Calaveras: The Ultimate Playground for Family Camping

Summer is creeping up on us, and it’s time to head to the great outdoors! Grab your tents and sleeping bags because the sunshine and fresh air are calling! And, what a great way to spend a family vacation this year. Camping with kids can be so much fun, and Calaveras County has got some incredible camping spots. Make sure to check out the full list of camping and RV parks in Calaveras County.  Here are some places we think are worthy of sleeping-under-the-stars type family vacation.


Camping | Jason B Smith
Camping at Calaveras Big Trees | Jason B Smith

Big Trees State Park – There are only a few places in the world where you can sleep under giant Sequoias, so why not have a once-in-a-lifetime experience camping at Big Trees State Park?  The kids won’t be the only ones amazed beyond belief.  Camping is available in two established campgrounds March through November. You can also reserve a cabin if tents aren’t your thing, and still enjoy the beautiful park.  To make reservations call (800) 444-7275 or visit


Boating on New Hogan Lake by @wookies_and_whiskers
On the lake by Instagrammer @wookies_and_whiskers

New Hogan Lake is the perfect place for camping, water sports, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Oak-studded, rolling grassland surrounds the lake and is green and lush in spring, turning golden in summer. Maintained by the US Army Corps of Engineers, the camping, picnicking and RV sites on New Hogan Lake are well designed to give beautiful views of the lake. There are 207 campsites available for reservation at three campgrounds: AcornOak Knoll & Deer Flat, plus one group campground that can accommodate up to 50 people.

Four public boat ramps allow you to enjoy miles of water skiing wake boarding, sailing and cruising as well as swimming and fishing. Fish species include black bass, bluegill, crappie and catfish – fishing licenses are required for those over 16 years of age. More details on restrictions are available on their website.  If you’re new to fishing or want to hone your skills, ProCast Fishing and Xperience Fishing Guide Services expert anglers can take you out on New Hogan and help you get the best possible fishing experience. Shotgun and bow hunting are available during open seasons. Contact the park headquarters for hunting areas and restrictions.  The Fiddleneck Day Use Area includes two 18-hole disc golf courses, close to picnicking, boating and swimming areas. Wildlife is abundant at New Hogan and in fact the south shore area of the lake has been designated as a wildlife viewing area. You will see signs with a binocular symbol at the park entrances directing you to this location. Below the dam at the Monte Vista Recreation area, you will find the River of Skulls hiking trail. There is also a staging area for an eight mile equestrian trail, to enjoy a scenic loop that winds along the foothills and lake.  The west side of the lake includes bicycle trails that can be enjoyed by beginners and advanced riders. You’ll find these near the group camping. For an easy exploration, enjoy a 3-mile trail which connects the Acorn Campground with the park office.


Sourgrass Recreation Area | Lisa Boulton
Sourgrass Recreation Area

Sourgrass Recreation Area  – For a more off-the-beaten-path camping experience, WaKaLuu Hep Yo (Wild River) Campground  alongside the North Fork of the Stanislaus River is breathtakingly beautiful and feels secluded despite being only a short drive off of Highway 4.  While the kids will love the riverside trails and the rushing water of the river, parents will want to keep in mind that swimming here can be dangerous.  However, there are plenty of safe little areas that can be discovered for quick dipping in the heat of the summer.  Camping is first-come, first-serve.  There are 49 camp sites, and the campground has several flush toilets.


Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway
Spicer Lake | Jill Seale

Spicer Reservoir – For a high-country adventure at 6,500 feet, picturesque Spicer Lake offers ideal camping especially good for families that enjoy kayaking, canoeing and fishing.  Open June to October, Spicer Campground and Group Campground is a bit more primitive than the rest, but gives you the feeling that you’re in the backcountry without having to hike for hours to get there.  The kids will be thankful.  The campground has around 50 sites on a first come, first serve basis.  Sites can be tough to snag on holiday weekends, so try to come earlier in the week.


Full Moon Kayak Paddle. Photo courtesy Abba with Kayak Camanche

Lake Camanche Resort includes a multi-award winning campground with year-round recreation and fishing with 54 miles of shoreline and 7,700 surface acres of water for all your outdoor recreational activities. The lake features family and group camping by the lake shoreline, cottages, RV sites, hiking, boating, fishing, swimming, kayaking, equestrian trails and equestrian camping. Lake Camanche is also a popular venue for outdoor weddings, festivals, and corporate events.


Lake Alpine | Sandy Price
Relaxing on the rocky shore | Sandy Price

You will need reservations for this campground, so as soon as you know your camping dates, lock them in! The Silvertip Campground is less than a mile west of Lake Alpine, with a trail leading from the campground down to the lake, and the West Shore Campground sits directly off the north shore of Lake Alpine, walking distance to the boat launch, rentals, and Lake Alpine Lodge. Surrounded by lodgepole pines and red firs, this small, serene lake reservoir nestled in giant granite basin offers an idyllic location to bring the kids to swim fish, SUP, canoe, paddle boat, or just float around. Small boats are okay with a 10 MPH speed limit on the lake, and dogs are definitely allowed!


Frogtown RV Park - Camping at the pond
Frogtown RV Park – Camping at the pond

Golden Pines RV & Campground

Golden Pines RV & Campground  -With over 22 RV sites, 22 tent sites, and a few sleeper cabins, this family friendly park is a great location just 20 minutes from Murphys and just down the road from Calaveras Big Trees.

Angels Camp RV Camping Resort

Angels Camp RV Resort is a family-friendly park with over 100 full hookup sites, comfortable lodges, rustic cabins and premium tent sites available year-round. Located just a few miles south of historic downtown Angels Camp, you’ll have a perfect, central location to relax between your adventures through California’s Gold Country. Amenities include: seasonal pool, fire pits, dog park, playground, sand volleyball, horseshoes, kitchen pavilion, meeting room, laundry, propane, and WiFi.