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Old 04-29-2017, 07:22 PM   #1
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West coast trjp

We are planning a trip to the West coast this summer. Begging at our home in Colorado. Heading south to Santa Fe then Pheonix and West on I10 to Joshua Tree NP and from there to Yosemite stopping along the way at the NP along the way. From there we will head to LA and drive up the coast to Seattle.

We have no reservations and have not had any bad experiences finding a campground. However, I have heard that is not a good idea especially in California. We normally travel until we see something interesting or get tired then look around for a place to stay for a few days or more or less depending how we like the area. We prefer state, national, county or other public campgrounds rather than commercial.

I am primarily looking for advice on how to make this work. Thanks for your advice.
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Old 04-29-2017, 08:02 PM   #2
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sounds like a great trip. no advice for you in Calli sorry.
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Old 04-30-2017, 12:07 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by sailski View Post
We are planning a trip to the West coast this summer. Begging at our home in Colorado. Heading south to Santa Fe then Pheonix and West on I10 to Joshua Tree NP and from there to Yosemite stopping along the way at the NP along the way. From there we will head to LA and drive up the coast to Seattle.

We have no reservations and have not had any bad experiences finding a campground. However, I have heard that is not a good idea especially in California. We normally travel until we see something interesting or get tired then look around for a place to stay for a few days or more or less depending how we like the area. We prefer state, national, county or other public campgrounds rather than commercial.

I am primarily looking for advice on how to make this work. Thanks for your advice.
I'll bet you're already out of luck for Yosemite and for any state coastal campsites. And that's from San Diego to Seattle.
You might get the odd single night here and there.
You might find some private RV parks with some left.

Coastal campsites in California are booked up 6 months in advance nearly year round.
We are finishing up a 7 week trip, that started in March. We tried making reservations for coastal campsites in California state beaches and could only get 2 nights in a row, at one SoCal state Beach.

So expecting to just "wing it" in the summertime, is not going to work.
Competition for summer campsites in California started months ago and are gone in minutes.
Those that are successful are usually using multiple computers to get them.

Big reason why we stopped camping, during the summer, in California.

Suggest that you start looking for anything available and book any that you can.
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Old 04-30-2017, 08:06 AM   #4
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You might check this place out and use it while checking out Joshua Tree NP. My gal and I dropped in and dumped our tanks this February and they were nice folks.
https://twentyninepalmsresort.com/

Maybe run up 395 to Lee Vining and find a spot around there for a base camp to do Yosemite from the backside.
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Old 05-02-2017, 01:32 PM   #5
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Thanks to those who responded. I find it very strange that all sights are reservation only although most NP, state and county parks seem to make the most desirable site reservation only the majority of sites are walk-in. Although you may not get the best site you don't frequently get turned away unless your driving a big rig. We have a Sprinter based 24 foot class C towing a CRV to get around with. We can fit in almost any site except tent only sites.
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Old 05-02-2017, 09:56 PM   #6
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Thanks to those who responded. I find it very strange that all sights are reservation only although most NP, state and county parks seem to make the most desirable site reservation only the majority of sites are walk-in. Although you may not get the best site you don't frequently get turned away unless your driving a big rig. We have a Sprinter based 24 foot class C towing a CRV to get around with. We can fit in almost any site except tent only sites.
In California State Parks, the only time you find walkin sites is off-season or at unpopular locations.
Certainly not at state beach sites in the summer.
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Old 05-03-2017, 08:02 PM   #7
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I'll bet you're already out of luck for Yosemite and for any state coastal campsites. And that's from San Diego to Seattle.
You might get the odd single night here and there.
You might find some private RV parks with some left.

Coastal campsites in California are booked up 6 months in advance nearly year round.
We are finishing up a 7 week trip, that started in March. We tried making reservations for coastal campsites in California state beaches and could only get 2 nights in a row, at one SoCal state Beach.

So expecting to just "wing it" in the summertime, is not going to work.
Competition for summer campsites in California started months ago and are gone in minutes.
Those that are successful are usually using multiple computers to get them.

Big reason why we stopped camping, during the summer, in California.

Suggest that you start looking for anything available and book any that you can.
We did the Oregon coast the week following July 4th last year and had no problem getting spots. We reserved Oregon Dunes NRA sand camping about 2 weeks before, as well as Fort Stevens campground. Otherwise we winged it, including driving in and scoring a spot at Beachside State Park unreserved.
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Old 05-12-2017, 04:12 AM   #8
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As many have stated, the parks are usually booked months in advance. However, check out the site reserveamerica.com and you may still be able to find some places available during your trip.

If you don't mind boondocking, I have found numerous places along HWY 1 in California to pull off and stay for the night. Some with excellent ocean views...all for free. Lots of nice turnouts that aren't actual parking sites. Never get harassed by CHP as long as it's just for the night.
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