(links to pages for parks with hiking, or nearby)
North Bay (Marin, Sonoma, and Napa Counties)
Angel Island. Hike-in campsites. (For descriptions, go to the Angel Island website)
Austin Creek State Recreation Area. Tent and backcountry campsites.
Bothe-Napa Valley State Park. Tent and RV campsites.
China Camp State Park. Walk-in campsites.
Doran Regional Park. RV and tent campsites. Since this park is situated on an exposed, sandy spit on the south side of Bodega Harbor, there's not much privacy.
Marin Headlands (GGNRA). Walk-in and group campsites. (For descriptions go to the GGNRA camping page)
Mount Tamalpais State Park. Walk-in campsites at Pantoll and cabins at Steep Ravine Environmental Campsites. The Pantoll sites are well-shaded, but uncomfortably close to both Panoramic Highway and the Pantoll parking lot.
Point Reyes National Seashore. Hike-in campsites. (For descriptions go to the Point Reyes camping page)
Samuel P. Taylor State Park. Tent and RV campsites.
East Bay (Alameda and Contra Costa Counties)
Anthony Chabot Regional Park. Tent and RV campsites.
Del Valle Regional Park. Tent, RV, and youth group campsites.
Mount Diablo State Park. Tent and RV campsites.
Sunol Regional Wilderness. Tent and group campsites.
South Bay (San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz Counties)
Big Basin State Park. Tent, walk-in, and RV campsites, and tent cabins.
Butano State Park. Tent and RV campsites.
Castle Rock State Park. Hike-in campsites.
Half Moon Bay State Beach. Tent and RV campsites, on a bluff just above the ocean.
Henry W. Coe State Park. Tent and RV campsites, plus backcounty camping.
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. Tent and RV campsites.
Grant County Park. Tent, RV, and youth group campsites.
Sam McDonald County Park. Youth group campsites and horse camp.
Memorial County Park. Tent, RV, and group campsites.
Mount Madonna County Park. Tent, RV, group, and youth group campsites.
Portola Redwoods State Park. Tent and RV campsites.
Sanborn-Skyline County Park. RV and walk-in campsites.
Uvas Canyon County Park. Tent and youth group campsites.
Camping and Backpacking the San Francisco Bay Area, by Matt Heid (order this book from Amazon.com). All bay area camping and backpacking destinations are described in this book, which includes park maps for the car and hike-in campgrounds, and trail maps for the backpacking excursions. General trail info helps in planning hikes. I do wish Heid's book encompassed coastal Sonoma County campgrounds like Pomo Canyon and Bodega Dunes, and there are no campgrounds maps, a feature I really miss. Despite those quibbles, this is a great guide for bay area campers who love to hike.
The Best in Tent Camping, Northern California, by Cindy Coloma with Bill Mai (order this book from Amazon.com).
The Best in Tent Camping, Southern California, by Charles Patterson with Bill Mai (order this book from Amazon.com).
California Camping, by Tom Stienstra (order this book from Amazon.com). I refer to this book constantly when planning camping adventures in the state, and find it best used to obtain campground specifics and a general feeling for a place. My problem with the book is that I have a hard time following the driving directions. As an example, when driving to Letts Lake, in the Mendocino National Forest, the directions refer to a series of junctions, and instruct the reader to turn right or left, without ever mentioning the names of the roads. For me, this is the book's biggest shortcoming; it may be impossible to include more detailed driving directions, since each campground profile has a limited amount of space. In any case, for campgrounds way in the middle of nowhere, I always supplement this book's driving directions with either AAA or National Forest maps.
Camping with Chris http://www.campingwithchris.com/ local reviews by a local guy!