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San Francisco is the Golden Gate City, otherwise known as the Golden City. It is officially the commercial, financial, and cultural epicenter of Northern California, and has so much to do.

From the beautiful antique cable cars, to the Golden Gate Bridge, Pier 39 to wine country, Fisherman’s Wharf and Alcatraz, there is so much that San Francisco has to offer.

If you are looking for your next camping spot in San Francisco, or nearby enough that you can pop into this eclectic and historical city, then you will need to check out this guide of the best campsites San Francisco has for you.

Why Go Camping In San Francisco?

If you want to reconnect with nature, and disconnect from the outside world, then where better than in San Francisco?

With the beautiful Muir Woods redwood forest nearby, boasting redwood trees that are over 1000 years old, and stunning scenery of the Pacific Ocean, and the bay of San Francisco, you simply must visit.

There are many options for camping in or near San Francisco, but we have gathered some of our favorites, and some of the best for you.

Best Campsites In San Francisco

1. Rob Hill Campground

Rob Hill Campground is perched upon the highest point of the Presidio, just above Baker Beach, with four wooded acres available to explore. Rob Hill Campground is the only campground really available within the limits of the city.

This campground is located in a beautiful spot in the Presidio. Rob Hill Campground can be found just off the Bay Area Ridge Trail, with accessibility by car, bus, bike, or hike.

With four public campgrounds, and each one fitting 30 people, you have to be lucky to get a spot here. Some of the facilities include picnic tables, restrooms, a fire pit, barbecue and storage lockers.

There are no showers, but this is a stunning spot with incredible views, and you get to explore the Presidio, so it’s worth it.

With trails and overlooks close by, you’ll love camping in this location inside of San Francisco.

2. Angel Island Campground

Angel Island is a great option, with historical tours, hikes, biking trips, and so many trails to explore. There are actually ten campsites scattered around Angel Island, so you are more likely to find a spot here than you are in Rob Hill.

Angel Island offers fantastic scenic views of San Francisco Bay, making these sites very popular, and they’re not too far from the hub of the city if you want to find adventure there too.

Sites are around a mile walk from the ferry landing, so keep that in mind when packing your supplies! Each site is equipped with toilets, running water, and picnic tables, and you can even protect your food in some.

Angel Island offers four camping locations- Sunrise, Ridge, East Bay and Kayak Camp. East Bay camp offers great views of East Bay, the Bay Bridge, and the Oakland skyline.

However, you should be aware that it is very windy in the East Bay, with lots of chilly mornings and hungry racoons around.

In comparison, the Ridge Campsites will give you the most picturesque views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco city skyline, but you will also find this area prone to strong winds.

Over in the Sunrise campsites, you can camp on level ground under the open sky to get all of the views. From here, you can see San Francisco and the East Bay

If you prefer something more secluded and protected, you can opt for Kayak Camp, where there are trees for shade, and therefore less views of the city.

3. Kirby Cove Campground

Kirby Cove can be found just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, with incredible views of the bridge itself and the Pacific. This campsite is found on the sand of the beach, with lots of windy paths and trails to the campsite.

The cove itself is nestled at the foot of the craggy Marin Headlands, with access to the beach and wonderful views for miles when it’s not foggy.

With mountain biking, picnicking, fishing, and hiking activities in the area, you’ll be sure to find something to do while you’re at Kirby Cove.

Some amenities include tent pads, fire pits, barbecues, picnic tables, pit toilets and food lockers. Temperatures are pretty mild all year round, with lows around 50 degrees and highs around 65 degrees.

However, there is a risk of fog from May to September, so if you want to go there for views, avoid those months or wait for good weather!

4. Bicentennial Campground

If you want to head further into the Marin Headlands, then you can opt for the Bicentennial Campground there. This campground is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and is near Sausalito, California.

The Bicentennial Campground is in the perfect location, surrounded by a grove of cypress trees. If you want to escape the city, and be surrounded by the beauty of nature, then this is the campground for you while you are in the San Francisco area.

Be warned, there is a moderate short hill climb to and from the campground from the parking location, so again, it is best to travel light and pack only the essentials.

The Bicentennial Campground has three campsites in total, with each one accommodating only up to three guests.

At the campgrounds, you will find food lockers, picnic tables, barbecue grills, pit toilets and portable restrooms for your use.

At the Bicentennial Campgrounds, you will find stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge, and of the city of San Francisco.

There are also many trails and viewing points nearby, with the Marin Headlands close by for hiking, and Rodeo Beach only about 1.5 miles away.

In addition, Nike Site and the Point Bonita Lighthouse are within walking distance if you wanted to explore the area a little more.

5. Haypress Campground

Another Golden Gate National Recreation Area campsite is the Haypress Campground. Haypress Campground is found near Mill Valley, California. You will find this campground huddled within the scrub of the coastal Tennessee Valley.

To get to this campground, you will need to hike around 0.7 miles from the Tennessee Valley trail parking lot. However, if you hike up to Tennessee Cove, you can take in the sights of the unique and dramatic sand and geology of the beach.

While you do have to enjoy hiking to get to this campground, it will be worth it. You can really escape the doldrums of life, and get stuck into nature.

With five overnight sites for up to four guests, this campground offers visitors food lockers, tent pads, picnic tables, and vault toilets.

The Haypress Campground itself is encompassed by eucalyptus trees, and spans over a great grassy swath. You may even see California quails and raptors in the area. You can find deer, foxes, bobcats, and coyotes too.

With hiking trails to Tennessee Beach, Muir Beach, and the incredible Battery Townsley and Rodeo Beach nearby, there is so much to see and do here.

6. Hawk Campground

Last but not least on our list is the Hawk Campground. Hawk Campground can be found in Sausalito, and is a wonderful spot for camping while in Marin County. Here, you can find great views of Gerbode Valley as the site is nestled on a high hill.

With three campsites to choose from, all equipped with picnic tables, portable toilets, and more, this camp is a great choice.

The Hawk Campground is perched deep in the woods, and is a two mile hike from Tennessee Valley parking lot, or three miles from the Marin Headlands Visitor’s Center.

At this campsite, you will find views of the rolling landscape of the Marin Headlands, taking in all of the diverse coastal scrub with it.

The campground is situated under the shade of pine trees and Monterey cypress trees, with hills simply surrounding you everywhere you look.

It’s a fantastic spot to relax and enjoy the great outdoors!

Can You Camp Anywhere In San Francisco?

No, you cannot simply set up camp anywhere freely in San Francisco.

There are very few legal camping sites and options within the city grounds, except the Rob Hill group campground in the Presidio, but this is rather exclusive and coveted.

However, there are many camping spots available in the Bay Area, with many camping grounds in almost every direction from San Francisco in nearby locations.

Can You Camp On Alcatraz?

No, you cannot really camp on Alcatraz. Vehicles or pets are not permitted on the actual island itself, but you can camp on Angel Island Campground, which is the closest one to Alcatraz Island if you wanted to take a ferry and go on a tour of the infamous Alcatraz.

Final Thoughts

If you want to camp in or around San Francisco, then there are many options that you can try. Most are located around the Bay Area, with views of the famous and spectacular Golden Gate Bridge.

Our top choices are the Rob Hill Campground, Angel Island Campground and the Bicentennial Campground.

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