With East Bay and the wilderness within kissing distance, camping under a canopy of stars is a no-brainer for area nature lovers. Whether you’re visiting or staycationing, the East Bay area’s best campsites promise more than trees and fire rings, their amenities abound.
Del Valle Regional Park
7000 Del Valle Rd.
Livermore, CA 94550
Few other East Bay campgrounds can beat Del Valle’s winning combination of amenities for swimming, fishing and hiking. All 150 camping sites have a 10-foot picnic table and a fire ring/barbecue. Repeat visitors boast about the fantastic scenery and easy access (just 6 miles) to Livermore. Anglers have an ongoing love affair with Del Valle due to the brag-sized trout that ply its waters. Click here for a list of fun nearby trails hikers of all skill levels will love.
Anthony Chabot Regional Park
9999 Redwood Rd.
Castro Valley, CA 94546
Price: $22 per night tent camping/$30 RV with hookups/$8 non-refundable reservation fee
Hours: daily – 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Open year round, temporarily closed Monday through Thursday for forest work
Click here for reservations
Chabot’s camping sites promise access to more than 5,000 acres of wilderness within 10 miles of ideal golfing and fishing destinations. Visitors to Chabot rave about such nice camping facilities so close to downtown Oakland. Special offering including naturalist-led campfire programs, an amphitheater, a marksmanship area and equestrian center make this campground an appealing choice for campers with a wide variety of interests.
Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve
5175 Somersville Rd.
Antioch, CA 94509
Not for sissies, Black Diamond’s campground appeals to campers who like to rough it. Campers must furnish their own potable water and camping is limited to two nights per visit. In exchange for fewer civilized amenities, visitors are treated to a wealth of spectacular spring wildlife displays including coyotes, the Alameda whipsnake, bobcats, deer, golden eagles and the occasional mountain lion. Stop by the historic Rose Hill Cemetery for a curious trip back into the area’s mining past.
Related: Eye on the Bay 5 Star Camping
Mount Diablo State Park
96 Mitchell Canyon Rd.
Clayton, CA 94517
Price: $30 per night/$2 senior discount
Hours: check in – 2 p.m.; check out – 12 p.m.
Click here for reservations
Mount Diablo is all about attitude — the Park boasts a number of loyal regulars — and altitude. Both of its two campgrounds offer jaw-dropping views of the East Bay. Juniper Campground has 36 sites at 3,000 feet and Live Oak, 22 sites at 1,450 feet. Campers enjoy free showers and some of the best sunrises and sunsets in the East Bay. Great weather attracts cyclists who share its winding and sometimes narrow roads with motorists.
Briones Regional Park
Bear Creek Road and Briones Road
Orinda, CA 94563
This is one of the lesser-known places to camp in the East Bay. Briones is limited to group camping in Maud Whalen, Wee-Ta-Chi and Homestead Valley. Repeat campers appreciate its wide open spaces, rolling hills and views of the Martinez Bridge and mountains west of Lafayette. Archery enthusiasts, to reach the range, take the west-side Bear Creek Road entrance and enter from the Crescent Ridge Trail. Pack up for an early picnic lunch at the first-come, first-served tables near the Bear Creek andAlhambra Creek staging areas.
Related: Best Bay Area Hiking Spots
Patricia Kutza is a San Francisco Bay Area-based travel, business and lifestyle journalist who writes for a wide variety of regional, national and global titles. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.