The arrival of fall this month means that the still-hot days are going to segue nicely into cool, crisp nights — the perfect time to sneak away on a last-minute camping trip.
If you missed out this summer on the joys of a campfire, roasting marshmallows on a stick and viewing shooting stars overhead, here are a few places you can pitch a tent in the North Bay this fall:
Van Damme State Park, located three miles south of Mendocino in Little River, offers camping on a first-come, first-served basis after Sept. 2.
The park features 70 campsites, including 30 along the lush Fern Canyon, plus 10 miles of trails for hiking.
Ocean lovers will find beach access just across Highway 1, where they can rent a kayak and explore the rocky coastline. www.parks.ca.gov.
Point Reyes National Seashore, a hiking and birding paradise, offers four hike-in/bike-in campgrounds — Coast Camp, Glen Camp, Sky Camp and Wildcat Camp — plus boat-in camping on the west side's National Park beaches, north of Tomales Bay State Park's Indian Beach.
You need a camping permit as well as a parking permit for each vehicle that you bring along. www.recreation.gov/camping.
Get away from it all in the middle of an urban area by camping at Angel Island State Park, which offers 10 environmental campsites on its eastern and southwestern flanks.
The largest island in the San Francisco Bay provides panoramic views of the San Francisco skyline and Mount Tamalpais, plus hiking trails, a former Nike missile base and two active Coast Guard stations.
You can access the island by public ferry from Tiburon or by private boat to Ayala Cove.
Despite its populous location, reservations can often be had. especially in the off-season, at the last minute: www.reserveamerica.com.