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  1. Default Honeymoon on the california coast! From Ohio

    We are getting married in July and have 3 weeks for our honeymoon. We are planning on driving from Cincinnati Ohio to California and back...we have a limited budget. We figure 4 days there, 4 days back in driving time but really have no idea how much driving we can handle in one day!
    Our main ittenary...we want to make our way down the california coast, starting in Redwoods Natl. park in Northern California/Humboldt County. From what I've researched this is a very nice area worth speding a vast majority of our time in. We also want to see other places along the coast, but not much further down than san fransisco...we do not want to rush at all.

    My main questions would be:

    What are the best places to visit? We love to hike

    What are the best most secluded places to stay the night? (camp grounds are a must for the majority or camper cabin type lodgings, anything cheap and pretty really.)

    How much would this cost roughly?

    Should I book lodgings, campsites if I want good ones for this time of year (end of July through mid, august)

    Any other sugetions?

    I'm so excited to be going, I dont know if I can wait the whole 6 months.
    I'm so happy I found this site, it seems to be one of a kind!

    Thanks :)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default More Relaxation

    Welcome to the RTA Forum, and Congrats on the upcoming trip (and that wedding thing too).

    One bit of advice I might give is to spend more time traveling to and from California. You can certainly make the trip in 4 days, but it wouldn't be at what I'd call a relaxing pace. Especially coming off of the stress of the wedding, I would plan to take at least a week to get out there, spending less time driving and more time exploring as you make your way west.

    I would probably break your trip into a week out, a week in CA, and then a week to head home. But keep things loose and flexible, so you can pick up the pace or slow down as you see fit.

    Reservations are always a matter of personal choice. If you've got specific places you absolutely want to stay, then go ahead and book in advance, but if you are flexable, then it would be rare to not find someplace to stay for the night.

  3. Default Reservations?

    I hate to overplan things, but the time you're talking about traveling (late July to mid August) is pretty much in the middle of vacation time for a lot of folks. You might want to get reservations if there are specific places you want to stay.

    My experience with that part of California was in the spring, and I found that the campgrounds would fill up by about 3 or 4. In the midst of the summer vacation time, I'd expect them to fill up earlier, probably by about noon or thereabouts. So you really might consider getting reservations for specific places you want to stay, including the occasional hotel. You might be a bit more flexible on the trip out and back to give you more choice on where you want to stay, and what specific route you'd like to take.

    For places to stay or visit --

    You need to visit -
    - the Ladybird grove in the Redwoods National Park
    - Gold Beach/ Fern Gully in Elk Prairie Redwoods State Park

    For interesting places to stay --
    - There's a campground at Gold Beach that looked really interesting. Pretty much on the beach, but fairly primative and "first come first served" for access.
    - Mill Creek campground in Del Norte Redwoods State Park. I stayed here, and it was pretty nice in a grove of big 2nd growth redwoods.

  4. Default

    Thanks for the advice. As for the week there and week back I want to get out there as soon as possible and maybe take our time on the way back. He (my Finace) wants to see the desert. I thought maybe we would spend some time around Moab Utah as I remember from a family vacation it being a great "desert" area. There is alot he has not seen.

    "There's a campground at Gold Beach that looked really interesting. Pretty much on the beach, but fairly primative and "first come first served" for access."

    I have heard of that, its in the Prarie creek area right? That area is where I was thinking of parking first actually as it seems to have great campgrounds.

    I hate having to make reservations but I do not want to miss out on an opurtunity to sleep under the redwoods.
    If its federal land you can pay a small fee to set up camp wherever pleases you right? We do this in Daniel Boone national Forest/Red River Gorge Kentucky very frequently. I was thinking if we did this a couple times we would not need reservations and we would not miss the chance to sleep in the forests.

    Any suggestions on federal land camping that would not require more than a mile or 2 hike to the car and back?

    Oh and does anyone recoment the Big Sur area of California?

    I could go on and on. Sorry so long and thanks again in advance!

  5. Default You need to check the park regulations...

    Re: Gold Beach campground

    Yes, its in the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. Last time I was there, the Gold Beach campground was pretty primitive -- no showers, limited water, and pretty exposed to wind and etc. But it was located in a very interesting area, right along the beach. At the time (about 2 years ago), you could not make reservations there, and it was pretty much first come/ first served on camping there.

    Note, this is a California State Park, not a Federal National Park, or National Forest. The regulations vary from site to site, and even by region within the Park or Forest. You need to check to see what's acceptable for the area -- and that should be available either on the Park/ Forest web site, or by calling them.

    In general, you can't camp anywhere without a basic permit in a National Park, and depending upon the park, they may restrict you to camping in specific pre-designated camping areas. That's to reduce the impact of people on the park and preserve it for future generations -- and this can be quite severe in highly visited parks.

    Outside of highly visited areas in public lands, it's not so strict -- in some areas outside the Redwoods that I've visited the restriction is something like "100' off the road, and leave no trace". But I've not seen this in the Redwoods area. You'll need to check the specific park regulations. I think you might be able to if you hike in away from the roads in somewhere like the Six Rivers National Forest (which is a bit east of the coast) or the Smith River NRA (National Recreational Area). Be aware also, that a big chunk of the land around there is privately owned, and the owners can rightfully set whatever regulations they want on access of camping in their forest lands. Some of the land has been in some families for decades and decades and they are more protective than the National Forest Service.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default This and That

    There's nothing wrong with trying to get out to CA as fast as possible, but speaking from recent experience, being crammed into a car all day for 4 straight days might not sound like quite as good of an idea immediately after dealing with all the stress of a wedding. I could see where you'd want at least a day or two where you can just take things easy, and that will be difficult if you force yourself to stick to a 4 day schedule. Like I said, just keep things flexable so you can keep this a relaxing trip depending upon how you feel when you are on the road.

    As far as camping goes, not all federal land is open to camping, but you can usually camp pretty much anywhere in National Forest Land. Dispersed camping is free, and there are places where you can set up camp near your car, just remember that there are no ammenities and you have to pack everything in and out. In california, you will also need a fire permit if you want to start a campfire. They are free and can be obtained at any ranger station or forest service office.

    Then of course, there are also the actual campgrounds set up by the National Parks Service, National Forest Service, and the BLM. They often are first come first serve or at least have some non-reservable sites, but the policies can vary by park and campground.

    As far as desert goes, Moab and Arches NP are certainly worth checking out. Although if you end up going through Big Sur, you might as well head home by going through the Mohave to Las Vegas as you start East.

  7. Default

    Oh okay. I guess I was under the impression that all federal owned park land was not very restrictive. What I am used to is like what Larrison said "100 feet from road, leave no trace" I did a litle reasearch a minute ago and there seems to be a descent amount of free camping spots on the federal land but most are desgnated areas which might make it impossible to assume I can get a spot at a whim. I'll do some more research tho just in case.

    I am starting to agree with the 4 days out there senario...maybe we will just go and see what happens...if I reserve I will reserve 6-7 days in so if I'm early no big deal...this is what a raod trip is supposed to be about anyway.

    Another much does something like this cost? Should I budget around $100 a day? More/Less?

    Does anyone know where I could come across pictures of campgrounds (good ones) along the coast? Off the web, in magazines, in Books or Videos? Actually any good books and/or videos about the area in general would be helpful.

    Midwest Michael:
    Big Sur looks Beautiful and the weather there seems so nice I think I will head to that area for the last few days, and take your route mentioned back...Moab and those areas should probably be seen on a sepertae trip...when I went with my parents we had 2 weeks and didnt feel like we saw as much as we wanted.

    anyway I do not think I have ever recieved so many long, thoughtful answers to a thread anywhere before. I hope I will be able to contribute soon as well.

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