A Camping Guide to Marin County
Posted in Blogging Marin on Monday, September 6, 2021 by MCVB Staff
By Megan Eileen McDonough
When it comes to campsites, Marin County has you covered (literally). Home to towering redwood trees, quaint beaches dotting the coast and exotic wildlife that goes for miles, there's a trail for every skill level. Even if you’re new to Marin or are a first-time camper, you’ll find the campsites scenic and safe. Here are a few tips and tricks to make the most of your outdoor adventure.
When to Go
There's really no wrong time to go camping in Northern California. That said, many regulars argue that fall is the best season to pitch a tent. It's less crowded and the foliage is particularly picturesque. Summer is another optimal season, as the days are warm and the nights aren't too cool, but still cool enough to build a campfire and roast s'mores. Winter isn’t as harsh as one might expect, but be sure to pack warm clothes.
How to Plan
Planning ahead is always a good idea, and luckily there are some great online resources at your fingertips. ReserveAmerica allows users to search campsites based on distance and availability. Hipcamp is another helpful resource for travelers more interested in activities and amenities than location. Finally, browse through user reviews on websites like AllTrails, and TripAdvisor.
Where to Go
Below are a few recommended campsites for both beginner campers and wildlife pros.
Angel Island State Park
San Francisco Bay
Located right in the middle of San Francisco Bay, the views at Angel Island State Park are just as incredible as you'd imagine. To get there, either drive or take the ferry from Tiburon (limited service in winter). There are nine campsites on the island, including the East Bay Sites, Sunrise Sites and Ridge Sites. Many travelers opt to tour the island by bike, as vehicles and skateboards are prohibited. Dogs aren't allowed here either, so make arrangements beforehand.
China Camp State Park
Totaling 1,640 acres of natural watershed along San Francisco Bay, this Chinese shrimp-fishing village dates back to the 1880s. Pop by the small museum for a crash course in the early Chinese settlement. Exercise-wise, there are 15 miles of hiking trails and more wildlife than you can count. Visitors have their pick of hiking, swimming, windsurfing and boating. There are also 30 walk-in campsites.
Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Marin Headlands is a camper's dream destination not only for the unrestricted views of the Bay but for its extensive campsite list. There are two walk-in campgrounds at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) located at the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge. Alternatively, Kirby Cove is a drive-up campground with four different sites. Each accommodates groups of up to 10 people, making this a smart choice for families.
Mount Tamalpais State Park
Mount Tamalpais State Park spans 6,300 acres of redwood groves and woodlands and offers views from its 2,571-foot peak. Ideal for both hikers and bikers, there are 16 walk-in campsites among other housing options, including 10 cabins that overlook the Pacific. With more than 50 miles of trails, there's plenty to see and do. Forgot your cooking items? Then take advantage of the Bootjack Picnic Area.
Samuel P. Taylor State Park
Wooded countryside trails, coastal redwoods and vibrant grasslands make Samuel P. Taylor State Park a perfect overnight camping getaway. Throughout its 2,700 acres of land, there are hiking trails, mountain biking trails and even several horseback riding trails. Depending on your comfort level, choose from 60 developed campsites, some that are tent-only and others that offer more amenities.
More information on featured attractions:
In the middle of San Francisco Bay sits Angel Island, offering spectacular views of the Marin Headlands, Mount Tamalpais, and the San Francisco skyline. Over 13 miles of...[Learn More]
China Camp State Park has 1,640 acres of natural watershed along the shores of San Francisco Bay. A Chinese shrimp-fishing village thrived on this site in the 1880s....[Learn More]