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Feb 24, 2010


Each site listed here has been chosen as a favorite by myself or a member. Every campground no matter how great it rates has site numbers that are better than others. For instance the three campgrounds listed for Lake Tahoe all are rated a 10 by "California Camping", however you will see that if you get the wrong location you could be spending your trip smelling auto exhaust from every trailer driving by your site or seeing a glaring light in your eye all night from being located too close to the bathrooms. The best advice I can give is to plan ahead by calling the Park first and asking them what sites they like or don't like. Sometimes by viewing the layout map of the campground you can see what sites have more room and where they are located. Most but not all campgrounds use Reserve America to make reservations. See Location Location to find out more details about getting the best site and location for your next trip.

D.L. Bliss State Park
Tahoe, CA
Park 530-525-7277

148, 156, 158
143 & 164
Even though this park gets a 10 rating from most of the camping books, many campsites are on slops that are rocky or are congested. I would rate this place a 5 or a 10 depending on where you’re parking your tent. I love the beach access in this park and a few nice sites sit facing the water. No Dogs on Beach here, not even on leash. The beach is BEAUTIFUL and it’s the beach that makes this campground great. If you want to book a good site you will need to be on the ball and get it the day they open for sale, 7 months in advance. I always recommend calling the location to ask the ranger for their recommendations; they are usually good about giving accurate information, especially which sites NOT to choose. For best results make resurvations 7 months in advance.
Most of the other campsites are not very good in my opinion. Rocky, sloped, busy, too close to bathroom etc...

Ed Z'berg - Sugar Pine Point SP
Tahoe, CA
Park 530-525-7982

84/88, 95-98

I love Sugar Pine for several reasons. mostly because the vibe here is relaxed and the campground feels spacious. There are many good to great sites so I would say site rate from an 8 to 10 overall with a few sites that are less than. Do come prepared to see bears here. And keep in mind on the weekends there is always noise from some greenhorn who left food out or in there car that the bear is into and freaking out the campers. This campground has a GREAT bike train esp. for kids, dirt or paved this is a family fun campground. The shower rooms are nice; however they are all in the same location for the whole campground. I tend to prefer the two loops closer to the showers and noted that sites 123&125 are awful.
They have a beach attached to this campground but it is across the street and no dogs allowed.

Emerald Bay State Park
Tahoe, CA
Park 530-541-6498

OK a few great spots but I must be honest I really don't care for the vibe here. The walk around the campground is beautiful as it overlooks Emerald Bay at a very high distance. Most of the sites are full sun or tiny in size. Dogs must be on leash and are not allowed on trails, no beach access here. Whatever you do, don’t camp on 1-3. I put this campground down mostly because "California Camping" rates it a 10 and we have been there for that reason, in the worst site I've ever camped mind you. Also because Tahoe has many places to camp and many just are not very attractive sites even though Tahoe is one of the most beautiful places on the planet.

Grass Valley, Ca

GV- 8/9 Best
GV-3 I don't see on map but a member says it's her favorite

OK so I had avoided Scotts Flat Lake year after year. It's really close to our house but for some reason it seemed no one locally talked about it. The website looks like yet another private campground that doesn't fit the requirements for my camping taste. One year we were ready to camp and had to switch camp locations last minute because of weather and ended up at Scotts Flat. Again the location is everything. I ended up in the absolute best site I have ever been in EVER. Sites GV-8/9 are both on the water with no public car access. They are huge and fully shaded. However I would only recommend them in spring when the water is high and your not camping mud side. Scotts Flat does attract the partier type so make sure to get a premium site that you pay more for to avoid the young kids. The park attendents don't drive around and make sure the riff raff is keeping it cool. Camping here can go either way as far as the crowd goes. However it has many sites that are better than a 10. And with so many sites you’re likely to find a great location last minute. Dogs are welcome here and they have a fun walk path and fishing that is family friendly. They also have a bait and tackle that sells ice cream. The water is a bit muddy shore side but great swimming the further out you go. We like water side campsites so we can bring our kayak to take runs on the lake with.

Donner, CA
First Come First Serve

Julie writes: I love Grouse Ridge - can't beat it for beauty. A little hard to get to on that road, but worth it! Grouse Ridge is up Hwy 20, left at Bowman Lake sign, then 8 miles of very, no I mean VERY rocky, bumpy road. The campground is on top of a ridge overlooking the buttes, with many tiny alpine lakes to hike to below. It is rugged camping, there are sites (1st come 1st serve), but you have to bring in your own drinking water. Toilets, no showers or potable water.

Big Sur Campground
Big Sur, CA

Reservations Only
Most sites to the right of the gate are best

We love this place. We have planned many a group trips to the campground and love for the fallowing reasons. Beautiful on the right side of grounds, water running through it, staff is VERY friendly, playground, store, laundry.................... Love it. We Cruz the other campgrounds in Big Sur and none of them have the feel of this one. We think is way better than the State Park. I love that they have strict rules for quiet time; they make sure everyone is safe and has what they need. Close by there is lot's to do, too much to mention. From sight seeing, beach going with the dog to fine dinning. Definitely make a stop at Big Sur Bakery it's truly the best food and coffee. See the website for reservation and lot's of useful information. Oh yeah the best time of year to go is Aug-Sept.More to come, please send us your favorites

New Brighton State Beach
Capitola, CA‎

Reservations Year Round

Nothing posted

The beach features picnic areas, swimming, fishing and a nearby forest of Monterey pine and Coastal Live Oak. The camping area is on a bluff overlooking northern Monterey Bay.
Location - Directions

The beach is in the town of Capitola, just south of Santa Cruz. The beach can be reached by taking the New Brighton/Park Avenue exit off Highway One.
Member Writes: We love New Brighton State Park Beach in Capitola CA. It is soooooooo beautiful there. You are on a cliff looking over the beach and the Monterey Peninsula, the grounds are clean, bathrooms are fabulous (with showers!) and its very close to any where you might want to be or go for the day.

Wild Plum Campground
Sierra City, California



Nothing posted

Wild Plum Campground is located in the North Yuba River area. This campground has 2 smaller loops that have paved site pads and interior paved roads. The larger upper loop has gravel site pads and roads. Some sites sit along the Hay Press Creek. Wildplum campground is located just one mile from the scenic and historic town of Sierra City. Fishing, hiking trails. One mile east of Sierra City on Wild Plum Road. Elevation: 4, 400 feet. 47 campsites. 21 campsites for trailers. Vault toilet. Piped water.

Member Writes: We love Wild Plum by Sierra City. Swimming hole in the creek with a rope swing, flat path around the campground is great for kids to bike on, nice and clean, well-spaced sites, such a beautiful area ... Enough to do with little kids that we didn't feel the need to leave the campground at all.


Feb 21, 2010


Camping with your pet can be as much fun for you as it is for your pet.  

A few things to consider:

  • Remember your dog needs to stay cool and warm just like you do
  • Do not leave your dog unattended
  • Be current on all shots esp. rabies and wearing the tag
  • Apply flea and tick meds a few days prior to travel
  • If your dog is aggressive or unfriendly it’s best to leave them at home as you WILL have some strange kid or person walk though your campsite unannounced if only to take a short cut to the bathroom.
  • Bring the same bedding as home if possible, kennel, bed, blanket etc...
  • PLEASE put a name tag with phone number on your dog
  • Use something to glow or light your dogs collar at night.
  • Bring your dogs medications 
  • Bring a brush to use to dust off your dirty little beast 
  • Always make water available in a bowl 
  • Keep your animal's food in a sealed, bug/critter proof container
  • Bring one or two towels for your dog
  • Bring a leash and something longer to tie off your dog at campsite. If your dog is small, consider using a play yard to keep your animal safe. 
  • Bring a toy or two, something to chew on or throw
  • Carry a picture of your animal in case he or she becomes lost or put one on your cell phone
  • Bring small bags to pick up dog’s waste anywhere you go even in nature PLEASE!
  • Never allow your pet to roam the campground esp. If there are bears
  • Never leave your animal alone at your campsite
  • Bring a baggy of "Good Dog" treats to help out when you need them
  • Before you camp, find the nearest emergency veterinarian 
  • Try a spray collar for dog that barks too much, like mine

To continue with the whole bringing your dog thang. Bringing my dog can both be a hassle and the best idea EVER. Wouldn't it be great if every campground had a dog run? Now that's a good idea. It can be a bit nutty for them as they smell so many new things and can't explore much because they REALLY need to be on leash. OK sure for many years I didn't fallow that rule much and had my dog off leash. My dog mostly hung out around the campsite anyhow. But now most of the campgrounds I go to have bears and BRAVO, our one year old labradoodle is VERY curious. So I have to and should have him on leash at all time. The bummer about most places you camp is that you may not be able to take them on trails or to beaches either. It comes down to your going to need to get up off your camping tush and take them for a walk or find a way for active dogs to get their energy out or your going to end up with one frustrated animal by the end of the day. One time my camping neighbor who ran in the mornings offered to take Bravo on her runs. WOW that was great.


Before you leave for your camp trip find a kennel or dog sitter in the area. Use Google maps to find the campground then in the search box that says “Find businesses, addresses and places of interest” put in find dog sitter or vet. and get yourself a dog sitter for the day if your wanting to go see the sights and no dogs are allowed. Also in most places your not allowed to leave a dog in the car and let's face it's probably too hot anyhow.


Bravo likes to bark allot too. So I bring a citronella spray collar and it stops him from barking, esp. early mornings.

I also bring frozen knuckle bones, one or two depending on how long the trip is. Of course if you have a small dog you would bring something else. The point is to bring something irresistible they can occupy themselves with. Don't forget to put that DIRTY thing in a baggy and in the bear box at night or when you leave the campsite!!!!!

Dogs get really dirty, they always lay in the dry dusty dirt no matter where you put the bed, blanket or tarp for them. So I use a bristly hair brush to brush off the dust before I let Bravo come into the tent. I might even take a damp cloth and wipe him too.

I use a spiral screw thingy with a long wire coated in plastic attached to it that goes in the ground so Bravo has some room to move. I like screwing it in the ground so that when it's extended it ends up right where were all sitting without tangling up the chairs or getting him close to the fire.

OK don't tell anyone. I bought Bravo a jacket. Yes and when we go camping this year I will use it at night. I have found all my dogs get cold at night. A dog I had named Toma who was half Irish Wolf Hound climbed right under my covers once and then slept like a baby. Loved that dog.


I like my dog in the tent with me, bears do not want to be near dogs for the most part so I like my beast to be in my tent and well honestly I would regardless of bears. However I must say he is usually so darn tired that no matter how loud or near noises are to the tent he is OUT cold and snoring.  Some people let their dogs sleep in the car. This idea works great for people who have a small tent or just don't want the dog in the tent. If your dog suffers from separation anxiety it won’t work but if your dog is mellow it will. Some dogs feel more comfortable esp. If they are in the car daily, it is then familiar. Just make sure your dog has air to breath, is warm and can not get out what so ever.

OH........ and PEOPLE don’t set your car alarm. No one wants to hear if go off at 3am.


Don't take an elderly dog camping unless you know for sure you can make them totally comfortable.

Camping is a bit stressful for most dogs as the temperatures are colder and hotter, everything is unfamiliar. I think you know what I'm saying. Yes yes they are dogs but let's face it if your dog isn't living outdoors and working a ranch they are likely sitting on your couch with you eating bon bons.

Pick up after your dog even in the wild. No one wants to see or smell you dogs doooooo and it's impolite to the other critters who live there for more reasons than I feel like writing.

If your doing serious hiking make sure to bring a first aid kit for animals. If not most of what you have in the people first aid kit will do. If your taking it easy then it's likely your dog will too.

Dogs rate above people to me however remember that some people don't care for dogs. Respect their space and keep your dog near you unless you see they are interested.

If your large dog doesn't know how to sit, go to your bed or lay-down then you will find it helpful to teach them a command before you go camping. Any command that will tell them what to do when they get excited or stressed.

On some occasions I can find another dog owner who’s dog wants to play and with monitored play they can be taken off leash. Against the law of course. But anyhow they are so interested in each other and playing that they wouldn’t think of running away. Know your dog as to weather this is a good idea or not. Or do with them on leash. Yeah right~

Most of all have fun with Fido, take him/her for walks around the campground, you will have so many friends by the time you get back to your campsite from all the people who wanted to pet and say hi to your dog. Really for most of us our dogs are our kids and they need to be shown the campground and happenings with love and joy just like the two legged kids.


If your a dog lover as I am click here this is my friends Dog Art Blog


The best advise I can give on sunscreen is to use it. Ware a hat and lightweight long sleeve shirt. They make SPF protecting clothing too.

Here are some of my favorite non-toxic sunscreens that are earth friendly and are biodegradable for any of the lakes or rivers you will be swimming in. I like these brands because they are more fluid and go on easy.
One note about sunscreen is the higher the SPF (Sun Protection Factor) the greater the protection. So SPF 40 means you can stay out 40% longer without damage.

However you are saposto apply prior to sun exposure and reapply a second coat 30 seconds after the first to meet the products protection standards. Lastly having a UVA & UVB protection is equally important.
Natural sunscreens use Titanium Dioxide and Zinc for the active ingredient so the higher numbers will have more of a white coloring. I like using the lower numbers to avoid the white pasty look and keep reapplying. For my daughter I use the higher SPF and she doesn't notice yet she looks like I've coated her with gesso.
I personally stay away from aerosol spray sunscreens. I’m thinkin’ they are totally toxic not to mention they have a long list of ingredients that I can't pronounce. On that note I found one natural spray pump sunscreen by Aubrey. I use this one for quick application and on feet.
  • Burts Bees After Sun Soother (love this stuff)
  • Aubrey Organics Saving Face Spray SPF 10
  • Caribbean Solutions
  • Eco Lani
Let me know what brands you like to use? Click on COMMENT and tell all..................