The Private Campground Advantage

By: DogTrekker Staff
Dog at a private campground

If pit toilets and DIY tent camping in general aren’t your style, you may find your bliss at one of California’s hundreds of private campgrounds. They range from family-friendly KOAs (Kampgrounds of America), with their swimming pools, playgrounds, camping cabins and dog parks; to luxury “glamping” resorts like AutoCamps in Guerneville and Santa Barbara, where DogTrekkers can overnight in shiny Airstream trailers. And there are many choices in between.

Camp Nauvoo in El Dorado County is a newcomer on the scene, welcoming pets at pitch-your-own tent sites alongside a gorgeous Sierra stream.  The camp, which dates to the 1960s, served originally as a Mormon girls’ camp and then as a Boy Scout camp before going into private hands. It opened last summer in a secluded location about 4.5 miles outside Placerville. Besides dog-friendly, walk-in tent sites, it offers canvas platform tents, a pair of furnished safari-style “glamping” tents and a pair of Indian teepees irresistible to kids. While the latter aren’t dog-friendly, they could prove perfect for members of your party traveling sans-pets. All comers can enjoy hiking trails, evening campfires and programs at the communal fire bowl, sport courts, kids’ playground and a cozy lodge with restrooms, showers and common room centered on a big fireplace.

Entering its third summer season this year is the multi-faceted Inn Town Campground a mile outside downtown Nevada City. Patterned after the “holiday parks” owners Dan and Erin Thiem enjoyed in New Zealand, the campground offers eight dog-friendly glamping tents (with electricity) as well as dog-friendly tent and RV sites. Restrooms with flush toilets and hot showers are scattered throughout the 15-acre property, and all campers are welcome to enjoy a common lounge, a fully equipped kitchen and picnic areas with fire pits. Summer weekends bring campfire programs, outdoor movies and arts-and-crafts sessions for the kids. (Note: If you don’t feel like cooking, you can hike or drive into town for a restaurant meal.)

Also in Northern California, Coloma Resort and American River Resort, both on the South Fork of the American River near Marshall Gold Discovery State Park in Coloma, have dog-friendly tent sites and indoor restrooms and showers. Coloma Resort also welcomes dogs in some cabins. Along the Russian River, Casini Ranch Family Campground offers a variety of waterfront accommodations plus two small dog parks for four-legged guests.

High up in the Sierra, on Highway 4, Bear Valley Lodge is dog-friendly. On the Mendocino County coast, a dog-friendly summertime glamping experience awaits at Mendocino Grove, offering roomy tents outfitted with beds, linens and other furnishings.

Check for other private campground options at your chosen destination. Additional resources include Camp California, California RV Parks, and For more pet-friendly glamping options, try Glamping Hub, or HipCamp.

Photo Credit: @colby_1_kenobi


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