Oceanside, CA

Joined September 2020

A gem so close to home!

I grew up in Oceanside and people talked about camping at Dixon lake in Escondido and I thought it was lame and not “real” camping. Having never been there, I based this off nothing. We finally went to check it out and I was wrong. This was a perfect place to get away that’s not a far drive. We stayed at site #32 and it was nice. You could barely see the lake, but it was enough. We did have to walk a little downhill for the bathrooms and the walk back wasn’t fun, but it’s short. I would stay here again and look for a spot that has a city view just to get the experience of both.

No privacy!

We decided to stay at a campground closer to home (Oceanside) coming back from Palomar Mountain. We were just looking for a place to stay for one night. We showed up and every campsite was stacked on top of each other. We asked if there were any other options so we circled the entire campground and ALL the sites were super close to each other. The RV section didn’t look like camping, people live there! With that said, most of the RV’s look like junkyards. So much stuff/junk everywhere. The lake isn’t pretty or swim-able. Don’t let the pictures on their website fool you, it’s crowded. I didn’t take pics myself, but I got them from their website and circled in red where people would be camping. We decided the 45 minute drive home would be better than staying there even for one night. The receptionist was late coming back from her lunch break & wasn’t helpful when we wanted our money back when we didn’t even stay there. One of the worst campsites I’ve ever seen & I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who knows real camping.

Great spot close to the Observatory

We stayed at campsite #40 and it was far enough away from people but just close enough to the bathrooms. The water spout was right across from our site too so that was convenient. The only thing wrong with this particular site was the lack of shade during the day. Luckily we had an EZ up to give us some shade. We drove around to see the different sites and most of them provide a good amount of shade. You have to pay $1.50 for showers and most of them were decent. It’s a short hike (maybe 1.5 miles) and an even shorter drive to the observatory. They give free tours or you have the option to pay $10 to do a tour inside. Overall it was a great stay & we would go again just to another site with some more trees.

“Boondock National” - Yosemite

My friend and I decided to go on a camping/road trip with no plans or reservations. Little did we know that due to COVID, Yosemite was only allowing people in the park with a printed reservation. There was no getting passed these ladies. We asked if there was dispersed camping nearby and they directed us to a street less than a mile south of the southern entrance to Yosemite. The street was Mount Raymond. There were plenty of spots to pull off and camp out and lots of space between other campers. It was quiet and a sweet deer came by as we were setting up. She wasn’t afraid of us at all, just minding her business eating away.

***Only downfall: We were in an area near trees that produced a lot of sap. It was all over our car the next morning and it stuck to the bottom of our shoes pretty bad. We took sticks and really had to dig out all the gunk. Be aware of the trees you park your car under or set your tent up near.

Stopped at Bass Lake on the way up - Great spot for day picnics (pics)

Can be loud

We were right next to the entrance of a hiking trail (#14) so there was a lot of foot traffic & cars early in the morning and throughout the day. There was a large party of maybe 6-8 people next to us that blasted music way into the night. It wasn’t very considerate, but you never know the neighbors you’ll get. There was a deep sink right next to the bathroom which made it easy to do dishes. Good place to stay but I’d prefer driving the extra hour or so to stay at a dispersed spot off Tenmile for free.

Small Area

There are only a couple spots where you can park next to your site. For others, unless you have a truck or a big 4WD vehicle, you have to park and walk up to a site. Bear boxes are provided but no bathrooms or water. It’s a dispersed campsite so it’s first come first serve. Very close proximity to other sites and depending on your neighbors, it can get loud at night. The water looks a little swampy and was not enticing to swim in it. The road to get to the site is VERY narrow and bumpy. We had a Toyota RAV4 and most other cars I saw were a type of SUV. I wouldn’t recommend a smaller car although it is doable. I did see a Subaru down there.

Awesome spot!

Free dispersed camping! The site we pulled into was so big and spacious. There was a man made fire ring with plenty of log seating around it. A big boulder and a long torn down tree separated us from a heard of wild cows. It was fun to watch them. It was one of the first spots after pulling off the road so we often got cars driving thru to check out the area. It was very quiet and private. There were several other spots up the path a little more but from what we saw, we liked ours the best!

Dispersed camping off Benbow Dr.

There are several pull-outs along Benbow Dr, some more level than others. GPS coordinates point to the access point from Hwy 101 (Redwood Hwy). We stayed all night with no issues at 40°02'58.5"N 123°47'32.5"W tucked into a treed section off the road. We are actually just a little past this location at a pull off that had a fire ring and lots of space.

We experienced only a handful of cars passing by and very little noise from Highway 101 above (otherwise just the South Fork of the Eel River below). Just northwest of where we were, you have access to the river through what appears to be a decommissioned day-use park.

***When we pulled in there was no one, but two other parties came and the spots were not far enough for my comfort. There was nothing that separated us, only a couple trees and that took away from the privacy factor. One party was friendly, the other was not. He seemed like this was HIS spot and it made me feel a little nervous staying there (brown van in photo). If I was with a larger group, I would have felt fine, but it was just me and another friend and I was on edge all night :/

Cool spot!

Pulled off the side off Patrick Creek Road and found a spot right next to the creek. The sound of the creek was soothing and it was very private. We couldn’t see or hear anyone nearby.

Great spot!

There’s only 6 sites on the campground and we were lucky and got the last one available. It’s a perfect amount of space between campsites, and it’s free. 3 night maximum. The walk to the lake is easy and the lake itself is wonderful! I would stay here again.

Great spot!

It isn’t free. There’s a $10/night fee. This spot was right on a water reservoir with breath taking views. When we stayed, there wasn’t anyone else near us, but if there were, the campsites are right next to each other. A little too close for me but we didn’t experience that so it was fine. I would definitely stay here again!