If you check Recreation.gov for campsites or cabins at your favorite state or national park in California this summer and find that everything is taken, don’t lose hope. Private campgrounds and RV resorts are located near the entrances to the most visited parks in California, including Yosemite, Sequoia, Lassen and Redwood national parks. And many of them have available campsites and cabins during the summer.
“All you have to do is log on to www.camp-california.com and you’ll find plenty of camping options just outside your favorite park,” said Debbie Sipe, executive director of the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds.
Consider Yosemite Pines RV and Family Lodging in Groveland, one of many private campgrounds located just outside of Yosemite National Park.
“We do have a lot of bookings this summer. But we still have campsite openings. We also have some cabin openings,” said Mary Bertram, manager of the campground.
And even if Yosemite Pines or other campgrounds in the vicinity are sold out during the days you want to visit the Yosemite area, it pays to keep calling back.
“We have cancellations every day,” Betram said. “I just had a cancellation this morning.”
Some families actually prefer going to private campgrounds outside of national parks.
“We have had some families and groups coming to our park for 40 years,” said Shel Brown, a host at Kaweah Park Resort in Three Rivers, which is located seven miles outside of Sequoia National Park. The park has 83 campsites, including 51 dry campsites and 32 full-hookup sites.
Brown said Kaweah Park Resort is heavily booked on summer weekends, but the campground still has a fair number of campsites available during the week throughout the summer. Other private campgrounds outside less visited state and national parks report even greater campsite and cabin availability.
“Right now, we’re running about 50 to 60 percent occupancy with pre-reservations,” said Joe Bertram, manager of Hat Creek Resort in Old Station, roughly 11 miles north of Lassen National Park. The park, which includes a motel, cabins and four yurts, is the only privately owned campground on Hat Creek, a popular fishing stream with rainbow, brook and brown trout. The Pacific Crest Trail also skirts the edge of campground, which makes it a popular place for hikers.
In northwest California, Kamp Klamath RV Park and Campground is bordered on three sides by Redwood National Park and is close to five other state parks, said campground owner Aaron Funk, adding that the campground is adding another 32 tent sites this year to accommodate an anticipated increase in campsite demand as the recession prompts families to search for more affordable vacation options.