Camping in and around Sacramento, California is one of the best summer recreational activities available to those in the Central Valley. Snowmelt from Alpine lakes in the Sierra Nevadas, just two hours eastward, act as tributaries for the American River, the Yuba River, and smaller offshoots like the Bear River, so there are plenty of spots to go and cool off.
The following is a collection of campsites situated along the water from Sacramento to Lake Tahoe and everything in between. Both RVs and tents can be accommodated. Fish, hike, eat some lunch, take a swim and enjoy the Sierra Nevadas like they were meant to be enjoyed. These make great basecamps for day trips to hot springs near Truckee.
Sacramento’s Top Tent and RV Campgrounds
Whether you’re taking the family for the weekend or just looking for a nice day in the sun and cool blue water, make your way to these campgrounds. Please be aware that all information is subject to changes from fire conditions and Covid-19 pandemic protocols. Always practice fire safety and pack-in/pack-out. Pitch your tent or park your RV at these top campgrounds.
Here are the best and closest campgrounds to Sacramento, CA, in order of proximity:
SacWest RV Park & Campground (6 Miles)
SacWest RV Park & Campground is only ten minutes outside of downtown Sacramento in the West/Old-town Sacramento district on the slough. If Joe’s Crab Shack and the Old Town historical museums aren’t enough for you, feel free to join in any of the activities scheduled at this RV park including wine mixers, bingo nights, and water slides for the whole family.
Luxury tent, cabin, and cottage rentals, plus its convenient location, make this the number one in glamping/camping getaways close to Sacramento.
- Closest town: Sacramento (10 mi)
- Specs: 136 sites, full hookups, electric, tent/tent+electric/cabin/cottage/RVs up to 60 ft./ fifth wheels, heavy usage
- Amenities: Glamping, cabins, cottage getaways, wine mixers, BBQ, bingo, paddle boats
- Reservations: Yes, at SacwestRVPark.com
- Address: 3951 Lake Road, West Sacramento, CA 95691 (Map)
Coloma Resort (46 miles)
Located on State Route 49 between Auburn and Placerville, this campground welcomes tents and RVs, plus offers cabins on the river. It’s located near Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park at Sutter’s Mill where the first person struck gold in the ‘49 Gold Rush, after which the state route is named. It’s close to river rafting tours and kayak rentals, as well as is directly on the South Fork of the American River.
Drive through the vineyards on the windy road into historic downtown Placerville for a hearty breakfast. Purchase gold-panning equipment at the local campground store and bring the family.
- Closest town: Coloma, CA (<1 mi)
- Specs: 134 Sites, full hookups, cabin/tent/RV, pets welcome, usage heavy, open year-round
- Amenities: Potable water, flush toilets, no showers
- Reservations: Yes, at Colomaresorts.com
- Address: 6921 Mt. Murphy Road, Coloma, CA 95613 (Map)
American River Resort (47 miles)
The American River Resort is located in the heart of Gold Country in Coloma, CA. Open year-round, American River Resort is right on the South Fork of the American River and offers cabins and tents on the river, as well as camping equipment rentals.
It’s centrally located between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe, west to east, and historic downtown Auburn and Placerville, north to south respectively. American River Resort is a great place to bring the family to experience the Sierras and stay in the off-season.
- Closest town: Coloma, CA (<1 mi)
- Specs: 500 sites, full hookups, cabins/tents, pets welcome, usage heavy, open year-round
- Amenities: Flush toilets, water, picnic tables, fire pit, showers
- Reservations: Yes, at americanriverresort.com
- Address: 6019 New River Road, Coloma, CA 95613 (Map)
Camanche Reservoir (49 miles)
Locate only an hour outside Sacramento, Camanche Reservoir has 53 miles of shoreline. It’s situated near a hunting reserve, stocked with trophy fish, and is home to some small islands upon which geese nest. This is an excellent family location with watersports, tent/RV campsites, and day-use locations, which are all quite beautiful.
- Closest town: Camanche Village, CA (5 mi)
- Specs: 500+sites, tent/RV/lodging, full hookups, potable water, flush toilets, showers, pets welcome, heavy traffic fire pit/ BBQ, tables
- Amenities: Lodging, hunting, fishing, waterskiing, swimming, hiking, equestrian stables
- Reservations: Yes, at golakecamanche.com
- Address: 11700 Wade Ln, Valley Springs, CA (Map)
Mineral Bar Campground (51 miles)
The small, primitive Mineral Bar Campground is found nearly thirty minutes from Auburn, California. It’s located on the North Fork of the American River off Iowa Hill Road. As this campground is more tucked away, it’s a good place for fishing and solitude.
- Closest town: Colfax, CA (4 mi)
- Specs: 18 sites, tent, no hookups, no water, pit toilets, open May through October, usage medium
- Amenities: Hiking, fishing, swimming
- Address: Iowa Hill Road, Colfax, CA 95713 (Map)
Bear River Campground (51 miles)
The small Bear River Campground is found in the foothills near Colfax, CA. Rafters will often float down to the rocky and sandy beaches tucked in the willows further down the bank. Sites are grassy in spring and early summer and are located right on the river.
- Closest town: Colfax, CA (3 mi)
- Specs: 23 tent sites, 3 group sites, no hookups, pets welcome, medium traffic, moderately easy
- Amenities: Camping, Firepit/ring/BBQ, tables, no potable water, pit toilets, fishing, gold panning, hiking, photography, rafting, tubing, swimming
- Reservations: Yes, at PlacerCounty.gov
- Address: 2500 Campground Road, Colfax, CA 95713 (Map)
Peninsula Campground (54 miles)
Peninsula Campground is located on Folsom Lake in the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area in California. The terrain is grassy hills under shaded oaks leading down to the rocky and sandy beach on the lake itself. This campground is a popular family destination and is ideal for those looking for a short drive.
- Closest Town: Coloma, CA (17 mi)
- Specs: 100 campsites, full hookups, tent/RV, pets welcome, heavy usage, difficulty easy, open year-round
- Amenities: Fishing, boating, windsurfing, historical site, swimming, hiking, horseback riding, wildlife
- Reservations: Yes, at parks.ca.gov
- Address: Folsom Lake, Rattlesnake Bar Rd, CA 95664 (Map)
Lover’s Leap Campground (83 miles)
For those who love to climb, Lover’s Leap Campground is at the base of a six-hundred-foot cliff called Lover’s Leap on State Route 89 into Lake Tahoe. It’s a famous rock climbing destination that stands sentinel to the Lake Tahoe Basin via Echo Summit. The American River is close by, feeding into Pyramid Creek, which runs right next to the campground.
The rumor of how the place got its name is a local legend describing two Native Americans who jumped from the mountain together in the name of forbidden love, but the origins of the story are lost.
- Closest town: Kyburz, CA (9 mi)
- Specs: 21 sites, no hookups, tent/hike-in, pets welcome, light usage, moderate, open June-November
- Amenities: Toilets, picnic tables, fire pit, BBQ, no potable water
- Reservations: No
- Address: Slippery Ford Trail, Twin Bridges, CA 95735 (Map)
Bowman Campground (96 miles)
The remote Bowman Lake is north of Nevada City, California. With only seven sites at the end of a dirt road, which requires a high-clearance vehicle, a trailer or boat is not recommended here as it can be dangerous. The road is single-lane only with occasional two-way traffic. Fishing, swimming, and the views over Bowman Lake are unparalleled.
- Closest town: Nevada City, CA (40 mi)
- Specs: 7 sites, no hookups, tent/hike-in, pets welcome, heavy usage, May-October, weather permitting
- Amenities: Pack in, pack out (no dumpster service), bear locker, picnic table, fire ring, vault toilet
- Reservations: No
- Address: Meadow Lake Road, Nevada City, CA 95959 (Map)
Jackson Creek Campground (97 miles)
Jackson Creek Campground is another small, remote spot located near Bowman Campground and Nevada City. The road to get here is rocky and narrow, but worth it for the fisherman. Recreation here boasts a pond, lake, stream, and river fishing.
Lake Amador has a variety of fish species, including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, sunfish, catfish, bluegill, and trout. Hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, and swimming are also popular activities here.
- Closest town: Nevada City, CA (41 mi)
- Specs: 14 sites, tent/hike-in, no hookups, pets welcome, open May-October
- Amenities: Dumpsters, bear box, fire ring (coal or wood), picnic table, vault toilet
- Reservations: No
- Address: Meadow Lake Road, Nevada City, CA 95959 (Map)
Camp Richardson Historic Resort & Marina (103 miles)
Open year-round, Camp Richardson is right across State Route 89 from the Beacon Marina. Enjoy dinner and drinks on the water, live music, watersports, and the finest sunset views on Lake Tahoe. Then walk the short distance back to your RV, tent campsite, or hotel room on the highway.
There is a general store, an ice cream parlor, and a well-traveled, paved bike path, which leads to the nearby beaches, Taylor Creek Visitor’s Center, and South Lake Tahoe. Rent a bike at Anderson’s Bike Shop at the head of the trail, or a kayak at the Beacon marina. Take a horseback ride or sleep outside overnight and then head to the casinos.
- Closest town: South Lake Tahoe, CA (5 mi)
- Specs: 300/100 RV/cabins, full hookups, pets welcome, usage heavy, easy, open year-round
- Amenities: Flush toilets, lodging, showers, tap water, general store, tables, fire pits
- Reservations: Yes, at camprichardson.com
- Address: 1900 Jameson Beach Rd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150 (Map)
Fallen Leaf Lake (105 Miles)
Fallen Leaf Lake Campground is situated off Highway 89 on the north side of the lake, which is its namesake. It sits at the base of Mount Tallac near Lake Tahoe and is a popular tourist destination for families and individuals alike. Waterfalls, a boat launch, and clear snow-melt waters make this a great place for a refreshing summer swim.
In the fall, the Taylor creek visitor’s center down the bike path is a beautiful walk through colorful quaking aspens and boardwalks offering outdoor education. A short bike ride also offers access to Baldwin and Keva Beaches on Lake Tahoe’s south shore. This is a great campground for those who want the best of the outdoors near the convenience of town.
- Closest town: South Lake Tahoe, CA (6 mi)
- Specs: 205 sites tent/RV sites, no hookups, cabin and yurt rental, pets welcome, heavy usage, open May-October
- Amenities: Coin-operated showers, dumpsters, bear box, fire ring (coal or wood), picnic table, camp store, tap water, grill, near dog beach
- Reservations: Yes, at recreation.gov/camping
- Address: 2165 Fallen Leaf Rd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150 (Map)
Cold Creek Campground (120 miles)
If you’re looking for something more remote, head to Cold Creek Campground a two-hour drive northeast of Sacramento. Hunting, fishing, swimming, and hiking are available for the outdoorsman. RVs are not recommended as sites are quite small. Some are hike-in. About half of the sites are located in the willow cottonwoods, and aspens by the river, while the other half are in the woods under the towering pine and fir trees. Wildflowers are abundant in the meadows during high summer.
- Closest town: Sierraville, CA (4.5 miles)
- Specs: 13 sites, standard nonelectric, tent/RV (max 20 ft), pets welcome, usage light, no cell service, open May-October
- Amenities: Fire ring, picnic table, vault toilet, standard nonelectric
- Reservations: Yes, at recreation.gov
- Address: CA-89, Sierraville, CA 96126 (GPS 39° 32′ 34.0001″ N 120° 18′ 52.9999″ W) (Map)
Meek’s Bay (123 miles)
Situated between two California state parks, Meek’s Bay is tucked away on the southwest shore of Tahoe on CA Route 89. The shallow waters immediately off the beach allow for a great kayaking launch spot but beware of crossing the bay to the south. The paddling can get difficult due to wind and the distance from here to the back of D.L. Bliss State Park is further than it looks.
Instead, stay close to shore and enjoy the clear blue water. A short walk across the highway will take you to the Meek’s Creek hike, 4 miles or so to a waterfall down a dusty trail in high summer.
- Closest town: Tahoma, CA (2.5 mi)
- Specs: 40 sites, no hookups, tent/RV, pets welcome, heavy usage, open May-October
- Amenities: Dumpsters, bear box, fire ring (coal or wood), picnic table, tap water, grill, watersports
- Reservations: Yes, at recreation.gov/camping/campgrounds
- Address: Meeks Bay Ave, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150 (Map)
While most of these campgrounds near Sacramento feature swimming close by, as a way to beat the summer heat, some are accessible year-round. It’s best to reserve ahead for peak season visits, when possible. Consider some of these additional campsites by Truckee and Lake Tahoe to expand your search.