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Travel Picks: Camping in California

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Not my usual blog post today, but something I am super passionate about: getting back to nature and camping. If I could mix family, friends, nature and camping + my Bestowe products, I am stoked. I love it all, except maybe climbing and camping on the side of a mountain, no thanks. I hope to do more posts on travel and shopping in different areas with influences from my trusted traveler collaborators and our very own artisans, so stay tuned! To kick it off, I'll just give you my two cents where I love to camp in California. See if you can spot some of my traveling items from Bestowe Gifts! Honestly, These gifts are so versatile I take some of my products with me wherever I go and camping is no exception.

elk prairie campground

ALL TIME best trips in California: Big Sur

top 10 must sees in Big Sur

Absolutely one of my favorites places. In general, Big Sur has it all. Some of the resorts and establishments have been around for over a hundred years. Not only can you camp out, you can glamp, you can stay at an inn on the river, you can stay at a high-end resort or a low-key haunted BNB (Deetjens), you can get away with the family and rough it, or take a luxury vacay with just you and your love. No matter your cup of tea, this place is the perfect getaway for any type of family. Some of my favorite places to visit are Big Sur River Inn (it has a pool, river wading, food, shops, and a place to lay your heads at night), While you're there, one of the cutest artist collectives I've seen in a while just opened there called Mercado Sagrado named after the annual canyon festival. Nepenthe Restaurant, Limekiln State Park, Ventana Inn Big Sur for Glamping, Pfeiffer Beach with the purple sand, Deetjens for dinner,  Andrew Molera State Park, Lucia Lodge, Julia Pfeiffer Waterfall Overlook, and the not to pass up, especially if you are on your own and need some time away, the Zen retreat and hot springs right on the cliffs, Esalen Hot Springs.

pfieffer big sur state waterfall and beaches

top 5 places to camp in California

Hike in Camping
In my past 20 years of living in the Bay Area I've had the chance to camp a number of times. We love it. My husband and I used to do hike-in camping 4-5 times a year... then we got married and had our son, and things shifted to car camping. Each have their benefits. Hike-in takes more effort, but you need to minimize and relinquish control on bringing too many items. This can be somewhat freeing actually. Plus, once you get to the campsite you are all alone. It's so serene. However, if you prefer the car camping, there are also some incredible benefits: full coolers of fresh cold beers and food, quick emergency exit, and the comfort of having others around you at all times. I love it all. 
 Ventana Big Sur Inn Campground Camping

Some of our lovely products featured above. I almost always take these mini Jamnation jams with me and my Vestige Home Cutting board from our Host Your Heart Out set.

Big Basin

My all-time favorite. This location has both car camping and hike-in. We hiked in on the main trail of Berry Creek Falls to camp at Sunset Camp. The whole loop is 11-miles. 
Just a short hike away from our campsite were the waterfalls on the Berry Creek Trail. It was pretty incredible. You can stop off at watering holes in certain parts to enjoy a cool dip on your hike.  Almost the entire loop is in pristine old-growth redwood forest. The otherworldly scenery is like nothing else.  You can find out more here: Big Basin Camping
jackass lakes ansel adams wilderness

Jackass Lakes

Of course, I love Yosemite National Park, and the camping there is endless, but just south of there, in Ansel Adams Wilderness are the hike-in camping areas Jackass Lakes. Permits are required to hike up to the lakes and camp, but it is so worth it. After a steep start, you follow the markers and once at lower lake it's all about relaxing. The lake provides an awesome refuge to swim and cool your drinks in. Once situated, you can take day hikes to the upper lake. Here is some much more detailed info on the spot.

Car Camping

Joshua Tree Jumbo Rocks Car Camping
Joshua Tree: Jumbo Rocks

Joshua Tree is a must-see if you are traveling too or live in California. Honestly, I'm absolutely in love. We go here every other year. You need to be prepared for extreme weather changes, but if you come prepared it isn't hard to stay on top of the cold nights and the random thunderstorms. The spot we've chosen is just perfect for kids. The campground is called Jumbo Rocks. The sites have so many rocks (hence the name) around them, that you could climb for hours. Fires are permitted, and you can always drive into town or to various trails close by. The early morning sunrises and dinnertime sunsets are the best in the dessert too.

Ventana Inn and Glamping Campground Dopp Kit

A little glamping tent at Ventana Inn, just the perfect place to bring our nighttime essentials dopp kit from our Freshen Up kit.

Elk Prarie

This has to be one of the more magical spots we have been too. Partly due to marrying some of our best friends here, but also for the elk watching and beauty of Northern California. Prairie Creek Campground is where you can stay. It's the perfect spot to hit on the way up to Oregon as well. The huge redwoods lining the trails of the Big Tree Loop trails are well worth the visit.

lakes basin sunset magazine

Lakes Basin

I found this spot a couple of years ago in Sunset Magazine. It pooled together my California family camping dreams complete with a lodge at a resort, bar and restaurant and lakes where you can rent boats or swim at your leisure. You can even rent cabins here by the lodge. Its true heart is easygoing, low-key, and thrifty. There are more than 10 public campgrounds, including Sardine Campground, where every site has a view of the jagged Sierra Buttes. 


Out here in California, camping is a huge deal. We love the inexpensive-ness, the connection to nature, and the overwhelming relaxation it provides. 

Do you have any suggestions for awesome camping gifts that we absolutely must have? Shoot us an email!

California Family travel

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