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10 Spectacular Places to Camp in the Summer

D.L. Bliss State Park, Calif.
If you hike at the right spot at D.L. Bliss State Park, you may be able to see Lake Tahoe off in the distance.
If you hike at the right spot at D.L. Bliss State Park, you may be able to see Lake Tahoe off in the distance.

With 156,299 total square miles (404,813 square kilometers) of land area, it's not surprising that California is home to some spectacular camping spots [source: City Data]. One of those is D.L. Bliss State Park, located less than 20 miles (32.2 kilometers) from the Lake Tahoe area in central California. While other areas of the state reach temperatures in the hundreds on the Fahrenheit scale during the summer, D.L. Bliss State Park's temperate heat (around 75 degrees Fahrenheit, or 24 degrees Celsius) and centralized location make it an ideal summer getaway.

As with most parks in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, D. L. Bliss State Park boasts some pretty incredible hiking -- from Rubicon Point, you can even see Lake Tahoe itself. One noteworthy site is the Balancing Rock Nature Trail, where a 130-ton (117,934-kilogram) granite rock balances precariously on a small stone joint. However, you might want to make this one a priority: As the tiny base slowly erodes, the equilibrium that keeps the large stone balanced becomes more and more difficult to maintain [source: California Department of Parks and Recreation].

The area is perfectly safe for visitors, but campers should be aware of one of the most common occupational hazards of wilderness exploration: bears. If you're planning on heading into a bear-friendly environment this summer, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Don't advertise your dinner. Bears have an exceptional sense of smell, and your BBQ leftovers look as good to them as they did to you.
  • Keep trash locked up securely.
  • Store all other food in bear-proof containers. Many campsites require campers to take this precaution, and some even provide storage facilities for visitors [source: California Department of Food and Game].

Visitors should note that D.L. Bliss State Park is only open during the summer, so be sure to plan ahead! The park is also dog friendly -- just be sure to bring a leash and read canine regulations ahead of time.