For a crème de la crème car-camping experience, head to Memorial Park, an area that doesn't show up on many maps. Tucked deep in the redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountain foothills along Pescadero Creek, this park has campsites with ample privacy and lots of space. Pull into one of the vacant sites in Sequoia Flat, toward the back of the campground; try to snag one of the "honeymoon suites," sites C20-C22, right along the creek. During the day you can walk along a path by the creek to a beach big enough for lounging and a cool water hole suitable for wading. Venture a little farther and you'll be able to stake out your own private swimming hole. Day hikers can head out onto Mount Ellen Trail and the Pomponio Loop Trail. Saturday nights, one of the naturalists leads a campfire program. The general store just reopened for the summer and has all your camping supplies— except beer; you can pick that up at the Loma Mar store just down the road. Don't forget the 'smores.
Campsites start at $21. Make a reservation online. Bring quarters for the showers.
Directions: From Interstate 280, exit at Woodside Rd./Hwy. 84 and go west on 84. Cross over Skyline Blvd., staying on 84, and pass through the town of La Honda. Turn left onto Pescadero Rd. and continue on it until you see the park entrance on your left. No dogs.