Lake County: The Ideal Camping Destination
April 26, 2023
We all love a good hotel. If you’re the indoors type, nothing beats a cozy bed, cable TV, a strong wi-fi signal, and a complimentary breakfast—not to mention a hot shower and turndown services. To that end, Lake County has plenty of exceptional lodges, hotels, motels, and inns to choose from.
However, if your idea of vacation is relaxing in nature and sleeping under the stars, you’ll find some of the best California camping right here in Lake County. Between our spectacular vistas, temperate climate, and the cleanest air in California (stargazers take note), campers of all stripes will find themselves in a paradise they won’t want to leave. Here’s a primer to help you plan.
For The Glampers
If you love nature but still prefer a certain level of modern comfort, Lake County has no shortage of glamping options that offer the best of both worlds.
Reese Ranch Retreat in Witter Springs offers customizable themed glamping experiences perfect for birthdays, kids’ sleepovers, romantic date nights, or special events. The Bell Tent is halfway between a traditional camping tent and a luxury yurt—think of a teepee that can hold a queen-sized mattress or up to six twins (with mattress protectors included), plus area rugs (both inside and outside), cozy blankets, lanterns, throw pillows and fashionable decor. Reese also features a larger canvas safari tent (with a king bed, two queen futons, and a covered porch), outdoor private showers, an old-fashioned red barn for special events, along with activities like Goat Yoga, animal petting, and summer movie nights.
Elsewhere, Pine Grove Resort in Cobb is a majestic forest retreat adjacent to Kelsey Creek and Cobb Mountain that offers rustic cabins nestled among towering pines, ideal for families, personal retreats, and romantic getaways. Inside, the cabins feature one or two bedrooms, along with kitchen, dining, and living areas. Outside, two spring-fed pools are complemented by a poolside grill that serves food daily and a shaded oak grove picnic area.
Also check out: Clear Lake Campground
For The RVs
If you’re motoring across the country with an RV, you’ll find numerous sites in Lake County to pull up and chill out—you can view the full list of RV-friendly campgrounds here.
Clear Lake State Park is open all year and features a whopping 147 RV and campsites, along with rustic cabins. This is an ideal site for birdwatchers, with well-marked hiking paths and full check list area birds available at the entrance gate or the park’s visitor center. The park also features a boat dock, shaded lakeside camping spots, and two group campgrounds that can accommodate up to 40 people and 8 vehicles. Not camping? No problem—the park accommodates visitors with a day-use fee.
If you prefer your camping waterside, then you’ve obviously come to the right place—we’re not called Lake County for nothin’!
Established in the 1950s, Clear Lake Campground is an old-fashioned American campsite with accommodations for travel trailers and small RVs (most sites include water, sewer, 30-amp electric, and limited Wi-Fi). Situated on Clear Lake’s only outlet, Cache Creek, you’ll need a car or boat to reach the lake proper, but there’s plenty to do on the campgrounds, from fishing and birdwatching to kayaking, canoeing, and swimming. Gather the family for a game of outdoor ping-pong or corn toss, or take a quick drive to Redbud Park, Highlands Park, or Austin Park for lake fishing.
Baldwin’s Retreat is an oasis of lakeside relaxation, with three different renovated spaces on the north shore of Clear Lake between Clearlake Oaks and Glenhaven. This idyllic property provides easy access to a fishing pier, a boat dock, and even a beach. They also have a swimming pool, grills for BBQ, and a pristine view of Clear Lake’s natural beauty.
For Roughing It
If your idea of camping is hiking several miles, pitching a tent and whittling two sticks for fire, if you scoff at outdoor restrooms and have no use for picnic tables, if you rejoice when your phone has no bars—well, then, congratulations, you’re better than most of us.
Your ideal spot is the Mendocino National Forest Campgrounds—we use the word “spot” loosely, it’s nearly a million acres—where your options are endless. Camp in a densely forested woodland or an open meadow, by a sparkling lake or under the shade of pine trees. Set up your basecamp near developed grounds (yes, there are picnic tables) and spend the day hiking, fishing, boating or swimming—or take your gear with you and explore the secluded beauty of the wilderness. The Campgrounds offer over 200 fee and no-fee developed sites—if you’re into that sort of thing.