xHgGrtG-show-poster2x3-aXpIxNN.png

Artbound

Start watching
Tending Nature poster 2021

Tending Nature

Start watching
IYhnPQZ-show-poster2x3-Ytk6YwX.png

Southland Sessions

Start watching
RYQ2PZQ-show-poster2x3-OGargou.jpg

Earth Focus

Start watching
5LQmQJY-show-poster2x3-MRWBpAK.jpg

Reporter Roundup

Start watching
E5VnHdZ-show-poster2x3-PrXshoo.png

City Rising

Start watching
QraE2nW-show-poster2x3-uY3aHve.jpg

Lost LA

Start watching
Member
Your donation supports our high-quality, inspiring and commercial-free programming.
Support Icon
Learn about the many ways to support KCET.
Support Icon
Contact our Leadership, Advancement, Membership and Special Events teams.

3 of San Mateo County's Best Campgrounds

half moon bay

This guide is part of KCET's California Coastal Trail series, which looks at the state's massive undertaking to build a trail over 1,000 miles in length along its whole coastline.

Encompassing part of the San Francisco Peninsula and bordered by the Santa Cruz Mountains, San Mateo County offers a wealth of rural forests and beaches south of the densely populated Bay Area. From landscapes of coastal scrub to fern grottos, there is an array of enchanting worlds to set up camp.

Below you'll find the following alluring camping options in San Mateo County.

Butano State Park Campground

butano state park
Butano State Park | Martin Jambon/Flickr/Creative Commons

About midway between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz lies the little-known but beloved Butano State Park. A valley of redwoods nestled in the Santa Cruz Mountains, many make the trek to Butano for its healing isolation and towering forests -- including the awe-inspiring Candelabra Tree. Butano has 39 campsites, some drive-in, others a short walk from parking areas. Visit here for more information.

Half Moon Bay Campground Campground

half moon bay camp
Half Moon Bay Campground | Photo: Michael/Flickr/Creative Commons

Abutting the tranquil coastal community of Half Moon Bay, this campground offers access to 4 miles of some of California’s most pristine coastline. Plus, campers will find the Coastside Trail scaling the bluffs above the beach, a 3-mile stretch of the California Coastal Trail for walkers, hikers, and bikers. Tent sites, RV hook-ups, and group sites available. Visit here for more information. 

Portola Redwoods State Park Campground

portola state park
Portola Redwoods State Park | Laura Hamilton/Flickr/Creative Commons

Escape the noise of the city and head into the Santa Cruz Mountains to experience the crisp hush of douglas firs, coast redwoods, and mossy banks in Portola Redwoods State Park. Named after the famed Spanish explorer credited with discovering the San Francisco Bay in 1769, Portola boasts a 55-site family campground and 18 miles of creek-adjacent trails where waterfalls flow gently for all those to enjoy. Visit here for more information.
 

Top Image: Half Moon Bay | Photo: Rick Schwartz/Flickr/Creative Commons

Support Provided By
Support Provided By
Read More
3/28/1964-Crescent City, CA- Unidentified man (l) stands amid debris-ridden city where martial law was declared after tremendous tidal waves from the Anchorage, Alaska earthquake destroyed 150 businesses and killed at least nine persons. Twelve-foot tidal

How a Deadly Tsunami and Mysterious Boat United Two Cities Oceans Apart

The tragedy at Crescent City, CA not only led to better protective measures, but forged a bond with Rikuzentakata, a Japanese city that was also recovering from the 2011 tsunami disaster. 
Courtesy of Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park

Five of Del Norte County's Best Campgrounds

Del Norte County nurtures excellent camping experiences at the profusely-forested edge of California.
Mill Creek

Five of Del Norte County's Best Hikes

From historic trails through secluded forests to loops that offer vistas of remarkable sea stacks, Del Norte County is a vital destination for hikers seeking a rare California.