Camping Near the Bay Area?

mrsw94

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 18, 2010
The family and I have decided to replace our Disneyland trip with a camping trip at the end of July. We currently have a reservation for 3 nights at Pinnacles, but I'm a little worried about the heat and not enough to do. The pool is closed, and so are the caves. I don't forsee them opening before we go.

Other suggestions? We aren't super-hikers, but we also aren't sit around the campsite all day kinda people. (Hence why we usually do Disney-we like the action!)
 

mel2014

Mouseketeer
Joined
Nov 26, 2014
It's funny you should post this as we have reservations for Pinnacles for this upcoming weekend and I have been second guessing whether we should go or not. When we booked in May, I assumed the pool would be back open, albeit perhaps with reservations or social distancing restrictions. With no pool and no nearby natural water for cooling off, I'm concerned we're going to broil. It doesn't help that when I looked at the site I picked on Google street view (after the fact of course), there's very little shade. And then we were notified of the "no fire" restrictions, so no hot dogs over the fire or s'more roasting.

The lure for us is a Junior Ranger badge for my son, who has been steadily building his collection, and hiking the High Peaks -- Condor Gulch loop. Since there's no vehicle traffic allowed past the campground, we're planning to bike to the trailhead (which is a plus for us, being able to bike on traffic-free roads), but that's going to make for a long hot day. It seems that if you're not able to bike or hike to the major trailheads, there's very little to do there other than the one trail along the road going west from the campground. I think we're still going to go and if it's too hot, we'll just call an audible and go home Saturday, although it's a long drive for us from Sacramento for a single overnight.

Unfortunately, the pickings are very slim for any alternatives, especially if you're looking at weekends. You may want to look for private campgrounds, county campgrounds, or check HipCamp for possibilities. Or look for campgrounds with lots of first-come, first-served sites and try to make it there early in the day. How far are you willing to drive?
 


mrsw94

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 18, 2010
Yeah, the no pool and no shade I think are deal breakers for us! If you end up going, please let me know what you think!!

A friend suggested a few other places I'm looking into. Rollins Lake, and Lake Sonoma along with a few other places. Fingers crossed we figured something out!
 
  • mel2014

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 26, 2014
    Yeah, the no pool and no shade I think are deal breakers for us! If you end up going, please let me know what you think!!

    A friend suggested a few other places I'm looking into. Rollins Lake, and Lake Sonoma along with a few other places. Fingers crossed we figured something out!
    You might also want to look at Lake Francis Resort as well if it's not too far out of the way: http://www.lakefrancisrv.com/
     

    FireflyTrance

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 5, 2011
    Yogi Bear Tower Park in Lodi is a kid friendly resort. It may also be hot there though, but they do have two pools that are open.
     

    keen23

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Feb 6, 2014
    I was going to suggest Campland by the Bay, but that's San Diego (it's an AWESOME campground, if you're more interested in the San Diego area instead of San Francisco).
     
  • mel2014

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 26, 2014
    Reporting back from our weekend trip, I would strongly urge you to cancel and look for another spot that's cooler and/or near swimmable water. It was comfortable when we arrived Friday night around 7:30 and the campground actually has a lot of shady spots, but even in the shade the heat on Saturday was just relentless (the high was 102). We biked to the Bear Gulch trailhead and could only make it two miles hiking to the Condor Gulch viewpoint and back before we gave up and headed back to the campground, which put us back at the campground around 1 p.m. Saturday, with nothing else to do for the rest of the day. If you don't have bikes, the Bench Trail leading out of the campground has a lot of sun and is mostly uninteresting until you get to the peak viewpoint. On the plus side, we did see tons of wildlife even just around the campground -- quail, raccoons, squirrels, variety of birds, bats, hares.

    We huddled in front of our portable mister/fan for a while and then played card games and my son completed his Junior Ranger book. Around 3:30, we went and got his badge from the national park store (blissfully air conditioned but only allowing 2 people in at once). Others were waiting 20+ minutes outside in masks just to go into the camp store (also allowing only 2 people in at once) to get a cold drink or ice cream. At that point, looking at 4 more hours before any relief from the heat, we decided to break camp and leave. Rather than head home, we decided to take refuge at a hotel in Gilroy and then went hiking Sunday in the blissfully shady and cooler Mt. Madonna County Park.

    It would be a great place to visit in the late fall or early spring when it's not as hot and the caves are open again, but definitely not good for a summer visit.
     
    Last edited:

    mrsw94

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 18, 2010
    Yogi Bear Tower Park in Lodi is a kid friendly resort. It may also be hot there though, but they do have two pools that are open.
    How easy will/would it be to socially distance? That is my one worry.
    The BooBoo Bungalo looks so cute!
     

    FireflyTrance

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 5, 2011
    How easy will/would it be to socially distance? That is my one worry.
    The BooBoo Bungalo looks so cute!
    OK so we actually went here ourselves this past weekend. The biggest issue was that the pool was often crowded. If you went I would suggest weekdays. We were able to have the smaller pool to ourselves at 9am, but by 10am there were other people there so we left. We were able to do the jumping pillow and miniature golf while socially distancing. It's fun to rent a golf cart and ride it around. If you're into boats you could also rent one and go sailing down the delta river there. In summary: it's easier to socially distance if you go when they aren't crowded, so I would recommend Tues-Thurs or go after summer is over.
     
  • mrsw94

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 18, 2010
    OK so we actually went here ourselves this past weekend. The biggest issue was that the pool was often crowded. If you went I would suggest weekdays. We were able to have the smaller pool to ourselves at 9am, but by 10am there were other people there so we left. We were able to do the jumping pillow and miniature golf while socially distancing. It's fun to rent a golf cart and ride it around. If you're into boats you could also rent one and go sailing down the delta river there. In summary: it's easier to socially distance if you go when they aren't crowded, so I would recommend Tues-Thurs or go after summer is over.
    Thank you! That was exactly the kind of info we were looking for. We were planning on going during the week, so hopefully that might help.

    We are totally up in the air right now. Our 17 year old daughter is sick and the first testing appointment was tomorrow, so we won't know anything until later in the week. The waiting process is tough!
     

    FireflyTrance

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 5, 2011
    I hope your daughter feels better soon!
    Thank you! That was exactly the kind of info we were looking for. We were planning on going during the week, so hopefully that might help.

    We are totally up in the air right now. Our 17 year old daughter is sick and the first testing appointment was tomorrow, so we won't know anything until later in the week. The waiting process is tough!
     

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