Rather than spending your precious time in California’s many tourist traps, get to know the Golden State for its diverse landscapes and one-of-a-kind displays of natural beauty. With our friends at The Dyrt, we put together this list of 5 bucket list campsites will help you get to know this sunny paradise on a whole new level.

1. Ryan Campground, Joshua Tree National Park

Image from The Dyrt user Maura E.

Named for its iconic twisting trees, this national park provides some of the most unique camping experiences that California has to offer. Ryan Campground comes equipped with primitive sites that are shaded by massive, prehistoric rock formations. This is a definite must-see for any die-hard desert dweller.

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2. Point Reyes National Seashore

Image from The Dyrt user Cierra A.

If you want to experience Northern California’s famed atmospheric fog, Point Reyes is the place to visit. Boasting top-notch facilities, as well as easy beach access, this campsite is a no-brainer for anyone who wants to settle into the quiet side of California. Protip: Bring along some earplugs as the nearby elephant seals like to start talking amongst themselves at the crack of dawn.

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3. Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park

Image from The Dyrt user Dave M.

Perhaps the most sought-after full-amenities campground in all of Yosemite, Tuolumne Meadows is located at the 8,500-ft. elevation mark, high in the picturesque Sierra Nevada mountain range. Make the 4.8 mile Elizabeth Lake hike to the glacier-topped Unicorn Peak. As mentioned, this is quite a popular camping area and does book up months in advance, so be sure to plan ahead.

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4. Point Mugu State Park

Image from The Dyrt user Kat P.

Nestled along Malibu’s famed coastline, Point Mugu has some of the quietest and most protected Los Angeles beaches. Explore the mysterious caves and wildlife-filled tidepools along the shore, or take a short walk across Pacific Coast Highway to hike through lush Malibu Canyon.

Read more here.

5. Tahoe State Recreation Area

Image from The Dyrt user Caroline O.

Best known as a skier’s paradise, many tend to overlook the greater Tahoe area’s other enviable seasonal offerings. With heavy snowfall in the winter and every water sport under the sun available in the summer, Lake Tahoe is the perfect destination for campers and hobbyists of all skill levels.

Read more here.

Camping in California or Hawaii? Review your camping experience on The Dyrt to enter our contest! We’re giving Boost to the top reviewers every month, all summer long. See the contest here.

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