Benbow Lake State Recreation Area RV & Campground Guide


Benbow Lake State Recreation Area is a gorgeous state park and natural area just 2 miles south of Garberville, California, near Eureka. As the name implies, it's primarily focused around Benbow Lake, as well as the South Fork Eel River, making waterside activities one of the main appeals of a vacation to the area. Hiking, swimming, and camping are some of the most popular activities in the area, particularly in the warm summers. In winter, you'll find many people fishing for wild salmon and rainbow trout as they swim in the lake and riverway. Thanks to its location near the northern part of the state, no season is overly hot or cold, making the Benbow Lake State Recreation Area a great destination at any time of the year.

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Spring 43.3-70 F
Summer 54.3-89.3 F
Fall 45.6-76.3 F
Winter 37.3-57.6 F
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Nearby Cities
Garberville, CA
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RV Resorts & Campsites in Benbow Lake State Recreation Area

Taking an RV rental out to Benbow Lake State Recreation Area is one of the best ways to enjoy this kind of vacation. RVing makes the great outdoors a little greater with added convenience and stability, giving people who maybe aren't prepared to rough it out in the woods the chance to experience these wonderful sights and sounds. If you're planning to RV down to the Recreation Area, you could try these RV parks and campgrounds as a place to stay in between trips:

Benbow Lake State Recreation Area KOA

Benbow Lake State Recreation Area has its own campgrounds that you can enjoy during your stay in the area. Whether you're in the lower, middle, or upper loop areas, all campsites with electrical hookups start at $35 per night per vehicle. In addition to putting you right up next to all the great things you came to see, the campgrounds also feature showers and restrooms plus Wi-Fi services and a pool. You can also take your pets as long as they're well-behaved and kept on a leash. 

Nadelos Campground

The Nadelos Campground is for people who really enjoy the sensation of roughing it. Located in the heart of the forest surrounding Chemise Mountain, it enables you to enjoy a natural vacation away from any sort of hustle and bustle. Designed primarily for tent camping, there are no hookups, and reception is sparse at best. With land available on a first-come, first-serve basis, it's well worth the $8 camping fee if you're looking for quick, easy, and beautiful fun. You can also reserve the entire grounds for $85 per night if you have a group (minimum 20, maximum 60). It's also pet-friendly.

Redwoods River Resort & Campground

At the Redwoods River Resort & Campground, you can camp out in luxury with all the great amenities the park has on offer. Full hookups, a dump station, trash and recycling, free Wi-Fi, picnic areas, a fire pit, showers, restrooms, laundry, and even rooms for rent all make it an amazing getaway. There are even special packages for different vacation options, including pet-friendly ones. Rates usually start around $50 per night but can change depending on the season, discounts, and holidays.

RV Rentals Near Benbow Lake State Recreation Area

Nearby RV Rentals


What to Do at
Benbow Lake State Recreation Area

Inside Benbow Lake State Recreation Area

Spread out across nearly 1,200 acres of land, the Benbow Lake State Recreation Area has plenty to offer campers. Hiking is one of the most popular activities to engage in when you visit, especially in conjunction with picnicking at any of the day-use picnic areas. Camping, both in tents and RVs, is also fun, particularly in the warmer months of spring and fall or across the summer. Swimming is also plenty of fun. During winter, you'll find an excellent opportunity to try out fishing as the wild salmon and rainbow trout return to the lake to spawn.

Outside Benbow Lake State Recreation Area

Having fun outside of Benbow Lake State Recreation Area is equally as easy thanks to all the great things to do in the surrounding towns. Garberville, Eureka, Blue Lake, Trinidad, Alton, and more are all waiting to be explored. Here are some of the best restaurants, shops, and places to see while you're in the area:


Benbow Historic Inn

The Benbow Historic Inn's very own restaurant is a delight to taste. With American fine-dining menus for dinner and brunch and even drinks and tapas, you'll be able to partake in something good whether you're in the mood for a light wilted spinach salad or some hearty braised short ribs. It's located at 445 Lake Benbow Drive in Garberville.

Type: Fine Dining

Location: 445 Lake Benbow Drive, Garberville, CA

Cecil's New Orleans Bistro

 Cecil's New Orleans Bistro is some of the finest Cajun food you can get your hands on outside of Louisiana. Taking advantage of the fact that it's right near the water, you can eat some delicious and fresh shrimp and fish dishes as well as amazing jambalaya, gumbo and more. You'll find it in Garberville at 773 Redwood Drive. 

Type: Cajun

Location: 773 Redwood Drive, Garberville, CA

Bon Bistro & Bakery

At Bon Bistro & Bakery, you can grab anything from a light snack to dessert whenever you want it. Try some delicious bagel sandwiches, freshly-baked muffins, a classic BLT, some warm chocolate chip cookies and so much more. Head over to 867 Redwood Drive in Garberville to try out the fare. 

Type: Bistro

Location: 867 Redwood Drive, Garberville, CA


Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate

Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate is an artisan chocolatier shop known for simplicity, style, taste, and purity of product. All of the shop's products are made from real ingredients, many of which are organic, ensuring that each bite of whatever chocolate you purchase is going to taste amazing. Dick Taylor is located at 4 W 4th Street in Eureka. 

Location: 4 W 4th Street, Eureka, CA

Blue Moon Gift Shop

The Blue Moon Gift Shop is, like the name says, something you only encounter once in a blue moon. From party favors to collectibles to games and more, its wide and varied selection of wares makes it the perfect place to snag a souvenir on your way home from vacation or a gift for someone special. Find it at 772 Redwood Drive in Garberville. 

Location: 772 Redwood Drive, Garberville, CA

Salty's Supply, Bait, Tackle & Surf

At Salty's, you can stock up on all your fishing supply needs. If you're planning to cast a line out into the Benbow Lake, this is definitely the place to stop by before getting to the park to ensure that you have all the hooks, bait, and more that will make your fishing trip a success. Head over to 322 Main Street in Trinidad, CA, to visit Salty's.

Location: 322 Main Street, Trinidad, CA


Carson Mansion

The Carson Mansion was once the home of lumber baron William Carson before the Ingomar Club took up residence. While you're not allowed inside unless you're a member of this club, you can still admire the world-renowned Victorian-style architecture from a distance. Don't forget to take plenty of pictures.

Location: 143 M Street in Old Town Eureka

Julia Morgan Redwood Grove

The Julia Morgan Redwood Grove is a picturesque cabin constructed by architect Julia Morgan in the center of a towering redwood tree grove. Available for all sorts of events, the grounds can also be toured with a reservation if you're looking to experience the majesty of this space all on its own.

Location: 255 Benbow Dam Roadm, Garberville, CA

Fortuna Dog Park

The Fortuna Dog Park is one of the best places for animal lovers in this part of California. Tons of wide-open space and things to play with make it as much a vacation for your pet as it is for you when you take a trip here.

Location: 100 Dinsmore Drive in Fortuna

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How to Get to
Benbow Lake State Recreation Area

To get to Benbow Lake State Recreation Area, the easiest way would be to approach from Garberville as it is the nearest town. Simply head south on Highway 101 for about 2 miles. You'll see the place to get off coming up after that along the right side as Exit 636. Follow that road until you get to Lake Benbow Drive, then head into the park.

By Car

Entering Benbow Lake State Recreation Area

As a large vehicle (RV), you'll be approaching the entrance from the south on Benbow Drive. All fees and costs are due upon entering the park. Camping at the SRA in your RV costs $35 per vehicle per night at any of the camping areas with hookups available. There's also an $8 online reservation fee. However, there is no charge for entering the park for non-camping purposes such as visiting for the day. Hours of operation for day visitors go from 8:00 am each day to sunset (around 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm depending on the time of year).

Benbow Lake State Recreation Area Per vehicle : $0.0

Benbow Lake State Recreation Area is a great place for a vacation if you love the outdoors as much as we do. If you're a kindred spirit, it's well worth considering taking a trip here in one of our RVshare rental RVs. If you go, make sure to take lots of pictures to preserve your great memories for years to come. In fact, we'd like to be a part of that if you'll let us. Send some of your vacation pics to [email protected] or tag us on social media, and we might feature your stories in one of our upcoming blogs.