While summer in San Francisco means a prolonged visit from Karl the Fog, early spring and early fall can be pretty warm (Hello 75 degree Saturday in March!), so here are some options for making s'mores and telling ghost stories without the car trip to Yosemite:
Beware of the dog-sized raccoons. Okay, maybe they're not that large, but everything sounds bigger in the dark. Arguably the camping locations with the best view in the Bay Area, they'll take some time to get to. Be prepared to hike to get to these scenic spots, the camp sites are a one to two-and-a-half mile jaunt from the ferry dock. You can board the ferry in S.F. or Tiburon (runs seven days a week during the summer months), and there are 10 sites that accommodate up to eight people, in addition to one group camp site that accommodates up to 20; the general sites are $30 a night, and the group site is $50. These camp sites are described as primitive, so if you definitely need a flush toilet, this isn't for you; more information can be found at reserveamerica.com.
San Francisco's only (tent) campground is located in the Presidio and comes with a lot of history; according to the Presidio site, the first people to camp out under the stars at this location were the Ohlone, followed by Juan Bautista de Anza, and the U.S. Army. The campground sits among the Cypress trees, in the midst of some great Presidio hiking trails, and is just up the hill from Baker Beach. There are two sites that accommodate up to 30 people and are $125 a night. To reserve a spot visit Presidio.gov.
Right across the bridge, we've gone camping here since we were three, it's a great campground for a group of friends or family. There are four tent sites available and they're covered by a grove of cypress and pine trees, which you'll appreciate when it gets chilly. While you're there, make sure to carve out some time to take a few hikes and walk down to the beach to see the amazing view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Campsites are available for reservation up to three months in advance, go for $25 a night, and accommodate up to 10 people; to reserve a spot visit recreation.gov. Also, check out this awesome pop-up dinner party that happened there.
Not far from Kirby Cove, this campground boasts spectacular views as well, but is best for small (er, tiny) groups. There are three sites that can host one tent each, and have a max of three people. Grill at the nearby picnic area, and wake up to the sunrise over the City with a cup of French press coffee (made via your Coleman stove). Another great feature of this campground? It's free. To reserve a spot visit the NPS.gov website.
About an hour ride from downtown San Francisco on AC Transit (and a 20 minute drive from downtown Oakland), this campground in Castro Valley is fully immersed in the woods. On the edge of Lake Chabot, this campground is like the ones you remember from your youth -- the tent site is separated from the new neighbors by a few spindly trees, there are a bunch of kids running around, hot dogs on the grill, and a flip flop-required shower stall. If looking for the nostalgic aspect of camping, this place is it. The park boasts 63 tent sites at $22 a night (and 12 RV, if you're into that), and reservations can be made on reserveamerica.com.
Now, get out that dusty tent, buy some marshmallows, and go camping.