Camp-California.com helps travelers identify privately owned campgrounds that are not listed on recreation.gov or other government websites, which is particularly helpful in summer when many government-run campgrounds are sold out.
Camp 4, a tents only campground in Yosemite Valley that has operated on a first-come, first-serve basis for decades, plans to test a lottery system for the campground beginning May 21, according to a press release issued by Yosemite National Park.
But while the change only affects tent campers at Camp 4, the prospect of a lottery system serves as a powerful reminder of the challenges visitors face when trying to plan a camping vacation that includes Yosemite Valley, whose other government-run campsites are marketed online and typically sell out months in advance.
“The good news is that there are several privately owned and operated campgrounds just outside Yosemite National Park that are easier to get into,” said Debbie Sipe, executive director and CEO of the California Association of RV Parks and Campground, which hosts a travel planning website at Camp-California.com.
“Campgrounds just outside the southern and western entrances to Yosemite National Park are still likely to be very busy, particularly during the summer months, but they are not as well known or sought after as campgrounds in Yosemite Valley, so they are usually a little easier to get into,” Sipe said.
These campgrounds, which Sipe calls “gateway parks,” include:
— Bass Lake at Yosemite RV Park in Bass Lake: This park features RV and tent sites as well as rental cabins. Amenities include a swimming pool, a restaurant, a lodge and shaded outdoor picnic area. https://www.basslakeatyosemite.com
— High Sierra RV & Mobile Park in Oakhurst: This park, which complements its RV and tent sites with rental cabins, is located along the Fresno River near the southern entrance to Yosemite National Park. Amenities include hot showers, laundry, and a store with camping and RV supplies, including propane. Daily, weekly and monthly sites are available. http://highsierrarv.com/yosemite-rv-park-campground-amenities.html
— Pine Mountain Lake Campground in Groveland: This campground, which is two miles from Pine Mountain Lake, includes RV and tent sites. http://www.pinemountainlake.com/campground-public/
— Yosemite Lakes RV Resort in Groveland: This campground has is located near the the Big Oak Flat entrance to Yosemite National Park and has frontage on the South Fork of the Tuolumne River. This campground complements its RV and tent sites with 49 furnished cabins and yurts. Its family friendly cabins, which sleep up to six, include bathrooms with showers, flat screen TVs and fully equipped kitchens, so guests can cook their own meals. The yurts also sleep up to the six and include microwave ovens, hot plates, cooking and eating utensils, flat screen TVs and bathrooms with showers. The campground is also next to a YARTS bus stop. So you can leave your camping equipment at the campground and make day trips into Yosemite Valley. Advance reservations through the YARTS website at https://yarts.com are recommended. https://www.thousandtrails.com/california/yosemite-lakes-rv-resort/.
— Yosemite Pines RV Resort and Family Camping in Groveland: This campground not only has RV and tent sites, but a wide selection of vintage travel trailers that have been restored to look like new, including Airstream, Boles Aero and Silver Avion travel trailers. The campground also rents out new Retro brand Silver Beach and White Water travel trailers, which are manufactured to look like vintage trailers. The rental units typically come with refrigerators, microwave ovens, coffee pots and fresh linens. This park also has covered wagon rentals, each of which has a king size bed and twin bunk beds, a small refrigerator, microwave and coffee pot.https://yosemitepinesrv.com/glamping/
Sipe noted that Camp-California.com has listings for gateway campgrounds near other popular national and state parks, which complements that listings of government run campgrounds on recreation.gov.
Camp-California.com is hosted by the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, which is based in Auburn, Calif. For more information about campgrounds outside California’s state and national parks and other popular destinations or to receive a printed copy of Camp-California! The Camper’s Guide to California, please visit www.Camp-California.com.