Campgrounds in Northern California That Allow Dogs
Northern California is a vacationer’s paradise, with sandy coastlines, lush forests and wine-country vineyards. Vacationing in California with a dog takes planning and may require reservations far in advance. The easiest way to travel in the state with dogs is to camp. You’ll find activities for both you and your pet just outside your tent flap or RV door. Whether you enjoy exploring the rugged mountains of northern California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains or running along a beach, you’ll find many northern California campgrounds welcoming to you and your pet.
National parks and forests in California are home to campgrounds where your dog is welcome to camp with you. However, your pet’s access to national park areas is very limited. Pets are allowed in the campground, picnic areas, along paved roads and in other developed areas of the parks as long as they are on a leash no more than 6 feet in length, and you are holding the other end. They are not allowed on the majority of trails in order to prevent their scent markings from scaring away wildlife or trampling delicate plant life. The rules also protect your pets, as mountain lions, bison, coyotes and raccoons are just some of the wildlife that have been known to attack pets.
Yosemite National Park offers a pet-friendly trail, Wawona Meadow Loop, where you and your dog can explore a three-mile or five-mile loop. National campgrounds offer basic amenities, such as restrooms, picnic tables, fire rings and grills. A few offer showers and electrical or water hookups.
State forests in northern California offer campgrounds where you are welcome to bring your dog. Dogs are allowed to accompany you on most state forest trails as long as they are on a leash no longer than 6 feet. This prevents them from chasing wildlife or damaging the environment. You’ll need to carry plastic bags or other means for transporting your pet’s waste to the nearest trash can. Some of California’s parks are home to mountain lions, which have been known to attack dogs even on leash. You can share a beach camping experience at Gold Bluffs Beach Campground, which is friendly to dogs on leash. Solar showers and restrooms are offered at the campground, along with fire pits and picnic tables.
If you’re looking for a less rugged experience, private campgrounds can offer you and your pet some extra perks. Off-leash dog runs and grooming areas are just a couple pet amenities you can find in a dog-loving private campground. Some parks have facilities that allow you to share photos of your pet on vacation with your social network using Wi-Fi or snuggle up with your furry friend to watch a movie with free cable tv hookups.
Kampgrounds Of America (koa.com) has dozens of pet-friendly private campgrounds in northern California offering a variety of amenities. When staying at a private facility, always call ahead to ensure that it has pet-friendly sites available and that there are no breed restrictions.
Tips and Warnings
Black bears are common in California’s forests. Store your pet’s food as well as your own inside your RV or away from your tent in a bear-resistant container, available in most sporting goods stores. Many national and state campgrounds have installed large metal bear lockers in areas where bears are most prevalent. Scented chew toys, rawhides and bones should also be stored at night. High elevations at some parks in California can affect your pet. Offer your pet extra water and rest to help prevent altitude sickness. Signs of altitude sickness in your dog can include diarrhea, vomiting, lack of appetite, panting and fatigue.