use caution because of strong currents and riptides. The park offers campsites by the beach.

Santa Clara River Estuary View

Santa Clara River Estuary View photo by Mike Forsman (Flickr)


Sequoia National Forest, home of 38 Sequoia groves. The Trail of 100 Giants is an easy 1/2 trail set within the 340 acre grove. Be sure to visit the Giant Forest Museum.

East Fork Kaweah River (also nice Hypochilus habitat!)

Atwell Mill Campground is near the East Fork Kaweah River. Photo by Marshall Hedin

First on my California camping wishlist is Atwell Mill Campground in Sequoia National Forest. And this is the book I want to read while I’m camping:

American Canopy by Eric Rutkow

Do you have a favorite place to camp in California?

Westward bound,
Mrs. Kenney


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