The Top 5 Bay Area Campgrounds With an Awesome View

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Looking for a campground in the Bay Area that’s easy like Sunday morning on the eyes? Connecting with nature is just a hop and skip from your doorstep in the wonderful city of San Francisco, and the local landscape offers spectacular sites that offer endless photo ops just outside your tent's door. Pack it up.

Ferry to Angel Island Campground

Angel Island is a small, but mighty 740 acres of history, hiking, and crazy awesome views—you can see the Golden Gate bridge from sites 4, 5, 6—that beat a reservation at the Top of the Mark any day. Hidden gems on the not-so-hidden island include abandoned buildings that look a scene from The Walking Dead (minus the zombies), one kayak-accessible campsite, and a handful of picnic tables at the top of Mt. Livermore (best brunch spot in all of the Bay Area). While you’re up there, say hello to Tiburon for us! Learn more.

Insider’s tip: Weekends book out fast. Play hooky on a weekday, and you could have the entire island to yourself.

Bioluminescence Boating to Tomales Bay

Camping at Tomales Bay is a nothing short of a magical experience in all aspects. Your transportation: a kayak via the bay. Should you not have your own boat handy, we recommend Blue Waters Kayaking for rentals. Your meal: fresh oysters for slurping, grilling, and stewing plus any other libations and sweet treats you transport via boat. Make sure to pick up a fresh batch from the Tomales Bay Oyster Company (fact: 40% of all of California’s oysters come from Tomales Bay!). Your view: sweeping panoramas of the Marin Headlands. Your bragging rights: plan accordingly to catch bioluminescence in the waters; check viewing dates to better your chances of viewing the natural wonder in all its glory. Learn more.

Insider’s tip: Start your kayak trip as early as possible to snag one of the better beach spots. Also, be careful not to camp too close to the water, as rising tides could lead to the ocean knocking on your door, or, tent flap in the middle of the night.

Stay Within the 7x7 at Rob Hill Campground

Believe it or not, Rob Hill Campground is an overnight camping spot (the only one, actually) within San Francisco’s 7-mile span. Perched atop the highest point in the Presidio, Rob Hill Campground has two sites that overlook Baker Beach and the Pacific Ocean for a one-two punch of panoramic bliss. Book a spot on the weekday and return to work the next morning refreshed, and with the best story of how you spent your Tuesday night in the city. Bonus: sites come with campfire rings, perfect for a late-night kum-ba-ya sesh under the stars. Learn more.

Insider’s Tip: You’ve got to email a reservation application to snag a spot here, but trust us, it’s worth it!

Hike to Hawk Camp

Many of the Bay Area’s campsites come at a pretty penny, especially ones with a baller view. At Hawk Camp, the price you pay is a mildly challenging (read: booty burning) 3-4 mile hike to 3 exclusive sites. Translation: Hawk Camp is free if you put in the legwork! The campground is mostly flat with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean. Watch Karl the Fog roll through the Bay’s landmarks and valleys from atop Hawk Hill. Learn more.

Insider’s tip: Hawk Camp is perhaps the most secluded campground in the Marin Headlands. On the flipside, the three spots have little room for privacy between each site.

Stay at East Bay’s Mt. Diablo Campground

Mt. Diablo is a massive state park spanning at 22,000-acres with arms wide open for sunrise chasers, rock enthusiasts (caving and climbing), and — the more the merrier — groups of up to 50. The peak sits at an elevation of 3,864 and is considered an ecological gem of the Bay Area. Mt. Diablo is equally rich in culture as it is in geography; the mountain is sacred to California Indian people as it was the creation point for the Miwok tribe. Learn more.

Insider’s tip: Sites are unassigned upon arrival. Arrive early and head to the western side of the campground for incredible sunset views over the valley. We’re talkin’ site numbers 11, 13, 15, 16, and 17.