One of the greatest summer past times is camping, but with so many options in California and the Western U.S., it can be hard to narrow down the right spot to rest your tent.
For those who don’t want to take the RV to more popular stops such as Yellowstone or Joshua Tree, there are a multitude of options that are great for campgoers adventurous enough to set their sights off the beaten path. And what if you want a place that’s best for kids, couples or to spend alone in the great outdoors?
Larry spoke today with Dan White, author of the book, “Under the Stars: How America Fell in Love with Camping,” who’s spent serious time researching the best campgrounds in California and the Western U.S. AirTalk listeners joined the conversation to share their most interesting places to camp.
1. Butano State Park
If you like the idea of camping, but still want to feel close to civilization, White recommends Butano State Park. The park is close to the coastal city of Half Moon Bay and Pescadero. You can still enjoy the redwoods and waterfalls without taking the leap of complete isolation.
2. Patrick's Point State Park
For great photo opportunities, both Larry Mantle and James in Torrance are fans of Patrick’s Park for its panoramic views of the ocean. It’s also great for history lovers with its recreated Yurok village, which consists of the traditional Native American people’s family, dance and sweat houses. Patrick’s Park is also less-traveled, so it’s great for people who crave quiet time.
3. Cold Springs Campground
Car-camping and backpacking enthusiasts may want to visit the sub-alpine valley of Cold Springs Campground, located in Sequoia and King’s Canyon National Park. To reach the campground, take Mineral King Road, an old miner’s access road which has remained essentially unchanged since the 1870s. One note of caution: use a tarp to protect your car from marmots.
4. Death Valley National Park
For those who prefer silence, Robert in Beverly Hills recommends Death Valley National Park. This is for someone who wants isolation, and a breathtaking mountain view of the Sierra Nevada Batholith is great for geology enthusiasts.
5. Montaña de Oro State Park
Shelley in Highland Park had a suggestion for ocean lovers. Montaña de Oro State Park near Morro Bay has environmental sites that are great for hiking and whales have also been spotted off the site cliffs.
Do you know of a good SoCal camping spot? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook.
Dan White, camping expert and author of “Under the Stars: How America Fell in Love with Camping” (Henry Holt and Co., 2016)