North Coast: Three pet-friendly campgrounds at MacKerricher State Park, just three miles from Fort Bragg in Mendocino County, put you smack on the scenic coast within sight and sound of the sea. The park is a rarity in the California State Parks system in that dogs are allowed on beaches and trails that offer a little bit of everything: forest, tide pools, bike and hike trails, bluffs and dunes.
Siskyou County: You can’t find better than Fowler’s Camp Campground on the McCloud River in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, just outside the town of McCloud and not far from towering Mount Shasta. The river rushes right alongside the 32 sites here, a handful of which are first-come, first-served. Besides fishing and swimming (when water levels are low), dogs and their people can hike directly from the campground to Upper, Middle and Lower McCloud Falls, some of the prettiest cascades in California.
Lake Tahoe: The primo spot for dogtrekkers at Northern California’s favorite playground has to be Nevada Beach Campground, situated right on the lakeshore and home to the only sandy, off-leash stretch of beach at the lake. There’s a paved, 2.6-mile hiking trail, too. You’ll have to reserve early or hope for cancellations to get in here in summer, but it’s worth it. And if you run out of ice, a Safeway is right down the road.
Monterey County: Reserve six months ahead to snag guaranteed spot nestled in the redwoods at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Campground. Hundreds of miles of trails in the neighboring Ventana Wilderness are dog-friendly, as is glorious Pfeiffer Beach a few miles away. It’s just one of quite a few pup-welcoming areas on this gorgeous stretch of Central Coast.
Mono County: The Eastern Sierra is packed with gorgeous scenery and more campgrounds than you can count. One of our favorites is Convict Lake Campground just south of Mammoth Lakes. It’s a gorgeous setting at 7,850 feet with quick access not jut to the lake but to dog-friendly destinations such as Devil’s Postpile National Monument and Mammoth Mountain. One drawback: there’s not much shade, so bring a popup if you have one.