China Camp State Park

China Camp State Park, San Rafael: Address, Phone Number, China Camp State Park Reviews: 4.5/5

China Camp State Park
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Located on the grounds of an old Chinese fishing settlement, this park includes over 1,500 acres of beaches, hiking trails and picnic grounds.
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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210 reviews
Very good

San Francisco, California, United States16 contributions
May 2021
I started from the Scettrini Fire Road San Pablo Rd. (in San Rafael), climbing up towards the Entry gate of China Camp at Bay Hills Drive. I started at 9:30 AM and arrived at about 11 AM. Great views for the ascent and when you get to the top, great views of the San Rafael and the Bay.

I took the Ridge Fire Trail which goes through a Redwood Grove to the Oak Ridge Trail down to the Ranger Station then descended Peacock Gap Trail which ends at Biscayne Drive. Walking along Biscayne Drive picking up the Shoreline Trail walking towards China Camp--with a lunch rest at about 1 PM overlooking China Camp Village and San Pablo Bay.

Waling along Shoreline Trail, visiting China Camp Village (great must see spot) and then resuming on Shoreline Trail toward China Camp Campground at about 5 PM or so.

The Fire Trails are excellent for hiking being broad and in bright sunshine, The Shoreline trail was through Oak Groves, saw a few deer, one of whom I think was nurturing a new-born fawn; not really sure. What is also nice about this, there is only about a mile distance from China Camp campsite to San Rafael Bus #233 towards San Rafael Transit Center.
Written May 12, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

San Francisco, CA4,901 contributions
Feb 2022 • Solo
China camp State Park deserves a five-star review. It's one of California's smaller and simpler state parks. Beautiful hiking trails. Reasonable price, I think. I'm not sure exactly what I paid $3 for. The online app said I was donating.
Written February 26, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Fort Bragg, CA34 contributions
Jun 2014 • Family
China Camp harkens back to a time of segregation of Chinese workers. Another dark chapter in California history. Chinese workers brought to the US to do the dirty work for low pay. Forced to live apart from whites, the Chinese built their own communities away from other settlements. Several buildings are preserved in this turn of the century encampment. Great bike riding and interesting easy hikes. Good estuary views. An easy side trip in Marin County.
Written April 7, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

1 contribution
May 2022 • Solo
Don’t get me wrong. This is a very unique and special place; beautifully run and maintained; it’s historical significance alone makes it a must visit. However, the camping is only fun for backpackers with ultra light equipment. It is not a car camping destination. One must schlep one’s equipment from a parking lot through the camp - some spots are up pretty steep paths. The campsites are wonderful, just getting your heavy glamping stuff up there is a chore. Glad I stayed 4 nights, but I’m one and done for camping. I’ll return for hiking and exploring.
Written May 4, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Los Angeles2 contributions
Just two weeks ago, we had our first tent camping experience as a family at China Camp. It was all tent camping--no stinky RVs.

The Campground Host greeted us warmly and, realizing that we are city folk, provided some tips about the wildlife. There was an aggressive buck for our child to avoid (never saw him) and we were to look out for racoons coming up to our table and eating our food as we dined. (This didn't happen. However, overnight, they were unfairly vicious toward a milk carton and used s'more hanger we'd foolishly left by the fire.)

Curious yet timid deer padded through the trees. Wild turkey would make an occasional appearance, cackling unobtrusively and scratching about, keeping their distance. Flies and the like were at a bare minimum. The host had warned us against lyme-disease carrying ticks, thus we avoided brushing against the plant life and stayed in jeans and light sweat pants. The campground is near a marsh and you can see a generous sliver of a lovely, nearby bay when you drive up--it's not visible from the campsites. There were a couple of levels of the campground. Our site was among others that were up a not-too-steep hill. If it were steep, believe me, I'd be complaining to you right now. In fact, that would probably take up the bulk of this review. But it is kind of a pain to drag your gear up it so when you're packing, think about how many trips you want to take up a hill with your stuff. Or request a site that is on the first level.

The campground is five-mile drive to San Rafael, a friendly town with great restaurants--particularly a little hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant that my husband thinks was called Chopsticks. I had the Mongolian Beef, my husband had the Broccoli Beef and my daughter had the Chicken Chow Mein--a favorite of the other little kids we saw in the restaurant. Everyone was pleased with their orders, and we were with a number of typically picky teens--a large group of kids from my husband's school joined us the second day of camping. The owners were sweet and accomodating, even pointing out better deals on the menu when we were about to splurge. They provided super generous portions; few people could finish their meals. The decor is beyond meh but the service was fast and amazing. Even if you are determined to rough it, I'd plan ahead of time to eat at least one meal there.

Wait, that reminds me: this is a camping review...

Anyways. Yeah, the camping. While our site sloped a bit, there were others around that were nice and flat. The campground was full, so that was the luck of the draw apparently. But if I were you, I would call and ask for a level site. We liked the fact that we had a picnic table and fire ring (wood available for $5/bundle and you can't bring any from the outside) in our site. There was also a musty, weathered wooden locker (bring your own lock) that was about the size of two standard school lockers. You could put your valuables there, but I think they'll be just as safe in your car. The campground host stays in a RV parked in the lot and seems extremely vigilant about everything. (And it seemed that nine times out of 10, there was a ranger lurking about, summoned because he'd had an issue with something campers had done. That's fine. Just stick to their rules--and there weren't too many--and you won't hear from them. For example, drive 15 MPH on the road leading to the campground or you'll be hearing about it.) You'll definitely want to keep your food in your car, not that locker. It's not that long of a walk, really, and didn't I say the racoons are obNOXious at night? They make these unsettling, growling noises like some kind of netherworld beasts tearing apart a human carcass, a cacophony that you don't want to startle you awake in the middle of the night. And then realize that you need to use the restroom, and hope it was just raccoons out there as you slowly unzip the tent.

Good times.

Speaking of bathrooms, let's not forget the super clean facilities with flushing toilets and warm showers. The showers are coin-operated; bring at least 50¢ for a very nice rinse off, or more if you've had a rough day. Don't forget your shower shoes. They keep the stalls pretty clean, but I'm just saying. There was a long-necked water fountain thingie near the bathroom which I guess you could use for cooking. We wouldn't know. You can take a girl out of the city....

Overall, yep, we would go there again. Though the weather was mild, we were cold enough at night that maybe we'd return in the summer next trip.
Written October 29, 2006
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Robert C
Corte Madera, CA16 contributions
Jun 2018 • Friends
Pretty boring to me. I liked the old movie posters, All BBQ. grills were taken by families. Bad beach with water too cold to swim in. Unlikely I’ll return here even though I live close by.
Written June 19, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Boston, MA692 contributions
Jul 2019 • Couples
We were sorry we paid the entrance fee as we did not stay.
There were broken bottles and trash around the picnic tables and warning signs not to leave valuables in the car. The fences around the cliffs look about to fall down. The roads aren’t the best but we’re being repaired as we were leaving.
Written July 18, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Jeannie K
Greenbrae, CA61 contributions
Mar 2015 • Couples
Just went to China Camp this past week for the first time in many years! So nice spending time there. It was quiet being a Tuesday afternoon, and with the picnic tables almost a water's edge, it was nice just hanging out there. The facilities were impeccably clean and it was all in all a very relaxing space.
Written March 7, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Kathleen K
1 contribution
Never for even a moment look away at a scenic marvel or a flying bird. You are likely to get run over by a group of speeding bicyclist or a get smashed into the poison oak by a passing huge horse or two . Great place for other things.... just not hiking!!!
Written September 23, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

San Francisco, CA168 contributions
China Camp State Park is a beatiful spot, close to the big ciry. It appears you are in the mountains, yet when you look one way, you are on the edge of the bay. There are some beautiful picnic spots with tables overlooking the bay. You can fish from these and other locations. There are several trails on the mountain, and camp and picnic locations in lower spots. The old China Camp is a historical site, where Chinese once fished for shrimp. There are Chinese festivals, and sometimes an old Chinese junk comes to the pier.
On unfortunate aspect is the "multiuse" trails policy. Bikers are supposed to yield to hikers, and both yield to horses. In practice, mountain bikers on single track trails never yield to anyone, and make hiking a very nervejarring experience.
Written April 11, 2009
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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