Top 12 River Camping Spots In California

 Top Californian rivers
Katie
Katie
Updated

With literally hundreds of rivers running through California, picking a great camping spot can be hard… but well, considering we like you so much we’ve given it a shot. This list covers a number of river camping spots from the luxurious “glamping” sites to the bare-basics there is sure to be a spot to suit your needs and budget!

1. Fraser Flat Campsite at Stanislaus River

Knight's Ferry covered bridge, Stanislaus River, California
Source: Photo by user Karora

Open from April through to November this beautiful campsite is located on the south fork of the Stanislaus River, an area known for its beauty. There are 25 sites offered on a first come first served basis, each with picnic tables and access to hiking and fishing spots. It’s worth noting that this campsite cannot be booked in advance and accepts cash only.

Fraser Flat Campsite

Address: 24695 CA-108, Mi-Wuk Village, CA 95346 Website: Fraser Flat Campsite

Book an RV for your camping trip near Stanislaus River.

2. Auto Camp at Russian River

Russian River, California 2019-09-22
Source: Photo by user Alexey Komarov

Just 90 minutes north of San Francisco is this luxury airstream camp ground in the heart of Sonoma’s Wine County. This camp is surrounded by awe-inspiring Redwood trees and offers canvas tents, suites and airstreams for those looking for a more glamous way to camp. There are excellent on site facilities including a clubhouse which is always stocked with local food and drink, a fire pit for late night fun and a connected adventure booking desk for the thrill seekers.

Auto Camp

Address: 14120 Old Cazadero Rd, Guerneville, CA 95446

Website: Auto Camp

Enjoy riverside camping at Auto Camp with an RVshare motorhome. Book now!

3. Salmon Creek Camp at North Yuba River

North Fork, Yuba River, Downieville, California
Source: Photo by user Ken Lund used under CC BY-SA 2.0

There’s lots to do whilst staying at Salmon Creek Camp, from the extensive network of over 30 miles (48 km) of walking trails to swimming, boating, fishing and even canoeing. The site only offers 5 tent spaces in total so be sure to arrive early to snatch the best view! There’s not much luxury here so be sure that you want a rough and ready style camping experience.

Salmon Creek Camp

Address: Calpine, CA 96124

Website: Salmon Creek Camp

Experience the sights and sounds of Salmon Creek Camp in an Outdoorsy RV.

4. American River Resort on the American River

South Fork of the  American River
Source: Photo by user Bureau of Land Ma... used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

This campsite offers an all-encompassing experience, a hark back to the old-style camping trip with in-house entertainment, bookable adventure tours and clubhouses. There are RV sites that are more than just a space with electricity hook up - they have picnic tables and even a fire pit! The tent spaces are varied in location styles, if you want a “glamping” experience then check out their cabin tents which offer a luxurious camping option. Our favorite thing is that they even offer onsite cooking for you - no longer do you have to sit over a fire pit waiting for your bacon to cook - now someone else will do it for you!

American River Resort

Address: 6019 New River Rd, Coloma, CA 95613

Website: American River Resort

Camp in style at American River Resort in a comfy RV.

5. D.L. Bliss State Park Campground at Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe

One of our favorite spots in the summer but you’ll need to book in advance, this camp isn’t the type where you can just “turn up and hope for the best”; slots go quickly! So what is it that makes D.L. Bliss State Park Campground so popular? Firstly it is right on the shore of Lake Tahoe and so has beach access, it provides excellent facilities, is a hub for plenty or adventures and has an all-round great atmosphere.

D.L. Bliss State Park Campground

Address: 9881 CA-89, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

Website: Bliss State Park Campground

The best of Lake Tahoe in an Outdoory RV. Click to book!

6. Schoolhouse Canyon Park at Russian River

Russian River
Source: Photo by user Bill Ward used under CC BY 2.0

Nestled in an ancient Redwood forest this small campsite has everything you need for a simple camping trip. It doesn’t have high tech facilities so expect to play some traditional games such as charades and boardgames, making it great for families.

Schoolhouse Canyon Park

Address: 12600 River Rd, Guerneville, CA 95446

Website: Schoolhouse Canyon Park

Click here to book RV rentals for your Schoolhouse Canyon Park trip.

7. Island Acres at Colorado River State Park

Colorado river
Source: Photo by user Wolfpack306

Island Acres offers basic camping and RV spots along the Colorado River. There are a number of locations to choose from so be sure to have a look around and find the perfect spot for you! On site facilities include coin operated showers, and in the summer months laundry. Perfect as a no-frill camping holiday.

Island Acres

Address: 361-32 Road, Grand Junction, CO 81504

Website: Island Acres

Vacation in comfort with an Outdoorsy RV at Island Acres.

8. Wakalu Hep Yo Campground at North Fork Stanislaus River

North Fork Stanislaus River
Source: Photo by user David Sawyer used under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Miwuk people have lived in this area for over 2,000 years and so in their traditional language Wakalu means river and Hep Yo describes an unstoppable force of nature. This site is also offered on a first come first served basis and so with not many spots available we would recommend getting there early.

Wakalu Hep Yo Campground

Address: Arnold, CA 95223

Website: Wakalu Hep Yo Campground

Vacation in comfort in an RV at Wakalu Hep Yo Campground.

9. River Ranch Campground at North Fork Tuolumne River

Devil's Gate on the North Fork of the Tuolumne
Source: Photo by user Zachary Collier used under CC BY 2.0

This camp site, which is situated on a meadow near the confluence of Basin Creek and the North Fork Tuolumne River, is part public and part private so make sure to double check where you can and can’t set-up. Sites are offered on a first come first served basis and are fairly basic. You can have a campfire for cooking food and staying warm but it is recommended that you get a permit ready just in case.

River Ranch Campground

Address: 20900 Fish Hatchery Rd, Twain Harte, CA 95383

Website: River Ranch Campground

Book your RV for River Ranch Campground here.

10. Buckhorn Campground at Three Rivers

Editor’s note: There’s no photo available at the time of writing

Here 38 campsites nestle into a forest of pines and cedars. There are a plethora of hiking trails to choose from including the popular Buckhart Trail. At 6,300 feet (1,920 meters), be careful of bear activity during the hours of dusk and dawn!

Buckhorn Campground

Address: Angeles Crest Hwy, La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011

Website: Buckhorn Campground

Enjoy stylish camping at Buckhorn Campground. Book your RV today!

11. Bear River Park and Campground

Bear River, California
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Nick Ares used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Located in Colfax, California, Bear River Park and Campground is another great camp spot for outdoor lovers. Campers have a lot of recreational activities available at their disposal. You can go hiking on a 5-mile (8.04-kilometer) trail, go swimming if the weather isn’t too cold, go fishing, or try your hand at panning for gold. It also has diverse wildlife, with deer, squirrels, and porcupines seen frequently by campers. One thing to keep in mind is that you need to make a reservation online to use the campgrounds.

Bear River Park and Campground

Address: 2500 Campground Rd, Colfax, CA 95713, United States

Website: Bear River Park and Campground

12. Russian River RV Campground

Russian River
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Finlay McWalter used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Located by the banks of the Russian River, Russian River RV Campground is one of the most popular river camping spots in California. Since it’s located in Northern California, it offers plenty of natural beauty. This spot is popular with campers due to the many water activities they offer, from a thrilling time canoeing to a more laidback hour spent trout fishing. The place is pet-friendly, and you will have access to modern amenities such as showers, laundry facilities, a basketball court, and even a game room.

Russian River RV Campground

Address: 33655 Geysers Rd, Cloverdale, CA 95425, United States

Website: Russian River RV Campground

Just around the river bend...

North Fork of the Smith River near Hiouchi Ca...;
Source: Photo by user PGHolbrook used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Whichever spot you choose, maybe it’s from this list or one that you’ve found yourself, camping by rivers can be such a relaxing activity. Grab a few friends, a few snacks and get ready to get back to nature.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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A full-time global wanderer and volunteer. Strong compass leading to random and remote pockets of Earth; exploring jungles, abandoned villages and the open seas. Passionate about documenting on my...Read more

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