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  1. Default LA to San Francisco - booking RV sites in October - advice please

    We're travelling from LA to San Francisco by RV starting 7th Oct, and taking a leisurely 8 days over it. We plan to spend at day at the Getty Centre and then head north taking in the sights and plan to spend the most time doing day hikes in Big Sur.

    My main question is - How vital is it to book all our RV sites in advance? We plan to make sure we have a booking for the first and last night but would like to be a bit more spontaneous with our stops in between. Should we book a site for every night? Or just first and last night plus the Friday/Saturday of the weekend? Or if we are just going to pitch up on a first come first served basis would we be best advised to pitch up on Thursday night and stay for 3 days to avoid the Friday night rush for the weekend of 12th/13th October? We don't mind unserviced sites - we just want to make sure we're parked legally and we'll be self contained. We've also heard horror stories about having to be outside a site at 0900 to book for that night or risk not find anywhere. Any truth in that in October?

    We found that when we did an RV trip from SF to Seattle there was no need to book anything during the first 10 days of June, but will the sites on the LA - SF trip be busier in October?

    Any advice gratefully received.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Not sure.

    Hi Roger, welcome back to RTA.

    Sorry to say that I have no first hand experience of camping along the coast and can't answer your question, although I'm not sure anyone can for sure as things cahnge quickly, the weather can play a big part for example. The fact is that many people travel without booking in advance successfully, although they may not have luck with their first choice. I think I would prefer, like you, to cover my first and last night and I personally would also feel more comfortable booking the weekend period. Over such a relative short distance for the time you have I wouldn't have thought you was more than hour away from a hike you wanted to do if you booked in advanced, or an hour away from a campground if you didn't, so it's what you are most comfortable with. Perhaps if/when you book your first night and last night you could enquire about the possibility of adding nights when actually there and whether or not they think it could be a problem that time of year, just to get a feel of things.

    I kept this list of Big Sur campgrounds for sometime in the future, it may prove handy.

    Have a great trip !

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    If you plan to stay in a California state park along the coast (especially the "beach" parks), in October, you might want to make reservations. The "beach" parks reserve quickly and the non-reserved spaces fill quickly. Bear in mind, they vary. Some of them will have hookups and be really nice; others are a sandy spot someplace.


  4. Default

    Dave - thanks for the input. We've booked first and last night but we'll just have to "wing it" for the dates in between now as there are only "first come first served" pitches left now along Big Sur. I'm not anticipating much of a problen during the week but think we'll look for something midday Thursday and stay for the weekend unless we find things very quiet. Thanks for the link to Big Sur campsites. I've printed it out and put it in favourites - could be very useful.

    Donna - I understand what you mean by beach parks. However, so long as it's quiet we're not too picky. A hook-up is nice but not essential, and so long as there is water we're fine. We'll keep the tank full and empty the grey and black water at every opportunity. A "Sandy spot" with water will do us fine.

    I'll do a write up with photos and let you know how we got on. Someone may find it useful.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Will look forward to it.

    Good luck and have a great trip Roger.

    I'll do a write up with photos and let you know how we got on. Someone may find it useful.
    Would love to hear all about your trip and see some pictures. I'm sure plenty of people will find your trip report of good use.


  6. Default

    OK - to answer my own question after the trip - between LA and San Francisco there are approx 10 million people living within 4 hours drive of Big Sur and so it tends to be busy at weekends. Booking your site in Big Sur for weekends is essential even out of season as even in October there is wall-to-wall sunshine and daytime temperatures are in the mid 20s C/mid 70's F and the pressure on facilities is intense. You should be OK to turn up unannounced outside of Big Sur during the week though at this time of year. - See more at my trip thread.

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