14 things to look for in a Kern River campground
Updated: Jul 21
On the hunt for a Kern River campground, but not sure what to look for?
We’ve got you covered.
With decades of experience offering a fully developed campground experience at the Kern River, we know exactly what you should look for when booking a Kern River campground. Let’s break down the must-have features now.
What should you look for in a Kern River campground?
Level Sites: Look for a campground that has level campsites. This way, it’ll be much easier (and much more comfortable) when setting up a tent or RV in your space.
Lots of Shade: Find a Kern River campground that offers plenty of shaded areas. This is especially important considering how hot it can get along the Kern River. Kernville is considered 'high desert' so remember to check the Kernville, CA weather forecast before you visit. Portable shade canopies help with putting shade where you need it.
Great View: When selecting a campsite, find one that has the best view possible. After all, you are on vacation, and it would be nice to sip your coffee as you look upon a beautiful scene (as opposed to other tents or thick brush).
Sunset Views: Speaking of views, you’ll want to identify a campground that offers easy access to a great sunset viewing location. Let the kiddos ride their bikes or play volleyball while the adults sneak in a few minutes at the river's edge for a great sunset moment.
Campfires Allowed: Not all campgrounds allow for campfires. So make sure you take this into consideration if you’re wanting to start a fire during your stay. As of now, Forest Service campgrounds below 5,000 foot elevation have a campfire ban (due to hire forest fire risk). However, here at Kern River’s Edge, we do not have a campfire ban. Pack your favorite s'mores ingredients!
Comfortable Size: You’ll want to find a campsite that offers enough space for the people and things that you’re bringing with you. It can be very uncomfortable if you’re stuck next to a bunch of other campers and don’t have any privacy or room to relax and be yourself. Measure the dimensions of your tent; and the height for your roof-top tent before reserving to ensure a comfortable fit.
River Access: Part of the fun of camping along the Kern River is having access to the Kern River. But keep in mind, not all Kern River campgrounds provide easy and quick access to the river. You’ll want to be near the river for swimming, tubing, and fishing. Check with the campground to make sure you won’t have to walk long distances to get to a safe and calm swimming spot.
Cell Phone Reception: If you’re going to need to use your cell phone during your camping trip, make sure you ask the campground ahead of time how the cell phone reception is. At the same time, if you need to use the internet at any point, check to see if the area (or any nearby locations) offer high-speed internet access.
Pro Tip: Kernville Co-Work rents desks by the hour and offers internet access at the low cost of $25 a day.
Quiet Time: If you need your beauty rest or have young children, you’ll want to make sure the Kern River campground you’re booking enforces campground policies surrounding noise after hours.
Online Booking: Booking a Kern River campground online makes it really easy to pay for, reserve, and get a sneak peek at your future campsite. It’s a great way to take some of the stress out of the planning process.
Trash Services: It’s important to book a Kern River campground that manages trash on a daily basis and practices Leave No Trace principles. This helps to keep small and large critters away from your campsite (including bears) and helps to preserve the beauty of your surroundings.
Recreational Activities: If you’re looking to have a good time, then you’ll want to find a Kern River campground that offers other amenities. For example, we offer volleyball, horseshoes, and more at the campground. (Check out some of our favorite Kern River insider tips.)
Camp Store: Having easy access to a store that offers camping necessities, food, and water is a great add-on. If you’re worried about driving to and from the campground or if you’ll be drinking at all, look for a campground that has an on-site store.
Overflow Parking: If you’re really looking for a spacious campground and nothing that’s too packed, then you’ll also want to identify a campground that offers overflow parking for extra vehicles, trailers, and toy haulers.
Furry Friends: If bringing your dog to the campground is on your agenda, then you’ll definitely want to check with the campground’s policies on pets before booking. It would be a bummer to book a campground and drive all the way there, only to be told that animals are not allowed.
Looking for more Kern River campground tips, tricks, and hidden gems?
We’d love to help! Our campground is located right on the edge of Kern River, and we know this majestic body of water inside and out. If you’d like to learn more about swimming, camping, or rafting the Kern River, check out our website or take a look at our additional resources.