Vacation Plan Input

MCBogger

New member
So I have a beach trip planned for the fam to go to Santa Barbara in may. I need help with camping spots on the way there and back. I will leave Saturday and need to camp that night and Sunday night. Then stay at the hotel Monday thru Wednesday, the rest of that week is empty. I was hoping to camp at Half Moon Bay Saturday night and somewhere in Big Sur Sunday. Would this be a good idea/plan? As far as after Wednesday I would like to come back thru Yosemite or just go into Sequoia and then back thru central CA to I80. I would like to camp close to or on the beach on the way down and the way back would just be camping anywhere, it doesn't have to be exactly on the way home just within a few hours drive time of the home route. Any info would be appreciated.
 

ScoobyMike

Active member
Check out Kirk Creek Campground near Limekiln Stata Park. First come first serve, right on the water. In a pinch, the dirt road right across from KCCG leads up into NFS land where dispursed camping is allowed.

Further north Big Sur Campground is a beautiful place that does take reservations (they have cabins too). A bit inland but in the redwoods along a flowing creek
 

MCBogger

New member
Thanks, I'll check into those. This will be the first time we've been to southern ca, should be lots of fun.
 

Ben

New member
That's a lot of miles for only a week. I wouldn't attempt to start on the coast north of Monterey Bay if you're destination is Santa Barbara in only two days. You'll just be driving past everything to get there. In fact, you might not want to start farther north than Morro Bay.

A good place to camp is Montana de Oro. Places nearby to check out include Avila Beach, Pismo Beach, and the towns of Arroyo Grande, and Solvang. There's more than a weekend's worth of things to see and do right there.

It's not that Monterey, Carmel, the Bixby Bridge, Big Sur, Julia Pfeiffer Burns park, Ragged Point, Cambria, Cayucos, and Morro Bay aren't anything to see, but I spent a whole week with my family in those places last year. In two days, all you could do is drive past it all.

As you come back through the Sierra, there's a lot of different options. If it's early May, the Tioga Pass may be closed but it may open in late May, although more likely even later. Driving through Yosemite and Tuolumne Meadows is certainly worthwhile. Highway 108 is another good option with a stop and camp in Kennedy Meadows. Highway 4 is always a good choice when it's open, and there's good camping around Ebett's Pass. Try Highland Lakes. Or just stop in gold country towns like Jamestown, Angels Camp, Mokulmne Hill and return on Highway 88.
 

MCBogger

New member
That's a lot of miles for only a week. I wouldn't attempt to start on the coast north of Monterey Bay if you're destination is Santa Barbara in only two days. You'll just be driving past everything to get there. In fact, you might not want to start farther north than Morro Bay.

A good place to camp is Montana de Oro. Places nearby to check out include Avila Beach, Pismo Beach, and the towns of Arroyo Grande, and Solvang. There's more than a weekend's worth of things to see and do right there.

It's not that Monterey, Carmel, the Bixby Bridge, Big Sur, Julia Pfeiffer Burns park, Ragged Point, Cambria, Cayucos, and Morro Bay aren't anything to see, but I spent a whole week with my family in those places last year. In two days, all you could do is drive past it all.

As you come back through the Sierra, there's a lot of different options. If it's early May, the Tioga Pass may be closed but it may open in late May, although more likely even later. Driving through Yosemite and Tuolumne Meadows is certainly worthwhile. Highway 108 is another good option with a stop and camp in Kennedy Meadows. Highway 4 is always a good choice when it's open, and there's good camping around Ebett's Pass. Try Highland Lakes. Or just stop in gold country towns like Jamestown, Angels Camp, Mokulmne Hill and return on Highway 88.

Thanks, that gives me more to go on. It is a lot of miles but to keep from rushing I may try to go through the Sierras on the way down to get there then cruise up the coast for three days or so on the way back up. Where we used to live it was a 13 hr drive to the beach we liked in Florida so this wont be quite as bad. Is there any alternate route that doesnt close south or north of Yosemite to use if the other roads havent opened by then? We will be goin may 14th-22nd.
 

Ben

New member
Thanks, that gives me more to go on. It is a lot of miles but to keep from rushing I may try to go through the Sierras on the way down to get there then cruise up the coast for three days or so on the way back up. Where we used to live it was a 13 hr drive to the beach we liked in Florida so this wont be quite as bad. Is there any alternate route that doesnt close south or north of Yosemite to use if the other roads havent opened by then? We will be goin may 14th-22nd.
88 is dependable and more scenic and has better camping than 80 or 50.

120 is what I recommend the most if it's open. These are the dates for the Tioga Pass opening historically: http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/tiogaopen.htm

For the last four years, it's been open in early May, but as you know we've had very poor snow through a severe drought those years. There's still hope this season will be different. That would mean the pass would remain closed into late May or June.

108 and 4 are beautiful ways to go as well. Like 120, they take longer than 88, 50, or 80, but I think they're worth it. There's a better chance of those passes, Sonora, and Ebbet's, being open in May. I would suggest 108 simply because 4, Ebbet's pass is closer to home and it would be easier to get down there for a weekend another time.

The other alternative is to go around to the south of the Sierra Nevada, up 395 from Indian Wells, through Lone Pine and the Whitney Portal area. There's great camping there, and around Mammoth Lakes, or the June Lake area.
 
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