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Carrizo Plain National Monument, CALIFORNIA
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Camping California Carrizo Plain National Monument
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Off The Grid

I prefer primitive or dispersed camping because I usually like as much privacy as I can get when I'm camping, but with current fire restrictions I was limited to developed campsites if I wanted a campfire (and what's the point of camping without a campfire?). I was also planning the trip on short notice, so developed, reserveable campsites were in short supply. Then I found Reyes Creek.

The campground is very isolated. It's about a 40 minute drive from the nearest town (and therefore the nearest gas station or market - plan ahead). There is no power, or water. There's no cell service in the camp, but a 5 minute drive up the mountain there's a dirt lot they call the 'phone booth' that gets decent reception. The camp hosts were super friendly and helpful. There are 2 loops for campsites - the center of the main loop seemed pretty flat, but all the sites were visible to your neighbors. Sites on the outside of the main loop offered more privacy, but most appeared to not be very level, and not necessarily well laid out. I stayed in site 11 on the outside of the loop which was large and fairly quiet, but my 6 person tent just barely fit in between some trees which offered some shade and was only on a slight angle. The one downside was the bathrooms - vault toilets that varied in condition, but none that I used were particularly good. If bathroom condition is a major sticking point with you, you may want to look elsewhere.

As an added bonus, as isolated as the place is, right outside the entrance to the campground is a bar & grill called the Camp Scheideck Lodge. They have a full bar and great food (and the customer-only bathroom is a great step up from the campground). It just changed owners last month (second time in a couple years) and the new owner, Devin, is friendly and welcoming.

The temperature varies greatly from day to night (90's to 50's when I was there) and there are bugs a plenty, so bring repellant. Firewood is available at the camp, and ice is available at the lodge.

So if you want a little isolation with privacy, a campfire, and a friendly bar within walking distance, this place is for you. I'll definitely be coming back.

Words cant describe

Beautiful lakes and fishing was awesome. Will be back for sure.

If you can make it happen, do it!

This is such a unique experience! You have to set up a boat trip here and back so do your homework because it takes some coordinating. We picked site 1 unknowingly and it turned out to be the best! It was away from others and felt private with the most spectacular mountains to our back. VERY WINDY! The water tasted icky but after a 10 mile hike we didn't care. Take advantage and hike as far as you can- it's unreal! But bring a ton of water because you'll want it! The crows are unruly so watch your belongings, and the fox are cute but sneaky. Also, there was a dead seal over by the water which was sad, but as the rangers told us, that's nature.

Love that you can park right at the beach

This place is rad. You can stay here until 11pm if you don't have a camp reservation. You can also rent ATV to ride at the dunes which is super fun

BEST CAMPGROUND

Probably the best camp ground we've been. They always have an overflow camp site for just vehicle with a camper or RTT. We have a RTT. We paid $60 for 2 adult and 2 kids but the shower is included and super accessible bathroom. Only con about it was that it was a bit noisy after 11PM.

Massive RV Park

First, this place is massive! The spots are very tight with neighbors very close. Sewer, electric and water are on a single concrete area that intrudes on your neighbors area (had to move neighbors table to hook up). While quiet time is 10:00 pm, it is NOT enforced. Prepare for a busy, noisy and crowded experience.

Beautiful campground

Camped out July 21 -22 2019 at Reyes creek campground. We got the last available spot as we showed up late that afternoon. Plenty of fish in the creek. Temp was well in the mid 90s … it was super hot. We still managed to do a small hike up the piedra Blanca trail to upper Reyes. Trail is brushy in some areas with some washouts in others. Some beautiful shaded areas where we took a few breaks to get away from the heat.

Nice quiet campground on a great fishing lake

This lake has a no body contact rule which makes it a great quiet fishing lake with no jet skiing, swimming etc… there is a seasonal swimming pool that is right across from the rv spots. It is a dry campground and the 7 rv spots are basically on a parking lot but are on the waters edge which is nice. The tent sites are nice and are close the the lake. There is a well stocked and surprisingly well priced store as well as a marina that rents boats and kayaks. The lake has 2 boat launches and miles of hiking trails all within a short walk to the camping area. We get a few tv channels on our antenna but there is no cell reception. We launch our kayaks 20’ from our camper and when we had a boat we would launch it when we got there and leave it in the water right next to the camper which was very convenient. This of course always depends on the water level which has been very low some years, but has been good this year. The pool, showers and restrooms are newer, clean and very close to the rv spots but a bit of a walk to most of the tent sites.

Great place for family BBQ and Camping

I love how this campground is secluded, there are about 7 campgrounds available, 2 restrooms and stalls for horses. You can go out for a hike with great scenic views. I would truly recommend.

Primitive typical National Forest campground

Few fire pits and tables a couple flat spots for camping, 30-45 minute drive from Santa Maria. Drive slow down the dirt road as to not upset the residents of Colson Canyon.

Camping with a hotel feel

Great place for kids and families. Went during the week so wasn’t too crazy packed. They have a pool, playground, 24 hour bathroom and showers included with your stay. Also have a small restaurant in case you don’t feel like cooking. They have bike rentals that I believe are free to use. We had a great time and had a nice hike down to El Capitan beach with the kids where they enjoyed themselves. Overall highly recommend this place and will be returning.

Bluff side camping

This was my second time camping here, the last being in 2017. Got to camp Friday 07/12 and stayed for two nights. Booked site 110 about a month prior by luck, checked daily for any cancellations but only saw a few. Site 110 had absolutely zero shade and very little privacy. To the left was site 109 which we could see into because of a gap between sites, this was a shame because it could see the ocean but also would be staring directly into their site. Towards the back of the site it walked straight into site 106. The whole site was on a slant which made it very annoying to hitch our tent. Driving around the other sites and bluff it seems like little had shade. Sites 99, 101, 103 and 105 all had ocean views and seemed to be the best. Site 107 had the best view but no shade. Our site was also directly across from the group sites which were very noisy at night, especially if you’re trying to sleep at 1am. Also the restrooms were to the right of us which was convenient but also could get very stinky. The grounds were kept clean and restrooms were stocked. The beach was an easy walk from where we were and beautiful. Overall I love this campground but would book your site as soon as the window opens to ensure you get a shaded one, especially if you’re visiting during the summer

Quiet in off season

Went In January on a weekend and drove up and had our pick of any site. It was all Shaded and quiet. Not many people around. Nice big sites under trees. Plus it’s only around a 10 minute drive to come springs tavern and several hikes. It is located right off the side of the road but it never got loud because the rode is so empty.

Great Central Coast Stop

Leaving Ocean Mesa and can’t wait to go back. Clean facility. Heated pool and jacuzzi. Concrete pads and lots of trees. Connected to El Cap Canyon that has cabins and yurts. A really great store there with events like wine tasting and concerts. Hiking trails are also connected to the campground. Just a mile from a great beach with lots of parking. No ocean view but the amenities makeup for that.

Hike In Gorgeous Campground with ample space

Park at the lot up top, then walk about 1/2 mile to campground via dirt path. Plenty of sites. Old rustic bathrooms work well. Picnic tables at each site. Brought my dogs here and they had a blast, plus no ticks found. Plenty of hiking directly around this campground. Stayed here for three nights and found plenty of exploring to do nearby. Highly recommend, especially because there is no fee. Being said, Pack it in and pack it out! Leave No Trace principles are crucial to keep this place beautiful

Secluded but difficult to get to campground

Set atop a mountain, Miranda Pine campground gives sweeping views all the way to the ocean. Beware the road is long and unpaved, not suitable for a compact car. I did it with a high clearance 4WD and made it to the top. Only a couple sites at the top, but they are free. Picnic tables at each site. Named for the larged Pine tree at the top of the mountain. Sunset and Sunrise views are incredible. Brought my dogs and they loved it. No real services up here so its especially important to pack out all your trash and follow Leave No Trace ethics.

PERMANENTLY CLOSED

Closed in 2016

Stumbled upon this gem

Found it browsing campsites; what a beauty. Sitting alongside a creek, the camp is clean, quiet, the ranger is super friendly and knowledgeable of the area. There is no running water, and the pit toilets are definitely of the smellier side, but clean nevertheless. There is a bar right at the entrance of the campsite, as well as a small residential neighborhood. The site itself is a quick drive from LA, with easy access. Be mindful of the road leading into the camp, it is quite narrow, so drive carefully.

Nice area.

Lopez lake campground is a pretty area surrounding a nice lake. There is an abundance of wildlife. I came here back in May and the bountiful rain this year led to an abundance of green vegetation. It’s a really nice, clean , and large campground. It wasn’t too crowded but with a water park, bar, and restaurant all on site, I am sure that it must be very crowded during busy season. It’s a great place fishing and for families but I personally prefer a little more solitude in my camping experiences. Staff was very friendly as well.

Pretty Lake and decent campground

I came here in July of 2018. It was extremely hot and I made good use of their pool. Campground is decent but spots are close together. It’s a really pretty lake though. There is a camp store, showers, and pretty much anything you need on site.

Great sites in seclusion

A great trip from Nira campground. Several water crossings along the way. A handful of spots to grab, I’d recommend getting there early to get the best one. Wish we had more water around the site to enjoy. Overall great site for the night!

Beautiful start to backpacking trip

Nira Campground is a great start to a backpacking trip into the San Rafael wilderness. This is a remote campground, bring all amenities including water. Excellent views along the Manzana trail.

First to Review
Great spot for a night

Great little campground for our stop through. Clean bathrooms, good flat camping spots for your tent, a good group area, conveniently located water, and great hiking trails with some awesome views of the hills. Depending on the time of the year you go, there may or may not be a flow in the river. Our time it was sparse.

What’s not to love?

Nothing wrong with driving your truck on the beach and camp. Beautiful weather, can get windy! Busy holidays can have people being loud all night!, but worth it for the view. If going deep into the dunes make sure to air down tires and having a 4x4 helps. I helped plenty of trucks and Suburbans out stuck in the sand. Will be back for some more camping! They also have quad rentals on the beach and wood for sale…you will have a blast!

Went with 9 friends

We reunited for summer break after leaving for college. We caught up and had soooooo much fun in the great outdoors 😁

Such a great location!

Easter weekend visit. Staff was awesome. The cabin was exactly what we needed for a low impact weekend of camping. Proximity to the lake was great. We had so much fun out on the water doing some fishing. The highlight for my kids was the Easter egg hunt put on by the staff. A happy surprise for sure. We will be going back!

Beach camping

A bit crowded, but it's hard to beat camping right on the beach

Perfect site for relaxing by the water

I have been here a few times over the years and it never disappoints! This year the swimming holes were perfect for some post hike cools downs. On the way to the site prepare for about 12 water crossings. There are roughly 6 tent sites all close together. There was a pretty rowdy crew of guys so get there early to pick your spot!

Pure delight

It gets very hot in the summer. So we choose spring and fall/winter camping. Less people, quieter. Rv camping is on top of one another. Not really a campng feeling. I would never RV camp here. Tents, yurts and cabin areas are very nice and some are very private. Great fishing.

Our secret gem

We discovered this campground with friends who booked a group camping weekend. We have now been back yearly for that trip and our son’s birthday. 

The group site is perfect and can easily fit 12-15 families/tents. Good parking area with toilets across the road. 

One fire pit in the group site means everyone is located in one area. The 1/4 hiking trail around the site is perfect for kids exercising some independence. 

Beautiful tree lined area that doesn’t get too hot in the summer. That said, late sept it can get below freezing. There are also often fire restrictions in place so keep up to date on the latest.