The 14 Campsites You Need to Reserve This Summer

It’s summer.

Which means it’s time to see the world as it was meant to be seen: without cars, stores, traffic, people on cell phones (all of them) or people writing business plans in coffee shops.

And the best way to accomplish that: at one of these 14 amazing campsites.

For the most part, these are boat-in, drive-up or walk-to sites — not deep backcountry. Some are isolated. Some are popular.

But all will offer you a much-needed break in a beautiful world.

Get to it.

Lower Blooms Creek at Big Basin Redwoods SP: Because you’ll never get closer to a redwood.  
Reservations via Reserve America

Mariners Roost at Shasta-Trinity National Forest: Because you can’t get closer to Lake Shasta, and it’s 370 miles of shoreline, than a campground that’s only accessible by boat.
First come, first served

Tomales Bay at Point Reyes National Seashore: Because it’s the most relaxing way to experience this section of Point Reyes: by kayak only. Take your choice of the dozen-plus sites on offer; we like Fruit Tree Beach.
First come, first served

Wright’s Beach at Sonoma Coast State Park: Because where else in California can you get beachfront property for $45 a night? Focus on the ones closest to the surf — sites #1 – #10 — unless crashing surf is a problem for you.
Reservations via Reserve America

Kirk Creek Campground in Los Padres National Forest: Because every campsite has a Pacific view — and a good number of them are available to lucky walk-ups.
Reservations via Reserve America or first come, first served

Mill Creek Campground at Del Norte Coast Redwood State Park: Because if you want to reserve a campsite in the Redwoods state parks, this is your best bet through the end of the season.
Reservations via Reserve America

The Yuba Yurt at RiverSea East, near Tahoe: Because it’s a fancy yurt with an outdoor tub (with views), and well-situated for summertime exploration of nearby Gold Rush towns.
Reservations via Hipcamp

Equestrian Camp at Wrights Lake in Eldorado National Forest: Because it’s a high-altitude camp on a gorgeous lake — think wildflowers, trout fishing, hiking —  with a comfortable camp for your equine friends. Note: Season opens July 7.
Reservations via recreation.gov

Horse Camp at Silver Fork Ranch: Because your closest neighbor is 12 miles away.
Reservations via Hipcamp

Emerald Bay State Park: On Lake Tahoe. Because even though it’s far from undiscovered, the access to the lake makes up for the company.
Reservations via Reserve America

Patrick’s Point State Park: Because when it comes to beach camping, the farther north you go, the better.
Reservations via Reserve America

Sandy Flat at Utica Reservoir: Because the best way to spend a July afternoon is on a boat, on a lake, surrounded by mountains.
First come, first served

Reinstein Ranch near Tassajera: Because you’ve got your choice of where to stretch out on the rolling hills of this fifth-generation family farm.
Reservations via Hipcamp

Summit Lake Campground at Lassen Volcanic National Park: Because sometimes camping means a busy spot with lots of kids, tons of campfires, running water, and toilets. Plus spectacular views of a high-altitude lake. Bring the board games, camps songs, and s’mores; check this map for sites closest to the water and go for Loop E to avoid generators.
Reservations both first come, first served and via recreation.gov

Photos: Main image via Flickr. Tomales Bay via Flickr. Emerald Bay via Flickr. Summit Lake via Flickr