Discover the Best Lake Berryessa Camping Experience

Tucked away in California’s Napa Valley lies a hidden gem that draws outdoor enthusiasts from across the state. With its crystal blue waters, lush forests, and breathtaking mountain views, Lake Berryessa is a camping paradise. Whether you’re looking to pitch a tent, park your RV, or simply soak in the scenic landscapes, Lake Berryessa has everything you need for an unforgettable camping adventure.

Lake Berryessa Camping: Ultimate Destination

Covering over 20,000 acres, Lake Berryessa is one of the largest lakes in California. Man-made and formed by the Monticello Dam, this aquatic oasis delivers pristine nature in all its glory. The lake itself stretches across 30 miles, providing ample opportunities for water recreation like swimming, fishing, and boating.

Surrounding the massive reservoir are rolling oak woodlands, evergreen forests, and grassy hillsides just waiting to be explored. With over 150 miles of shoreline, you’ll have no trouble finding a secluded spot to set up camp and take in panoramic views.

Camp at Lake Berryessa
Camp at Lake Berryessa

Whether you’re a family looking for a weekend getaway or a group of friends fueled by wanderlust, Lake Berryessa offers an idyllic outdoor escape. Read on to discover why this Northern California camping destination should top your bucket list.

Camping Options at Lake Berryessa

With seven different campgrounds encircling the lake, Lake Berryessa provides endless camping possibilities. Tent campers can pitch their shelters lakeside while RVers hook up to electric and water. Or glamp in comfort with cabins and yurts outfitted with cozy amenities. With so many ways to camp at Lake Berryessa, you can choose the accommodation that best fits your outdoorsy spirit.

Camping & RV Sites at Lake Berryessa

Lake Berryessa offers beautiful camping and RV sites along its serene shoreline. With 140 campgrounds to choose from, you’ll find the perfect spot to connect with nature.

RV Sites at Lake Berryessa
RV Sites at Lake Berryessa

RV Camping

We have both full and partial hookup RV sites available.

Site Type Price Per Night Occupancy
Full Hookup $54 Up to 2 people
Partial Hookup $47 Up to 2 people
  • 2 night minimum stay on weekends (Fri-Sun) April – October
  • Rates do not include taxes or fees
  • $5 per pet, per night fee
  • Must be 21+ to rent
  • Limit 2 cars & 8 people per site

Tent Camping

Pitch a tent and sleep under the stars right on the lakeshore.

Site Type Price Per Night Occupancy
Single Site $42 Up to 2 people
Double Site $84 Up to 4 people
  • 2 night minimum stay on weekends (Fri-Sun) April – October
  • Rates do not include taxes or fees
  • $5 per pet, per night fee
  • Must be 21+ to rent
  • Limit 2 cars & 8 people per site

Reserve your Lake Berryessa camping adventure today! Sites book up quickly during peak season.

Rules and Regulations for Camping at Lake Berryessa

Camping at Lake Berryessa
Camping at Lake Berryessa

Here is a table of the key rules and regulations for camping at Lake Berryessa:

Rule Regulation
Fires Allowed only in designated fire rings. Must be fully extinguished before leaving.
Glass Containers Prohibited in all lake and camping areas.
Trash Must be disposed of properly in designated receptacles.
Pets Must be kept on a leash and under control at all times.
Quiet Hours From 10pm to 6am daily. Loud noise prohibited during these times.
Vehicles Only licensed vehicles permitted in campgrounds. Obey all posted speed limits.
Alcohol Allowed only for adults age 21+ in campsites. No public intoxication.
Firearms Prohibited in campgrounds except for law enforcement.
Fireworks Not allowed at any time.
Furnaces/Generators Cannot be operated from 10pm to 6am.
Check-Out Time By 1pm or as posted. May be extended with late fee.

RV Camping

For RV enthusiasts, Lake Berryessa delivers scenic campsites with hookups for power and water. There are two main areas for RV camping:

Pleasure Cove Marina Campground: Located on the southwestern shoreline, Pleasure Cove Marina has 140 campsites, both with full and partial hookups. Snag a lakeside spot and you’ll enjoy unbeatable water views along with amenities like showers and a dump station.

Steele Canyon Recreation Area: Found on the eastern shore, Steele Canyon offers 47 RV sites with electric and water hookups. You’ll get panoramic views of the lake and surrounding mountains along with access to hiking trails.

RVers should make reservations in advance, especially for weekends and holidays when sites book up fast. Off-season months from November to March are less crowded.

Tent & Car Camping

If you prefer camping sans RV, Lake Berryessa still has you covered. Tent campers will find campsites scattered around oak and pine woodlands just a quick stroll from the water’s edge.

Some top spots for tent camping include:

Oak Shores Day Use Area:

This protected cove along the western shoreline has scenic lakeside sites. Enjoy swimming, fishing, and paddling with boat rentals onsite.

Eticuera Day Use Area:

Found on the eastern shore, these more secluded sites sit snuggled between rolling hills.

Capell Cove Boat Launch:

Secluded sites are nestled here among oak trees, delivering quiet solitude.

Many sites offer convenient amenities like picnic tables, fire rings, and bathrooms with flush toilets. Just bring your own drinking water and gear.

Cabins, Yurts & Group Sites

When to Visit Lake Berryessa
When to Visit Lake Berryessa

For those seeking camping with a few more creature comforts, cabins and yurts deliver. Steele Canyon has 5 yurts available, which sleep up to 6 people and include bunk beds, futons, electrical outlets and lighting.

Lake Berryessa also has lakeside cabins that accommodate anywhere from 2 to 8 people. Many include kitchenettes, private bathrooms, heating and air conditioning.

Several campgrounds also have group sites able to host larger gatherings of up to 50 people. Whether you’re planning a family reunion or friends’ weekend, these spacious sites have you covered.

When to Visit Lake Berryessa

One of Lake Berryessa’s perks is that its mild climate makes camping here comfortable year-round. But the peak season spans spring through early fall when the weather is sunniest.

Spring (March – May)

Spring brings pleasant daytime temperatures in the 60s-70s°F along with an abundance of wildflowers blooming. The crowds and costs are lower than in summer. Spring is ideal for hiking, fishing, and wildlife viewing.

Summer (June – August)

Summertime sees hot weather in the 80s-90s°F. The lake is buzzing with activities like boating, paddleboarding, and swimming. All the campgrounds are open and often booked solid. Beat the crowds by planning a mid-week getaway.

Fall (September – November)

Fall offers warm sunny days and cooler nights along with excellent fishing. Leaves start changing color in October, making it one of the prettiest times to visit. Crowds dissipate after Labor Day weekend while campsites are still open.

Winter (December – February)

Winters are mild, with highs in the 50s-60s°F, but lows can dip below freezing at night. Campgrounds operate at limited capacity and some close for the season. There’s ample solitude to explore the trails and enjoy the quiet beauty of Lake Berryessa.

What to Do While Camping at Lake Berryessa

Once you’ve settled into your campsite, Lake Berryessa serves up endless opportunities for outdoor recreation. Here are some top activities to enjoy during your stay:

Boating & Water Sports

With over 165 miles of shoreline, boating rules on Lake Berryessa. Bring your own boat or rentals are available for motorboats, jet skis, kayaks, stand up paddleboards and more. Get your thrills wakeboarding or tubing across glassy waters.


Lake Berryessa is a fisherman’s paradise stocked with kokanee salmon, black bass, rainbow trout and other fish. Try your luck from the shore or head out in a boat for optimal casting. Oak Shores and Capell Cove offer great bank fishing spots.

Hiking & Biking

Over 100 miles of trails surrounding Lake Berryessa make hiking and mountain biking popular. Challenge yourself on the 7-mile Blue Ridge Trail with panoramic vistas. For family-friendly hikes, visit Steele Canyon Recreation Area or Smittle Creek Trail.

Swimming & Sunbathing

Take a dip in Lake Berryessa’s cool blue waters at Oak Shores or Smittle Creek day use areas. Or stretch out lakeside on sandy beaches around the reservoir. Just don’t forget your sunscreen!


Over 200 species of birds flock around Lake Berryessa like golden eagles, turkey vultures, wood ducks, grebes and more. Grab some binoculars and explore on trails like Coyote Loop or Knoxville Wildlife Area for prime birdwatching.


With minimal light pollution, Lake Berryessa offers phenomenal stargazing. The Milky Way glows brightly on clear nights. Bring a telescope for next-level astronomical views or just cozy up by the campfire and look to the skies.

Camping Essentials to Remember

To ensure your Lake Berryessa camping excursion goes smoothly, don’t forget these essential items and tips:

  • Drinking Water – Bring plenty or fill up at water spigots. Lake water must be filtered/treated before drinking.
  • Food Supplies – Pack accordingly or buy groceries in nearby Winters. Fires/grills allowed for cooking.
  • First Aid Kit – Be prepared for minor injuries with a basic kit.
  • Warm Layers/Bedding – Early mornings and nights get chilly. Bring extra blankets/jackets even in summer.
  • Lighting – Flashlights, lanterns, and headlamps make navigating campsites easier.
  • Bathroom Tissue/Hand Sanitizer – Many sites have vault toilets without running water. Come prepared.
  • Secure Food Storage – Use bear lockers or store food out of sight to avoid unwanted animal visitors.
  • Bug Spray – Beat the heat and bugs with heavy duty repellent.
  • Sun Protection – Sunglasses, hats, and sunscreen are essential for sunny days on the lake.
  • Battery Charger – There’s no electric hookup for tent sites. A portable charger keeps devices powered.
  • Trash Bags – Keep a tidy campsite and take all trash out when you leave.

Camping Etiquette & 7 Leave No Trace Principles

To preserve the beauty of Lake Berryessa for future generations, please adhere to Leave No Trace outdoor ethics:

  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare – Research your trip and camp responsibly.
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces – Stay on designated trails and campsites.
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly – Pack out all trash and leftover food.
  4. Leave What You Find – Avoid damaging live plants, trees, rocks and cultural artifacts.
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts – Use established fire rings or cook stoves to avoid damaging soil.
  6. Respect Wildlife – Observe animals from afar and secure food from bears.
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors – Avoid loud noises or other disruptive behaviors.

By following Leave No Trace principles, we can protect this natural wonder and preserve its beauty. Do your part to leave every place better than you found it.

Types of Lake Berryessa Camping

Here is a table comparing traditional tent camping and RV camping at Lake Berryessa:

Camping Type Traditional Tent Camping RV Camping
Accommodations Tent RV/Motorhome
Sites Designated tent sites with picnic table, fire ring, food locker, vault toilet Full or partial hookup sites at RV parks
Location Scattered throughout pine & oak woodlands near the lake Lakeside resorts like Pleasure Cove Marina, Steele Canyon Rec Area
Occupancy 2-8 people Varies by RV size
Amenities Basic. No running water or hookups. Electricity, water, sewer. Also showers, dump stations, laundry, clubhouses.
Accessibility Adjacent to day use areas. Near swimming, fishing, kayak launch. Proximity to fishing, swimming, boat launches.
Reservations Advance reservations recommended, especially summer weekends. Book well in advance for weekends/holidays when sites fill fast.
Ambiance Disconnect from technology. Bond over campfires & stargazing. Creature comforts while still outdoors. Sleep by the lake without completely roughing it.

Amenities and Facilities at Lake Berryessa

Here is a table of amenities and facilities available at Lake Berryessa campgrounds and recreation areas:

Amenity Description
Campsites Picnic tables, grills, fire rings. Tent sites and RV sites with hookups.
Restrooms Vault toilets, flush toilets, portable toilets. Some with hand washing stations.
Showers Located at major campgrounds like Pleasure Cove and Steele Canyon.
Boat Launches Concrete ramps for power boats. Separate canoe/kayak launches.
Docks Located near boat launches for loading/unloading.
Day Use Areas Picnic sites, shade ramadas, grills, water access for swimming/paddling.
Group Camping Sites that accommodate 25-50 people.
RV Dump Stations Located at main campgrounds to empty holding tanks.
Visitor Centers Offer information on recreation, wildlife, facilities.
Fishing Facilities Cleaning stations, fish weighing scales.
Hiking Trails Ranging from easy nature paths to strenuous routes.
Water Spigots Potable water access for filling jugs/tanks.

Why Lake Berryessa is a Must-Visit Camping Destination?

With its scenic shoreline, abundance of recreational activities, and variety of camping options, Lake Berryessa stands out as a premier camping destination. Located in California’s Napa Valley, yet off the beaten path, Lake Berryessa offers easy access to nature’s beauty without crowded campgrounds. Pitch a tent or park your RV right along the water’s edge. Days here are filled with world-class fishing, boating, swimming, and hiking. At night, stargaze from your camp chair or cozy up by the campfire. The surrounding rolling oak woodlands provide a peaceful escape with incredible vistas. Wildlife like bald eagles, deer, and turkeys roam the landscape. Whether you seek adventure or tranquility, Lake Berryessa’s unique blend of scenery, amenities, and endless opportunities for fun make it a camping trip not to miss.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you camp anywhere at Lake Berryessa?

No, camping is only allowed in designated campgrounds and campsites around the lake. Camping on beaches or undeveloped areas is prohibited. Overnight camping permits are required.

How much does it cost to camp at Lake Berryessa?

Campsite rates vary by location and type, ranging from $20-60 per night. Tent sites are less expensive than full hookup RV sites. Additional fees apply for extra vehicles, boats, pets, etc.

Do people swim in Lake Berryessa?

Yes, swimming is allowed at designated swim areas like Oak Shores and Smittle Creek. The refreshing waters make it a popular summertime activity. Life jackets are recommended for safety.

Can you stay on Lake Berryessa?

Overnight accommodations are available at campgrounds around the lake or through houseboat rentals. Houseboats, operated through marinas, allow you to spend days cruising or moored along the shoreline. Reservations are required for overnight stays.

How early should I book my campsite reservation?

Summer weekends book up 6 months in advance. For spring/fall, 1-2 months ahead. Winter is less competitive. Book early for best availability.

What amenities are at the campgrounds?

Sites generally have picnic tables, fire rings/grills, restrooms, and water spigots. RV sites have electric/water hookups. No showers onsite. Bring your own drinking water.

Can I rent an RV at Lake Berryessa?

Yes! Pleasure Cove Marina and Steele Canyon both offer RV rentals onsite that can be booked with your campsite reservation. Options range from basic trailers to deluxe motorhomes.

Is alcohol allowed at the campgrounds?

Yes, alcoholic beverages are permitted for adults over 21 at campsites. No driving under the influence. Public intoxication is not allowed. Moderation and safety are key.

Are pets allowed?

Leashed pets are welcome at all campgrounds for a small nightly fee. Supervise them closely and clean up any waste. Certain trails prohibit dogs.

What are some good kid-friendly activities?

Kids will love swimming at Oak Shores, pedal boating or kayaking the coves, hiking short trails to waterfalls, trying rope swings, stargazing at night, and exploring the visitor center.

Is fishing allowed from the shore? What about boats?

Shore fishing is popular at Oak Shores, Capell Cove and Steele Park. A California fishing license is required for ages 16+. Boats, kayaks, float tubes are great for accessing more fishing spots.

When does camping season run at Lake Berryessa?

Campgrounds are open year-round but operate at reduced capacity in winter. Some sites close in winter months of January-February. Summer season from April-September is peak season.

How early do campsites fill up on summer weekends?

In peak summer, sites can book up by Thursday mornings for weekend stays. Arrive early on Fridays to claim first-come, first-served spots or book well in advance. Avoid the crowds by camping midweek.

Get Outdoors and Camp at Lake Berryessa

Boasting mesmerizing natural scenery paired with a variety of camping options, Lake Berryessa is a must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you choose to rent an RV, pitch a tent, or glamp in a comfy cabin, you’re guaranteed serene surroundings brimming with activities from boating to stargazing. Plan an unforgettable camping trip under the Napa Valley sun when you escape to the magnificent beauty of Lake Berryessa. Adventure awaits!


My name is Evelyn and I started Camping The Camp to combine my love of the outdoors with my background in environmental science. I hope you’ll find helpful as you discover the joys of camping. It’s more than a weekend trip - it’s a chance to disconnect from devices, reconnect with loved ones, and make memories to last a lifetime

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