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Old 09-20-2023, 01:03 PM   #1
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US West Coast Fall Trip Advice

1. We are leaving from Calgary to Seattle and headed slowly down the west coast (Washington, Oregon, California) this October. Any places we shouldn't miss? Any recommended camping spots? We are well set up for boondocking so we don't have to have sites with hookups but do need to fit our 19 and Ford Explorer tow vehicle.

2. While in California, any recommendations for a good camping spot in late Oct near Yosemite near Hwy 120? We've checked the National Park site and all campsites are reserved until Oct 23 when it becomes first come first serve (FF) - any experience of getting a FF site after Oct 23? We've checked Forest Service sites near Yosemite and they all seem to close before Oct 23.

3. Any recommended campsites around San Francisco?

We appreciate any advice.
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Old 09-20-2023, 01:13 PM   #2
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I'll start you at the north end...

Salt Creek County Park just west of Port Angeles. Camping can be RV park style or in the trees campground. World famous tide pooling on Tongue Point.

Kalaloch Campground on the coast of the Olympic NP. Great beach for walking, the Tree of Life just north of the campground on the beach, dog friendly.

Cape Disappointment State Park on the north side of the Columbia River bar.

Enjoy your trip!
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Old 09-20-2023, 01:59 PM   #3
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Hi Mark,

I'll start with the South end.

Half Moon Bay State Beach works well for the San Francisco area, best of both worlds. Beautiful spot right on the ocean and an easy drive into SF for site seeing.

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Old 09-20-2023, 03:40 PM   #4
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Iíll do the middle [emoji6]. You canít go wrong at any of the state parks in Oregon but our favorite on the coast is Nehalem due to the ease of getting to the beach, nice trails, and proximity to the cute town of Manzanita. Another option is Harris Beach in Brookings which has some beautiful coastline with lots of sea stacks.
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Old 09-21-2023, 09:45 AM   #5
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Yosemite is a tough one. You are competing with people from around the world. I would try and log in anytime you have a chance to see if someone has canceled. Closure end of October probably due to possible snow. You may need to camp far away and make a day trip.

San Francisco RV Resort in Pacifica is the closest camp ground to San Francisco. We have family who camps there frequently when visiting the area.

If you have a chance, travel to Monterey area and even farther south to Morro Bay State Park.
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Old 09-21-2023, 10:24 AM   #6
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When In Monterey, Laguna Seca Racetrack is a great RV Park if no races on. Camp B or C.
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Old 09-21-2023, 10:24 PM   #7
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Do you plan to drive along the coast, or are you open to more central routes? There are lots of great places and hikes, but our knowing which north-south routes you prefer will make answering your question easier. For example:

To traverse Oregon, there are three primary routes to choose from (from west to east) - Hwy 101, I-5, and Hwy 97. 101 stays on or close to the coast; I-5 runs through the Willamette Valley and through Roseburg, Medford, and Ashland; 97 runs from Mt Hood area to Bend to Klamath.

Do you like to hike? Visit State and/or National Parks?

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Old 09-23-2023, 09:44 PM   #8
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Thanks for your input

Thanks for the ideas. We have followed up to see what is available at several locations. Looks like lots of places through Washington and Oregon. We've ruled out Yosemite - just no place to stay. Same story with Half Moon Bay. We'll be checking out Monterey and Pinnacles National Park. We'll be headed down the coast and may come back up more inland. Thanks for all the suggestions and recommendations. If anyone has any other good ideas feel free to ad them.
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Old 09-24-2023, 12:19 PM   #9
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Look up Wrights Beach at the Sonoma Coast State Park in California. Typically tough to get into for anything longer than a day or two, but if you are both flexible and lucky, you might score one of the spots through a cancellation. Call the reservation number early and often for your best chance.
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Old 09-24-2023, 11:45 PM   #10
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If you haven't seen it, look at Yosemite Ridge at Buck Meadows on SR120. A very small RV park, it was about an hour to Yosemite valley. We stayed there many years ago in March and liked it, I see they have new ownership and expanded the number of sites, so can't give an accurate review, but was close enough to overnight and day trip to Yosemite.

I took another look at the reservation page, it is now $90 a night for the site we stayed in - in the 'RV' loop. I think we might have paid around $30 back in 2014. I am guessing you are looking for a more budget friendly forestry site.

Yosemite Ridge Resort
Kirk & Shelley
2014 19'
Surrey, Beautiful BC, Canada
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Old 09-25-2023, 11:50 AM   #11
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If you are going up I 5 you should go up Hwy 62 to Crater Lake NP (weather allowing). There is a USFS campground at Union Creek, just north of Prospect. It is an absolute favorite of ours. Always found a space, many of which are within 20-50 feet of the rushing Rogue River. The only sound is river rapids and birds (and maybe a little traffic from the hwy).

You may even see a Water Ousel.
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Old 09-25-2023, 09:03 PM   #12
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We stayed at the Silver Lake Campground on the June Lake Loop and drove to Yosemite from there. Made for a long day but well worth it. The June Lake Loop starts and ends at highway 395. Lots of cool stuff to see from 395. Devil's Postpile, Alabama Hills, Hot Creek, Mammoth Lakes, Bristlecone Pines
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Old 09-25-2023, 10:11 PM   #13
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I recommend the coast of California. There are many nice places that you should be able to book north of San Francisco ( Ive enjoyed Fort Bragg). It gets harder to get sites south of SF unless you book in advance, or stay at more expensive places.
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Old 09-25-2023, 10:17 PM   #14
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Near Yosemite, we used our Harvest Host membership to stay at Shooting Star Sanctuary. It's a private residence with lots of animal. They were great and let us stay for as long as we wanted (just two days).

Be sure to get your Yosemite reservation. You can't just drive up and get in anymore. Even with the capacity quota though, we actually found it too crowded to enjoy much.
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Old 09-26-2023, 11:59 AM   #15
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On the coast north of sf there are a lot of choices. There are two county campgrounds in Bodega Bay—Doran Beach and Westside. They are near each other with Doran being preferable. No hookups. They can be quite booked but check frequently for cancellations. There are a lot of no shows, but I am not sure if they are allowing drive up registration. Lots of good fish all over town. Artichoke fritters at the Birds outdoor restaurant, chowder at Fishatarian.
--Time and trouble will tame an advanced young woman, but an advanced older woman is uncontrollable by any earthly force. --Dorothy Sayers
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Old 09-26-2023, 06:03 PM   #16
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We also recommend the CA coast in October - typically very little fog & comfortably warm.

Most of the places we go to require reservations but here is an article I found that might help you find some last minute places.

I can't personally vouch for these places but I think Indian Flat RV park or Yosemite Pines RV Resort are open year round and could be a place to stage a visit to Yosemite. If you can...visit Yosemite!!

Here's another article that suggests some places along Hwy 1. If you can't get into Half Moon Bay State Park there's a place just south of it called Pelican Point RV Park. There is a gorgeous trail along the coast there - we've hiked and biked over to Half Moon Bay from there. If you can't get in there, there is also a place just north of Half Moon Bay State Park called Pillar Point RV Park that does NOT take reservations. It's a typical RV park, but they have some sites right along the beach with great views. Best time to snag a spot there is mid week in the morning. Could go visit SF from here.

If you can, check out Point Reyes National Park (north of SF). Tons of hiking there. Olema Campground is a nice place to stay in that area. Bodega Bay is also a very nice harbor to visit. And I concur with H20wmn - the chowder at Fishatarian is the bomb!!!

Note - if the US Congress does not pass a budget, Federal places like Yosemite and Point Reyes may be impacted, perhaps even closed, until a budget is passed. Check Yosemite and Point Reyes websites periodically for updates.

Harris Beach in Oregon is one of our favorites. Hope you have a safe and wonderful West Coast trip!
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Old 09-26-2023, 06:34 PM   #17
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And don't forget to look into the casinos that dot The West coast.
Ann and Bruce, 2021 5.0 TA, towed with a 2021 Toyota Tundra.
Trying full timing now.
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Old 09-27-2023, 03:24 AM   #18
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Mt Lassen National Park is a gem in Northern California, thats not as crowded as some of the other NPs... I like camping at the Summit Lake campgrounds there.
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Old 09-27-2023, 11:32 AM   #19
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If you are traveling down the coast, I highly recommend Jedediah Smith Redwoods State and National Parks. Camping amongst the redwoods is absolutely stunning; there's the Smith river nearby if you like fishing. We stayed in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park (they're right next to each other); if there's no reservations available, I recall they had a first-come, first-serve loop that almost no one was in. Not all the sites may be suitable for a trailer, but I think a quite few would accommodate an E19.
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Old 09-27-2023, 11:37 AM   #20
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We recently stayed at a sunset State Beach near Santa Cruz. Easy drive from there to Monterey, Carmel, Salinas-(lunch at the Steinbeck House and the Steinbeck museum). We were able to get a site relatively easily online but they take first come first served if available. We were there during the week and many empty sites. We have also had good luck with finding sites at the state park at San Simeon- Hearst Castle if you are going that far. Check out BLM land on the eastern side of the Sierras and make a day trip into Yosemite. Anywhere along the Oregon coast is beautiful! Our favorite state park is Carl Washburne. There are some beautiful hikes there. Be sure to stop at Cape Perpetua along the way. In Northern California, we stayed at Big Lagoon County Park north of Trinidad. It is fcfs and it was full being a Friday, however we talked to the host who told us where we could park our rig. Wound up spending a week there moving into a site on Sunday. Easy drive from there to Redwood National Park. Sounds like a great trip. Fall should be beautiful!
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