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Camping on the West Coast

Travel Forums North America Camping on the West Coast

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1. Posted by TheBird87 (Budding Member 3 posts) 7y

Hi there,

My boyfriend and I are planning a trip this summer for about a month during July and August. We hope to start off visiting some friends in San Fran and then drive down through LA, Santa Barabara, San Diego... We hope to dip in to Mexico and we will be flying out of Texas.

We're on a serious budget and can't really afford to keep staying in Hotels/Motels but we heard that campsites are a good option.

I was wondering if anyone had any advice on this? Eg. Cool/inexpensive campsites to stop at, whether there are any rules curfiews we'd have to pay attention to, any good campsite directories/websites that would be of use.....etc.

We are a fairly active couple but mainly we love to hang around with cool people and surf (rather than venture off into the wilderness).


2. Posted by TheBird87 (Budding Member 3 posts) 7y

Ps. if anyone has any advice about cost effective travel Eg. hiring/buying and selling a car....
It would be much appreciated too.....

3. Posted by way2goeh (Full Member 159 posts) 7y

Triple A or AAA has a very good guide book for camping. But you can EASILY find site through the net. The most important thing is showers. If you have the opportunity, go to Big Bear Lake near san Bernardino (about 100kms from LA). The sad thing about camping anywhere on the west coast is that open fires or pit fires are no longer allowed because of wildfires. So, you will need equipment

4. Posted by davidb (Budding Member 23 posts) 7y

That is a link to California State Parks website. Some campsites are different, reservation-wise, so check it out. I'm from norther California, so I don't know a ton about where you're going in particular.
For transportation, it depends on how long you are going for. Buying/selling a car might not be worth it unless it's a long trip.
People are friendly, and California is awesome to meet fun people. Enjoy it!

5. Posted by davidb (Budding Member 23 posts) 7y

you might want to check;,,, or to get an idea how much renting a car you'd like for however long you'd need it. These are all rental car companies that have locations throughout CA.

6. Posted by deadmanmoz (Full Member 92 posts) 7y

Try KOA campsites.

I have them to be cheap and AMAZING.
They have swimming pools, arcades, bbq areas, shops, all sorts, it fantastic and great prices, especially if you buy the discount card.

7. Posted by mike29 (Budding Member 3 posts) 7y


Ive just reserved 3 seperate campsites down the west coast. . Really good website for everything you need when reserving campsites in the states.

I paid 30 us$ roughly per night for 2 people

Hope it helps

8. Posted by TheBird87 (Budding Member 3 posts) 7y

When did you reserve them for? Do you really have to reserve them far in advance?
Thanks for all your replies!

9. Posted by way2goeh (Full Member 159 posts) 7y

If its a popular one, like near Disneyland, yes you should!! Usually any site with over one hundred pitches is popular. Im sure you want to take a shower so doing it in advance is advisable. Its been a few years for me but I thought 30 dollars a night seemed high, but it all depends on the site.

10. Posted by mike29 (Budding Member 3 posts) 7y

We booked them for fri 8th, 9th, 10th of May. I booked them quite early cos i know that as it gets closer to summer in the states camping becomes more popular, obviousley, so better to be on the safe side