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The summit of Angel Island in the San Francisco Bay.
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The Bay Area's best campsites accessible by bus or bike

Car-free and carefree

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The summit of Angel Island in the San Francisco Bay.
| Shutterstock

Camping is one of Northern California's greatest treats, but what's a carless city dweller to do? Plus, there's something a little off when taking a hiatus from civilization requires a $70 visit to the gas pump.

Here now, a map of Bay Area campsites that you don't need a car to reach, including a few where cars are unwelcome, like Angel Island—where you can kayak—and an East Bay preserve in the shadow of a dormant 10-million-year-old volcano.

For any outdoorsy types who don’t want to stray too far, roll on into Presidio's only overnight campground, a eucalyptus grove high above Baker Beach.

We'll provide transit options (just be prepared to hike a little, and pack light). Most of these are accessible by bike, too.

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1. Pantoll Campground

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The Pantoll Campground, on the Panoramic Highway, has about 15 sites approximately 100 yards from the parking area. Drinking water, firewood and restrooms with flush toilets are nearby. There are no showers. Campsites are available first-come, first-served.

GET THERE: Take Golden Gate Transit (either the 4 or 70 bus) to the Almonte Boulevard and Rosemont Avenue stop in Mill Valley. Transfer to the 61 bus, which will drop off right at the campsite.

2. Rocky Point-Steep Ravine Environmental Campground

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Rocky Point/Steep Ravine Environmental Campground, on a marine terrace one mile south of Stinson Beach, has seven primitive sites and nine rustic cabins. Each cabin has a small wood stove, picnic table, sleeping platforms and an outdoor barbecue, but no running water.

GET THERE: Take Golden Gate Transit (either the 4 or 70 bus) to the Almonte Boulevard and Rosemont Avenue stop in Mill Valley. Transfer to the 61 bus to the Stinson Beach stop and walk 2 miles to the campsite.

3. Sky Camp

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Sky Campground
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

Sky Camp is located on the western side of Mt. Wittenberg at an elevation of 1025 feet. In clear weather, it has a sweeping view of Point Reyes, Drakes Bay, and the Pacific Ocean.

GET THERE: Take Golden Gate Transit (either the 101 or 27 bus) to the San Rafael Transit Center. Transfer to the 68 bus to the Bear Valley Visitor Center stop and walk 5 miles to the campsite.

4. China Camp State Park

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101 Peacock Gap Trl
San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 456-0766
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This park offers 30 developed campsites, located on the northwest side of the park at Back Ranch Meadows Campground amid an oak and laurel forest.

GET THERE: Take Golden Gate Transit (either the 101 or 70 bus) to the San Rafael Transit Center. Transfer to the 233 bus to the Vendola Drive and Estancia Way, stop and walk/bike 1.5 miles to the campsite.

5. Angel Island State Park

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Angel Island State Park
Tiburon, CA 94920
(415) 435-5390
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There are four camping areas on Angel Island, varying from wind-protected facing the East Bay to exposed ridges with SF views to points accessible by kayak only.

GET THERE: The only way to get there is by ferry. Ferry services to Angel Island include Tiburon Ferry, Blue and Gold Ferry, and the East Bay Ferry. You can also bring your own bike (on ferries that allow bikes) or rent one on the island.

6. Rob Hill Campground

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Rob Hill Campground, the only overnight campsite in San Francisco, is located at the Presidio’s highest point above Baker Beach amid a eucalyptus grove.

GET THERE: Take the 28, 29, or 43 Muni bus into the Presidio and transfer to the free PresidiGo Presidio Hills Route shuttle. Get off at the Rob Hill Campground stop.

7. Haypress Camp

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Marin Headlands
Sausalito, CA

Located in the Tennessee Valley in the north end of the Marin Headlands, Haypress has five sites—and they are free.

GET THERE: Take Golden Gate Transit (either the 4 or 70 bus) to the Almonte Boulevard and Rosemont Avenue stop in Mill Valley. Transfer to the 61 bus to the Shoreline Highway and Pine Hill Road stop and walk two miles to the campsite.

8. Half Moon Bay State Beach

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95 Kelly Avenue
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

Campsites are beachfront to four miles of broad, sandy beaches. Half Moon Bay Brewing Company is also walking distance.

GET THERE: Take Caltrain to the Hillsdale Station. Transfer to the SamTrans 294 bus and get off at the Hilltop Mobile Home Park stop, walk 1.5 miles to the campsite.

9. Coyote Hills Regional Park

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8000 Patterson Ranch Road
Fremont, CA 94555

Composed of nearly 978 acres of marshland and rolling, grass-covered hills, this busy park is located along the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay, northwest of the cities of Fremont and Newark. It's only available for group camping.

GET THERE: Take BART to Union City, then transfer to the AC Transit 238 Bus. Get off at the Ardenwood Boulevard and Commerce Drive stop, walk roughly a mile to the park.

10. Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve

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6800 Skyline Blvd
Oakland, CA 94611
(888) 327-2757
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East Bay residents have a volcano in their backyard, made up of lava and volcanic debris left over from a 10-million-year-old volcano. The Sibley Backpack Camp is a small, primitive hike-in site for a maximum of 15 campers, with views of Mount Diablo, Volmer Peak, and Tilden Park.

GET THERE: Take the AC Transit CB bus to the Mountain Boulevard stop, them walk about 3 miles to the park.

1. Pantoll Campground

Mill Valley, CA 94941

The Pantoll Campground, on the Panoramic Highway, has about 15 sites approximately 100 yards from the parking area. Drinking water, firewood and restrooms with flush toilets are nearby. There are no showers. Campsites are available first-come, first-served.

GET THERE: Take Golden Gate Transit (either the 4 or 70 bus) to the Almonte Boulevard and Rosemont Avenue stop in Mill Valley. Transfer to the 61 bus, which will drop off right at the campsite.

2. Rocky Point-Steep Ravine Environmental Campground

Mill Valley, CA 94941

Rocky Point/Steep Ravine Environmental Campground, on a marine terrace one mile south of Stinson Beach, has seven primitive sites and nine rustic cabins. Each cabin has a small wood stove, picnic table, sleeping platforms and an outdoor barbecue, but no running water.

GET THERE: Take Golden Gate Transit (either the 4 or 70 bus) to the Almonte Boulevard and Rosemont Avenue stop in Mill Valley. Transfer to the 61 bus to the Stinson Beach stop and walk 2 miles to the campsite.

3. Sky Camp

Sky Campground, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

Sky Camp is located on the western side of Mt. Wittenberg at an elevation of 1025 feet. In clear weather, it has a sweeping view of Point Reyes, Drakes Bay, and the Pacific Ocean.

GET THERE: Take Golden Gate Transit (either the 101 or 27 bus) to the San Rafael Transit Center. Transfer to the 68 bus to the Bear Valley Visitor Center stop and walk 5 miles to the campsite.

Sky Campground
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

4. China Camp State Park

101 Peacock Gap Trl, San Rafael, CA 94901

This park offers 30 developed campsites, located on the northwest side of the park at Back Ranch Meadows Campground amid an oak and laurel forest.

GET THERE: Take Golden Gate Transit (either the 101 or 70 bus) to the San Rafael Transit Center. Transfer to the 233 bus to the Vendola Drive and Estancia Way, stop and walk/bike 1.5 miles to the campsite.

101 Peacock Gap Trl
San Rafael, CA 94901

5. Angel Island State Park

Angel Island State Park, Tiburon, CA 94920

There are four camping areas on Angel Island, varying from wind-protected facing the East Bay to exposed ridges with SF views to points accessible by kayak only.

GET THERE: The only way to get there is by ferry. Ferry services to Angel Island include Tiburon Ferry, Blue and Gold Ferry, and the East Bay Ferry. You can also bring your own bike (on ferries that allow bikes) or rent one on the island.

Angel Island State Park
Tiburon, CA 94920

6. Rob Hill Campground

San Francisco, CA 94129

Rob Hill Campground, the only overnight campsite in San Francisco, is located at the Presidio’s highest point above Baker Beach amid a eucalyptus grove.

GET THERE: Take the 28, 29, or 43 Muni bus into the Presidio and transfer to the free PresidiGo Presidio Hills Route shuttle. Get off at the Rob Hill Campground stop.

7. Haypress Camp

Marin Headlands, Sausalito, CA

Located in the Tennessee Valley in the north end of the Marin Headlands, Haypress has five sites—and they are free.

GET THERE: Take Golden Gate Transit (either the 4 or 70 bus) to the Almonte Boulevard and Rosemont Avenue stop in Mill Valley. Transfer to the 61 bus to the Shoreline Highway and Pine Hill Road stop and walk two miles to the campsite.

Marin Headlands
Sausalito, CA

8. Half Moon Bay State Beach

95 Kelly Avenue, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

Campsites are beachfront to four miles of broad, sandy beaches. Half Moon Bay Brewing Company is also walking distance.

GET THERE: Take Caltrain to the Hillsdale Station. Transfer to the SamTrans 294 bus and get off at the Hilltop Mobile Home Park stop, walk 1.5 miles to the campsite.

95 Kelly Avenue
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

9. Coyote Hills Regional Park

8000 Patterson Ranch Road, Fremont, CA 94555

Composed of nearly 978 acres of marshland and rolling, grass-covered hills, this busy park is located along the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay, northwest of the cities of Fremont and Newark. It's only available for group camping.

GET THERE: Take BART to Union City, then transfer to the AC Transit 238 Bus. Get off at the Ardenwood Boulevard and Commerce Drive stop, walk roughly a mile to the park.

8000 Patterson Ranch Road
Fremont, CA 94555

10. Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve

6800 Skyline Blvd, Oakland, CA 94611

East Bay residents have a volcano in their backyard, made up of lava and volcanic debris left over from a 10-million-year-old volcano. The Sibley Backpack Camp is a small, primitive hike-in site for a maximum of 15 campers, with views of Mount Diablo, Volmer Peak, and Tilden Park.

GET THERE: Take the AC Transit CB bus to the Mountain Boulevard stop, them walk about 3 miles to the park.

6800 Skyline Blvd
Oakland, CA 94611