Few group getaways are cheaper or more fun than a weekend camping trip.
You're closer than you think to coolers of beer, fire-roasted s'mores, and nights spent sleeping under the stars. Here's The Rundown on our four favorite urban camping sites.
Rob Hill in The Presidio
This gem of a campground in the eukes above Baker Beach is the adult version of the backyard campout. Pack light; the National Park Service provides grills for your burgers, communal fire pits, and actual restrooms. With actual toilet paper.
Open thru Oct 31. Central Magazine Road, the Presidio. $125
Anthony Chabot Regional Park in Castro Valley
Bring binoculars to try and catch a glimpse of the family of bald eagles that live in this picturesque park a mere 20-minute drive from downtown Oakland. Spend your days fishing Lake Chabot, taking shots on the marksmanship range, or enjoying a hike with your dog. Also, there are showers on-site. With actual hot water.
9999 Redwood Rd., Castro Valley. From $5
Take your pick of 11 campsites spread over the picturesque island accessible only by by boat. Plan on backpacking. Not only will you have to carry your gear on the ferry, you'll also have to schlep it up to 2.5 miles to the campground. Fortunately, the 360 degree views of SF and miles of hiking trails are worth it.
Memorial Park in San Mateo County
Spend the day summitting Mt. Ellen and splashing in the creek before sleeping in a grove of giant redwoods. Already conquered the park's eight miles of hiking trails? Bring a map and hike into nearby Pescadero Creek County Park to do some more exploring.
9500 Pescadero Cree Rd., Loma Mar (650-879-0238). $32