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California Beach Camping Parks

California Beach Camping - California beaches have a beauty and ruggedness not to be missed. Visit any one of the following links for the specifics. Imperial Beach - Silver Strand State Beach - Mission Beach - La Jolla - San Mateo. The ads on this page cover the actual campgrounds. You can day camp from 5 a.m. to midnight most places.

We visited Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Oceanside with our car leaving our RV inland at various RV parks. This works well because the parking beachside is very congested and very difficult. Most places you cannot park after 11 p.m. All of these beaches were clean, fun, the sand was grainy, the views spectacular, fairly crowded, but no one was rude or overly noisy.

There are lifeguards everywhere and they stay fairly active. All of these beaches have restrooms and showers available, and all of them have places to get lunch within a block or two of the ocean. Sometimes you can simply pull over, open your car door, throw your picnic blanket out on the grassy lawn, and gaze out over the 200 foot cliff drop down to the ocean shore. That is if you don't want to swim.

Newport Beach and Long Beach are not RV compatible, but in between those two cities is the best beach parking we have ever seen for RVs. Huntington Beach has endless beachside parking allowing the biggest coach enough room to maneuver. Parking prices are $12 a day for a car, $20 a day for RV's up to 24 feet, $40 a day for larger RV's, and $100 a day for busses. There are two types of parking lots in the city of Huntington Beach. There are parking lots for Huntington Beach State Park which hours are 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and then there is Huntington Beach City parking whose gates are open from 7 a.m. to midnight. There is metered parallel parking on Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) also. On Main Street there are unique shops, great casual restaurants, and a movie theater.

picture of huntington beach play area

Above: Picture taken at Huntington Beach overlooking the flat and paved walking path that parallels the coastline. If you wanted to walk, run, bike or skate the path it is about four miles end to end if you stay within the Huntington State Beach area. At the southern end of the trail is the Least Tern Preserve

picture of huntington beach

Above: Huntington Beach is known for its wide beaches. During the summer months this beach gets very crowded and even more so when a surf contest is being held.

picture taken at torrey pines glideport california

Above: Picture of Torrey Pines Gliderport near La Jolla. The gliderport sits on a high bluff right at the oceans edge. You don't have to jump over the edge if you don't want to. This is a great place for views and to watch the activities of the gliders taking off and landing. It's free to park and watch and maybe eat lunch with a fantastic view of the Pacific.

picture taken at mendocino botanical gardens

Above: Picture taken at Mendocino Botanical Gardens in Fort Bragg. Planning is everything. We didn't plan but one outing in Mendocino and that was the horseback riding through the mountains and on the beach. We got very lucky with the dahlia's in bloom at the gardens however and spent hours here.

Traveling north of San Francisco there are some beautiful coastal beaches but there seem to be more cliffs than flat beach areas. So parking is very limited. We camped one night on the beach at a state campground. Local police reinforce the no overnight parking rule. You will be chased out of any parking lot that doesn't allow overnighters, and you will probably be followed to make sure you don't pull another fast one. This is how state campground stay in business. In Fort Bragg we spent the day at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, and ate lunch in the middle of the dahlia garden.

Jason's thoughts - Good points include beautiful clear water in August, lots of marine life, nice people, cheap or free parking and showers beachside, great affordable eating establishments, fun activities to watch like volleyball and surfing, great waves for all water sports though I don't think jet skis are allowed anywhere, perfect day and night time temperatures allow for easy sleeping without air-conditioning which you can never do in June, July and August in our home base of Florida and the great minute by minute smile on my wife Kelly's face. California is her favorite place I think. If I were going to be homeless this is the place to do it. Sleeping outside is downright beautiful and very peaceful. Bad points are dirty ocean after rains, heavy traffic on interstates, expensive park fees, high gas prices, lack of large RV parking near many of the beaches, cold 68 degree water means wet suits for warm water babies like us, and Spanish language barrier some places.

Kelly's thoughts - I felt totally safe in all of the RV parks that we stayed at. The weather in the summer is terrific and mild in the day and cool at night. Everyday we experienced a good breeze if we were on the ocean or inland. I love that you can get away without air conditioning while RVing if you had to. I found it extremely difficult to find availability in RV parks ocean side during the summer months.

Travel Info - Altogether a great experience that is best done with a smaller rv or class B camper van. We camped inland leaving our large Class A rv in various campgrounds then took our car ocean side to the various beaches and sites. This worked great but if you had a van you could stay overnight many places by laying low and pretending to be just parking for the night in a neighborhood. That way you'd have less driving and no expensive camp fees. Sleeping overnight with no air conditioning is another great plus in California. Click for main San Diego or

American Road Trips - reviews & pictures of places we visited on $20 a day - food, gas and lodging.


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