Free/Cheap Camping on the Central Cali Coast

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skitch

climber
East of Heaven
Topic Author's Original Post - Jun 26, 2012 - 12:08pm PT
I have to make a trip to the big city in the next few weeks for some fingerprinting (federal job BS). I figured if I have to miss a day of work I might as well miss two! So my plan is to get the fingerprinting done in the bay area, then hang out on the coast to do some surfing. I need to be able to rent a board and a wetsuit (YEAH FOR OTHER PEOPLES PISS!), and be able to camp out somewhere. I would love to find a camping area that has a river nearby, or showers and doesn't cost a lot. Also the surfing needs to be good for beginners (I love it but I SUCK!).

Thanks for the help on this very non-climbing related subject.
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Trad climber
San Francisco, Ca
Jun 26, 2012 - 12:25pm PT
The state park at Half Moon Bay is nice, but is $35 a night. The campground has showers and the break just south of the jetty is super mellow. You can also surf right at the campground.

You can camp on the beach in Bolinas for free if you don't mind a slight homeless vibe. I'm not sure if it's legal but people do it all the time. The surf there is super chill. No river or showers so you would have to stew in the rental wetsuit piss.
Chaz

Trad climber
greater Boss Angeles area
Jun 26, 2012 - 12:35pm PT
$35 a night?

You can stay at the nicest Motel 6 ever built - the one in San Simeon - for not much more than that.
canyoncat

Social climber
SoCal
Jun 26, 2012 - 12:38pm PT
Really? Motel 6's in LA are $69-$80 a night.
squishy

Mountain climber
Jun 26, 2012 - 12:45pm PT
there's some good campsites in Big Sur for much less.
Gunkie

Trad climber
East Coast US
Jun 26, 2012 - 12:52pm PT
Bolinas...

k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Jun 26, 2012 - 01:00pm PT
That's not the smell of pee in that guy's wetsuit ...
~kief~

Trad climber
state of Awakening
Jun 26, 2012 - 01:12pm PT
pismo,
drive right on the beach $5 a night
weekends are crazy
skitch

climber
East of Heaven
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 26, 2012 - 01:18pm PT
Any suggestions on less crowded areas near a decent rental shop?


Any experience with Xcel wetsuits? I'm 6'4" 195 lbs, according to the Xcel fit guide they don't make a suit that fits me, but I'm an inch over on the LT. Is a 3/4 good for norcal summers, (maybe 4/3 would cover the few times I might be able to make spring/fall trips)? Do you guys wear booties and gloves this far south?

I have a 6/5/4 Hotline sitting in Tillamook Oregon, it was a little loose in the chest, cause I'm a scrawny-no-chested rocks climber.
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Trad climber
San Francisco, Ca
Jun 26, 2012 - 01:47pm PT
Are you going to SF? How far do you want to drive north or south?
skitch

climber
East of Heaven
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 26, 2012 - 01:50pm PT
I'm planning on going to San Fran, I'm also willing to drive an hour or two north or south. I looked at hotels in the santa cruz area, I ain't rich.
nutjob

Gym climber
Berkeley, CA
Jun 26, 2012 - 01:53pm PT
I grew up just south of Big Sur, and 4/3 wetsuit was the typical comfy thickness, and lots of people had 3/2. When we were kids we just suffered without wetsuits and came out when we couldn't stop shaking and our lips turned blue.

Lots of paid campgrounds or free low-profile camping along Big Sur coast.
Chaz

Trad climber
greater Boss Angeles area
Jun 26, 2012 - 01:54pm PT
Hostels International.

Stay HERE for $25:


http://norcalhostels.org/pigeon/

I think there's another hostel at the Point Montara Lighthouse, too That one would put you closer to San Francisco.

ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Trad climber
San Francisco, Ca
Jun 26, 2012 - 02:00pm PT
Cowells in Santa Cruz is a good beginner spot. Also the beach breaks on the east side would not be crazy crowded. There are campgrounds there but as Chaz points out you can almost just get a hotel for what state parks charge.

Here is some more info-

http://www.surfline.com/travel/index.cfm?id=2923
skitch

climber
East of Heaven
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 26, 2012 - 02:04pm PT
I'm bringing my wife, so a hostel is out of the question ($25/per night/person!). Where's the bishop of surfing? Mexico?

I just looked at the Surfline info on Santa Cruz, claims that there won't be any waves. Hopefully it means there won't be any big waves??? In Oregon we regularly had decent waves in the summer, as long as we got up at 4 am before the goddam wind started blowing onshore.
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Trad climber
San Francisco, Ca
Jun 26, 2012 - 02:18pm PT
There will be waves, but on the small side. The bay area is expensive and it's tourist season so you will either drive or pay...
skitch

climber
East of Heaven
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 26, 2012 - 02:26pm PT
Have you ever tried camping in Monterrey national forest? They have non-reserveable campsites, what do you think the likely hood of finding a site thursday night might be? Any other suggestions for semi-reasonable camping areas ($35 is ridiculous unless I can eat the squirrels).
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Trad climber
San Francisco, Ca
Jun 26, 2012 - 02:33pm PT
I think it's the Los Padres NF-

This place supposedly has a mellow break (at least during the summer):

http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/lpnf/recreation/recarea/?recid=10913&actid=29

Though that may be out of your range. There are probably some campgrounds closer to Monterey but I don't know much about the surf there.

And yeah, the $35 price is nuts.
kev

climber
A pile of dirt.
Jun 26, 2012 - 05:08pm PT
Sadly the 'management' of many of the campgrounds is Los Padres are now
subcontracted out to a company (I forget the name). When they did this they jacked up the rates and hired some of the finest individuals (read as sarcasm). It's not the typical campground host experience that one runs into in the Sierras. The one just outside of Morro Bay is one such example. I'd highly recommend avoiding them. There is free camping to be had up in there if you hunt around a bit. Get a quad map and you can find plenty of spots. Depending on the specific spot, camping on HWY 1 is ok if you're very low key and sleeping in your rig but in many spots it's still technically illegal.

Norwegian

Trad climber
Placerville, California
Jun 26, 2012 - 05:14pm PT
throw up a curtain in your
rig
and bivy for free.

i don't understand why people pay to sleep.

i used to fly up to the peninsula
regularly for a project out in bremerton, wa.

my company gave me coin for lodging,
i bought climbing gear
and slept among the ferns or in my rental car.
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