Tuesday, December 27, 2011

California Campground Reservations Using County Websites.

About this time of the year, many people are starting to plan out their annual summer camping vacations.  Problem is, after looking at some of the popular reservations sites in California, things are already starting to fill-up.  Now days, trying to get a popular camping site requires the same amount of effort as getting tickets to a popular rock concert or sporting event. So how do you find a campsite when everywhere you look shows filled up campgrounds?  My advice, is to search for open campsites  in the various counties of California. .  California like the rest of the states in the United States is broken up into multiple counties and most of the county municipalities run their own websites and camping reservations systems.  Below in the this post I have posted a quick how-to for getting those allusive camping reservations.

Counties for California Camping Reservations

By looking at the map above think about were you would like to camp and find the corresponding county's name.  In this example, I want to spend some time in Morro Bay California, but Morro Bay State Park is reserved months in advance.  Using the search term “San Luis Obispo County Camping” I pull up the following results in Google.
California Camping reservations1
Clicking on the www.slocountyparks.com link brings me to a list of campgrounds located in San Luis Obispo County. Another way to search would be to use the county's name and the search phrase “parks and recreations” An example of this would be “San Diego County Parks and Recreations camping”.  The idea is to be creative with your search phrases as each county will have a different website and differences on how they handle their campgrounds and reservations.
San Luis Obisbo camping reservations
Based on a little research on this site, I found out that El Chorro Regional park campground is located about 5 miles from Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo.  The county of San Luis Obispo currently uses a phone reservation system and the majority of the sites at this campground are first-come, first-serve.  Since this campsite is not listed in the Reserve America system, the majority of the time if you arrive a few days before the weekend you can grab a spot at this great location on the central coast of California.

Searching the county websites for a campground reservation could take some work and additional time but is a great way to find those campgrounds that are not on everyone's radar during the busy summer months.  Even if the campsites are full, be sure to check back weekly as there maybe some openings and your competition for these spots will be on the low side. Who knows, you may actually find your favorite new camping spot using this method.  This is exactly what we did a few years back to find Mt. Madonna County Park in Santa Clara county.


  1. Check on the www.Allstays.com link which brings us a list of campgrounds located in usa.

  2. Thanks for the information. I'm from Florida, and I'll have to use the same technique for reserving campsites in my area. If you're ever looking for more places to camp, check out www.RV123.com. We have thousands campgrounds, travel destinations and recreational vehicle dealerships from all over the United States. Check it out; I think you could find some useful camping information from it.

  3. Thanks Marque and Clara for your comments.