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Camping spots down to NorCal

July 7, 2014, 7:18 a.m.
Posts: 967
Joined: Feb. 28, 2014

The family and I are dragging the trailer down into California (Santa Cruz) later this summer. I am planning out the camp sites now but just wondering if anyone has any must see spots along the coast.

I'll be bringing my bike too.


July 7, 2014, 8:01 a.m.
Posts: 2430
Joined: Oct. 23, 2004

Tons of camping between Newport and Florence on the Oregon coast, would be a great two night stopover on the way down, or the way back, State Parks that usually have vacancies middle of the week.. Its about 10 hrs with a trailer from the Canadian border crossings.


July 7, 2014, 9:06 a.m.
Posts: 967
Joined: Feb. 28, 2014

We will probably do about 5-6 camping stops along the way and mostly two nights at each spot.

Just looking at teh Googles and various state park web sites, these are some spots that look interesting:

- Larrabee state park, Washington
- Astoria KOA, Oregon. The Goonies was filmed in Astoria!
- Siuslaw national forest. Seemingly lots of campgrounds in this area.
- Redwoods national park, Cali. Again, lots of campgrounds.

That's all I got for now. Seems like a lot of RV sites down the coast. These are just the ones that I noticed first.

July 7, 2014, 9:37 a.m.
Posts: 1677
Joined: Aug. 6, 2009

I've stayed at the Astoria KOA at the tail end of a coastal highway trip several years ago. It's a typical KOA. Astoria is a nice little town, complete with a Rogue pub out on the pier. The nearby Lewis [HTML_REMOVED] Clark historical park is worth a visit if you're into history.

I just reserved a week of camping at Umpqua Lighthouse State Park for early August. You can easily spend a couple of days in that area exploring the sand dunes. Seal Cave is an hour up the coast and the aquarium in Newport (more Rogue!) is less than two hours away.

The KOA in Petaluma is a good base for day tripping to San Francisco and the Napa Valley.

July 7, 2014, 10:01 a.m.
Posts: 1036
Joined: Aug. 10, 2003

Here are a few places I've been that I think are worthwhile. Depending which way you drive down and return you may be able to hit some inland stuff as well. The coast drive is a lot slower than you might think especially during summer so you may want to take I5 back north or hit part of the coast down and part back up. Personally I'd try to spend as much time as far away as possible. NorCal coast is pretty amazing and a long haul to get to. I'd spend as much time there as possible. If you can make it over to the Sierras that would make the trip even better.

Away from the OR coast but still worthwhile:

North Umpqua Trail east of Roseburg OR. Trail is awesome for biking and has some great waterfalls for the family to check out. I've stayed at Horseshoe Bend campground. The Dread [HTML_REMOVED] Terror trail segment is amazing. The Calf-Panther-Mott segments are also good.

Ashland OR - ride the Super D course. Ashland Mtn Advantures runs shuttles. Highly worth while. My favorite brewery, Caldera is here. If you go this way you can check out Mt Shasta on the drive into/out of CA. Very scenic and there is riding (look up the Entertainer Trail)

Crater Lake (National Park).

CA Coast:

Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park/Redwood National Park have some nice campgrounds. Beautiful area, and this is one of the few National Parks in the US that has a couple trails you can bike on - Ossagon Trail down to the beach for a 20mile loop (worth it). There is a herd of elk that live on the beach.

Humboldt Redwoods State park has campgrounds and big trees as well. Drive the Avenue of the Giants off the main highway. There is riding on Look Prairie Thornton Loop.

Check out the Lost Coast / King Range between Shelter Cove and Garberville. Camping at Tolkan Campground or get a cabin in Shelter Cove. Very cool area, very wild coast. There is a bike skills park and Paradise Royale Trail right at the campground. The paved road is very twisty so if your trailer is big this might not work. Trail is very worth while with some jumps and features (ride clockwise).

Mendocino / Fort Bragg is a cool area with lots of camping and tons of riding. North Coast Brewing is here. Hendy Woods State Park on Hwy 128 is nice as well (no riding).

New Brighton State Beach in Santa Cruz is pretty nice. Not cheap and you can pay extra for a premium site overlooking the ocean. I've stayed here, as well as Henry Cowell State Park. Both are good.

CA inland. If you can make it that far Lake Tahoe is incredible. Both the riding and the scenery. Tons to do and see. You could drive over Tioga Pass in Yosemite (Hwy 120) or Sonora Pass (Hwy 108) and then up to Tahoe. Sonora pass has excellent biking, tons of camping. Yosemite would be a zoo but still worth seeing. Then head north to Tahoe. Downieville would be on your way back out as well.

There is way too much to fit into one trip so you will just have to come back! I can help with more specific info rides if you are interested in any of the places above. Have fun….

July 7, 2014, 10:07 a.m.
Posts: 380
Joined: Oct. 23, 2003

I. Heading there in 2 weeks. No real plans but I think you can camp for free in state parks. I'm gunna hot up glacier Park in Montana crater lake. The high Sierra the over to San Fran a couple days maybr check out big Sur then up the coast whole way back stop over in Portland OR whatever the hell we feel like.

Ha Ha! Made you look.

July 7, 2014, 10:08 a.m.
Posts: 967
Joined: Feb. 28, 2014

Wow, that is greatly appreciated!

We don't have a huge amount of time, so we'll take it easy going down the coast then do a couple of longer hauls back up the interstate highway on the way home.

I hear that Santa Cruz has some really good riding, so I am going to try and hook up with someone from there.

I also skateboard still, so I'll be checking out some parks too. Gotta visit a few industry folk in SF.

July 7, 2014, 10:15 a.m.
Posts: 5738
Joined: May 28, 2005

(drops the knowledge)

awesome, thanks man. we're headed down that way in a few weeks and some of this was on my radar, some i'll be looking up

No real plans but I think you can camp for free in state parks.

national parks, not state parks

"Nobody really gives a shit that you don't like the thing that you have no firsthand experience with." Dave

July 7, 2014, 10:18 a.m.
Posts: 967
Joined: Feb. 28, 2014

I think I might print out evdog's post and tape it to the inside of the camper! hahaha

July 7, 2014, 10:30 a.m.
Posts: 5
Joined: July 11, 2013

national parks, not state parks

wrong, as well. free camping is in national forests. np and sp will most certainly be pay for camping and more heavily managed. 1/4 mile from road and 100 feet from a water source and you are good to go in a national forest. You will likely find pull off spots along many of the forest service roads where recreating is popular.

July 7, 2014, 10:33 a.m.
Posts: 967
Joined: Feb. 28, 2014

I don't mind paying the $40/ night for full hook ups when we feel like having showers.

July 7, 2014, 11:01 a.m.
Posts: 2906
Joined: June 15, 2006

Redwoods +1000!!!!!

This trip to Kelowna was definately an undertaking - Liam and I had been planning this project for 24 hours. We worked really hard to pull out all the stops in this video. We had slo-mo goggle shots; time lapses; pedal flips; outrageous product shots; unloading and loading the bike; walking through the field with your hand in wheat. At the end of the day this trip was all about just getting out and riding with all my friends.

July 7, 2014, 11:42 a.m.
Posts: 0
Joined: Sept. 20, 2006

I'll share a secret spot I found a few years back when my gf and I camped along the coast. It's not an RV site, or even a serviced camping site. What it is, is a very secluded out there spot that is quiet, beautiful. I found it by chance, always being on the lookout for free, secluded beach spots to camp on. In Oregon, none of the beaches allow overnight camping so this was quite the find.

Click on the link to get the details

Vista bay road is a FSR before you drop down into Florence. Typical FSR with potholes and some low overhangs but no 4x4ing required. There's a bunch of "sites" where you can set up your trailer. I can't recall how big they were so can't comment on what size trailer would fit.

As you can see in the map the whole spit, bordered by Sutton Creek and Berry Creek, is only accessible by the Vista Bay FSR and therefore remains fairly natural. Easily the best spot I have found for camping anywhere, including BC.

July 7, 2014, 12:02 p.m.
Posts: 380
Joined: Oct. 23, 2003

wrong, as well. free camping is in national forests. np and sp will most certainly be pay for camping and more heavily managed. 1/4 mile from road and 100 feet from a water source and you are good to go in a national forest. You will likely find pull off spots along many of the forest service roads where recreating is popular.

Ya right national Forrest. Solid in for here perfect timing

Ha Ha! Made you look.

July 7, 2014, 1:15 p.m.
Posts: 0
Joined: June 9, 2009

We did a trip through central Washington/Oregon a few summers back heading south on highway 97 through Osoyoos. That was a relatively uninteresting drive as the terrain and climate is virtually identical to the Okanagan. It will take you through Bend however, which seemed like a great town with lots of riding and beer.
Crater lake is great as noted above.
Pacific City is a nice little family friendly resort town just west of Tilamook, the drive in form Portlands great.
Crescent city (northernmost coastal town in Cali) is a shithole but the national campsite just south of town is real nice.

Stick to the state/national parks as much as possible, most of the private campgrounds seem to be open lots side by site with camping trailers.

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