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Old 11-16-2019, 11:07 PM   #1
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Camping on the California Coast

Hi all,
Years ago Hubby and I drove down Highway One all the way to San Fran, it was beautiful and we passed some great campgrounds on the beach along the way. Now that we are getting closer to re-enacting that trip, with our AS. I cannot figure out how to find those campgrounds! Anyone know some names, or a good reference book? I am familiar w/Recreation.gov, and ReserveAmerica, but cannot find them there.
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Old 11-17-2019, 12:20 AM   #2
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check maps( both paper and goggle) they will list campgrounds and state parks. just a good start. kurt
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Old 11-17-2019, 12:38 AM   #3
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State maps usually show campgrounds, color coded to indicate the operator.

California state park campgrounds can be reserved at https://www.reservecalifornia.com/CaliforniaWebHome/

If you enter, for example, Sonoma Coast State Park, not only will you get campground availability for Sonoma Coast, but also other State Parks in the area. You can get to a descriptive page for each State Park from the reservation page. For Sonoma Coast, its: https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=451

You didn't say when you will travel the coast, but once school is out most campgrounds will be fully reserved. USFS campgrounds not near the water aren't nearly as popular. Here's the camping page for the Six Rivers National Forest: https://www.fs.usda.gov/activity/srn...camping-cabins

Campgrounds at and near Redwoods National Park are here: https://www.nps.gov/redw/planyourvis...ectory-508.pdf

We found Panther Flat Campground a convenient base for exploring Redwoods National Park. https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/srnf...a/?recid=11445

Happy planning and have a great trip!!

Burnside
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Old 11-17-2019, 08:06 AM   #4
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Here are favorites recommended to us N to S


Prairie Creek , Elk Creek Campground

Mackerricher SP

Pfeiffer Big Sur SP

Kirk Creek (National Forest camp on a bluff above the ocean) - not sure about a 31' though
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Old 11-17-2019, 10:22 AM   #5
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Francis Beach Campground, Half Moon Bay

Kirk Creek Campground, south of Big Sur

Both are terrific campground and difficult to reserve.
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Old 11-17-2019, 10:34 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadesohippy View Post
Anyone know some names, or a good reference book? I am familiar w/Recreation.gov, and ReserveAmerica, but cannot find them there.
One helpful resource is the Campendium site.

In addition to displaying RV Parks on a searchable map, they also show State and National Parks, along with public spaces like BLM land that can be used for camping. Plus, many reviewers leave cell signal strength feedback, which is helpful.

Campground Reviews (owned by same company as AirForums) is another option.
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Old 11-17-2019, 10:37 AM   #7
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Between Monterey and San Simeon, I think the prettiest and most rugged part of the California coast...

1. Kirk Creek - Forest service, ocean side of highway - bluff overlooking the ocean. Great views, very exposed. No water, high demand, reservations required. A few large sites okay for a 30' trailer. No cell service.

2. Plaskett Creek. Forest service. Land side of highway. High demand, reservations highly recommended. Grassy campground under shade trees. Many sites for a larger trailer. Water available. Good access to a really nice beach across the street.

Bracketing this stretch of coast to the north is Phiefer Big Sur State Park. I think this park is overrated. Sites are small, campground in a canyon with trees is dark, the whole area is covered in poison oak, and not close to the ocean. High demand, reservations required.

To the south is San Simeon State Park. Lots of large sites, sunny, good walking access to a nice beach across the highway. I've never seen this park more than 50% full.

Always a great route to travel. Have fun!
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Old 11-17-2019, 10:43 AM   #8
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Look at two near Myers Flat along Hwy 101. The Burlington campground on Avenue of the Giants (no hookups) is beautiful and is the best (IMHO) campground in the Humboldt Redwood area. Also has a great interpretive center. About 5 miles south of that campground is Myers Flat where there is a good RV (full hookups) camp right on the Eel River.
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Old 11-17-2019, 11:15 AM   #9
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CA campgrounds

One of the nicest is Jalama Beach, a Santa Barbara County facility. Rugged, beautiful and a little remote
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Old 11-17-2019, 11:32 AM   #10
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Allstays

Hi!
I’m a frequent camper on the CA coast and I use the ALLSTAYS ap. It has everything you need for every campground both public and private with links to make reservations and even pics...

Jon
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Old 11-17-2019, 11:38 AM   #11
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Spend time on RV Parky. It is an internet website that is searchable by location.

Consider investigating Allstays. It's a similar solution that is available as a phone App as well as a website.

There is also Campground Reviews to review.

The State Parks are on the California State Park website as posted prior.

Don't forget that the AAA guide books, Good Sam catalog, and similar resources list campgrounds. However, the best are often recommended here.

The North end of HWY 1 is tight, take it slow. The coast section can get tight where the road has been reduced in width by cliff damage. Take your time and stay safe. Watch the pull offs. The unpaved parking surface can be a significant drop off from the pavement. There may be chuck holes that you need to avoid as well.

Good luck on your trip. Hope to see you smiling down the road. Pat
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Old 11-17-2019, 12:31 PM   #12
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Patricks Point was also beautiful.
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Old 11-17-2019, 12:44 PM   #13
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I'm surprised that nobody has suggested AAA!?


If you're a AAA member, then you can get old school paper maps from them in office or online, & they have an excellent CA Campgrounds map(s) for NoCal & SoCal (not sure if it's still 2 maps or 2-sided 1 map now), which lists all City, County, State, Federal (NP, NM, BLM, etc.), & I think some of the private ones too.


AAA also publishes their State Tour Books, & the CA one would include private campgrounds, as well as the hotels, eateries & points of interest.



Those should help to jar your memory of your past trip.


If you're not a AAA member, ask a friend who is to get you the 2-3 above map(s) & tour book.



Have a Fun & Safe Trip!
Tom
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Old 11-17-2019, 01:00 PM   #14
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If your north of SF, try Bodega Dunes in Bodega Bay. Also Casini Ranch Campgrounds on the Russian River is an option. Many more available if you research north coast camping. Wrights Beach is great but very hard to get reservations. Best of travels.
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Old 11-17-2019, 01:28 PM   #15
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Good Sam

We are members of Good Sam and I used their app to find camp sites when we traveled from Houston, to and up the California coast into Washington state and then back home again.

That app shows not only Good Sam camp grounds but many other camp grounds as well. I found camp grounds in areas that I did not expect to find them, and nice grounds at that. You may find what you are looking for through that app.

Good luck.
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Old 11-17-2019, 01:47 PM   #16
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Awesome tips thank you!
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Old 11-17-2019, 02:01 PM   #17
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Salt Point State Park. We stayed there for almost a month. It was empty during the week and we were always able to have a spot on weekends. (But if they had been booked on weekends there is a huge overflow lot overlooking the ocean that will never fill up and is almost nicer than the camp sites!)
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Old 11-17-2019, 04:34 PM   #18
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There are oodles of campgrounds along the California Coast, but you really need to decide HOW you want to camp before you start to reserve spots. Also, WHEN you want to camp will make a huge difference, weekends are always fuller than weekdays and holidays can get crazy.

Most California state parks don't offer water, sewer or hook ups, National forest service campgrounds are about the same. There are some pretty nice KOA style campgrounds all along the coast, but they do fill up on holidays and during late spring to fall.

Campendium App will really help you to analyze the areas and understand whether you will be Boondocking or have full hook-ups. I also like Allstays app and between the two can find all types of place to stay. Park Advisor is another one that we have used.

Last winter we really enjoyed Cassini Ranch (full hook ups and water) and we had a river site near Jenner, CA ...just a short ride to the ocean.
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Old 11-17-2019, 08:13 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loft47 View Post
One of the nicest is Jalama Beach, a Santa Barbara County facility. Rugged, beautiful and a little remote
One my favs!!! Plus killer jalama burgers at the shack. Search the forum for jalama beach hike....s to point conception and a view of santa barbara and the channel islands.
Personally having lived on the sonoma coast at sea ranch, very biased to the mendo to Ft ross section.

The Salt Pt Sp & Gerstle cove area has great hiking, maybe the best access on all the ca coast

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Ge...06e87c66c8a163

I look for a couple of past threads to post.

Bob
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Old 11-18-2019, 11:31 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by CruizinDux View Post
One my favs!!! Plus killer jalama burgers at the shack. Search the forum for jalama beach hike....s to point conception and a view of santa barbara and the channel islands.


....


Bob


Plus One on the Jalama Burger. If you like some heat, they have their Jalapeno Burger options too.



Just a few miles away there is also Cachuma Lake County Park further inland near Solvang (Danish town) & Santa Ynez in the Santa Ynez Valley in northwestern Santa Barbara County. The lake is where they held the crew/rowing competitions for the last LA Olympics.



You can camp on or near the lake, hike, canoe, fish, etc. on the lake & in the park, & visit around Los Olivos, Santa Ynez, Solvang, Chumash Rez & Casino, etc.



Also plan for a meal at the Cold Spring Tavern restaurant a bit further up/east in the valley off of SR 154, which has great food & is one of the original log cabin Stagecoach stops in the county. Great photo opps!

https://www.coldspringtavern.com/

Jalama Beach & Cachuma Lake are both on the Santa Barbara County Parks website for online reservations, or call them.

https://countyofsb.org/parks




However, the OP originally mention SF & north, whereas the above 2 are the south end of the Central Cal Coast well south of SF - so not sure if they're going that far south.



We're actually headed to Cachuma this coming weekend for an informal vintage trailer camp-out with friends (it's not a rally), & will hit Cold Springs for Saturday breakfast!



Cheers!
Tom
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