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            California has a lot of campgrounds that sit right on the beach.  The air smells like salt and the waves roar as they break.  Or is that roar from the crowds?  And there's sand everywhere, even crunching underfoot inside your RV.  However, the California coast offers many alternatives for camping.  There are some great areas to explore along the central and northern coasts, and some great places to camp along the way.

Big Sur Camping

            The spectacular scenery of Big Sur creates a memorable California coast camping experience. Located about 30 miles south of Monterey on famous Highway 1, Big Sur is an area of oceanfront cliffs and secluded canyons.  There are four state parks, at least two U.S. Forest Service campgrounds, and several privately owned campgrounds spread along the coastline.  Big Sur Campground and Cabins on the Big Sur River accommodates tents and RVs; it's great for families who enjoy swimming and inner tubing on the river and free ice cream daily.

Point Reyes National Seashore

            About an hour north of San Francisco, Point Reyes offers scenery, recreation, and coast camping.  The National Seashore encompasses the entire point from Tomales Bay on the east to the cliffs at the west end.  On the western headlands, the Point Reyes Lighthouse has been preserved as a museum; the drive out to both the lighthouse and the eastern headland are well worth the time.  Within the park, camping is limited to backcountry sites accessible only on foot or by canoe/kayak along Tomales Bay, but outside the park car and RV camping is available at the nearby Samuel P. Taylor State Park or the Olema Ranch RV Resort and Campground.

Redwood National and State Parks

            This unique combination of federal and state parks near the Oregon border provides a lot of options for California coast camping.  The three state parks-Jebediah Smith Redwoods, Del Norte Coast Redwoods, and Prairie Creek Redwoods-all offer RV and tent camping among the coastal redwood groves.  Outside the RNSP, camping options include other state parks and many privately owned campgrounds, such as the Redwoods RV Resort or the Crescent City/Redwoods KOA Resort.

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