Wine country: busy! Camping in wine country: woo-hoo solitude! Though you now have to make a reservation (even if it’s 20 minutes prior), there’s a good chance you’ll be able to pitch your tent last minute at Liberty Glen Campground, a ridge-top refuge along the rugged coastal foothills surrounding Lake Sonoma. Although primitive (no running water means no showers, flush toilets, or potable water), Liberty Glen has access to several miles of scenic trails, cool waters to beat the heat, and 96 underbooked sites spread over three loops of solitude—even on traditionally busy weekends.
Pitch your tent at site 88 for waterfront vistas atop a golden ridge, or site 80 for equally stunning sights injected with adrenaline—a small plot of tent space narrowly juts over the lake’s Warm Springs arm. For those seeking shelter from the sun (which many sites lack), site 50 provides ample shade beneath two large oaks. Hike a strenuous 4.5-mile loop to a small cove for swimming at Madrone Point, cruise turquoise waters in rented boats and kayaks at neighboring Lake Sonoma Marina, or drive through the dozens of nearby tasting rooms dotting Dry Creek Valley’s world-famous vineyards.
GLAMP BONUS: Even more secret than this overlooked campground is its sole cabin, unassumingly tucked into Loop A at site 27. This reservable spot houses two bunk beds (sleeps six) as well as room for one tent outside by the cozy fire pit.
Liberty Glen Campground is located in Geyserville on Rockpile Rd. Although the campground is rarely full, and last-minute/day-of reservations are a snap, no first-come, first-served sites are available and a code is needed to unlock the campground gate; reservations must be made online or by calling (877) 444-6777 sometime before arrival. Single sites (up to 8 people, 2 cars) $25/night; double sites (up to 16 people, 4 cars) $50/night. Two-night minimum for sites. Cabin can be reserved online or by calling (877) 444-6667 (up to 6 people) $75/night. Dogs allowed on leash, but not inside cabin. Trail map available at campground entrance; for a 4.5-mile loop hike to Madrone Point, connect Madrone Service Rd., Rancheria Trail, and Wulfow Shortcut. Lake Sonoma Marina is located a 10-minute drive from the campground.