Some people drive for hundreds of miles just to pitch a tent in what we’re fortunate enough to call our backyard. From alpine hiking trails and miles of remote forest to desert lakes and spectacular night skies, there’s no better way to unwind and explore the outdoors than camping.
If you’ve been daydreaming of hiking trails and swimming holes or looking for a tranquil and adventurous family vacation, it’s time to clear your schedule, pack up the car and venture into the Great Outdoors.
We’ve got six fun and beautiful camping getaways you need to experience this summer that will leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. And best of all, they’re just a short drive away.
South Lake Tahoe, Calif.
Summer Boat-In Camping: Available by reservation. Accessible by boat or foot.
Cost: $35 per night
Dogs? Allowed in campground on a 6 foot leash. They cannot be on trails or roads into Emerald Bay or on the beach.
Information/Reservations: 530-525-7232 or www.reserveamerica.com
To say this camping location is stunning is an understatement. If you’re seeking a view from your campsite of blue lake waters, thick forest and jutting rocks, than this is the spot for you.
This campsite is located on the north side of Emerald Bay, at old Emerald Bay Resort, and offers hiking and walking trails and easy access to Lake Tahoe. There are also large rocks you can jump from into the lake.
Davis Creek Regional Park
West Side of Washoe Valley
US 395 South
Cost: $20, cash only
Dogs? Yes. $1 per night fee per pet and they must be leashed.
Information/Reservations: (775) 823-6501 or www.washoecounty.us/parks
Located in the foothills of the Carson Range 20 miles south of Reno, Davis Creek campground offers over 60 overnight sites along with equestrian trailheads that provide access to the Toiyabe National Forest.
The campsite is well-known for outstanding views of Washoe Valley and Slide Mountain and includes picnic areas, a small pond and nature trails. Showers are also available.
12593 Donner Pass Road
Cost: $35 per night
Dogs? Contact for information.
Information/Reservations: (530) 582-7892 or www.parks.ca.gov
If you’re looking for a little more to your camping adventure than what nature has to offer, Donner Memorial State Park may be the ideal campground for you.
The park includes the Emigrant Trail Museum, with historical and regional exhibits including the Donner Party tragedy during the severe winter of 1846, as well as hiking trails, Donner Lake swimming and picnic areas.
South Lake Tahoe, Calif.
2165 Fallen Leaf Road
Cost: $33 to $84/day
Dogs? Allowed at tent and RV sites (a maximum of two pets per site); prohibited on beaches.
Information/Reservations: (530) 544-0426 or www.recreation.gov
Nestled among pine and aspen trees and wildflower meadows, Fallen Leaf offers campers the best of both worlds: mountain landscapes and lake recreation. Located less than a mile away from the south shore of Lake Tahoe, the campground features more than 200 camping sites including tent, RV and several yurt rentals.
There are many shady campsites for campers to choose from, as well as food lockers, toilets, showers and a general store. The lake is only a short walk from the sites and features views of Cathedral Peak (8,200 feet) and Mount Tallac (9,738 feet) and there are several trails for hikers.
Pyramid Lake Store, 29555 Pyramid Lake Road
Cost: $9 per day
Dogs? Allowed without restrictions.
Information/Reservations: 775-476-0555 or www.pyramidlake.us.
The largest natural lake in Nevada, just 40 miles from Reno, is located between the Virginia and Lake Mountains on Paiute Indian land — the Pyramid Lake Reservation. It’s an ideal locale for boating and fishing and for those who are looking for remote beach camping and easy access to swimming.
There are multiple camping spots around the lake — including an RV park and designated and open camping — but campers must obtain a tribal camping permit prior to settling in. Note: This is a desert lake and therefore, has limited shade. Campers should plan accordingly with shade sails and pop up shade tents.
Whether you’re seeking the solace of a shaded forest or craving lazy beach days, Camp Richardson offers a wide variety of camping and lodging needs. Located on the south shore of Lake Tahoe, Camp Richardson features over 30 cabins, 26 lodge hotel rooms, a beachside inn, duplex and house, as well as 200 tent camping sites and 100 RV sites.
The resort campground offers year-round camping and a wide variety of services, including a marina, sports center, restaurant and a store.