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Five of Mendocino County's Best Campgrounds

Home to breathtaking rivers, breezy beaches, and refreshing state parks and conservation areas, Mendocino County is a natural fit to host some of the most pleasant campgrounds in the state. From deep redwood havens to driftwood-adorned beaches, visitors are spoiled with camping choices on this northern coast. Check out below what could be right for you, or try them all!

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1. Navarro River Redwoods State Park

navarro river redwoods state park
Navarro River Redwoods State Park | Seven Morris/Flickr/CreativeCommons


Any takers for an amazing drive through a “redwood tunnel to the sea”? This spectacular portion of Route 128 that runs through the second growth redwoods of this state park is only the beginning of attractions in this region. Kayakers, swimmers, and anglers flock to the driftwood-laden Navarro Beach campground for a tranquil stay between the redwoods and the sea. Visit here for more information. 

2. Russian Gulch State Park

russian gulch state park
Waterfall, Fern Creek, Russian Gulch State Park | Steven Bratman/Flickr/CreativeCommons


Few campgrounds exist in a state park park as diverse as Russian Gulch. A short drive north of Mendocino Village, this park features 15 miles of hiking trails (5 miles open to bikes), a 36-foot waterfall enveloped by redwoods, picnic areas on coastal headlands, and a sandy beach featuring an impressive sea cave called the Devil’s Punchhole. 26 standard campsites, 4 equestrian sites, and 1 group site await lucky campers. Visit here for more information.

3. Albion River Campground

albion river bridge
Albion River Bridge | clkoha/Flickr/CreativeCommons


Beach access, river acces, and a stunning view of a historic bridge? This campground on the Albion Cove, where the Pacific Ocean and the Albion River meet, sits on an exciting natural nexus of surf and smooth river waters. Add in the towering Albion River Bridge, one of the only remaining wooden bridges on Highway 1, and as of 2017, added on the National Register of Historic Places. Bonus: Grab a burger at nearby Flat’s Cafe, a favorite among campers. Visit here for more information.

4. Van Damme State Park

van damme state park
Van Damme State Park | Suzi Rosenberg/Flickr/CreativeCommons


With over 60 campsites to choose from, you can’t go wrong at this campground that offers spots near the beach, under the stars in the Highland Meadow, or even more secluded “environmental campsites” (tent-only sites with no potable water available). Hit the popular Fern Canyon Trail during the day, relax by Little River, and end the day with dinner al fresco at one of your own site’s picnic tables. Visit here for more information.

5. Hendy Woods State Park

hendy woods state park
Hendy Woods State Park | Shane Wittig/Flickr/CreativeCommons


In the summertime, visitors flock to Hendy Woods not only for its beautiful redwoods and riverside meadows, but also for the refreshing swimming opportunities in the Navarro River (Hendy Woods is warmer than other redwood parks along the coast). After cooling off in your favorite watering hole, spend the night in the park's 92-site campground surrounded by a lovely hardwood forest. Visit here for more information.

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