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Old 07-19-2015, 06:56 PM   #1
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Northern California - SF Area, Foxtails and Dust, where are the nice campgrounds?

We usually take off for 1-2 weeks 3-4x per year and travel quite bit but sometimes, we simply want to take our airstream out for a weekend without traveling hundreds of miles. Beside Kirk Creek campground on Highway 1, we have not found a nice place that has some grassy areas for a few days. It seems that "dirt and foxtails" describes most places accurately. CA dog owners will know what I am talking about. Foxtails are plant seeds that can enter the nose, ear, or can get through skin and travel in a dog's body. Very frustrating and expensive to track down and remove.
From our base in the Bay area, we have been at Del Valle Regional Park, Pinnacles NP, Manresa SB, Skyline Wilderness Park in Napa, Rancho Seco Park - wow, what a disappointment most of these campgrounds are.

We usually avoid RV resorts because we like to sit around a campfire and love having space between sites, but on a recent trip we spent a night in Auburn Gold Country RV park and really liked this park for its cleanliness and honestly, the lack of dust and dirt.

This said, we love camping out in the desert: Utah, Goblin Valley, Kodachrome Basin, Arches, etc. But these campgrounds have charm and are reasonably well maintained and: no foxtails!

So enough complaining, but if someone knows better alternatives in or near the Bay area, perhaps North of SF or in the Gold Country, we'd love to hear and to check them out.
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Old 07-20-2015, 09:39 AM   #2
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North of SF, you might check out Bodega Dunes and Wrights Beach in the Sonoma Coast State Park. These are both nice parks along the coast so they're cool in the summer. Reservations are a must have though. Also in Bodega Bay is the Dorian Beach campground. It's also on the ocean front and can be breezy. In the Tomales Bay area, there's the Olema RV campground that has grassy spots. It's not far from Point Reyes.

Since you made it to Auburn and liked it there, you might check out the American River Resort in Coloma. This is on the American River where gold was originally discovered in California. And, if you're up for a little longer drive you might be interested in the Zephyr Cove RV Resort at Lake Tahoe. This is a beautiful park in a great location just over the Nevada state line at South Lake Tahoe.
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Old 07-20-2015, 09:58 AM   #3
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We just did a recon trip to find different camp sites in Calif and found a great state park near Murphys.....Big Trees SP (Calaveras Big Trees SP). It was cool, quiet and a lot of hiking. It looked great for a weekend and only a few hours drive from the bay area up Hwy 4.

Have fun!
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Old 07-20-2015, 05:47 PM   #4
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Check out sites in the Plumas NF. Grayeagle, lake davis , Almanor and around Portola. Mostly visited by chico, redding and Reno folks. Drop dead gorgeous. Shhhh. Dont tell


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Old 07-20-2015, 08:21 PM   #5
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Knuff,
We are dog owners and don't like foxtails either.
We have a few different varieties here in California.
They even grow in the Mojave.
Weed Gallery: Foxtails--UC IPM
We like to camp above 4000', no foxtails or poison oak and not as many ticks.

A friend of ours with an Airstream just stayed at Sanborn County Park, Saratoga,
While they went to the Grateful Dead concert in Santa Clara.
I have not been there but they said it was nice.
https://www.sccgov.org/sites/parks/p...s/Sanborn.aspx

-Dennis
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Old 07-20-2015, 10:08 PM   #6
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Lots of excellent information already! Thank you all for the tips.
Looking at our options, I am wondering about El Dorado County - any good places there?
Jackson Rancheria might be overkill though, but it is on the list of places to-be-checked-out.

Calaveras Big Trees and Sonoma Coast look tempting as well.
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Old 07-21-2015, 11:01 AM   #7
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We stayed at Jackson Rancheria RV park last January. If you want a perfectly manicured RV park, with big rigs, and full hookups and you're willing to pay $50+ per night, it's a nice place to stay and explore the area. It's not the type of park we typically stay at (and from your original post it doesn't sound like your type of park either), but it is one of the top rated parks in the entire US by Woodalls. There's another option you might consider in Plymouth on Hwy 49, 49er Village RV Park. We have stayed there a couple of times. Lots of wineries to visit in that area.

You mentioned Kirk Creek in Big Sur, you should also check out Big Basin Redwoods State Park near Santa Cruz and Pfiefer Big Sur State Park south of Carmel. Both are beautiful! Again, make reservations first.
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Old 07-21-2015, 12:19 PM   #8
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Knuff -

From 10 - 22 I worked my way thru 6th grade - HS & college grooming dogs & dealt with more foxtails - & cockle-burrs - than any individual dog owner ever will in those jobs! .... a royal PITA, especially for the owners who felt that one summer cut per year & no other care at home was okay!

I'm also extremely allergic to those grasses in their green stage!

That said - we're in the midst of a bad drought (although the last few days don't count) - so they're going to be bad everywhere with the wild grasses shooting up quickly after rains then drying out. So they're bad just about everywhere - even in Yosemite!

You're best bet might be the northern "wet coast rainforests" & redwoods areas north of SF Bay area. We always liked Prairie Creek NP.

Fern Canyon in Prairie Creek Redwoods SP, Trinidad/McKinleyville/Orick, Humboldt County, California

Also - for you & anyone getting up to Eureka, the Samoa Cookhouse across the bay on Samoa Is. is a real treat & step back into time. Huge & delicious family style meals from a few selections each day per meal time, & a logging/sawmill museum to pass the time waiting for a table or after. It was the original cookhouse for the mill there.

There is also a few nice beach city RV, State, County & National Parks up there too along the Humbolt Coast.

Everyone will surely love your Cayenne towed rig up there for sure!

Have Fun!
Tom
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Old 07-21-2015, 12:23 PM   #9
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Try the Vineyard in Vacaville, CA. Very nice campground. Highly recommend.
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Old 07-21-2015, 12:28 PM   #10
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S.F. area camping option

My wife and I stayed in Bothe-Napa Valley State Park earlier this year and it was great. The only downside is that there was quite a bit of poison oak at the edges of the campground. It looked like they were ready to start some abatement but not sure if they followed through. It is a clean campground and close to Calistoga and St. Helena.
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Old 07-21-2015, 12:58 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goetzee View Post
My wife and I stayed in Bothe-Napa Valley State Park earlier this year and it was great. The only downside is that there was quite a bit of poison oak at the edges of the campground. It looked like they were ready to start some abatement but not sure if they followed through. It is a clean campground and close to Calistoga and St. Helena.
I'll second this suggestion. It's a nice park in the woods at the NW end of Napa Valley. When we stayed there a few years ago, we did see some ticks. So, make sure your dog is treated with Frontline or another effective deterrent. Probably a good idea anytime you take your dog camping. Our Golden Retriever, Duffy, always gets a treatment with Vectra 3D which we get from our Vet. So far, so good.
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Old 07-21-2015, 01:08 PM   #12
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Have you looked into Anthony Chabot Regional Park? Also part of the East Bay Regional Park system and is up in the hills above Castro Valley area. We have not been there this year so it may be just as dry as Del Valle but there are camping areas surrounded by beautiful eucalyptus trees. It might be worth a look.
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Old 07-21-2015, 01:09 PM   #13
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On a cross country trip in 2008 we enjoyed a very pleasant stay at Anthony Chabot Regional Park, Castro Valley. The park is at altitude, above 1000 feet I believe, which provided magnificent views especially at night over the bay area. Recommend campsites 1, 2, or 3 (if my memory is correct).
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Old 07-21-2015, 01:11 PM   #14
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Lots of great suggestions here!

If you drive through the valley (ugh) and head up toward Truckee, you can catch Hwy 89 and travel north. Wonderful drive! Along the way are some great campgrounds. Lake Almanor is nice, and offers forest service type accommodations, and before that there are some areas near Quincy that are lovely as well along the Feather River. Plumas Eureka State Park is nice, but more "spendy". If you head up to Lake Almanor you can easily take a day trip into Lassen National Park (no trailer camping inside the park, but Hat Creek has a campground, but last year there was major fire in the area, so I can't speak to what it is like today).

If you want to head south, perhaps down Hwy 101 to San Luis Obispo, the park at Morro Bay is nice and Montana de Oro just out of San Luis Obispo is also nice for scenery, etc.

If you want to stay closer to home, perhaps Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park just out of Felton would be of interest. Seacliff State Beach Park is one of our past favorites as well, located near Aptos.

Have fun, and let us know where you go and how it suited your wants and needs!
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