Because every man needs a plan, and some of us need that plan with pretty pictures, we present Where to Take Her: a series that answers a gentleman's most pressing lifestyle questions and recurs whenever we get around to it.
This go-round: camping. But worry not, tenderfoot, there’s something for every skill level.
Austin Creek – Guerneville, CA – To be fair, there’s plenty of elevation to be found hiking or backpacking in these parts, but it’s the drops to the meadows and ravines that you’ll remember. Drive in if you want a base camp, or pack in if you like the sound of “backcountry primitive.”
Gold Bluffs Beach – Orick, CA – So what if the Pacific would like nothing more than to crush your frozen body against the rocks — beach camping along the North Coast is about as picturesque as it gets. Roosevelt Elk tromp through camp on the reg. Don't pet. Dress warm.
Lake Oroville – Oroville, CA – So, floating campsites. Repeat: floating campsites. As in hitch your boat or jetski or whatever and climb up to the second story of your floating campsite and pitch your tent. On your private platform. That floats.
Lake Sonoma – Geyserville , CA – With more than a hundred primitive campsites accessible by hike or boat, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a slice of seclusion in these lovely parts. But even if you’d prefer to use your car, they’ve got you covered. Packing in water can be tiresome, after all.
Pfeiffer Big Sur – Big Sur, CA – The drive in from the city is breathtaking, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a more camper-friendly destination this side of the Boy Scouts. Tons of provisions in town. Good facilities. Views upon views upon views. Plus plenty of cabin options nearby should roughing it go sideways.
Pinnacles – Paicines, CA – Yeah, there’s trees and what have you, but vegetation takes a backseat to the namesake spires of volcanic rock that call this park home. This is your climbing, bouldering, caving — you know, adventuring — destination.
Russian Gulch – Mendocino, CA – Eight thousand feet of reef protected oceanfront (water you can actually enjoy) and spectacular hiking geography paired with easy campsites and well-maintained amenities. Throw in tide pools, waterfalls and a well-stocked ice chest for the win.