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CA Central Coast Camping
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chimivee
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:37 pm    Post subject: CA Central Coast Camping Reply with quote

I'm taking a long weekend up the Central Coast from So Cal. Any recommendations on where to camp (without reservations)? Any open/free camping areas? I've got a Syncro. Any other general tips on things to do/see are welcome. Thanks!
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presslab
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2010 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Limekiln SP is first-come-first-served right now. Maybe you can find a site. There are great sites above the beach with a nice view.

http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=577
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Last edited by presslab on Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:59 pm; edited 2 times in total
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jetpoweredmonkey
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

North of San Francisco, we like Samuel P. Taylor at Pt. Reyes - campground is nice, but the surrounding adventures are astounding. Great food at Station House Cafe in Pt. Reyes Station, tons of hiking on the point, epic seafood eats along Tomales Bay.

Little known (?) fact, pretty much every California campground has an overflow area. We've stayed in the overflow at SPT several times, you just park in the picnic area parking lot. In the Westy it hardly makes a difference! Not free, but the bay area sites are almost always booked.

North of that - Bodega Dunes is nice. Keep on going a bit further to Salt Point, now that is one of the most beautiful campgrounds on the whole coast if you ask me. It's a five minute walk to the nicest easy oceanfront hike ever.

My next favorite up the coast is Russian Gulch near Ft. Bragg. Beautiful spot.

But since you're in the Syncro, why not check out Sinkyone Wilderness?
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vw76westy
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jalama beach !!

its a camp ground about 15 miles north of santa barbara
half way to lompoc on hwy1 you see the sign jalama beach Arrow
first come, first serve no reservations
it sits on the last remaining virgin coast in ca

on your way out you need to stop in solvang
san luis obispo pier has overnight parking for self contained vehicals
its very easy to find parking there since most areas are
50ft with a 30 ft rv in it
or 80ft with 2 30ft rvs in it
(here the waves break on the rocks only 20-30 ft from bus as you sleep)
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madspaniard
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

check out Piedras Blancas, Montana de Oro, Cayucos, Morro Bay, San Simeon, the whole Central Coast is just incredibly beautiful. Agree on Jalama, a bit windy in the summer (gnarly scary windsurfing) but probably gorgeous this time of year.
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climberjohn
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 4:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

vw76westy wrote:

it sits on the last remaining virgin coast in ca


Uh, better look a bit farther north, 76. Ever heard of the Lost Coast?
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Jon_slider
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 8:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will be in Big Sur on Sunday, possibly overnight, if youre around, join us.. 2wd also welcome.

I plan to meet a Van or two at 12 noon at Los Burros Road and Hw1 this Sunday.

I have spent the night for free, no facilities, on Nacimiento Fergusson road before.
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PDXWesty
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

FYI - Central Coast usually refers to the coast from about San Simeon down to Pismo. North of SF and Lost coast is another 8 hour drive minimum from there up Hwy 1.

Check out Montana de Oro for a cool spot.
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bitingspider
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Two National Forest campgrounds with first-come first-served sites are Plaskett Creek and Kirk Creek campgrounds in the southern half of Big Sur (north of Cambria about an hour or so). Great relatively small campgrounds.

For all of your Big Sur needs
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&...p&z=10

Yup, it's a beast of a link, but lordy you could spend days perusing it. The upshot being that if a formal campground is full, take off on one of the dirt roads and grab a dispersed site. Be mindful of public property, follow campfire regulations (if in effect), and tread lightly.

Oh and wear orange- it's wabbit season.
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vw76westy
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Uh, better look a bit farther north, 76. Ever heard of the Lost Coast?


Jalama =the approx 30 miles (15 north, 15 south) around jalama beach
are virgin
Except for the general store/restaurant at the campground
there are no other buildings of any kind, even the drive in from hwy1 is ruff
all the land has been owned by one family for the last 80 or so years
the family has been raising cattle & leaving it all undisturbed

last I heard (about a year or so ago) there is a envirmental battle going on over that
last large piece of virgin coast
the owner has no next of kin & is ready to die (or has died)
and government is trying to take the land as part of the air force base
& close jalama beach
Environmentalist are trying to turn into a state park of some kind
(But still closed to public)
& developers are offering 100's of millions of dollars for it

I have read many stories about it
Huell howser has made a documentary on it

and I think this is a good opportunity for all you to know
how close we currently are to losing all the beauty in jalama beach
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bitingspider
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A bit off topic, but regarding the ranch by Jalama, that'd be Bixby Ranch, sold in 2007 for 140mil. Trespassing to go onto it. Owned by some developers but there's a host of restrictions on coastal building including Air Force restrictions since VAFB launches to the south for polar orbits (spy sats, gotta launch N/S to see the whole globe).

My take is that there will be some development close to highway 1, but near the coast it'll still be off limits. More recent news I haven't heard yet.
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CQ
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not really related to camping but stop in at Pismo beach to Splash Cafe for the best Clam Chowder ever... I like Montana De Oro for camping. Or Morro Bay is cool too so you can surf also by walking there.
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bitingspider
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Free campgrounds and ocean-side rarely mix until you get way north. However you can have ocean views.

Santa Barbara area:
Los Padres National Forest might allow dispersed camping in the Gaviota Coast section (from the Winchester Gun Club west past Refugio Road along the ridge [West Camino Cielo]). I'd probably drive up the 101 to Refugio road and then head up the mountain. Head west on the ridge road for great views, peace, and quiet. Refugio was washed out down the north side of the mountain so call the forest service about that road before heading down the northside into the Santa Ynez Valley.

SLO area:
Near Arroyo Grande, inland, is a fun road that crosses lots of streams - good hike called Big Falls there and camping at the end of the road
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&...p&z=14

Oceano Dunes for driving on sand at the ocean. Expect friends. Not sure if there's a fee to camp there or not?
http://ohv.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=1207

Inland is the Carrizo Plain with lots of dirt roads to explore, and this is a good time of year to check it out. Lots of open BLM land. Gorgeous in the spring. It'd be a good place this weekend since there's a chance of rain 11/6 & 11/7 at the coast.

Southern Big Sur:
The dirt road just past Gorda, Los Burros dirt, can take you all the way to Nacimiento-Fergusson (paved) for a long fun explore of the Big Sur high country. Again, tis hunting season so be aware.
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bitingspider
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice VW on the way to Big Falls:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGtVpM0YLpY

Funny thing is I did this in my '72 bus back sophomore summer of college. Didn't jump into the pool from 40 feet though.

Note: I just watched it a bit to see the VW, if there's offensive material in the vid, sorry for that.
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Jon_slider
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The ocean side campgrounds and town of Carpinteria are very nice too.
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thummmper
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

highway 1 north of morro bay has three construction zones as of sept 2010 when I was there. I found it more worth it
to take 101 to salinas and rotate back west and 30 miles south of carmel to my beloved pfeiffer big sur. 35.00/ night,
and they let you cruise for a spot that isnt reserved.
has a 20' wide stream at 48 degrees. restaurant there is reasonable b-L-dinner.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


now, just north of santa barbara on the 101 where it is divided, is a barn inset on the right, in a hollow with euk trees
and a white westy just a-sittin there. Late model. It looks like its been there quite a while....
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climberjohn
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PDXWesty wrote:
FYI - Central Coast usually refers to the coast from about San Simeon down to Pismo. North of SF and Lost coast is another 8 hour drive minimum from there up Hwy 1.


PDXWesty, thanks for the geography lesson. However I'm well aware of the location of the Lost Coast, and that the OP asked for reccos in the Central Coast (thought of by many as Santa Barbara to Santa Cruz.)

I was merely commenting on the line:
"it sits on the last remaining virgin coast in ca"
which the poster probably meant to write "Central CA".

Yes it's nitpicky, but that's how I'm feeling today Wink

-CJ
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climberjohn
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On a more constructive note, the glorious hot springs at the Esalen institute are open 1-3am, van parking okay on Hwy 1 last time I was there, $20 per person and worth every penny, reservations and advanced payment required.

http://www.esalen.org/place/hot_springs.html
831-667-3047

I suggest going straight to Big Sur, one of the true magic spaces of this planet. You will be happy; it's a great time of year to go.

-CJ
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PDXWesty
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For just a long weekend, it's best to keep the drive 3-5 hours max, or you don't get any time out of the van. From SoCal, that puts you at Big Sur and about as far north as I would want to go.

I know, I was born in LA and lived on the Central Coast for 10 years. Wink
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syncrodoka
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Oceano Dunes for driving on sand at the ocean. Expect friends. Not sure if there's a fee to camp there or not?

$10
Very noisy.
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