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Open Roads Forum  >  RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions

 > Where to get three nights of peaceful RV time?

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synergy_58

On the road again!

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Posted: 09/19/22 09:53am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It’s been a while, just got back from deployment and need an RV break. We’re stationed at Travis AFB, and everything near here is either crowded, exp0ensive, difficult to get to, and or run down dirt holes. We need three nights. Three nights of nice, peaceful scenery, walks/hikes, views, and a place to relax. Walking distance dining would be great too. BUT WHERE?

Everything thing California is busy/congested, expensive (150+/nt! to park in a crowded park!) and worn down. Tahoe, been there, done that. San Fran, been there, done that. Yosemite, oh right, wishful thinking. Drive along the coast, done this too, and nothing but mud holes, sand pits and filthy places to park.

Picky you say, maybe. Cheap? Ah, I don't think so, just not into forking out nearly $500 for three nights camping/RVing, to make someone else’s mortgage payment.

Many parks are closing up for the season. I’m looking for Sept 22 - 25. Somewhere within a four hr drive from Fairfield, CA. I would push 6 hrs oneway, but wouldn’t like it.

Any suggestions would be great. DW and I are looking for a nice site that has elbow room (woods, lake view, beach, etc) a nice place to walk, with our dog, and without. Scenery, views, scenery, views! A firepit. Someplace to walk and eat. A few shops would be okay.

Thanks!


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Matt_Colie

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Posted: 09/19/22 10:12am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Synergy,

You do not include very much information except California.

If you do not have to have an FHU site, you might investigate Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome. They are two very different versions managed by the same group.
HH places you at commercial establishments. Most are limited to a single night and it is hoped that you will buy some of what they are selling.
BW is just people with room to park for a night (or maybe more - usually in the profile).
We are BW hosts in Michigan and we get to meet a lot of interesting people.
Matt


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agesilaus

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Posted: 09/19/22 10:36am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The Sierra Nevada is called the best camping area in the world, lots and lots of boondocking areas out there.


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dedmiston

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Posted: 09/19/22 11:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Another vote for boondocking.

Most of our camping is on the eastern side of the Sierras, so I can't help you with specifics, but there is plenty of boondocking on the west too.

I guess the only place I can name specifically is Shaver Lake. The drive is pretty steep and twisty and might not be fun depending on your setup. But the payoff is pretty good.

There are plenty of other places though. And if you don't feel like driving up into the hills, I would definitely look at Harvest Hosts closer to the wine country. Since we're talking about next weekend though, it's probably going to be cooler in the higher elevations.

I just looked at the map and it's about four hours from Travis to Shaver.

It's only 1.5 hrs up to Coloma in the Gold Country. We stayed at an RV park there (primitive) and it wasn't very expensive. You can walk to dinner and goof off in the river during the day. It's too late in the season for rafting since the river is so low now, but it's still pretty nice up there. There's also plenty of history nearby if you want to see Sutter's Mill, etc. Placerville is nearby too and it's a fun little town.

I got stuck up there in Coloma one summer when the DEF pump went out on my truck. The local Dodge dealer was really good and got Dodge to cover it under a courtesy claim, but stuck is still stuck. They had my truck for a week and my wife had to catch a ride back home to get back to work. Luckily I had my laptop with me and I could walk across the highway to bum their wifi at the coffee shop there in town. I've never drank so much coffee, but at least I didn't lose any work.

Long story short, there are lots of places out there. Some of them are free to boondock. Some are borderline free since you need to buy some wine to stay there (Harvest Hosts). And some are cheap-ish. The season is definitely over in Coloma, so I assume it's cheap to camp there this time of year.

Good luck.


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synergy_58

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Posted: 09/19/22 11:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

agesilaus wrote:

The Sierra Nevada is called the best camping area in the world, lots and lots of boondocking areas out there.


Maybe so, but not an easy place to roam and camp/RV. The area, along with Yosemite area, is constantly swamped by crowds and crowds of people. Tourism crowds and locals (Cali/AZ/UT/NV) have hemmed up most of the reservations months in advance and trying to get sites is nearly impossible. Then, there’s the Van Life crowds, some of whom live full time boondocking, or are near homeless, living in and around campgrounds and trailer parks as a source of water and sewer dumping, showers/toilets, etc, benefit. Some of these “boondockers/Van life people are not respectful of others who are traditionally “camping or RVing” making it an unpleasant experienece for those who are trying to “camp or RV.”

And then there’s the season closures, which has begun Sept 15th.

I’m just looking for a “quick fix” few nights of R&R, for DW and I, the dog. Really don't want to make an exhausting competitive task trying to fight the crowds.

Just thought someone in and around my current area might know of a “neat and quiet” spot for a few nights, that’s all.

Thanks.

Tiger4x4RV

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Posted: 09/19/22 11:05am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

From my personal bucket list, meaning I want to go but have not done so yet...
Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument
This is north of you. Probably pretty primitive.
https://www.blm.gov/programs/national-co........erryessa-snow-mountain-national-monument

From my been-there-liked-it list:
San Luis Reservoir State Recreation Area
South of you near Los Banos.
A variety of camping areas, ranging from primitive first-come-first-served (Medeiros, where I always stay) to full hookups with lake views.
https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=30712


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valhalla360

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Posted: 09/19/22 11:40am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Have you actually checked the national park campground reservations to see if there are any last minute openings? The kids have gone back to school, so demand should be easing up with the big summer vacations done.

Another thought...are you forced to go over the weekend? If you can go mid-week, a lot of the crowding issues go away.


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Lwiddis

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Posted: 09/19/22 01:05pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

"Yosemite, oh right, wishful thinking."

Not correct. By staying on the east side of the park in the national forest you can make day trips into Yosemite. Personally I think you'll like the Lee Vining/June Lake area so much you won't go into Yosemite.


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toedtoes

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Posted: 09/19/22 02:07pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

There are no restaurants within walking distance, but Codorniz Recreation Area fits the rest. It's about 20 minutes off highway 99 at Chowchilla, so about 3-4 hours away from you. There are electric only sites, full hookup sites and dry sites. Dry sites look out over Eastman Lake. There is plenty of hiking all over the hills, including a trail that circles the lake. At night, the coyotes howl along the lake. Firepits and picnic tables at all sites.

Another easy reach campground is Sycamore Grove just outside of Red Bluff off I-5. Again, no restaurants within walking distance. The campground is manicured grass with dry and water/electric sites. No dump station or sewer hookups. Nice nature trails, some with a nice view of Mt Shasta. Sacramento River runs between it and the freeway.

You can also look at NF campgrounds near Sierra City, Sierraville, etc along highways 49 and 89. There are some that are within walking distance of the towns. They will be dry camping, but usually sit alongside rivers, creeks or lakes. The Lakes Basin area near Bassett Station is very scenic. And it looks like most are open through October/November this year. Going during the week will definitely help.

New Hogan and New Melones reserviors offer great quiet off season dry camping. The campgrounds are open year round but don't get the party crowds off season. Plenty of hiking to do with lots of wildlife around. As they are in the foothills, they don't get the snow and the weather will be similar to what you have at Travis. Campsites are dry - no hookups. And again, no restaurants within walking distance.

All of the above are federal gov campgrounds (NF, COE, etc) and can be reserved through recreation.gov.

There are private RV Parks throughout the foothills too. Look for places along highway 49 south of Sacramento. Look around San Andreas, Mokelumne Hill, Twain Harte, Calaveras, etc.

And you can try some state parks. Bodega Dunes, Calaveras, Mt Diablo, Mt Tamalpais, Samuel P Taylor, China Camp, etc.

Lots of options if you're willing to look.


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toedtoes

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Posted: 09/19/22 02:09pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Lwiddis wrote:

"Yosemite, oh right, wishful thinking."

Not correct. By staying on the east side of the park in the national forest you can make day trips into Yosemite. Personally I think you'll like the Lee Vining/June Lake area so much you won't go into Yosemite.


The Lee Vining / June Lake area is another great option. A bit longer drive than you were looking at, but plenty to see and do.

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