7 Best RV Parks in California

California is a great state for RVing and has some of the best RV vacation spots. The diversity available within a day or two's drive for any RVer is hard to match anywhere else in the US. If you are coming from outside the state there are a few general things to note. First, all major routes into the state have agricultural checkpoints you have to pass through. There are specific things they look for which you are not allowed to bring into the state with you.

Also, California has a 55-mph maximum speed limit for any vehicle towing a trailer so traveling within the state may be slower than you, or your GPS, would expect. Finally, California is noted for its terrible traffic. This is true in the major coastal urban areas. If you do need to venture through the congested areas, weekends are best and early mornings on the weekends are better.

Having an RV not only allows you to get from place to place but after a long day of climbing and hiking, there is nothing better than coming home, kicking your shoes off, taking a hot shower, and relaxing on the couch. Also note that traveling across the coastal or Sierra Nevada Mountains can be winding in an RV. Choose your routes through those areas carefully.

If you don't already own an RV, your biggest cost that you are going to come across is the motorhome or trailer that you decide to rent or buy. With a wide variety of landscapes, California is truly paradise for RVers. In fact, it is almost too hard to narrow down the best spots to RV in the golden state. Well, RVing gives you the chance to visit them all.

All you have to do is pack up your gear and hit the road. Maybe it’s always been your life goal to take the PCH all the way up the California coast. This gives you the chance to do so all while still feeling at home. It's like coming home while still being on vacation. Renting an RV can be surprisingly affordable when you factor in the convenience of having a home on wheels.

Traveling by RV is much cheaper than a hotel or other accommodations in California. Plus, you have the freedom to get up and go as you please.

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Here we will look at some popular destinations within California and some RV parks to stay at along the way.

1. Redwood National Park


Starting in the north is the Redwood National Park area. Unlike most national parks, this area consists of state and national park land which is spread out over two zones separated by about 50 miles. The Northern District is just outside Crescent City at the junction of US 101 and US 199. US 199 runs from Grants Pass, OR to Crescent City, CA and passes through the heart of this part of the park.

With steep grades and sharp blind turns, RVing this road can be slow and steady but extremely scenic. If you take your time and use the turnouts to allow slower traffic to pass it can be quite a rewarding trip. Access to the area by US 101 is easy. The south district is just south of Klamath, making it a great central spot to camp while visiting both districts.

There are several RV parks there right along US 101. Chinook RV Resort and Klamath Camper Corral are 2 good choices in the area. Before heading there, stock up on essential supplies. There is a convenience store in town for basic necessities but the closest real grocery store is 30 miles away on Crescent city.

2. Lassen Volcanic National Park


In the north central region is Lake Shasta, Mount Shasta and Lassen Volcanic National Park. This is an incredible area to visit with many great activities to do. US 5 is the major route that runs through the area and it makes access an easy drive from the north or south. In the Shasta Lake area consider staying at Mountain Gate RV Park and Cottages.

This highly rated park provides the wilderness feel with great proximity to the Lake Shasta, Redding, CA, Mount Shasta and Lassen Volcanic National Park. Further south, in Red Bluff, the Durango RV resort offers an outstanding place to stay at very reasonable rates. This park has a less rural feel with a huge pool area and fountains you can back up to.

It offers a good home base to visit Lassen Volcanic National park or other attractions in the area.

3. Carlsbad


California’s beaches are surprisingly cold. From about Santa Barbara down to San Diego is the only part of the state where the ocean water is warm enough in summer to swim without a wet suit. Even in San Diego in May and June, it can be gloomy and foggy at the beach even when it’s warm and sunny a couple miles inland, so have a sweatshirt handy.

Locals in San Diego find it hilarious at the beach at 10 am to see tourists dressed in bikinis and wondering why is it cold as this is supposed to be California. It’s warmer in the afternoon when the fog burns off and the sun comes out. Then you can get a tan. The beaches in California are more spectacular though. There are hills and even mountains on the coast.

The beaches are plenty wide, the sand is tan and a little more course but still decent. The waves are big and scenic and good for surfing, if that’s your thing. When the sun is out the temperature is usually 75 to 80 degrees and the water temperature is about 70. That’s Southern California.

Central and Northern California beaches/coast are even more spectacular, but relatively cold. They are mostly undeveloped and uncrowded. It’s truly scenic and beautiful, but not warm.

4. San Francisco


Next is the East Bay area. North of here is wine country, west is San Francisco, south is the San Joaquin Valley and West is Yosemite National Park. In this area stop at Flag City RV Resort just off I-5 at Rt 12. This is an excellent RV resort from which day trips to Yosemite, San Francisco to see the Golden Gate Bridge and Napa Valley or Sonoma Valley can be done.

5. Kings Canyon National Park


Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park is in the south eastern part of the state. To visit the parks in your RV, avoid the south west entrance via RT 198. You will be able to get into the park, but getting to the higher elevations where the redwood groves are requires traveling up a steep curvy grade with significant vehicle size restrictions. The north west entrance via RT 180 is much more RV friendly.

If you want to park your RV outside the park and travel in by car then there are several parks in Three Rivers, CA which are all great choices.

6. Big Sur State Park


The Big Sur area is a considered one of the most beautiful coastal areas of California. It is one of the few completely undeveloped areas left between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Fernwood Resort and Riverside Campground and Cabins are both located right off CA 1 in the heart of the area. Both are fantastic campgrounds and make great basecamps for visiting this area.

7. Joshua Tree National Park


Joshua Tree National Park is located in the far south portion of the state, bordering I-10 just north of the Palm Springs area. Twenty Nine Palms Resort and Joshua Tree Lake RV & Campground are both great choices to stay near the park's northern entrances. To get the benefits of the Palm Springs area consider setting up camp at Catalina Spa RV Resort and Campground in Desert Hot Springs.

This is one of the few family friendly RV resorts in the area and it provides excellent access to Joshua Tree National Park and everything the Palm Springs area has to offer.

There are many more great places in California to visit. This list provides some basic ideas that you can use to plan anything from a weekend getaway to a cross state journey. Regardless, California is a beautiful state to visit with something for everyone that every RVer should get out and experience.

The other major benefit is that you can fully stock your kitchen and pack all your favorite food. From snacks and treats to a full-blown gourmet meal, taking an RV allows you to eat what you want. You can also save money by grabbing groceries before you go instead of having to eat at expensive tourist restaurants and cafes.

California has a little bit of everything. There is something for absolutely everyone. Whether you want to travel with your best friends or you want to hike in Yosemite up mountains with your loved one, taking an RV makes it easy, affordable, and great for every single person, no matter what age.
Kalyan Panja

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