Camping in Big Basin Redwoods State Park is one of our favorite summer activities. Just an hour away from the Bay Area, Big Basin is truly a camping gem, with tall redwoods rising into the sky, providing shelter and a unique California camping experience.
Famous for: Big Basin Redwoods State Park is California’s oldest State Park.
Admission: $10/vehicle for day use, camping extra
Families with young kids will like: With lots of fallen trees in the campgrounds, my kids always enjoy exploring around our tent site. They like to climb the fallen trees and make up nature games. For more ambitious kids, you might like to hike up to Sempervirens Falls, an easy hike up from the campgrounds. And my kids have really enjoyed the Saturday night campfires at the Ranger Station.
Families with teenagers will like: If your teenagers are active hikers, consider hiking the Skyline to the Sea Trail to Waddell Beach, which offers outstanding ocean views. Occasionally, these more strenuous hikes are lead by a park ranger, check with the ranger’s station for more details.
Easy site seeing: Leave your car at the park headquarters, and after checking out the Nature Museum, walk the Redwood Loop Trail, an easy, accessible path through some of the oldest trees in the park, including Mother of the Forest, Father of the Forest and the Chimney Tree.
Best campground in the park: After camping at Big Basin on and off the last 10 years, we have decided that our favorite campgrounds are Sempervirens and Blooms Creek. Note: campsites are first come, first served, and on the summer weekends, reservations are required and folks are at the Ranger Station right at opening time to secure their favorite spot.
Best non-camping option: Check out nearby Costanoa for a camping experience unlike no other. Cabins, restaurants and electricity make this a special camping experience!
Best months to visit for weather: June through September are the best months to visit for consistent weather, but summer can also have cool mornings, with fog coming off the ocean.
Best months to visit to avoid crowds: Late summer/early fall, after school is back in session. October is a great time to visit, with mild daytime weather and cooler evenings, perfect for snuggling in your sleeping bag.
Nearest major cities: Santa Cruz is the nearest major city, and depending on the route you take, you may pass through Boulder Creek and Scotts Valley, two towns in the Santa Cruz mountains where you can stock up on camping provisions.
More information about Big Basin Redwoods State Park can be found on their website.
Photo courtesy of Gudrun Enger,Kitchen Gadget Girl.