The sites are just anywhere on the beach so it’s a really nice different place than a typical site. There are no amenities but they do have bathrooms every few miles. You can dig a fire pit if needed
Oceano Dunes is a must stop spot for ATV rides right near the beach. It’s in amazingly close proximity to Pismo Beach and awesome beach towns. There is RV camping as well as tent camping and spots are on the beach. Be sure to go only during low tide as you have to drive through a section of the beach! Don’t get stuck!
This is a great place to go if you like riding off-road vehicles in the sand dunes. There are no assigned campsites here and there are 1000 reservable "spots" on the CA State Parks website. Camping is cheap at $10/night with a $7.99 reservation fee. During the summer, this place books up quick. We had to reserve a month in advance. Since there are no assigned spots, you can choose who you camp next to (or don't camp next to). We had a great spot at the end of the dunes but unfortunately some disrespectful neighbors brought in a whole band (complete with a tuba, accordion and loud speaker). They played until 11:30pm when the rangers came to shut them down. Not the most ideal neighbors but we had a good time riding in the dunes.
------- Campground Review -------
This was my first trip to Oceano Dunes SVRA. Originally we were supposed to be camping in Yosemite but the recent fires interrupted those plans so my buddy grabbed his quad and we headed to the beach. We showed up without reservations and with no hesitation were granted access to camp for a small fee of $10 per vehicle. After you enter the gate you immediately drive down to the beach and you're off-roading from that point on. I would highly recommend you have an appropriate AWD or 4x4 vehicle if you plan on entering the park as we saw a number of cars and 2WD trucks get stuck on the soft sand. Camping is allowed in the park anywhere south of pole 2 so it's a little trek from the gate down the beach before you can camp. One thing that was a little weird is that there are no designated campsites in this park. It's all first come first serve so people stake out their area. Unfortunately this leads to campers who bring wooden stakes and tape and section off large plots of land just for themselves… this was very annoying. While we were there to tent camp about 99% of campers on the beach had large trucks towing trailer motor homes. The park was also extremely crowded during our Sunday - Tuesday trip which was unexpected for being there mid-week. The crowded camp site combined with people staking off large areas for themselves made finding a spot rather difficult and we ended up nestled between two motor home compounds.
Nice things about Oceano SVRA:
- Natural Beauty. The beach is actually quite pretty, as are the dunes.
- Dog friendly. Dogs are allowed everywhere in the park as long as they are on a 6' leash. All the fellow dog campers seemed to be very respectful and keep their dogs under control and clean up after them.
- Price. $10 a vehicle is cheaper than most camp sites.
- Off-Roading. This is one of the few places where you can take your vehicle off road and have some fun in the dunes. I had a blast off-roading on the quads. We made friends with one of our neighbors and he was nice enough to take us out and give us young guns some tips and tricks on riding. He was very generous with his time and even let us try out his top of the line equipment to see the difference between our beater ATV. It was such a blast and was by far the highlight of the trip!
Less than nice things about Oceano SVRA"
- Amenities. The bathrooms are kind of a joke, just porter potties or a boxed in hole in the ground. There is no running water, fire pits, picnic tables, designated camp sites, etc… you're really just out there with what ever you bring with you.
- Crowded Chaos. The campground was overcrowded. There is no way that many people should have been camping on the beach. It made for a less than campy experience. Would recommend coming in the off season.
- Natural Beauty is overshadowed by man made mayhem. I was expecting to fall asleep to the soothing sounds of the waves… instead the sounds of RV generators were so loud that you couldn't even hear the ocean. While the park does have some natural beauty, it's always obstructed and in the presence of an RV or squad of quads. You're not really in nature at all.
- Disrespectful campers. Campers section off large areas of the beach hogging it for themselves. While it is clearly marked that no fireworks are allowed large fireworks and whistlers went off ALL NIGHT LONG. This terrorized my dog, kept us awake, and while it was easy to identify where the fireworks were coming from the Rangers did nothing about it. There are clearly marked signs of a 15 MPH speed limit on the beach and around the campground area. This is completely ignored and buggies and bikes kick up sand spraying it all over the place.
- Weather. Not really a complaint but just be prepared for heavy wind as you're right on the beach.
I'm all for the off-road and 4x4 community and want to support them. I believe that they are an important part in outdoor recreation and see them as the cousins of car camping, backpacking, and hunting. That being said there are a few bad apples in every group. Maybe the end of summer mentality and heavy crowds they just showed them off a little more during this trip. I don't this is necessarily a bad campground, but I didn't have the best experience here. If I come back it will be with different expectations, and i'll probably bring an RV as opposed to a tent. Overall I give the Oceano Dunes SVRA a 2.25/5 stars.
------- Product Review -------
As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time - on this trip I got to test out the INNO Wedge BRM665.
Product Review of INNO Wedge BRM665:
This was the perfect trip to put the INNO Wedge BRM665 through the paces. The INNO Wedge BRM665 is roof cargo box that mounts to the crossbars of your vehicle. While INNO has a number of different products in the wedge series that offer a variety of different sizes the BRM665 provides an extra 14 cubic feet of cargo space. I've owned a couple of roof cargo boxes from other brands in the past, and after retiring my last cargo box was excited to get to test out the INNO.
Strengths of the INNO BRM665:
- … It's Strength. Honestly this thing is STRONG. While manipulating the box off the roof it was vest stable with little to no flex or warping as I moved it around my garage or lifted it onto the car, making it very easy and predictable to handle. It's strength again was displayed once mounted on the roof where there was no pulling of the sidewalls or flex of the hood as I opened/closed the box, grabbed the side to reach in, or shut it down on compressible items inside.
- Functionality. There are some really smart and convenient features packed into this little box. Firstly it opens on both sides which was a total game changer. No longer did I have to climb up onto my car to reach something that had rolled to the opposite side of the box, I just walked around and accessed the opposite hatch. Secondly there are straps in the box to help hold your gear in place. I haven't seen this feature in any other boxes, but not hearing my stuff roll around in the box when it wasn't full as I took a turn was reassuring.
- Safety. This box has locks that are idiot proof. The key can only be removed from a keyhole when in the locked position. So you put your key in, turn to unlock, open the box, access your gear, close the box, and have to turn the key back to lock to remove it. At first I hated this feature. What if my keys are somewhere else and I want the box unlocked for quick loading and unloading? But during the trip I came to really like this feature. With my past boxes the key could be removed without locking the box. Sometimes I would be out on the trail or pulling onto the highway and think "man, I hope I remembered to lock the cargo box", no more!
- Quiet. The streamlined shape of the box was much MUCH quieter than my previous cargo boxes. No, it's not silent by any means. However, at highway speeds my previous boxes sounded like there was a tornado touching down on-top of my roof. The wedge however is hardly noticeable at street speeds and acceptably loud at highway speeds.
- Versatile. The memory mount system is amazing. My previous cargo boxes had fixed mounting positions which were fine on my Sequoia but interfered with the operation of the hatch on my Subaru. The INNO system mounts have a generous slot to adjust the positioning forward or rear allowing me to sit it further back on the Sequoia for easy access AND move it forward on my Subaru so the hatch could open all the way. On top of the adjustability the memory mount system makes it SUPER FAST to mount and unmount. Previous cargo boxes i've had typically take about 20 min to put on and about 10 min to remove. I was able to install and remove the INNO in about 2 minutes each. No more leaving the box on during the work week between camping trips for me!
- Size. The first thing I did when I got this box was stress test how much it could hold. I stuffed it with weeks worth of camping equipment, as many skis as I could pull down from the rafters in the garage (long enough to fit my 186cm Line SFB's), stoves, and at one point my 86# dog jumped in while it was on the ground. It's got capacity!
Annoyances of the INNO BRM665:
- Weight. At over 50 pounds it's pretty heavy for a roof mounted cargo box. While I was able to install and remove it on my own my wife would not be able to do so and would require help. The weight made it a little squirrelly when lifting or lowering from overhead.
- During a stress test of the box I put everything I could find and just shoved it in there to see what it could hold. When closing the box the latch grabbed onto my sleeping bag stuff sack and tore it. Not a big deal but something I'll be watching out out for when packing the box in the future.
- The white top got pretty dirty pretty quickly on the trip from sand and salt and bugs. Maybe get the black one unless you want to scrub this thing clean to keep it looking tip top.
Overall I loved the the wedge. It's by far the best roof cargo box i've ever owned and it's features make it super easy to use. The construction of the box seems to be very strong and I imagine even with heavy use this box will last many camping and skiing seasons until it taps out. Well done INNO! I give the INNO Wedge BRM665 4.75/5 stars.
Having a jeep, we love four wheeling and what’s better than being able to camp on the beach? However, this place gets extremely busy and it can be very difficult to find a place to park. Once you do park there are many quads and rinos that come close to you trying to spray you with sand. Another thing to beware of is the weather, the wind was extremely harsh and you must be aware of high tide when you set up camp.
If your in to 4 wheeling and camping this is a great place. You can camp on the beach and drive in the dunes all day. This is really great for me as it's a local spot.
There's not much of a designated camp spot location. Pretty much just open land on the sand near a good 30-50 yards from the beach we setup camp next to the many many RV campers. We went in september around labor day and the weather was okay in the day. Evenings felt sticky, windy and chilly. Typical beach and dune weather. The wind and sand did not make for a comfortable camp nor cooking situation. Many RV campers used their RV's as windshields cuz the wind blows in from the ocean side. Many of them put card boards to cover up the under carriage of their RV to prevent the wind and sand build up underneath, And flowing into their campfires. Having the campfire in the sand was kinda cool.
Other than camping, the sand dunes is a great location to have fun. Many ATV rentals near by. You can also deive your 4x4 vehicle, although look out for other people, its very popular off road spot. Lots of trucks. Many of our cars got stuck even with AWD. The sand is deep. High clearance 4wd recommended. Although there is plenty of people who are willong to help tow. Usually for free, but you get a few who try to make a quick buck… 10-15 bucks rather