5 beautiful beach camping spots along the Sonoma Coast

If you’re thinking recent warm temperatures and triple digit highs are signs of the new normal for California, experts say you’re right. And when the heat heads for record territory this summer, many are taking a welcome break and heading for the coast, where it can be a dramatic 20 or 30 degrees cooler than inland. To really immerse in the cool Pacific coastal experience, Sonoma County offers a choice of State, County and private campgrounds, where folks can watch ocean sunsets, sit around an evening campfire and drift to sleep with the timeless sound of the surf.

Last Summer Fling? Lake Tahoe's Emerald Bay

On the eastern rim of California’s flat central valley, the Sierra Nevada mountains are slowly rising into the sky, about 2 millimeters every year. Two million years ago, in the heart of the range, a 22-mile-long, nearly 2,000-feet-deep basin formed when a massive block of this uplifting stone shifted, and water-filled Lake Tahoe was born. Tahoe’s alpine trails, pristine water and wilderness enthralled John Muir nearly a century and a half ago, and the same haunts are now easily accessible by car.