Northern California Camping Spots?

Good afternoon!

I am planning to take a week in May and do a quick camping and surfing trip through Northern California. I’ve never spent more than a day or two passing through this part of 101 and it has been several years at that.

Thought I’d see if anyone has some suggestions for good places to camp or must see things in the area that they would like to share? I don’t expect anyone to give up their secret spots but general areas would be appreciated!

I generally prefer dispersed camping but not opposed to developed sites if they are worth the stop.

I’ll share some pictures when we get back! Cheers y’all!

“Northern California” is basically everything north of Sacramento or the bay depending who you ask. Might wanna narrow down the region you’ll be in.

Do you want to stay coastal or are you looking for options inland too?

Good point. I’m thinking coastal region. Mendocino to the Oregon border.

Coming from Portland. Probably drive down in a day and work my way up the coast.


Check out Usal Rd/Lost Coast. Might be early enough that it isn’t busy but the logging roads can also get pretty muddy if there’s weather. The developed campground is small and can get busy on the weekends…check OnX for disbursed camping in the area.

It’s also worth noting that I haven’t been out there in over 15 years so the quality of the campground may have changed but when I went I was the only one there on a Wed/Thurs.


There are spots around Mt. Shasta — Castle Lake, Castle Crags area. If you’re looking coastal, Usal is the popular spot (as noted above!). Of course, spots in Mendocino NF are around.

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Usal Rd can have some pretty great camping depending on the time of year/amount of people. Been there a couple times and definitely cool getting the ability to camp right on the beach!