Rue Mapp shares her favorite ways to get outdoors.

Campsite at Samuel P Taylor State Park
Brent Durand/Getty Images

It’s been nothing short of inspirational to follow the journey of Rue Mapp, the founder of Outdoor Afro, a national not-for-profit organization whose mission is to celebrate and inspire Black connections and leadership in nature. We first featured Mapp in our 2014 camping issue, and though she’s exponentially expanded and evolved her work, the mission is still the same: creating Black joy and healing through being strong, beautiful, and free in nature. Outdoor Afro now has over 60,000 participants, and has trained over 100 volunteer leaders worldwide.

For inspiration to get outdoors, Mapp shared her three favorite Bay-Area campsites:

Kirby Cove Campground

Golden Gate Bridge viewed from Kirby Cove, San Francisco, California, USA.
The view from Kirby Cove Campground at dawn.

Jason Friend Photography Ltd/Getty Images

Located in the Marin Headlands, the campground sits in the Sausalito area and is just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. As part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, this site offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Bay Area and includes five beautifully appointed overnight campsites. Hiking trails lead to sightseeing opportunities at stops like the Point Bonita Lighthouse and Battery Kirby, a historic army battery. 

Samuel P. Taylor State Park

Samuel P Taylor State Park
Setting up a tent at Samuel P. Taylor State Park

Thomas J. Story

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If you want a riverfront destination and swimming hole during the summer months, this Lagunitas park is the ideal setting. Part of California State Parks, Samuel P. Taylor’s campsite is mostly nestled under towering redwoods and features various hikes for easy strolls. Its South Creek trail is wheelchair-accessible, while heading toward the Barnabe Peak affords more challenging terrain and rare views of Marin County.

Del Valle Regional Park

Del Valle Regional Park
The rolling hills at Del Valle Regional Park.

Derek Gaumer/Courtesy of Visit Tri-Valley

Within the East Bay Regional Park District, the Livermore location provides that classic car-camping experience with instant access to lake life. This deep valley park is covered with oak trees and has ample room for fishing, paddling, swimming, and boating. A huge family reunion appeal is its large group campsite for multigenerational fun in nature.

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