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Doran Beach campground, Bodega Bay: Bordered by the breezy Bodega Harbor, Doran Regional Park offers 120 campsites year-round and plenty of amenities to enjoy your stay on the bay. The campgrounds are equipped with potable water and restrooms with electrical outlets and coin-operated showers ($2 for five minutes). The campsite is also next to a coast guard station and a boardwalk with a whale monument. Rates are $35 per night from May 1 through Nov. 30. Doran Regional Park, 201 Doran Beach Road, Bodega Bay, 707-875-3540.
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A group of Analy High School graduates from the late 1960's have been gathering at the Doran Beach campground for the start of the crab season for the past 20 years. (Photo by John Burgess)
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Wright’s Beach campground, Bodega Bay: This sandy beach campground at the Sonoma Coast State Park offers gorgeous ocean and sunset views. There’s plenty of fun outdoor activities here, including whale and bird watching, hang gliding and hiking the Kortum Trail to other nearby beaches. Rates are $35 a night and campsites include restrooms, picnic tables, food lockers and a fire ring. Sonoma Coast State Park, 7095 Highway 1, Bodega Bay, 707-875-3483.
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Camping at Wright's Beach Campground on the Sonoma Coast. (Photo by John Burgess)
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Laurie Bratton, right, and Lisa Holwagner pour wine with their cheese in one of the beach spots at Wright's Beach Campground on the Sonoma Coast. (Photo by John Burgess)
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Bodega Dunes campground, Bodega Bay: Within walking distance of ocean beaches and the town of Bodega Bay, this year-round campground in the Bodega Harbor is a popular place for whale watching and horseback riding. The rough waters along this stretch on the coast prohibit wading and swimming. Rates are $35 per night and campsites include restrooms, showers, picnic tables, food lockers and a fire ring. Sonoma Coast State Park, 3095 Highway 1, Bodega Bay, 707-875-3483.
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Ocean Cove Campground, Jenner: Just north of Fort Ross in the nook of a rocky cove is Ocean Cove Store and Campground, with 20 acres of campsites right on the Pacific Ocean. Amenities include hot showers, fire pits, picnic tables, chemical toilets and a boat ramp. With fishing, scuba diving, and nearby golf and hiking trails, this campground is a great place to either relax or enjoy summer activities. Rates are $28 per night, per vehicle. Ocean Cove Store & Campground, 23125 Coast Highway 1, Jenner, 707-847-3422.
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Gualala Point campground, Mendocino county: The Gualala Point Regional Park’s small campground is nestled along the Gualala River in a grove redwoods. Various trails connect to the beach and coastal bluffs, and the area is a great place to go picnicking or whale-watching. Rates are $35 per night from May 1 through Nov. 30. Gualala Point Regional Park, 42401 Highway 1, Gualala, 707-785-2377.
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Caspar Beach, Mendocino county: In the small coastal town of Caspar lies the campground of Caspar Headlands State Beach, located in a deep, sandy cove and bustling with kite flyers, boogie boarders and fishermen. The tent sites, sheltered by near 100-foot canyon cliffs, offer showers, picnic tables and fire rings, and full hookups are available for RVs. Rates are $42 (tent walk-in) to $80 (ocean view, tents only, 6 people). 14441 Point Cabrillo Dr., Caspar, 707-964-3306.
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Westport Beach RV Park and Campground, Mendocino county: Located some 17 miles north of Fort Bragg, just off Shoreline Highway 1, this 50-acre privately-owned campground offers beach-side camping in the sand, on grassy sites and along a creek. Campers can wander along the private sandy beach, wade, surf, boogie board and play frisbee, or take advantage of seasonal fishing and abalone diving. Accommodations include 75 full hook-up RV sites, 50 tent sites, and 5 group sites. Rates are $46 (beach tent, 2 people) to $67 (premium full hook-up RV). 37700 North Highway 1, Westport, 707-964-2964. (Courtesy photo)
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Anchor Bay, Mendocino county: This private, six-acre beach campground, stretched along a narrow gulch lined with ferns, redwoods and other native coastal plants, offers serene campsites on the beach complete with fire pits, picnic tables and water hookups. Popular beach activities here include fishing, kayaking, snorkeling, surfing or simply bathing in the sun and watching the waves lap the shore. Rates are $42-$54 per night (one site includes a family of 2 adults and up to 4 children under 18, and one vehicle). 35400 South Highway 1, Gualala, 707-884-4222.
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Wildcat Camp, Marin county: This seaside campground is an ideal location for backpackers, as the eight open meadow campsites, located on a bluff with stunning views of the ocean, have access to several gorgeous hiking trails, including a two-mile round-trip walk to the Alamere Falls (pictured). Rates are $20/night/site for 1 to 6 people. Reserve online at recreation.gov or by calling 877-444-6777 or by walking into the Bear Valley Visitor during normal hours of operation. 1 Bear Valley Road, Point Reyes Station.
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Kirby Cove campground, Marin county: Located just north of the Golden Gate Bridge at Battery Kirby, this 400-acre campground offers spectacular views of the iconic bridge and northern San Francisco. Visitors like to explore the area by foot or bike, picnicking and taking in the views. The historic army battery, in use from 1898-1934, is also worth checking out. The Point Bonita Lighthouse and Nike Missile Site SF-88 are close by. There are five overnight camping sites. Rates are $30-45 per night, tent only. 948 Fort Barry, Sausalito, 415-331-1540.
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Lawson's Landing, Marin county: This family-owned and operated fishing and boating resort and campground at the mouth of Tomales Bay has been running since 1957. Since the late 50s, generations of families have come to stay here, enjoying activities like clamming, boating and hiking. The campground is open year-round. Rates are $33 to $55 per night. 137 Marine View Dr, Dillon Beach, 707-878-2443.