California parks still have campgrounds for family and group gatherings

With summer on the upstate, where can people find inexpensive group campsites that can accommodate 25 or more tents?

It is always possible to reserve a large campsite for a family reunion, a club retreat or a scout excursion.

Popular campgrounds at most parks book up months in advance and are full all summer, but others have opening dates in July and August.

Alternatives include private sites near outdoor destinations.

If your heart is set on camping in a state or national park, but your first choice is full, call the park’s visitor center. Sometimes staff may suggest days of the week or sites that see less traffic.

Whiskeytown National Recreation Area has two group sites with summer dates open at the Dry Creek Group Campground, Park Superintendent Josh Hoines said. Each can accommodate up to 75 people for $80 per night. Some dates are still available in July and August.

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Lassen Volcanic National Park still has dates open for some of its larger campsites, park spokesman Kevin Sweeney said: “Good group sites include Lost Creek and Juniper Lake.”

The best option for scout leaders is Volcano Adventure Camp, Sweeney said. The site includes cabins and is close to ranger-guided excursions. For more information, go to

If you’ve only looked at the northern state parks, consider a campground across the border.

The Bureau of Land Management’s Topsy Campground in southern Oregon includes camping cabins and tents, said Susan Sawyer of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Klamath Basin. Prices start at $7 per night. Go to

If your favorite park’s campground is booked, try looking at nearby private campgrounds.

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KOA has a directory of private campgrounds that can accommodate groups. It dedicates part of its website to helping Scouts find the right campsite and lists available activities for which Scouts can earn merit badges. For more information, visit

Many RV parks and commercial farms have an area reserved for tent camping. Do a Google search for RV parks near your destination. Ask about group rates for large gatherings.

Another good source of ideas is the nearest town chamber of commerce.

Sawyer also suggests checking out PacifiCorp’s California Recreation website at

This story resulted from a reader’s question to Ask the Record Searchlight.

Jessica Skropanic is a reporter for the Record Searchlight/USA Today Network. She covers science, arts, social issues and entertainment stories. Follow her on Twitter @RS_JSkropanic and on Facebook. Join Jessica in the Get Out! Nor Cal Leisure Facebook Group. To support and sustain this work, please register today. Thanks.

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