Hiking and RV Camping in Joshua Tree National Park

Camping in the surreal landscape of Joshua Tree National Park is unlike any other American camping experience. The huge, uniquely shaped boulders, the distinct silhouette of thousands of Joshua Trees marching along the desert floor and the abundance of desert plant and animal life make coming to this place where the Mojave and Colorado Deserts meet fascinating. It also provides an amazing place for hikers to explore, stretching twelve-hundred square miles through Southern California near Palm Springs.

Where to Camp at Joshua Tree

RV Camping at Joshua Tree National Park

RV Camping at Joshua Tree National Park

Camping at Joshua Tree NP is fairly easy, if you prepare ahead for ‘dry camping’ conditions. There are actually five developed campgrounds within the park, with two equipped for RVs. There aren’t any electrical, water or sewer hook-ups at these campsites, but two campgrounds—Black Rock and Indian Cove—have drinking water available within the campground. Reservations are highly recommended from October to May, as the mild winter temperatures in this desert national park make it a popular place with campers.

Here are some tips to help make your Joshua Tree National Park camping experience a good one.

* Generator use is limited to 7-9 a.m., 12-2 p.m., and 5-7 p.m., so plan electrical use accordingly.

* Pets must remain leashed at all times outside your RV.

* Only small campfires, within fire rings or grills provided by the park, are allowed. * If no campsites are available on your desired dates, use this link from NPS.gov to locate other local options.

* Always practice Leave No Trace camping etiquette.

Where to Hike at Joshua Tree NP

You’ve set up camp and you’ve laced up your hiking boots, but which way to go? You could start at one of the park’s three visitor centers to get an overview of the unique ecosystems and the trails that wind through them.

Or you could use this handy guide to Joshua Tree NP hiking trails at NPS.gov. Either way, you’ll find plenty of information about popular destinations within the park. Here are just a few suggestions for places to discover from the park’s nearly three dozen trailheads.

Keys View is a rocky promontory with views of the Coachella Valley. The short loop trail is accessible via a twenty-minute drive from Park Boulevard.

The seven-mile hike into Lost Palms Oasis leads to a palm-filled canyon.

Making the hike up to Mastodon Peak is a must if you’re in good condition, as you’ll never forget those views of the Salton Sea.

Older kids would love the one-mile hike into Hidden Canyon, where enormous boulders are said to have once hidden cattle rustlers.

These are only a few of the dozens of trails that you’ll encounter as you begin to explore Joshua Tree National Park on foot. Keep in mind that, even in winter, this is a place of sudden weather changes, so always be prepared. You’ll also want to carry plenty of water in this desert environment and respect the plant and animal life that makes this place so special.

Consider hiking and camping at Joshua Tree National Park on your next visit to Southern California. If lack of an RV is keeping you at home, give us a call and we’ll help you find the rental location and RV model that suits your plans. It’s going to be a trip you’ll talk about for years!

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Southern RV Comfort—Three Trips You’ll Want to Take

Visiting the American South by RV always delivers the unexpected. Whether you’re chasing warmer temps in winter or a balmy lakeshore in July, there’s a southern RV adventure with your name on it.

To whet your appetite for sweet tea and southern RV comfort, we’ve chosen three special places that welcome campers with the attractions, amenities and authentic southern charm.

Auburn, Alabama

Travel south on I-85 from Atlanta, Georgia, and you’ll find a place where farmer’s markets offer abundance year-round, waterfalls splash into crystal clear pools and Auburn Tigers football reigns supreme.

Even more enticing are the options for RV camping in this eastern Alabama playground. From a cozy, farmstead campground beneath the trees to a large, first-class resort with every amenity an RV camper could want, there’s a place for every style camper in Auburn. You’ll also have the chance to visit one of the prettiest state parks in the South. Just a short drive from Auburn, Chewacla State Park offers a full-service campground, picturesque swimming beach and a rocky waterfall worth the hike to discover.

While in the town of Auburn, be sure to visit the many farmer’s markets for a taste of natural Alabama. RV travelers also list the vintage town of Opelika as a must-see attraction while in the Auburn area. And don’t miss the live music venues that keep the nighttime sizzling downtown in both Auburn and Opelika.

Give yourself the gift of visiting the Auburn area by RV. Here’s a link to Alabama RV campgrounds to assist your planning.

Bay St. Louis, Mississippi

RVers who travel the South frequently are familiar with a vibrant town on the Mississippi coast where historic sites, casinos and Gulf Coast outdoor recreation deliver the best in vacation fun.

Bay St. Louis is surrounded by scenic blueways where you can paddle through the bayous and along the Pascagoula River. Nature trails dot the landscape on public lands preserved for future generations. The coastal plain makes a fascinating classroom, filled with plant life, animals and birds in stunning varieties. Local outfitters can plan a tour by land or water that will suit the interests of your entire group.

Prefer to spend your days in town? In Old Town Bay St. Louis, you’ll find the perfect place to enjoy a jazz brunch, to purchase unique gifts made by local artisans and to soak up the charm and culture of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. There’s even a self-guided walking or biking tour that celebrates the town that’s stood the test of three centuries.

We can’t discuss the attractions of the Gulfport-Biloxi area without mentioning casinos, two, in fact right in city of Bay St. Louis. Casinos don’t just mean gambling, either; they feature world class entertainment, upscale shops and luxury spa services, as well. Check with your campground hosts about the local shuttles that ferry gaming enthusiasts to area casino action.

Speaking of campgrounds, when it’s time to set up camp in Bay St. Louis, you won’t be disappointed. There are hundreds of campsites within easy driving distance of Bay St. Louis attractions, in the city itself as well as in surrounding towns like Gulfport, Pass Christian and Kiln. Use this handy list of Mississippi RV campgrounds, and be sure to make reservations…this region is famous with RV campers.

Blairsville, Georgia

If a tiny mountain town surrounded by national forest sounds like the ideal place to go RV camping in the South, it’s high time you came to Blairsville, Georgia. An hour and a half north of Atlanta in the Blue Ridge Mountains, this alpine hamlet is the hub for a wide variety of outdoor recreation.

Cabin in Vogel State Park

Cabin in Vogel State Park

Camp in nearby Vogel State Park in Chattahoochee National Forest, and then find the trails that lead past mountain peaks, quiet hollows and hidden lakes rich with wildlife. Be sure to experience the views from Brasstown Bald, the highest point in Georgia. Keep your eyes open for waterfalls along the way, as well.

When you’re ready for a bit more civilization, take a trip into the towns of Blairsville and Suches, where year-round festivals add even more flavor to your Blue Ridge Mountain experience. One more note for paddling enthusiasts—three lakes in surrounding Union County give plenty of blue water possibilities.

RV camping in the South is a different experience everywhere you stop and every time you come. If you’re looking for authentic Southern RV comfort and charm, you can’t go wrong by choosing one of these three destinations. And, because we’re here to help, be sure to let us know if an RV rental will help make the trip your reality.

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Wildflower Touring by RV—Start Planning Now!

Whether you’re reading this while the snow blows past your windows or from a beach where there’s endless summer, it’s gonna be spring sooner than you think. With warm weather comes one of my favorite occupations, jumping in the RV and tracking down the meadows, prairies and mountain slopes where wildflowers paint the landscape.

No matter if you’ll be dusting off your RV from winter storage or planning for an RV rental, it’s not too early to plot your course in search of the best wildflower displays. Or maybe you’ll make several trips by the time the flowers fade and late summer’s heat turns us to other ways to enjoy RV camping. If RV travel to find America’s wildflowers strikes a chord, here’s a quick list of places you’ll want to discover:

America’s Best Wildflowers by RV

By mid-March, the bluebonnets are blooming and they’re joined by red and white poppies, coreopsis, Indian paintbrush, fire wheels and a dozen more vibrantly-colored species of wildflowers in Texas Hill Country.

From March to May, you’ll find a gorgeous vista over every hilltop, especially if start in Fredericksburg and follow US-87 north to the towns of Doss, Castile and Mason, saving time to venture onto side roads for even more wildflower glory. One special note: this is a journey best taken during the week, as wildflower lovers come from all over on weekends to enjoy the display. Reserve your spot early at a Hill Country campground, too, so you won’t have to leave this remarkable region too soon.

Another extraordinary opportunity to view hundreds of acres of wildflowers in one place can be found in California’s Central Valley at Carrizo Plain National Monument. Depending on winter rainfall, you may spot during March and April purple lupine, golden California poppies, orange fiddleneck and goldenbush carpeting the Monument’s two valleys.

As you hike through this nearly quarter-million acre BLM preserve, you’ll be enchanted by daisies and other bright spring florals on the slopes of the surrounding mountains.

The two RV-capable campgrounds here are primitive, meaning you’ll need to fill your water tanks and empty waste tanks so you’re self-contained. No electricity here, either, so keep that in mind when you come. If you’ve never experienced BLM camping, it’s a whole different world from developed campgrounds but the back-to-nature peacefulness is worth the adjustment.

Our next pick for an RV camping trip to find glorious wildflower color would be to Colorado, where the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival has encouraged in-depth enjoyment of local wildflowers since the 1980s. Scheduled events for this July festival (you’ll need to register online before you come) include 4×4 tours, hikes and rides to discover medicinal plants, photography workshops and more.

Expect to see stunning displays of columbines, sunflowers, lupine, elephantella and other showy species of wildflowers on your RV trip to Crested Butte. Camping possibilities near Crested Butte, CO include Lake Irwin Campground in Gunnison National Forest and at least a dozen private campgrounds in the Gunnison/Crested Butte area. Here’s a link to RV campgrounds in Colorado.

RV Wildflower Viewing Trips

RV Wildflower Viewing Trips

I’ll complete my list of suggested RV wildflower tours with a trip to the shores of Lake Michigan, where Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore provides plenty of chances to photograph and otherwise enjoy the wildflowers of spring.

The Lakeshore’s Bay View Hiking Trail is a popular hike to find wildflowers. Pitcher’s thistle, pink ladyslipper and orange dune lily are just three of the floral delights you’ll discover as you hike the trails on your own or take one of the ranger-led tours during May and June. You’ll also enjoy camping at Platte River Campground, close to Lake Michigan as well as hiking trails, scenic drives and other National Lakeshore attractions.

Do these ideas for planning an RV wildflower tour have you wishing for spring? We understand, and we’re ready to help you plan your trip, complete with a convenient RV rental. Map your route and have your cameras ready; spring wildflowers are just around the corner.

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Get the Jump on Planning Spring RV Camping

The winter months aren’t kind to many parts of the US, where motorhomes and trailers sit tucked away in storage. Those cold winter months, however, are the best time to plan for camping once the snow thaws. We’ve collected some helpful tips that smart RV campers use to get the jump on planning spring RV excursions.

Tip #1: Save the Date!

While there’s virtue in being spontaneous, many popular campgrounds fill quickly with the first hint of spring. They may also take reservations for campsites months in advance.

If there’s a special place that beckons you to set up camp, check the website or give them a call and find out when the campground opens (if not year-round), how far in advance you can book campsites and, if you’re planning to go on a holiday weekend, whether there’s a minimum number of days for reservations.

By mapping out your spring camping season in advance, and booking your campsites early, you’ll avoid disappointment and have more time to enjoy the places you love to camp.

Here’s a quick list of ideas to get more information on popular RV camping venues in America:

  • State-by-State private campground list at ElMonteRV.com.
  • Access to info on US Forestry Service, National Park Service, Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Land Management campgrounds at recreation.gov.
  • Campgrounds on State and Federal public lands at reserveamerica.com.
  • Kampgrounds of America listings at koa.com.
  • Information on National Park seasons, campgrounds and activities at nps.gov.
  • Also check individual RV campground and resort websites

Tip #2: Do Your Homework on Special Event Camping

For spring RV camping that’s connected to a festival or sporting event, it pays to do your homework months in advance.

You might, for instance, be planning to go RV camping to the legendary South by Southwest festival in Austin next March. If you are, this link to Austin area campgrounds is a good place to start. By booking early, you’ll have a better chance of scoring campsites close to the SXSW events you plan to attend.

Baseball fans, on the other hand, might be planning to travel by RV to the final round of the 2017 World Baseball Classic in Los Angeles. Pick a Los Angeles area campground and book your campsite now for the best experience next March. Double your California camping fun by planning to camp near San Diego and attend Round Two games for the Classic the week before.

Or you may love traveling by RV to Cactus League spring training baseball games in Arizona, or Grapefruit League pre-season match-ups in Florida. Either way, you’ll want to reserve your campsites early near your favorite ballparks.

The bottom line to optimum spring RV camping at sporting events and festivals: buy your tickets and book your campsites early. You’ll be glad you did.

Tip #3: Reserve Your Trailer or Motorhome Rental

If owning a motorhome isn’t on your horizon, you can still plan to camp next spring. Renting an RV is an affordable way to experience camping at your favorite locations. Use this RV rental link to get in touch with helpful El Monte RV staff who can help you reserve the RV you need.

Find out how early you can book reservations, especially surrounding special events or near popular camping venues such as national parks. It’s easier than you think to rent an RV, and we’re happy to help with the planning.        Spring Camping Planning

Spring’s Coming Sooner Than You Think!

It may be hard to imagine camping at your favorite campground when the snow’s piling up outdoors. Spring, however, waits for no camper and it’s going to be here before you know it. Pick a place where you can play outdoors, watch exciting sports action or hear live music close to your campground and start planning. Spring RV camping season will be here sooner than you think!

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Four Urban RV Campgrounds-Affordable Lodging in the Big City

Camping beyond the city lights is always a good way to relax, unwind and get back to nature. But have you ever thought of taking along the RV when you visit big cities? Once you compare the expense of hotels, restaurant meals and rental cars to the convenience and affordability of RV camping, urban RV campgrounds become an attractive alternative.

But where can you camp that makes sense when visiting larger cities?  We’re glad you asked, because we’ve put together our list of four favorite urban RV campgrounds that keep you close to the action.  Keep in mind, we’re not talking about stealth boondocking on city streets. These are places where camping can be comfortable and affordable while putting you within easy reach of big city attractions.

Urban Camping Ideas for RVers

* Greenbelt Park, twelve miles north of the Washington DC metro area in suburban Maryland, is an affordable, comfortable alternative to pricey DC-area hotels.  You won’t find electric and water hookups in the one hundred seventy-four wooded campsites, but you will find hot showers, flush toilets, potable water, and a dump station.  Your self-contained RV does the rest!  You’ll also be a mile and a half from a DC Metro station, making it easy to access all DC-area attractions.  Consider camping at this NPS-operated campground next time you visit our nation’s capital!

* Campland on the Bay in San Diego was voted one of the 10 Best Urban Campgrounds in 2014. With its own stretch of beach and a boat launch on Mission Bay, as well as an amazing array of year-round planned activities, RVers may be tempted to stay on-site their entire vacation.  But you’ll also be right across the Bay from SeaWorld, less than twenty miles from Coronado Island and within easy reach of San Diego’s many vibrant suburbs.

* Winter Island Park in Salem, Massachusetts is a destination unto itself.  Designated a Marine Recreational Area, the park offers 30 amp and 50 amp campsites from May to October. Boating, lighthouse tours, Salem walking tours and dozens of other attractions in the Salem area can keep campers busy, but you’ll also be within an hour’s drive of most Boston attractions.  Bring the towed vehicle if you plan to drive in Boston (restrictions on propane in certain tunnels) or take the Salem Ferry or MBTA into Boston for more flexibility.

* McKinney Falls State Park, fifteen minutes south of the Texas State Capitol in Austin,

Lower Falls, McKinney Falls State Park

Lower Falls, McKinney Falls State Park

is an urban RV camper’s dream.  With 30 amp and 50 amp campsites, hiking trails, fishing and swimming on Onion Creek and many other ways to play outdoors, this state park also provides low-cost Austin vacation lodging (less than $25 per night!) It’s a short drive to Austin’s world-famous entertainment districts, Lady Bird Lake and fabulous cultural icons like the Paramount Theater.

These are only four of the urban RV campgrounds that can change the way you travel to larger cities. Pick a city and start investigating the state parks, city parks and private campgrounds that might be hidden near popular attractions. Isn’t it time you joined the growing trend of urban RV camping?

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BLM Camping—Balancing ‘Off the Grid’ with RV Comfort

Does the wild call to you, tempting you to come find the places where mountains, coastlines and forests surround your campsite? Does that mean giving up the comforts you’ve found while RV camping? Good news—there’s a way to combine your love of wild places with the convenience of RV travel. Developed campsites on BLM lands help you balance the ‘off the grid’ experience with RV convenience.

But how do you find that happy medium, the campsites tucked away among the trees, along the shore or on a mountainside, that accommodate RV camping? A good place to start is at the Bureau of Land Management website, where you’ll find a map of public lands and a guide to recreational opportunities.

We’re going to be sharing more in future blog posts about special places where you can camp on public land. For now, let’s take a quick look at the kinds of places where the Bureau of Land Management has created opportunities for camping and other outdoor recreation.

From Alaska to Arizona, Colorado to California, the BLM manages wild and scenic rivers, wilderness areas and national monuments. Some of these locations are set aside to allow study of eco-systems, some are preserved to allow outstanding outdoor recreation, still others center around preserving the habitats of threatened species.

These public lands surround more than five thousand miles of national scenic and historic trails. They’re home to more than two hundred protected wilderness rivers and national monuments as varied as the Grand Canyon and the California coast.

San Juan Islands WA

San Juan Islands WA

No matter which type of wilderness experience you’re hoping for, there’s a way to bring along the comfort of RV travel, if you do your homework. You won’t be camping in a paved campsite complete with full hook-ups, but you will be as close as it gets to the natural wonders of the American West.

Tips for BLM RV Camping

To completely enjoy your experience ‘off the grid’ camping on public lands, it’s important to follow the guidelines that are consistent for most of these wilderness areas. Here are the basics:

* Leave no Trace – in other words, pack out what you bring in, don’t leave trash and leave the campsites, trails and waterways as you found them.

* Follow Posted Restrictions – for example, if bear boxes are required at all campsites, make sure you have them for food and scented items. Same goes for rules governing where pets are allowed. Motorized vehicles such as RVs or tow vehicles aren’t allowed in all wilderness areas, so be sure you know the rules before you drive through. Ignoring posted restrictions like these can endanger you, other campers and the wilderness environment.

* Stay Aware of Fire Conditions – Smart campers check for up-to-date conditions where they’ll be camping, so they know if it’s safe to start a campfire or if there is heightened fire danger in the area.

* Camp Only Where it’s Allowed – By using the BLM website or contacting their regional offices, you can obtain maps that show both developed campsites and places

where dispersed camping is allowed. Make sure you know the rules about parking near water sources, roads and natural features.

* Prepare for ‘Off the Grid’ Camping – For the most comfortable camping possible, prepare ahead by emptying waste water tanks, carrying sufficient water for your trip (don’t assume potable water will be available), whether generators are allowed and if weather extremes are possible.

* Know How Long You’re Allowed to Stay – The typical limit on camping at a specific campground or dispersed camping area is fourteen days, so if you’re planning a longer trip, make plans to move to another area, if allowed within the management area.

Camping away from it all, in vast wilderness areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management, can open a whole new outdoor experience for RV travelers. Don’t miss your chance to find your own balance between camping ‘off the grid’ and enjoying all the comforts of traveling by RV.

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Keep Your Cool: Tailgating Tips & Tricks

RV Tailgating adventure

RV Tailgating adventure

Hanging out with fellow fans in the parking lot can be more fun than watching the actual game. Some football games are famous for their fans’ over-the-top tailgating tactics. Tailgating is something to look forward to—unless it’s hot outside. While taking an RV to your tailgate is terrific because you can cool off inside, you don’t want to miss out on all the action happening outside.   Tackle scorching hot tailgating with a cool game strategy. It will make an exciting event with friends even more fun, and you’ll be able to hang outside and stay comfortable.

Five Ways to Keep Your Cool

  1. Stock Up On Ice

Warm drinks are the bust of a hot-weather tailgate. You want to have plenty of ice on hand so you can keep drinks and coolers cold. However, you won’t need to worry about where to pick up extra bags of ice or where to store it if you make your own ice instead.

There are portable and freestanding ice makers that simply sit on your countertop. Plug it in, let it run and make over 25 pounds of ice in 24 hours. Keep one in your RV for instant ice during a tailgate.

To avoid having the ice melt too quickly, store your coolers in the shade. Chilling drinks at home before you put them in the cooler is another great tip for making your ice last longer.

  1. Have It Made in the Shade

If you get to your tailgate location early, scout out a spot for afternoon shade even if your RV has an awning. There’s a tremendous heat difference in and out of the shade, so you’ll want room to spread out.

Consider shade when you decide which way to face your RV as you park. During some parts of the day, the RV itself will provide a shady rectangle from the hot sun. Face your side door toward the afternoon shade.

Never fear if there aren’t any shady spots. Plan ahead to provide your own shade. Pack a pop-up-tent to get quite a few square feet of shade, or pack a patio umbrella and stand. Since the umbrella collapses, it’s easy to transport. Having the umbrella means you can place it separate from the tent so you can shade a drink table or the person manning the grill.

  1. Let Off Some Steam

Just like the water misters found at big outdoor theme parks, you can provide your own cooling mist at a tailgate.

There are a variety of misters that can travel with you. Some use a bucket full of water, some attach to a hose and others can be attached to your shade tent. There are even personal, hand-held misters you can hold and mist yourself as you chill in your chaise lounge.

  1. Pack a Breeze

A breeze makes all the difference on a hot day. If Mother Nature isn’t cooperating, be prepared by having some fans on hand. Battery-operated fans are super handy to have when tailgating or camping. On the other hand, if you are tailgating with an RV, then you’ll be able to plug in a fan outside to create a breeze for everyone hanging out.

  1. Fill Up on Cold

Be sure to stay hydrated. Provide plenty of icy cold drinks for all your tailgating guests. Remember hot weather can cause you to sweat and you may need to drink even more water than normal. The Institute of Medicine suggests an adequate intake for men is roughly about 13 cups of beverages a day while women should drink about nine cups.

Cold foods are another terrific cooling trick. As much as tailgating is all about the grill, offer cold sides to your grilled meat. Serve cold salad, pasta salad, cut up fruit and slices of veggies with a chilled dip. In fact, watermelon is an exceptionally good choice because the fruit is 93 percent water.

Professional Organizer Tips for Tailgating

  • Store beverages separately from food. The beverage cooler will be opened more frequently, so storing the food separately will help it stay cool.
  • Keep zippered plastic bags on hand. Fill them with ice and use them in coolers of food. As the ice melts, it won’t get the food in the cooler wet.
  • Bring extension cords. You can use these to plug items like a fan or portable ice maker into your RV’s power but still keep them outside and easily accessible.
  • Dampen hand towels and store them in the refrigerator or cooler. They’re terrific to pass around when people are hot and sweaty.

Lea Schneider is a home organizational expert with years of experience combining home organization with design styles. She spent a lot of time traveling, camping and RVing with her family when she was growing up. To research coolers and other tailgating gear like those described by Lea, go to the Home Depot website.

Image provided by Lea Schneider.
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Southern San Diego County Surf & Camp Vacation

Did we whet your appetite with ideas for surfing and RV camping your way through Northern San Diego County? Well hold on, because we’re just getting started. This week, we’re going to keep moving south and talk about the places where the breaks bring big waves and camping keeps you near the beach.

Where to Camp Near San Diego Surfing

As we move down the shoreline into San Diego surf territory, the prime surf spots stretch to the Mexican border. Before we highlight the best surf beaches in San Diego, let’s talk about where to camp in your RV. Coming from the north in San Diego County, your next opportunity to camp where there’s surfing nearby is San Elijo State Beach near Encinitas. There’s a large campground with standard electric campsites and views to blow you away at sunset.

Farther south, on a spit of sand extending out into San Diego Harbor, Silver Strand State Beach is another option for RV campers who love to surf. Surrounded by both San Diego Harbor and the Pacific Ocean, you can’t beat the scenery and with more than one hundred campsites, the chances of getting a campsite are good.

One more possibility for camping near San Diego surf beaches is to stay at Campland on the Bay, a huge private campground on Mission Bay. It has every amenity you can imagine, so if you’re not able to book or find a site near a state beach, consider camping here instead.

Where to Surf Near San Diego

San Diego, CA Vacations

San Diego, CA Vacations

There’s no shortage of good surfing near San Diego, with natural features like reefs and beachbreaks and several piers to keep things interesting. You’ll remember in our last post that we ended the ride at South Carlsbad State Park. If we pick up our journey to find great surfing by heading south on I-5, our first stop will be the surf beaches near Encinitas.

If you’re camping at San Elijo State Beach (see above) you’ll be just north of Pipes, an area popular with beginning to advanced surfers, depending on which breaks they choose. Continuing south, the twin breaks at Cardiff State Beach, near the iconic SoCal surf town of Cardiff-by-the-Sea, combine with the endless waves at Cardiff Reef to make this town a spot where you’ll want to stay awhile.

When you’re ready to continue south in search of San Diego surfing, plan a stop at Del Mar Beach. With reef and beachbreaks, swells and tricky river mouth currents to add a challenge, this is another SoCal beach worth spending more than one day surfing. Just south of Del Mar, the wicked beachbreaks at Blacks are best left for highly-experienced surfers.

And that brings us south to Scripps Pier at La Jolla, a good place to test your skills on the ledges formed on the pier’s south side. Farther south, La Jolla Shores promises consistent waves that can be conquered by less-experienced surfers, making it popular with local surf schools. A less predictable surf beach can be found at La Jolla Cove, but the waves aren’t always breaking there. If you have the time to wait, you might find yourself in the ride of your life off this beach.

When you finally reach the city of San Diego, you haven’t run out of good surfing. Ocean Beach, out on the point on San Diego Harbor, has all those features that keep the surfing consistent. A reef, pier and two beaches produce breaks in both directions for waves that will keep all levels of surfers busy.

Our final destination, just five miles north of the border with Mexico, is Imperial Beach, a city where surfing is a treasured pastime. Spend time on the south side of Imperial Beach Pier for a lineup to challenge your best moves. Not as busy as other surfing hot spots near San Diego, Imperial Beach is worth making a stop as you near the end of your camping and surfing vacation.

There you have it, our best tips for camping and surfing your way through San Diego County from Encinitas to Imperial Beach. Keep it easy by picking up a San Diego RV rental, booking campsites ahead where you can and planning lots of time to get to know the beachbreaks, reefs and other secrets that make Southern California surfing so exciting.

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Northern San Diego County Surf & Camp Vacation

San Diego County, California, stretches along I-5 from the border with Mexico north to the Orange County line at San Clemente. All along the way are legendary surf beaches, waiting to be explored by RV travelers. There are also exceptional places to camp by RV along the entire route.

We’ve broken up our itinerary into northern and southern San Diego County surf and camp destinations. This week, we’ll be talking about the northern beaches, from Trestles at San Onofre State Beach down to Carlsbad State Beach. As you read, use this handy surf cam/surf report link to see how the waves are breaking at each point.

Surf & Camp Stop 1: San Onofre State Beach

San Clemente, CA

San Clemente, CA

Two surfing beaches worth a visit, no matter when you come to San Diego County, can be found at San Onofre State Beach, just south of San Clemente   and adjacent to Camp Pendleton North. Reserve a campsite before you come at San Mateo Campground, about a mile and a half inland from Trestles Beach.

Make your way along the trail that crosses under I-5 to Trestles and Old Man Beach just to the south, where you’ll find distinctly different surfing conditions, both courtesy of the break at San Mateo Point. (Hint: “Old Man” refers to the long board surfers who once flocked to the rollers here. Trestles offers three areas—Uppers, Middles and Lowers—each with its own signature brand of swells.)

Non-surfers in your camping crew will appreciate the windswept trails along the bluffs and three-plus-miles of beaches to enjoy.

Surf & Camp Stop 2: Oceanside Harbor

The natural and manmade breaks found in the harbor at Oceanside, CA make for consistently good surfing year-round. Situated to receive desirable southwest swells, Oceanside offers challenges for beginning to advanced surfers.

Come RV camping and surfing to Oceanside to experience such hotspots as the jetties on the harbor’s north side, as well as the waves on both sides of the pier. Surfers will also appreciate the steady break action caused by sandbars throughout the harbor.

Where to camp while in Oceanside? There are two beachside parking lots that allow overnight RV parking (no hook-ups, but couldn’t be closer to the water). If you miss those parking spots, there are numerous private RV parks near Oceanside, or you can head for our next Northern San Diego County Surf & Camp Spot—South Carlsbad State Beach.

Surf & Camp Spot 3: South Carlsbad State Beach

South Carlsbad State Beach offers spectacular views from its bluff-top campground, where you can relax each night after a long day of surfing. The continuous break of waves rolling toward Tamarack Surf Beach attracts surfing enthusiasts year-round. An added bonus: you’re a short drive from surfing action at Oceanside as well as the challenges farther south at Cardiff, Del Mar and La Jolla (more about those in the next post).

While at Carlsbad/Tamarack Beach, take the time to walk the four-mile seawall for views of the beach, the ocean and sunsets that will take their place in your top vacation memories.

Whether you decide to RV camp and surf your way through northern San Diego County in the golden days of summer or when winter’s Santa Ana winds kick up a whole new breed of waves, there’s no time like the present to start planning. Pick your next surfing challenge. Rent the RV that suits your style, reserve your campsites and pack your wetsuits and board shorts. That’s really all you need; San Diego County is ready to supply the rest of your epic surf and camp vacation.

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RV Owners – Prepare for a Cross Country RV Trip

Route 66

Route 66

If you are reading this, it probably means that you are considering taking a cross country RV trip. After all, what better way to enjoy your RV fully than taking it as far as possible to really have some fun and see the country. Heading out on the open road in an RV will be a great way to open your eyes to the real beauty of the world and will allow you to really see things up close and personal that you may have only dreamed of seeing before. One thing is for sure, RV owners have an adventuresome side that others just do not have and the life experiences one can have in an RV are like none other.

Before you think about taking off though, there are a few things you need to think about that will help enhance your road trip and help keep you, and your passengers, safe along the way.

Plan Your Money

You may have been saving money for a long time in order to head off into the sunset in the RV, but once you actually hit the road, you need to make sure money is carefully planned to pay expenses unless you have an unlimited bank account. To plan accordingly, check fuel prices across the country and calculate your mileage before you leave. Thankfully, since you are the proud owner of an RV, you will have no need for costly hotel stays but you should call RV parks for overnight camping reservations before you head out and have the reservations made and the rates already budgeted into your travel expenses.

Back Roads Are The Best Roads

Anyone can drive down a congested interstate and see sights just off the side of the road. This is no way to see the world when you own an RV. Take the back roads and see the real side of life that you miss when you are shuffling to or from work on the expressway. Be sure to learn how to read a real map if you do not already know how to and have your route planned out in advance. Cell phones may not always work when traveling in the heart of America. Be sure to take your time when possible and drive slowly so you will not miss out on anything. Take pictures along the way as well or keep a blog and post updates at least weekly so you can keep track of where you have been and what you have seen.

Go With The Flow

While you may have a great deal of your RV road trip well planned, it is often best to just go with the flow and see where the road leads you. You may have a schedule that says you are only going to spend one night in a certain area, but once you arrive you may find that the area has far more to offer than you believed it had. When this happens, stick around and take time to really see the sights. You never know who you may meet along the way when traveling in an RV and quite frankly, you are bound to meet some interesting people during your travels. Take time and enjoy new friendships and new sights.

While it is a great feeling to have the freedom to head down the road on a cross country trip in your RV, you will want to make sure that it has been serviced prior to heading out and just to be on the safe side, it is a good idea to keep the number to a reputable RV transport company handy just in case you have an engine problem or need to have the RV transported to a new area during a time that you may need to take a break from driving. Many RV owners will take a flight to a new city or state in the middle of a road trip and have the RV shipped to them. This allows a little down time to rest from the long drive. While a cross country RV trip is a great way to see the country up close, it is also wise to take personal time to relax when possible during the trip.

This post courtesy of our friends at a1autotransport.com.
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