No campground can match the appeal of an RV spot right on the ocean. Let’s face it, most of us associate the beach with vacation, and we associate vacation with freedom. Freedom from our normal life structure, freedom from our daily to-do list, just a lot more freedom than we allow ourselves in our normal lives. Hmmmm, that sounds like I am describing fulltime RVing! Beach & RVing. Julie Andrews & the Alps. Corn on the cob & a toothpick. The Titanic & an ice berg. Needle & thread. Moth & a flame. Two peas in a pod. In other words, they were made for each other.
While Chris and I have had some top places to see on our list that may not make the average itinerary (i.e. Oregon Trail, Atchafalaya Swamp, Millenium Force, etc.); it was only natural for us to want to spend at least one night on the Pacific Ocean in our RV, which I believe all of our readers can relate to. We were holding out for California. We wanted to be able to pull off of Route 1 and spend the night in our home with the sound of the surf. But, when we arrived in California and tried to get in to some of the beach campgrounds, we quickly learned that they booked solid a few weeks in advance, putting them out of our typical book a few days ahead range. It wasn’t until we met some native Californians that we learned how the system works. We explained to them that we truly wanted to experience staying along the beach, but that we were having difficulty finding a place. They told us about their favorite beach spot and then related that although they show that they are completely booked online, they actually still accept people. Well, I can’t say we were surprised, but we were glad to learn how we could be sure to get a night on the water. Here is how the program works at Seacliff State Beach, in Monterey Bay…
- Show up no later than 12:00.
- Enter your name in the daily drawing for spots.
- Park in their lot and wait around until 12:30 when everyone congregates at the entrance for the drawing.
- Find out if you made it for a spot through the drawing – it sounds like they rarely turn people away.
- The drawing also gives the order in which hopefuls may choose their spot.
In our case, there were 13 RVers hoping for spots, and there were 14 spots open. So, we each received good news! Some of the spots have hook-ups, but they can only be used one night and then the raffle must be entered again the next day. For longer stays, no hook-up sites are available.The hook-up spots were $65 per night and the non-hook-ups were $55 per night.
Chris and I usually do not play these kind of games for multiple reasons. First, this is not a vacation for us, we are working on the road, and we need to manage our time accordingly so that Chris has electricity as needed. Second, with the rate we move (typically 2-3 different campgrounds a week), we spend enough time trying to find campgrounds as we travel, so we do not want to add time waiting around for the possibility of a campground or figuring out the ins and outs of the state park system. Third, we are always in new territory, meaning that having a back-up plan is next to impossible. I am sure we could find a Walmart somewhere if necessary, but not being familiar with an area makes a lottery a bigger risk.
We enjoyed the sunset, but we have yet to truly see the sun set on the Pacific Ocean. Turns out that California is full of bays, so every time we were at the beach around sunset, we were actually looking South, not West!!! How did we not plan that better??!! It was still a beautiful sunset though.
And thank you, Lord, for the beach, for the Pacific Ocean, for the sunset and for all the things that pair with RVs.
Fun Facts & Tips:
- Not all state beaches are the same. Some follow the lottery system, some have a different system. Best to ask some native Californians, or call around to the parks.
- Sea otters were once almost hunted to extinction but have made a great comeback. We have seen them multiple times in the Pacific.
- I was sure to send this photo to my sister, Sarah, who is paranoid that we are going to be eaten by a great white. Some people were swimming, but the water was too cold for our liking (the Gulf has spoiled us).