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Lightning55

Pleasanton, CA

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Posted: 10/01/21 09:37am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I live in northern CA and went online yesterday searching for a camping spot for a future weekend outing with the new 5th wheel. EVERYWHERE is booked solid for months. Anywhere near the coast is impossible, and going into the mountains are slim pickings with all the state park closures due to fires.
I might as well just park it in front of my house and pretend we're in the mountains. Is everywhere else like this? Owning this rig and an expensive tow vehicle hardly seems worth it if we can't go anywhere.

dedmiston

The West

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Posted: 10/01/21 09:51am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We're headed to the desert tonight. It's actually going to be cooler there than home.

It's wide open, free, and doesn't require reservations.

My point is to get creative, because there are places in CA to camp. This isn't to minimize your problem though, because finding camping spots is definitely a crazy byproduct of the pandemic.

I don't want to give away any of my secret spots, but I've noticed that a lot of seaside communities are starting to open up funky parcels of land for camping. They aren't cheap and they're typically dry camping (no hookups), but they're definitely springing up.

We went out last weekend and completely overpaid $72/night to be sandwiched into a gravel lot downtown at the beach. There were vacancies though. The only reason we went was because our close friends were going and we love them exactly $72 worth, but not one cent more. If it had been $73, we probably would have balked, and $75 would have been a deal breaker.


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dedmiston

The West

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Posted: 10/01/21 09:59am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

P.S. Check your PMs, Lightning55. I shared a secret spot with you.

wowens79

Georgia

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Posted: 10/01/21 10:47am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Here in the south east, the state parks that you want to go to stay pretty booked. After labor day, some of the campgrounds on lakes you can find some sights. The Campgrounds in the mountains stay pretty booked.

You have to book way out, or luck into a cancelation.

There are some state parks that always have availability, but they are in the flats in the middle of GA, and not really an appealing place to go, no beach, no mountains, no lake.


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toedtoes

California

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Posted: 10/01/21 10:56am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

First, you are limiting yourself to state park campgrounds. There is nothing wrong with them, but there is a lot more out there.

Federal campgrounds (USFS, COE, BOR) are a great option.
USFS campgrounds are usually open only during peak season with some being open during the shoulder season on a FCFS basis. Unfortunately, with the extensive fires in recent years, they are very likely to close earlier. And late snows can postpone their openings until as late as July. So it tends to change yearly.

Many of the COE campgrounds are in the foothills. That means they are open year round. During peak season, they are very hot (think valley weather in the summer) and very crowded due to the water sports people (boaters, skiers, jet skiers, etc). In off season, they can be great weatherwise and are far less crowded. I have never had a problem getting a reservation (or even just heading out without one) between October and April. You should check online and make sure the campground you choose doesn't have a closure due to maintenance, etc, as that can happen.

BOR campgrounds are fewer but follow the COE campgrounds.

For me, the most difficult time to camp is August and September. The weather is too hot for me in the foothills and valley areas, and the mountain campgrounds are getting hit by fires and closing.


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bighatnohorse

Gig Harbor - Cave Creek

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Posted: 10/01/21 11:55am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Some places stop taking reservations in the fall and become first-come-first-serve - and their website shows "full" on their campground map.
But if you read the alerts, they will tell you so.
Other sites, like forest service campgrounds simply close and they too stop taking reservations.


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corvettekent

Marysville, WA

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Posted: 10/01/21 12:03pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We will be in CA for the month of December with no reservations and I know that we will not have any problem finding places to set up camp. Of course we don't park in RV campground with a few hundred others. We find places off grid with no power and camp the old fashion way.

It all depends on how you defined camping.


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Mayor30

Pa

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Posted: 10/01/21 02:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Go during the week instead of on weekends.We usually go in the spring and fall and from a Sunday to Thursday.We almost always can find a site.

NamMedevac 70

Reno

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Posted: 10/01/21 02:59pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Some Cal state parks stop requiring reservations on October 1st and is first come first serve according to the American Land & Leisure campground manager who told me this in May. I just returned from short fishing camping trip at Lake Davis in Plumas National Forest and their Lightning tree campground is fully open with no reservations or fees. You must pack out your own trash and no running water and no hookups but some vault toilets are open. Only 5 campers in the 50 campground site as of yesterday. The other two campgrounds are closed for the season.

Must be flexible and camping during week is always successful for me. I don't like weekend noisy crowds and their non stop barking dogs.

I frequently boondock on northern Nevada vast BlM lands that are completely free and open.

lenr

Indianapolis, IN

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Posted: 10/01/21 03:01pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It's not just CA. We gave up traveling in the fall in the midwest because everything is booked on weekends. Traveling for a month or two at a time requires weekends. I'm going to schedule next spring soon.

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