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Old 01-14-2019, 09:12 PM   #1
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Planning a big road trip to the west

We have a 6 week bucket list trip planned from Ontario Canada south through Nashville, Memphis, into Texas and across lower Arizona and then into California. So my question is on advise thoughts on a few RV parks we might stay.

Tombstone RV park Arizona , Mission Bay Park San Diego, Bodega Marine and RV park

Also on whether to travel the coastal highway from San Diego to Bodega pulling a 37' unit?
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Old 01-14-2019, 10:23 PM   #2
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I can vouch for Tombstone RV park. 1 mile outside of town, but they have a shuttle service that works well if you need it. Recently revamped and they did a great job. We stay there at least twice a year. Larger spaces than most.

Take time to see Kartchner Caverns, Bisbee Mining Museum, as well as all the attractions in Tombstone.

There are a few RV parks in Tombstone itself, but they are very tight and dated.

Sounds like a great trip. Have fun!
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Old 01-14-2019, 10:38 PM   #3
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We have a 6 week bucket list trip planned from Ontario Canada south through Nashville, Memphis, into Texas and across lower Arizona and then into California. So my question is on advise thoughts on a few RV parks we might stay.

Tombstone RV park Arizona , Mission Bay Park San Diego, Bodega Marine and RV park

Also on whether to travel the coastal highway from San Diego to Bodega pulling a 37' unit?
I am 7 minutes to mission bay park. You have to book waaaaaaay in advance. You didn’t give us dates, but if you’re coming this spring or summer, you may be too late, unless you already booked. Hopefully this is the case.

Coastal highway-if it were me, and it was about seeing sites, not just the fwy, I would do this route: Mission bay park, up the I-5, then off at Torrey pines state beach, and follow the 1 on a leisurely ride along the San Diego coast. Get back on the I-5 at Oceanside. Cruise up to Dana point, get off the i-5 and follow the 1 up through laguna beach, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Long Beach. Get on the 405 to the 10 west which dumps you back on the 1 in Santa Monica and cruise north through Malibu. After going through Oxnard, get on the 101 for a long cruise through Ventura, santabarbara, pismo, then decide if you want to do big sur (very tough with a37 ft TT) or get on the fwy.
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Old 01-14-2019, 10:40 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Columbus340RK View Post
We have a 6 week bucket list trip planned from Ontario Canada south through Nashville, Memphis, into Texas and across lower Arizona and then into California. So my question is on advise thoughts on a few RV parks we might stay.

Tombstone RV park Arizona , Mission Bay Park San Diego, Bodega Marine and RV park

Also on whether to travel the coastal highway from San Diego to Bodega pulling a 37' unit?
First question, are you planning on doing this trip in the summer? If so, any California public campgrounds on the coast, will already be booked up. Private campgrounds might have some sites. Assuming you have reserved sites at the 3 you mentioned, driving from San Diego to Bodega will be a long stressful drive if aren't staying somewhere in between.
Second question, which coastal highway are talking about,
Highway 101 or Highway 1? Big difference between the two.
I wouldn't do Highway 1 between Hearst Castle and Carmel with your combo(the Big Sur area). Nor from San Francisco and Bodega.
With a 37' trailer, I'd recommend Highway 101, which will go along the coast at a number of spots.
But you have to decide if you are willing to drive through LA and San Francisco with that big of a trailer.
I lived in both areas and I wouldn't.
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Old 01-14-2019, 11:01 PM   #5
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First question, are you planning on doing this trip in the summer? If so, any California public campgrounds on the coast, will already be booked up. Private campgrounds might have some sites. Assuming you have reserved sites at the 3 you mentioned, driving from San Diego to Bodega will be a long stressful drive if aren't staying somewhere in between.
Second question, which coastal highway are talking about,
Highway 101 or Highway 1? Big difference between the two.
I wouldn't do Highway 1 between Hearst Castle and Carmel with your combo(the Big Sur area). Nor from San Francisco and Bodega.
With a 37' trailer, I'd recommend Highway 101, which will go along the coast at a number of spots.
But you have to decide if you are willing to drive through LA and San Francisco with that big of a trailer.
I lived in both areas and I wouldn't.
Thanks for the advise our other option was to swing back around towards Bakersfield and head towards San Francisco rom that direction and just see the coast during day trips from wherever we end up. We would be in that area near the third week in March we haven't booked any places because we don't have a fixed schedule so I guess bookings are going to be difficult.
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Old 01-14-2019, 11:35 PM   #6
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Thanks for the advise our other option was to swing back around towards Bakersfield and head towards San Francisco rom that direction and just see the coast during day trips from wherever we end up. We would be in that area near the third week in March we haven't booked any places because we don't have a fixed schedule so I guess bookings are going to be difficult.
I've driven the entire California coast many times, towing and not towing.
If I was pulling your rig, I would drive up I5 from San Diego and cut over to the coast at the 134W to the 101N. Take it up to just south of San Francisco and go around it on the East Bay side. Then cross back to the 101 at Richmond and head up to Petaluma. From there, go west to Bodega Bay.
Or just take I5 all the way to 80W.
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Old 01-14-2019, 11:52 PM   #7
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Just to add

Many county state and national parks are booked at least 6 months in advance and wonít be able to accommodate a 37 footer. However, there are many private RV parks that may work for you. Here are some you could consider in the San Diego area:

Chula Vista marina & RV Park
Campland on the bay
Mission bay RV (a bit run down but on the bay)
Paradise RV Park in Oceanside

Good sam may have more
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Old 01-15-2019, 09:52 AM   #8
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i lived in huntington beach for 40 years and now live in arizona. some thoughts:
tombstone territories rv park = yes
north of tucson we like catalina state park
you will probably be going west on i8 to san diego. there are many, many rv parks in yuma that should have space as the snowbirds will start to leave around that time.
you could try huntington state beach in huntington beach or dockweiler state beach in el segundo. they both have trailer camping on the beach.

it's up to you to decide if you want to tow through the beach communities. the beachside roads have many signals, people, and cars. if you are going to be in san diego leave the trailer in the campsite and travel up the coast in the tow vehicle to see the sites. take i-5 / i-405 up to huntington beach and stay at the state beach. use bolsa chica exit off i-405. again travel the coast roads in only your tow vehicle. you can easily see from laguna beach to palos verde from huntington beach. then do the same at dockweiler. you can see all the south bay up to malibu.

others will give advice for areas further north.
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Old 01-15-2019, 11:45 AM   #9
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I've driven the entire California coast many times, towing and not towing.
If I was pulling your rig, I would drive up I5 from San Diego and cut over to the coast at the 134W to the 101N. Take it up to just south of San Francisco and go around it on the East Bay side. Then cross back to the 101 at Richmond and head up to Petaluma. From there, go west to Bodega Bay.
Or just take I5 all the way to 80W.

I concur with this route. Hwy 1 from Cambria to Monterey is BEAUTIFUL but not an easy tow with a 37' trailer, is it a tag or 5er, if the former, then no way. And DON'T TAKE THE 1 north of Golden Gate Bridge, I can attest to it being way too tight and I was towing a 30' 5er with my BIL following, he still doesn't let me live that down. Bodega Bay is neat but you're camping right out on a spit of land and it can get real windy. Family owns Lawson's Landing in nearby Dillon Beach, dry camping but unique place.
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Old 01-15-2019, 02:05 PM   #10
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In Nashville, 7 Points Campground on Percy Priest Lake, big beautiful sites on a beautiful lake. West Memphis, Tom Sawyer campground, right on the Mississippi.
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Old 01-15-2019, 02:07 PM   #11
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I concur with this route. Hwy 1 from Cambria to Monterey is BEAUTIFUL but not an easy tow with a 37' trailer, is it a tag or 5er, if the former, then no way. And DON'T TAKE THE 1 north of Golden Gate Bridge, I can attest to it being way too tight and I was towing a 30' 5er with my BIL following, he still doesn't let me live that down. Bodega Bay is neat but you're camping right out on a spit of land and it can get real windy. Family owns Lawson's Landing in nearby Dillon Beach, dry camping but unique place.
Yep, Lawson's Landing is a unique place to camp. They have been fighting for years to stay open, due to efforts by environmentalists to close it down.
I grew up in Sonoma County and we went there often, along with Bodega Bay.
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Old 01-15-2019, 02:36 PM   #12
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Cava Robles RV Resort in Paso Robles, outstanding and new park. Also Pismo Coast Village very nice. Stay on 101 with that size rig. You might also consider Flying Flags in Buellton by Solvang. Super nice, our favorite. Don't take the 5 fwy through LA when it splits at the 405 junction. Take the 405.
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Old 01-15-2019, 03:10 PM   #13
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As NMWILDcat mentioned the RV Tombstone location is nice and has been revamped. Some great locations to park and enjoy in this area if you desire. If you like State Parks the Karchner Caverns SP is nice with the cave tours on site (about 10-15 minutes south off of I10). Very clean facility with water, electric + Dump. About 30 min. from Tombstone. Bisbee is a great visit as well as mentioned. If you like military forts Fort Huachuca in Sierra Vista is great to visit as it is also an established historic site with nice museum but does require sign-in as it is still an Active Duty post. If you are retired or AD/DoD they have a very nice RV park there too. There is lots more but certainly have some fun and enjoy!
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Old 01-15-2019, 04:23 PM   #14
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Following this topic. When are you going? We are heading down from Ontario to Yuma Arizona. May head into California while we are there. Likely stop at Tuson for a few days. Our departure depends on weather. Hope to get south of the snow in one day of driving. I assume you are not leaving this winter so I can post details from our trip when we get back.
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Old 01-15-2019, 04:24 PM   #15
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You will want to check . Certain length trailers are not permitted on some roads. In some parks. I remember seeing some signs stating 27í and over not permitted.
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Old 01-15-2019, 06:57 PM   #16
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so far all of the arizona state parks that we have visited have sites that can accommodate large rv's. but what is frustrating for us with large rv's is to see a 90 foot pad occupied by a 25 foot trailer. the national forest campgrounds are usually the ones with restrictions. the state parks we have been to are fools hollow, dead horse ranch, and catalina.
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Old 01-15-2019, 08:15 PM   #17
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Last summer DW and I and another couple managed a Great Western Tour of National Parks and visited many of the sites you should consider visiting on your excursion. We are based in Southern California. I will try to recall the sites and RV parks we liked from memory.

First thing I would do is get a copy of the RV Road Atlas and Campground Guide from Camping World.

If you are coming through Texas on I-40, make a loop north in New Mexico to visit Santa Fe. Best Southwestern cuisine we have found.

Come south to I-40 at Albuquerque and continue west to Gallup, NM. Severl nice RV parks there.

Once in Arizona, try staying at the KOA nearest Petrified Forest NP. spend a day sightseeing there and in adjacent Painted Desert.

Go west to Williams and stay at Grand Canyon RR RV Park. Easy drive from there to Grand Canyon.

I-40 W joins I-15 S at Barstow. Not much to see there. You may try going further South on I=-15 to Vail Lake RV Park just outside Temecula, CA. Great RV park and lots of terrific shopping and dining in Temecula. Also the heart of SoCal Wine Country.

In San Diego area we stay at Santee Lakes RV outside of town. Easy day trips into city to see Balboa Park, the Zoo, the waterfront, Aircraft Carrier Midway, etc. Drive north from San Diego on PCH (Route 1) is typical two-lane, narrow town to town without much dramatic scenery. I'd go I-5 into LA area.

Our favorite nearby RV park in LA area is East Shore RV in Pomona, right near LA County Fairgrounds.

From LA I'd go West on I-10 to I-5 North to SR 126, Weswt through Ventura and Santa Barbara to Buelton. Flying Flags is one of our favorite RV Parks. Eat at AJ Spurs just East of 101, and visit Solvang.

North on 101 to Paso Robles finds you again in Wine Country with several nice RV parks.

From Paso, the drive north is best on 101 to I-280 North at San Jose to San Francisco. I would go through the city to the Golden Gate Bridge (free toll) then continue on 101 to Petaluma and stay at the KOA there just west of the 101. Again you'll be in wine country. However, if you are a beer lover like me, visit the Lagunitas Brewery just a few blocks away from the KOA. Try their "Round the World" Sampler, but make sure you have a designated driver!! Cheers!
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Old 01-15-2019, 09:06 PM   #18
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In San Diego, add to the list of parks the Metro KOA in Chula Vista - lots of amenities for the kiddies. Lakeside sites are scarce as hen's teeth year around at Santee Lakes. You can't get into them anyway. I would not try the Coast Hwy south of Santa Monica, nor would I try it north of Pismo Beach or the Hearst Castle. 10 years ago, my navigator missed a turn and we got caught in San Francisco in a 32' MH. That was nightmarish.
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Old 01-15-2019, 10:08 PM   #19
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I live in Los Angeles area now but really enjoy the Santa Ynes area in Central California. Flying Flags south of Paso Robles is very nice 'luxury' full service RV park, but it is pricey. Solvang is a quaint tourist town right there worth a visit. Los Olivos is another town close by where the movie Sideways was filmed.

https://highwaywestvacations.com/properties/flyingflags

Further north both Pismo Beach and Morro Bay are also awesome, but would not drive the coast route between Morro Bay and Monterrey pulling a large trailer.

If you travel south down the 5 fwy towards Los Angeles there's Valencia Travel Village on the 126 before you get into LA. If you like amusement parks there's Magic Mountain 5 min away - Valencia Travel Village | Valencia Travel Village Is An RV Resort
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Old 01-15-2019, 10:19 PM   #20
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In San Diego, add to the list of parks the Metro KOA in Chula Vista - lots of amenities for the kiddies. Lakeside sites are scarce as hen's teeth year around at Santee Lakes. You can't get into them anyway. I would not try the Coast Hwy south of Santa Monica, nor would I try it north of Pismo Beach or the Hearst Castle. 10 years ago, my navigator missed a turn and we got caught in San Francisco in a 32' MH. That was nightmarish.
Not sure the last time you hit this KOA, but it stinks...literally the river has gotten very bad and smells terrible. So not only are you at the intersection of two highways, 805 & 54 and across from one of the worst neighborhoods is San Diego (national city), but it stinks as well.

Santee lakes is nice, but it is really far from San Diego attractions.
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