Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Coming Soon!

I learned the last time around in California that the state parks are beautiful, but if you want to camp, you had better be on your game making reservations.  The Newcamps were always good at planning ahead with reservations with flexible cancellation policies, but we won't be able to just tag along on their pre-arranged trips anymore, so I am doing my best to plan ahead. I'm making a wishlist and already scheduling trips.

My goal is to do one "big" (further away, multiple sites to see) weekend per month, one small local trip (maybe just overnight) and then have two weekends for exploring our local area and day trips.  I'm definitely hoping to find some adventurous friends who are up for a morning hike or bike ride once a week as well!

* A note on camping in California state parks *
Reservations if available, are made primarily through the Reserve America website. Parks open a whole month block of dates at the beginning of each month, seven months in advance. So all of August became available February 1st. The website has a feature that sends you a reminder when a site is available for your chosen date, but for some reason by the time I got a notification, the sites were all gone for Big Sur state parks. I set my own alarm for March 1st and was able to snag a site in Limekiln State Park for September, but within a few days every weekend spot for September was gone.  The cancellation policy is pretty good, I think you lose an $8 reservation fee, but I believe you could also pass on your reservation to another person, so it's worth just grabbing a site or two when they become available. 

Here are my plans so far:

August 2016

Big Basin Redwoods State Park - about and hour and 30 minutes north of Monterey around the bay this state park is close to Santa Cruz and a little town called Capitola that I've read is worth seeing. The park has tent cabins with wood stoves that we might try in the colder months, but in August I have reserved us a tent site.

September 2016

Mendocino, CA - This location is about 4 hours from Monterey, so we needed a long weekend to make it worth the drive. I've heard amazing things about the area and I'm still doing some research into what to see and do. I've found probably the prettiest Airbnb ever to stay in, so stay tuned for photos!

Big Sur, CA - Limekiln State Park has beach sites as well as creek views and redwood groves. It is about an hour south of the town of Big Sur, and an hour north of San Simeon.  I think it will be a great location for exploring the area.

October 2016

Mount Tam - All over the internet and pinterest I find rave reviews about the cabins at Steep Ravine on Mount Tamalpais. If I can get us a reservation on April 1st I will feel like a ninja! I have heard they are very difficult to book, but that the campsites are also nice.  So don't ask me to do anything at 10am central time on April first, because I have plans!

So that's what I am planning for my first fall in California! Any readers with suggestions on what we should add to the list?  I'm working on an Ultimate Bucket List, and would love suggestions!