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Camping Sites

Camping in our state can be great. The beach is hardest to into as most of the best places require advanced reservations. Some of these can be up to 7 months prior to arrival. Most camp sites are year around but some of the beach parks are cooler in the winter as some of the parks in the desert are much warmer in the summer. The higher the elevation the less chance the camp grounds will be open in the winter due to snow as the roads are not always plowed near the parks. Some private camp grounds/RV Parks are open all year. Check the phone book for their number. Below is a list of the camping/RV parks, we think you will enjoy. For state parks check out, www.parks.ca.gov

Doheny Beach
Staying in Doheny State Beach is a picnic, party with family and friends, swimming, camping and fishing all rolled into one. Some surfing is allowed on the north end. Lots of camp sites with some facing the water. Max RV is 35 feet. During the day in the day use area there is a large lawn for picnicking and room to throw a Frisbee or baseball. There are areas with tables that can be reserved by calling ahead. 949-496-6172 The local town is near with plenty of fast food and sit down restaurants. The beach is on Del Obispo/Dana Harbor Drive, approximately one mile north of I-5

Holloway’s Marina
RV sites on the lake. 398 Edgemoor Rd. Big Bear (909) 866-5706 or (800) 4885335 or www.hollowaysmarina.com

Located south of Joshua Tree and Twentynine Palms. You can get into the park from either city plus off the 10 highway south of the park between Desert center and Indio. The park has many different types of camping, some have toilets and water and some have nothing. A beautiful place in the spring as well as other times of the year, but summer gets downright warm. It’s a great place to drive though while you view the desert at its finest. The night sky brings out all the stars. Check it out at–http://www.nps.gov/jotr

Newport Dunes
Located at 1131 Back Bay Drive Newport Beach. This is a great place to camp by the water in Newport. There are 400 sites with full hookups on this 100 acre camp ground at the beach. Tent campers are also welcome. A large swimming pool and beach activities enhance your stay. Reservations are a must. (800) 765-7661 http://www.newportdunes.com

San Clemente State Beach
This area has great sites and ocean views. Sitting on top on a bluff with access to the beach, this park is a gem in the summer months. The rest of the year is great but on the cool side mornings and evening time. Going south on the 5 freeway from L.A. take the Christianitos Road off ramp. Turn right at the top of the hill then another right at the stop sign. Continue on to Calafia Street. Turn right and drive down looking for the small entrance to the Camp ground on your left. Phone # (949) 492-3156

San Mateo Camp Ground
Located on the south end of San Clemente, this a great camp site for anyone who didn’t make reservations in time to stay on or next to the beach. We have made reservations as late as one month before arrival in the summer at the camp site. They have many sites with hook ups (electricity & water) and many without. It’s a state run camp site and is very inexpensive. It’s clean and taken well care of. Rabbits and squirrels run around the site early in the morning. No, they don’t like burnt chicken. It’s quite and serene. A great place to kick back but close to the ocean via a short drive. The beach area near the camp site in one of the best surfing areas in California. Just 1.5 miles via bike trail. Take Christianitos Road from south San Clemente east for 9/10 of a mile. The camp ground is on your right. The camp ground is on a state preserve next to camp Pendleton Marine Corps base. Some of the food places (pizza, chicken etc) deliver from the base plus the town of San Clemente. OK, it’s not true camping but the kids get tired of my burnt chicken. Ask the rangers at the gate about phone numbers of different food places. San Mateo campground number is 949-361-2531 or you can call Reserve America by calling 1 800-444-7275.
For all camping info such as fees, dates open, food stores and lots of other info check out http://www.forestcamping.com/dow/pacficsw/sanbinfo.htm

Mountain Camping

Big Bear lake and surrounding areas.
Below is the best in that area plus AAA approved. We have stayed at all of these and loved the solitude and great mountain air. The quiet is peaceful and sitting in camp early in the morning smelling the smoldering camp fires mixed with the pine tree scent is priceless. This is bear country, practice safe food storage. Some camp grounds have firewood is available for a fee.
National Recreation Reservation 877-444-67777

Barton Flats
6 miles east of Angelus Oaks on Highway 38. Open May-Nov, elevation 6500.
50 RV sites 55 foot limit, dump station, showers. (909-794-1123) The campground, composed of two loops – Columbine and Lupine, is configured like a “figure 8.” The camp sites in Lupine are scattered among Ponderosa and Jeffrey pine and Incense cedars. The sites tend to be terraced. The Columbine Loop camp sites are level and tucked in under Ponderosa and Jeffrey pines. A few Black oaks are scattered throughout the campground. There is no understory and no privacy between camp sites. Interpretive programs are available at Grayback Amphitheater on State Rt. 38 throughout summer months. They are fun and informative.

Big Pine Flats Campground – Big Bear, CA
7 miles North of Fawnskin off highway 38. Open May-Nov, elevation 6800.
15 tent sites 4 RV sites 30 foot limit. (909-8663437) The campground, composed of three unnamed spurs, two major OHV trails; and the historic Big Pine Flat Ranger Station. Each spur has a tight turn-around making them a challenge for RVrs. Camp sites in two spurs are tucked into a stand of Ponderosa and Jeffrey pines, have little understory (other then sagebrush) or shade. The third spur with camp sites 15, 16, and 17, is among younger pines and a grass understory – recommended for tent campers. This is a good base camp for OHV enthusiasts.

Hanna Flats
From Big Bear Lake, CA, take State Rt. 18 west 1.1 miles to a “T” intersection. Turn right at the intersection onto State Rt. 38 and go 3.3 miles to Butler Peak sign at intersection of North Shore Dr. and Rim of the World Dr. Turn left at sign onto Rim of the World Dr. and go 2.5 miles to campground sign. Turn left at sign into campground.

The elevation is 7,200 ft. The campground is composed of three unnamed loops. The larger loop, and more open, is north of entrance. Two smaller loops overlap and are better shaded by dense woods similar to the other loops but includes Douglas fir and more oak trees. Except where Manzanita grows, privacy is minimal between camp sites. Families of all sizes find this camp ground their favorite. ages.

Heart Bar
In Big Bear City, CA, at the intersection of Greenspot Rd. and Big Bear Blvd., take Greenspot Rd. (State Rt. 38) south 15 miles to campground sign. Turn left at sign and go 0.2 miles to campground on right. Elevation is 6,900 ft.
This pleasant campground is composed of five loops – Santa Ana, Aspen, Group Camp, Grinnell Peak, and Sugarloaf. The Group Camp Loop is not included in this survey because it does not accept single families. Sugarloaf and Grinnell Peak Loops are smaller while Aspen is the largest. Each loop enjoys a mixture of Ponderosa and Jeffrey pine overstory with a sprinkling of fir, junipers, and oak scattered about. The understory ranges from pine needles only to sagebrush. Privacy between camp sites is fair to good. The campground is located on a ridge which provides some camp sites with a view of surrounding mountains.

Pine Knot
In Big Bear Lake, CA, at intersection of Big Bear Blvd. and Summit Blvd., take Summit Blvd. south 0.4 miles to campground sign. Turn left at sign and go 0.1 miles to campground on right. Elevation 7,000
The campground is composed of two overlapping loops at the base of Snow Summit Ski Resort Mountain. A dense stand of Jeffrey pine, Douglas fir, and oak provide good shade to most camp sites. Although a tempting campground for RVs, it is really best suited for tent campers and a mecca for beginner and serious mountain bike enthusiasts. Also at the base of Snow Summit is the Team Bear Mountain Bike Center which has mountain bikes for rent and repair facilities. The Center also holds organized competitive races (downhill and cross-country) for amateur and professional mountain bikers. This is minutes from stores, gas stations etc.

Lake Perris
We have not been to Perris lake in many years as we did not like the condition it was in. My wife and I were driving around looking for camp sites when we found ourselves driving up the road to Perris lake. Wow, were we surprised! It had been redone and cleaned up. They have great camp sites with showers and bathrooms, “clean bathrooms.” Boaters, day use for picnics, campers and fishermen flock to enjoy the sparkling waters of Lake Perris today, but can hardly imagine the changes that have occurred here.

The recreation area is located 11 miles south of Riverside via Highway 60 or I 215. From the 60 freeway east, exit Moreno Beach Dr, go right From the 215 south, exit Ramona Expressway and go left. The signs are helpful and finding your way is fairly easy. Reservations are a must, except for day use but call ahead. Family camping and watercraft use reservation are not made through the State Park. These reservations are made through a company called Reserve America. 1-800-444-7275

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