Is there any type of list out there of CA campgrounds that also allow PUPs?

Discussion in 'California' started by Amblix, Oct 13, 2018.

  1. Amblix

    Amblix New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2018
    I'm planning on my maiden voyage but am having a bit of a tough time figuring out where I'm going to go. I'm in the Silicon Valley area so plan on staying pretty close by. Don't really need full hookups either. Where I struggle is, do I need to find 'RV' parks, or do most campgrounds also have RV sites? Do most CA camp sites require a PUP to be in an RV site? I keep reading that it's up to the campground and they can differ. That's why I'm wondering if perhaps someone has made a list.

    I'd like to make my way down to SD next, staying at one or two sites on the way down. Not sure how to pick those either. Many of the 'RV' parks seem a bit overkill. Boondocking would also be fun. Not sure there are many places around me to do that though.
     
  2. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,753
    Likes Received:
    2,645
    Joined:
    May 28, 2018
    Location:
    California
    RV Parks and campgrounds are often used interchangeably. However, for simplicity sake I'm differentiating from them here as follows:

    RV Park - private park that is usually similar looking to a subdivision with RVs intead of houses. May have longterm and shortterm stays allowed.

    Campground - usually public (state, federal, county) that is in a rural setting, often near hiking trails, lakes, rivers, etc.

    Other - fairgrounds, walmarts, etc. Places that may allow RVs to park overnight or for short stays, but are nothing more than parking lots for the most part.

    RV parks often have rules against popups. Some won't allow anything but class A rigs. Many have age restrictions (e.g., no rigs over 10 years old).

    Campgrounds rarely have rules against a type of RV. Instead they may have size limits due to windy access roads, tree and rock intrustions into campsites, etc.). Only a few will have a ban on popups and that is most always due to a bear problem at the campground.

    Campgrounds may have RV sites, tent sites and sites. Most federal forest campgrounds are fairly easy going - if you can fit, you can camp in that site. The exception is usually "walk in sites". This is where you park the car in a small parking lot and walk a few yards or more to the campsite. These are tent only because you can't park your RV at the campsite at all. Otherwise, unless you are using a generator, most FF campgrounds will ignore an RV in a tent site and visa versa.

    In your area, you can easily stay at any California State Park campground. The state parks are a bit more picky than the federal forests - such as no dogs on trails. But they should have no problem with a popup. Some will have hookups, but you can pick and choose between those and no hookup sites. The coastal campgrounds are often very minimal and look like gravel parking lots, but you are on the coast. As you move inland, you will find nicer campsites but without the ocean view.

    The coastal campgrounds are more expensive and fill up quick, so reservations are limited. Boondocking is not allowed on statw park property and many cities have rules against parking lot or street overnighting. So heading down to San Diego slowly will be fairly expensive. Best bet is to reserve a couple state beach campsites for a night each (there are some rules about a minimum two night stay vut they vary between campgrounds). Half Moon Bay is nice. There are a lot further down the coast closer to LA.

    For a local stay (around Santa Cruz), you can do Half Moon Bay, Henry Cowell Redwoods, Big Basin, Seacliff, Sunset, New Brighton.

    For boondocking, you'll want to head up to the Sierras and the national forests. Lots of basic and inespensive campgrounds up there also, but they are seasonal campgrounds and hcan be full on weekends.

    Off season you can go to the foothills. Many federal campgrounds along highway 49 - corps of engineer, bureau of reclamation, etc. These are hot and crowded in the summer with boaters and partyers, but in the winter make a nice escape.

    Hope that helps.
     
    virtualjeff and Amblix like this.
  3. Amblix

    Amblix New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2018
    This really does help! Thanks for such a thorough response. I had hoped you would say something like that about Federal. When I first got the itch to get a popup, my assumption was @ most campgrounds, if it fits, it sits (not walkup sites) if you wish to dry camp.
    Once I got one and really started to look into it, it became fuzzy, perhaps from information overload. I go camping every year, mostly in Yosemite @ Crane Flat and could have sworn I've been next to them My hope was to get one and be able to camp some places with a group of friends side by side tent campers. Then I read some of the posts around here on 'Is a PUP a tent or an R/V'. Look like most agree it's an RV as it is on wheels. I then looked for 'RV Camping' and kept getting hits on RV Parks. My fear was it can only be at RV Parks. Maybe I'll keep her after all haha. It's quite little (2 full beds) so I should be able to fit it in many sites. It doesn't take much more space than a family sized tent if any.
     
  4. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,753
    Likes Received:
    2,645
    Joined:
    May 28, 2018
    Location:
    California
    Many people interchange "campground" and "RV park" - this is one reason why I always differentiate them. A popup is an RV, but its size allows it to fit in many tent sites. My clipper (class C) at 21ft can fit in many tent sites also. The only concern is that some tent sites have a very unlevel parking pad which can make it uncomfortable at night (and create problems with a fridge).

    There should be no problem getting a site next to your tent camper friends. If you any question, just call the campground and explain you are camping with tenters.

    Also, many campgrounds will allow one RV (trailer, popup or motorhome) with one or two tents in one site. At federal forests, you'll pay $5 per day for a second vehicle (your tow vehicle and a friend's vehicle), but it is allowed. And some sites have pads long enough to fit. As long as you have 6 or fewer people.
     
  5. Blackripley

    Blackripley Active Member

    Messages:
    218
    Likes Received:
    161
    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2018
    Location:
    Goleta Ca
    Amblix, I just a bit south (had to edit that :p) of you there are tons of spots in Ventura and Santa Barbara we just camped at lake Casitas in a "tent area" with our A-frame. Personally I look at the reviews and pictures of the sites them selfs before booking to make sure they fit my needs. I often find that the site vary with in the campground, as they say a picture is worth a 1,000 words.

    Here are a couple of links:
    http://reservations.casitaswater.org/
    https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/lpnf/recarea/?recid=11072
    https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=606
    https://www.countyofsb.org/parks/jalamacamping.sbc
    https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=595
    https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/lpnf/recarea/?recid=11026
    https://www.ventura.org/visitors/campgrounds/

    Home this helps some, we are still new at the pop-up camping too and are always looking for resources.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2018
  6. brwarrior

    brwarrior Active Member

    Messages:
    179
    Likes Received:
    83
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2017
    Location:
    Clovis, CA
    I'm of the opinion of the first poster comparing campgrounds and RV Parks.

    If you want cheap on the coast, nothing beats $10/night (I recommend reservations so had $8 per reservation) for ocean front at Oceano Dunes SVRA. By ocean front I mean if you camp too close you're going to be IN the ocean. Recommend 4x4 or AWD and hopefully not a pup with 8" wheels and 3" of ground clearance. However, if you're looking for peace and quiet this isn't your place. Sounds ranges from the waves breaking, birds chirping, to alcohol powered morons and straight piped V8s. All SVRAs are cheap for camping at $10. Hollister is fairly quiet when the sun dips below the mountain peaks and is probably close by. There is actually hiking available in the park.
     
    Blackripley likes this.
  7. Ub3r

    Ub3r New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    9
    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2010
    Amblix,
    Dont forget to check your local county parks. Santa Clara County has some great parks with some hookup sites (power/water, no sewer) and many other sites that will fit a popup if you dont need hookups. We take my old Dutchmen to Mount Madonna County Park quite a bit. Cozy, redwoods, close. The bathrooms are clean. Public showers currently closed due to Covid-19. California coast is great, winter camping is on the table.
     
  8. ShaneSD

    ShaneSD New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    3
    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2020
    We are in SD and looking to do our maiden voyage as soon as we can find a reservation. I'm trying to figure out what is open/closed, but I'm not having much luck.

    Are Federal and State parks closed for camping right now? Someone told me that BLM lands are open. I really wish there were a good list. Is there a killer app I'm missing that helps find sites? We'd much rather a 'camping' type environment than a 'RV park', so we can be away from people.

    Does anyone have a good suggestion for where to go? I'm thinking somewhere in the Borrego Springs area (don't want to go where it's too cold right now, and don't want to be by crowds at the coast). Also, since it's maiden voyage, I don't want to go too far.
     
  9. tfischer

    tfischer A bad day camping beats a good day at the office Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,246
    Likes Received:
    1,727
    Joined:
    May 21, 2014
    Location:
    Plymouth (Minneapolis) Minnesota
    Google is your friend... you can usually find the status of just about any land, private or public, via their website. It really varies... in the north, many private campgrounds will be closed, but some (but not all) public ones will have winter camping available, usually with reduced amenities like no flush toilets or water available due to freezing.
     
    Toedtoes likes this.
  10. ShaneSD

    ShaneSD New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    3
    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2020
    Thank you. I am familiar with the Google concept, although if you've seen the Social Dilemma, I'm not sure I'd agree it's our friend (tangent). If anyone can share any specific pop up friendly camp site suggestions that are currently open in the warmer part of SoCal, I'd be grateful.
     
  11. Dingit

    Dingit Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,295
    Likes Received:
    754
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2017
    California, especially southern CA, is currently experiencing lack of hospital services due to a pandemic. Please don't come. If you do, see if the Mojave Preserve is open. It is just about the prettiest part of CA and has lots of boondocking. Even the campgrounds are nicely spaced. It will not be "warm" but it will be warmER.
     
    Toedtoes and tfischer like this.
  12. ShaneSD

    ShaneSD New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    3
    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2020
    In addition to "Google" I am also aware of the "pandemic" you are mentioning.

    I live in San Diego, and am looking for remote places to take my pop up camper in a responsible way that is away from people.

    Starting to wonder about this site based on these responses.
     
  13. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,753
    Likes Received:
    2,645
    Joined:
    May 28, 2018
    Location:
    California
    Check recreation.gov for federal campgrounds (federal forest, COE, BOR, etc).

    parks.ca.gov for state campgrounds.

    Most federal forest campgrounds close seasonally, so you may not see any of those right now. COE campgrounds, and I believe BOR, closed due to Covid through 2020. Some are scheduling to open in March. You may find something that is opening sooner. Normally they are open year round.

    I'm not sure the status of the state parks. I think some aee open but have reduced the number of sites available. Beach campgrounds will be harder to get than inland campgrounds.

    BLM land is available for boondocking IF you can find some nearby. Up north, we are very limited in BLM and what is around is difficult to reach.

    You might also look at Death Valley. You need to check the NPS website for national parks. It is normally open year round for Furnace Creek and Stovepipe Wells campgrounds.

    As for the responses, I think folks thought you are from South Dakota not San Diego - that was my first thought - so they were thinking you want to camp somewhere between there and San Diego. That's a big stretch of area. So suggesting you google individual states, etc, is the best suggestion and asking you not to travel as far as Southern California makes a lot of sense. Sometimes it's difficult to decipher specifics when folks use abbreviations for locations (when first reading the title of this thread, I thought CA meant Canada not California) - not everyone sees the abbreviation the same way and that changes the way the post reads. Both of the above posters are VERY helpful posters and were doing their best with what they were given and understood.
     
  14. tfischer

    tfischer A bad day camping beats a good day at the office Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,246
    Likes Received:
    1,727
    Joined:
    May 21, 2014
    Location:
    Plymouth (Minneapolis) Minnesota
    If you're going to cop an attitude whenever someone replies to a question, then you probably won't do well here. I was giving honest advice and attempting to be helpful. You essentially asked "how can I find campgrounds that are open". The best place, in my opinion, is to check their websites. They will have details such as are they currently open, and what type of equipment they allow to camp there.
     

Share This Page