Four of us friends are planning a joint road trip to California this summer. Two of us live in Dallas and the other two live in Chicago we were planning on making our own way there then meeting and camping together on the beach but leaving it open to kind of do our own thing and see what happens. We're planning on about a week including drive time (but with two drivers in each car we'd probably just drive straight through or stay one night on the road if we have to). We don't like over planning, however, seeing as we live so far apart and California does get booked fast come summer I do realize that SOME planning is required.
I guess my questions are:
What part of California is best for beach camping? We would be in tents not RV's. Do any particular parks come into mind as a great place but with less crowds? And what would the pricing be like? We anticipate having to spend a good bit between gas and lodging but with 4 broke college students how much are we looking at?
How fast does it fill up? Between the four of us we probably won't be able to settle down a date till March but we're hoping late May or early June. Is there anytime during summer that would be less crowded than others (like the very beginning of summer break versus the middle)?
Is there anything that I'm not thinking of? I'm not new to road tripping but in the past we always had open ended dates with no particular destination so we could just go anywhere on a whim or where the destination was friends or family so we never had to really worry about lodging.
I realize I'm not giving much information but that's about as much as I know right now - I'm afraid if we wait too long no one will plan it and we'll end sleeping in our car somewhere!