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Best Camping in Central Valley, California

Camping in California’s Central Valley has so much to offer, from dense green forests to rushing rivers to desert wilderness. No matter your interests and no matter your skills as an outdoors person, there is always something to be found. From Sacramento Valley in the north to San Joaquin in the south, there is great fishing, great rafting, great hiking, which all make for great camping.

If it’s fishing you’re after, there are a multitude of places for snagging the next prize winner--or your pan-fried dinner over an open fire. Colusa-Sacramento River State Recreational Area boasts rivers of salmon, steelhead, rainbow trout and bass. Or Lake McSwain holds the annual Lake McSwain Trout Derby every May, but it’s also got its share of salmon, bass and other species. Shore casting works great, but there are plenty of quiet inlets and remote coves that will give you a little peace while relaxing in your fishing boat.

Want watersports? Lake McClure is big enough for boaters, including houseboats, with large open spaces for water skiing and wakeboarding. And for a little more mellow of a lake experience, try Turlock Lake State Recreation Area. With camping alongside the Tuolume River, you can spend all day on the lake, playing on the shore or swimming in the cool waters on a hot day.

Campers who are interested in wildlife will love Millerton Lake State Recreation Area, which is the home to both golden and bald eagles, which are easily seen nearly every day. Offering hiking and horseback riding, there’s a campsite on an island that can only be reached by boat!

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