Family Events
«April 2014»

Home » » Camping

Frequently Asked Questions
Search This Site

campingCamping is one of the best activities you can do with your kids. It can also be a very economical vacation. Hardcore backpacking? RV Trip? Car camping? Camp Mather? We even have options for those who would rather find a cabin or just take a day trip.

Local Camping Fun

You don't need to go far to have fun!
Bothe State Park – Calistoga

 Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area – East Bay

 Spring Lake Regional Park – Sonoma County

• Angel Island State Park

 KOA Kampgrounds – Petaluma, Santa Cruz, Cloverdale

 Samuel P. Tayor – Marin

 Memorial Park – San Mateo


Got Reservations?

Yes, you need reservations even for the great outdoors. Here are some of the most comprehensive websites to reserve your spot.

 California State Parks Reservations can help you find a great spot right in your own backyard.
 National Parks Reservations has information on all kinds of great camping places.
 Youth Hosteling is lodging with others as a group, some offer pet accommodations and meals.
 ReserveAmerica.com lists almost every public and private campground in the U.S.

Recreation.gov –  Advance Camping and Tour Reservations

The National Park Reservation Service (NPRS) and the National Recreation Reservation Service (NRRS) combined to provide a one-stop, on-line service for advanced reservations for camping, tours, day use, cabins, and more. The new recreation reservation website is www.Recreation.Gov.


backpack girl

green triangleDo you have another tip we should share with novice campers? 
Suggest your tips here.



blue circle

SFkids.org Spotlight

California State Parks Camping Season Schedule 2014
Not sure where to go or when the camping sites are available?  This helpful California Parks website will let you know when the parks are open for camping. Camping reservations can be made 48 hours to 7 months in advance. Call ReserveAmerica at (800) 444-PARK (7275) or visit www.reserveamerica.com. To learn more about parks and reservations visit "Reservations and Fees" at www.parks.ca.gov.



Junior Rangers California State Parks Kids 

Okay! Are you ready to learn more about some great ways to have fun in your California State Parks?  And, are you between 7 and 12 years old? 

"Junior Rangers" gather at more than 70 state parks, from the redwood region, to the high Sierra, to the sunny Southern California beaches.  The Junior Ranger Program is offered free of charge to visitors who have already paid park entrance or camping fees.


Bay Area Camping, by Laure Latham 

"We took our first camping trip with our first daughter when she was eight months old. We were Yosemite addicts and she woke up the whole Upper Pines campground in the middle of the night on a chilly spring night, teething." (read more) 


Bay Area First-Come First-Served Campgrounds 

Spontaneous camping can be fun. These sites usually fill up by early Friday before a holiday weekend.  If you are planning on camping at a first-come, first-served site, please allow for back-up plans if no sites are available.

All parks have piped drinking water and no shower facilities unless otherwise stated. Call the park for more information.



SFkids.org Tipangel island
If you are thinking of reserving a camp site for fall, start making plans now. Many campgrounds fill up seven months ahead, so plan in advance. First-come first-served sites are available at some parks.


Getting Started

Total Escape is one of the best camping websites with great information on California trips, including sample trips for spring, summer, and fall adventures.

Camp Clueless is a good site to visit if you’ve never been camping before.

Family Travel Guides has an assortment of family camping basics and tips.

GORP (Great Outdoor Recreation Page) is one of the best sources for activities and destinations available.
Camp Cooking Recipes has ideas about what to cook while you are away from KOA.
Love the Outdoors has camping humor for those tense moments.

Recreation.gov includes information on camping and beyond.

Family Camping Gear offers tips on everything you need for camping with your family, from how to build a campfire to camping etiquette.

• View the San Francisco Rec & Park Camp Mather packing list.
• Rent equipment from the Sports Basement if you don't want to purchase.

 SFkids Camping Tips

• Basic Camping list from San Francisco families.

• Remember not to store any food in the tent or you will have unwanted, masked visitors!

• Be sure to ask if you can bring Fido along before you embark on your trip. 

• Group camping is a great way to share meals and fun.

• If you have little ones, try to get a camp site near the bathrooms. Everyone will be a lot happier at 2am.

• Make sure you have enough clothes for everyone. Don't worry, campers sometimes wear the same clothes for an extra day or two.

• Pack quarters if you plan on taking a shower; many campgrounds have only coin-operated showers

• Call the campgrounds ahead of time to make sure they are allowing campfires if you are planning on cooking over an open flame.

This site made possible by:

Logos Department of Children Youth and Their Families GoKid.org