malibe creek state park

Malibu Creek State Park (2015)

Campsite:  MALIBU CREEK STATE PARK

Geographic Location:  MALIBU, CA

Type of Campground: STATE PARK

Experience Level: GREAT FOR NEWBIES, FAMILIES & LARGE GROUPS (LIKE SCOUTING TROOPS!)

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Malibu Creek Rock Pond

(All ratings are based on a 1-5 system. 1=Horrible 5=Amazing)

Pet Friendly:(2) NOT ALLOWED ON THE BEACH OR THE TRAILS – AND NOT A LOT TO SEPARATE YOU BETWEEN SITES IF YOUR NEIGHBOR HAS UNFRIENDLY PETS.

Family Friendly:(4) LOTS OF SPACIOUS SPOTS, GOOD FOR TENTS & RVS – AND FULL BATHROOM AMENITIES – THOUGHT NUMBER OF STALLS ARE LIMITED.

Cleanliness: (3) TRASH CANS ARE AVAILABLE BUT IN ISOLATED AREAS – AND WITH NO FIRES ALLOWED MOST OF THE YEAR – THE FIRE PITS TURN TO TRASH CANS (BAD CAMPER ETIQUETTE!!)

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Don’t “trash” your site – That’s Bad Camper Juju!

Noise Level: (4) LOTS OF LARGE GROUPS IN BIG OPEN CAMP LOOPS MEANS THE SOUND CARRIES FAR.

Restrooms: (4) FULL INDOOR RESTROOMS – WITH FLUSH TOILETS, SINKS AND MIRRORS AND HOT WATER! AS WELL AS TOKEN OPERATED SHOWERS.

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Clean restrooms, with lots of TP and hot water!

Campsite Space: (4) MOST OF THE CAMPGROUND IS A BIG OPEN DIRT PLAIN – SO THERE ISN’T A LOT OF PRIVACY BETWEEN SITES, BUT THERE IS A LOT OF SPACE ESPECIALLY IF YOU’RE LOCATED IN THE INNER LOOPS.

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Shade/Sun: (3) SCATTERED TREES THROUGHOUT THE INNER LOOP SITES FOR SOME SHADE. OUTER LOOP SITES GET LOTS OF TREES AND BRUSH TO PROVIDE MUCH MORE SUN AND WEATHER PROTECTION.

Ground: (4) DIRT – BUT FLAT AND NO HUGE ROCKS UNDER YOUR TENT

Bugs/Critters: (4)  BEES WERE THE MOST PREVALENT CRITTERS AROUND – BUT THERE ARE COYOTES NEARBY (YOU CAN HEAR THEM HOWLING!)

Amenities:

  • UNISEX RESTROOMS WITH FLUSH TOILETS, SINKS AND TP!
  • INDIVIDUAL PAY SHOWERS (TAKES TOKENS – BUT THERE IS A MACHINE TO GET YOUR TOKENS RIGHT NEXT TO SHOWERS)
  • MANY WATER SPIGOTS THROUGHOUT CAMPGROUND
  • TALL FIRE PITS WHICH ARE NOT ALLOWED TO BE USED DUE TO THE DRY WEATHER RIGHT NOW
  • WOODEN PICNIC BENCHES
  • TREES AND SHRUBS FOR SHADE
  • FIREWOOD AVAILABLE FROM CAMP HOST WHEN ALLOWED
  • PAVED ROADS AND MANY HIKING TRAILS WALKING DISTANCE TO YOUR SITE.
  • THE ROCK POND – MALIBU CREEK’S MOST FAMOUS ATTRACTION
  • RIGHT OUTSIDE OF THE CITY – SO IF YOU FORGET ANYTHING, IT’S ONLY A 5 MINUTE DRIVE TO STORE!

 

Comments from the “Chix”

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Our overall impression of this campground  is that it’s a fun place for  a short trip, or a layover on your way to another location. OR, if you’re looking for a fun place that can accommodate a big group, like a Boy Scout or Girl Scout troop- this is your place! It’s nestled right in the woods of Malibu off of the canyon road – so it’s a great quick getaway!
Pros: This campground gives off a bit of the rustic vibe, especially for being so close to the city, but still has plenty of not rustic qualities – like hot water! With flush toilets, lots of sinks, water fountains and hot showers, those who aren’t ready to stay dirty all weekend will survive. The sites are generally large with enough room for a big tent or a couple small ones- or a big RV. Some sites offer lots of great natural shade from the mountain side and trees. But let’s not forget the best part of Malibu Creek – the short trail to the Rock Pond! In the summer it’s a great way to cool off and have some fun in the sun, while still feeling like you’re in the middle of wilderness.
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Malibu Creek Rock Pond
Cons:  Most of sites here are not site specific when you make a reservation, which means your spot is chosen for you – and you don’t know where it will be until you check in. There’s a lot of spots that don’t have much shade – which can be tough in the summer. Lastly, it can get loud since the layout of the campground is basically a big open dirt lot with parking spots to designate your site.
Trip Tips: Be prepared to be in a sunny spot, or a spot that may just not be of your choosing. And although the trail is not tough to the rock pond – bring shoes! The other trails are plenty rocky and slippery too!
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Malibu Creek 2015

Link to reserve your spot at Malibu Creek State Park

 

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OH RIDGE CAMPGROUND (JUNE LAKE)

Campsite:  OH RIDGE CAMPGROUND

Geographic Location:  EASTERN SIERRAS – BETWEEN MAMMOTH AND MONO LAKE

Type of Campground: STATE CAMPGROUND

Experience Level: GREAT FOR BEGINNERS AND FAMILIES

(All ratings are based on a 1-5 system. 1=Horrible 5=Amazing)

Pet Friendly:(5) YES – DOGS CAN SWIM IN THE LAKE!

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Stella taking a potty break
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Stella properly enjoying the lake

Family Friendly:(4) SURE IS- LOTS OF FAMILY ACTIVITIES AS WELL AS STORES AND RESTAURANTS NEAR BY JUST IN CASE

Cleanliness: (4) CAMPGROUND IS CLEAN AND RESTROOMS WERE FINE. FELT LIKE PRESTINE NATURE AT THE LAKE BEACH

Noise Level: (5) THERE ARE SOME FAMILIES, BUT OVERALL IT IS NICE AND QUIET AND YOU CAN HEAR NATURE AT NIGHT

Restrooms: (3.5) RESTROOMS WITH FLUSH TOILETS AND RUNNING WATER. WHAT MORE DO YOU NEED?

Campsite Space: (4) OFTEN SPACIOUS CAMPSITES WITH ROOM FOR SEVERAL TENTS.

Shade/Sun: (3) NOT A LOT OF TREES FOR SHADE AND CAN GET HOT DURING SUMMER

Ground: (4) DIRT – VERY FLAT

Bugs/Critters/Wildlife: (4) TYPICAL SIERRAS – THERE CAN BE SOME MOSQUITOES, WHICH CAN GET BAD AT CERTAIN TIMES OF THE YEAR. THIS IS ALSO BEAR COUNTRY SO USE THE LOCKERS.

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The campground has some serious beauty, but not a lot of shade

Amenities:

  • FLUSH TOILETS
  • WATER SPIGOTS THROUGHOUT CAMPGROUND
  • FIRE PITS 
  • WOODEN PICNIC BENCHES
  • LAKE ACCESS
  • BBQ GRILLS
  • PAVED ROADS  
  • 2 MARINAS WITH BOAT RENTALS AND FISHING NEARBY
  • WALKING DISTANCE TO SHOPS AND RESTAURANTS IN TOWN
  • BEAR LOCKERS
  • A SHORT ROAD TRIP AWAY TO MANY COOL SITES LIKE MONO LAKE AND CAN DAY TRIP TO YOSEMITE AS WELL
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Enjoying a hike at nearby Panum Crater

Comments from the “Chix”

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Our overall impression of this campground was that the big draw to this campground was the pristine lake. It can get hot during summer so having a lake with boating, fishing, swimming and dog-friendly swimming is great. It is also conveniently situated sort of in the middle of the Eastern Sierra attractions with Mammoth to the south and Mono Lake and the entrance to Yosemite to the north. This, combined with the nearby amenities, makes it a great family-friendly and pet-friendly option in the area.
Pros: This campground tends to have more availability than other campgrounds so you can snag a spot on last-minute trips. It also has flush toilets and drinking water, as well as shops and restaurants a walk away for when you need a break from nature. The biggest pro is the lake and the recreation that comes with it. Its beautiful, its dog-friendly and you can swim, fish or boat.
Cons: It can get hot here during summer! Oh and it snows during winter. I think the lack of shade is what makes it less popular than other nearby campgrounds, but at least there is refuge in the water.
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Stella trying to find shade
Tips: Bring some sort of shade with you if you can. Also bring a bathing suit and fishing gear if you have it. And of course, as always, use those bear lockers!
Again thanks to Andy Orr for some of these photos!

Link to reserve your spot at Oh Ridge Campground

El Capitan State Beach

Campsite:  EL CAPITAN STATE BEACH

Geographic Location:  WEST SANTA BARBARA

Type of Campground: STATE BEACH

Experience Level: GREAT FOR BEGINNERS AND FAMILIES

(All ratings are based on a 1-5 system. 1=Horrible 5=Amazing)

Pet Friendly:(4) YES – BUT NOT ALLOWED ON BEACH – BUT ARE OK ON TRAILS NEARBY

Family Friendly:(5) VERY – HAS ALL THE AMENITIES!

Cleanliness: (4) PARK EMPLOYEES MAKE THE ROUNDS QUITE OFTENCLEANING TRASH AND THE RESTROOMS MULTIPLE TIMES A DAY

Noise Level: (4) LOTS OF FAMILIES = LOTS OF KIDS = EARLY HOUR NOISE, AND YOU CAN HEAR THE BEACH- BUT WE FIND THAT SOOTHING

Restrooms: (4) FULL INDOOR RESTROOMS – WITH FLUSH TOILETS, SINKS AND MIRRORS. GENDER SEPARATE. NOT THE CLEANEST WE’VE SEEN – BUT NOT BAD.

Campsite Space: (4) OFTEN SURROUNDED BY NEIGHBORS, BUT IT’S A VERY LARGE CAMPGROUND – SO ENOUGH SPACE FOR LARGE TENTS OR MULTIPLE SMALL ONES.

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Fits Large Family Size Tent

Shade/Sun: (4) WELL SCATTERED SHADE IN MOST SITES FROM TREES

Ground: (4) DIRT & SAND- SOME SPOTS ARE FLAT SOME ARE HILLY

Bugs/Critters: (4) REGULAR BEACH BUGS – FLIES, BEES, SOME MOSQUITOES AT NIGHT – BUT THEY ARE MINIMAL.

Amenities:

  • MENS & WOMENS SEPARATED RESTROOMS WITH FLUSH TOILETS, SINKS AND INDIVIDUAL STALLS WITHIN. 
  • INDIVIDUAL PAY SHOWERS (COINS OR TOKENS)
  • WATER SPIGOTS THROUGHOUT CAMPGROUND
  • TALL FIRE PITS WITH GRILLS CHAINED ON
  • WOODEN PICNIC BENCHES
  • TREES FOR SHADE
  • FIREWOOD AVAILABLE FROM CAMP HOSTS
  • PAVED ROADS AND TRAILS TO BEACH ACCESS
  • BIKING IS VERY POPULAR WITH PAVED ROADS AND TRAILS
  • NATURE TRAILS ACCESSIBLE
  • FISHING ALLOWED
  • CONVENIENCE STORE BY THE BEACH (ICE, SNACKS, ETC)

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Comments from the “Chix”

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Our overall impression of this campground was similar to Carpenteria, that it is a great campground for those new to camping and for families or large parties of campers. There is a convenience store right by the beach if you want a snack, forget your sunblock or just need more ice. As well as fishing supplies for those who want to throw a lure in the water to catch their dinner.
Pros: This campground is not rustic but gives off a nice woodsy vibe none-the-less, and offers lots of conveniences. With flush toilets, clean hot water and hot showers, those who aren’t ready to stay dirty all weekend will survive. The sites are generally large with enough room for a big tent or a couple small ones- with natural shade from many trees and bushes. The campground also has many activities near by, including the beautiful beach just steps away, hiking and biking trails and paved roads so your kids can scooter, skate and bike around the site. Firewood is always available from the camp hosts too!
Cons: It’s not the “real campers” campground. If you want rustic, quiet or any feeling of “roughing it” – I’d pick a smaller campground with less amenities. It can get loud from kids/young adults – and many families playing music throughout the day and night. Otherwise, there just isn’t much bad about this location other than trying to get a reservation! (it fills up very quickly and early!)
Tips: Book in advance! Reservations must be made 2 Day(s) ahead of arrival and can be made up to 7 Month(s) in advance – but you better still rush to get a spot!
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Link to reserve your spot at El Capitan State Beach

Convict Lake (Eastern Sierras) 2011

Campsite: CONVICT LAKE CAMPGROUND

Geographic Location: EASTERN SIERRAS – BETWEEN BISHOP AND MAMMOTH

Type of Campground: STATE CAMPGROUND

Experience Level: GREAT FOR MODERATELY EXPERIENCED CAMPERS LOOKING TO GET BACK TO NATURE

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Beautiful views from the camp site
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Enjoying breakfast

(All ratings are based on a 1-5 system. 1=Horrible 5=Amazing)

Pet Friendly:(5) YES – CHECK OUT THE PICTURES OF OUR DOG ENJOYING THE LAKE

Family Friendly:(3) FAMILY FRIENDLY FOR MODERATELY EXPERIENCED CAMPERS.

Cleanliness: (5) VERY

Noise Level: (5) PEACEFUL AND QUIET, JUST LIKE BEING IN NATURE SHOULD BE. YOU CAN HEAR ANIMALS AT NIGHT SOMETIMES.

Restrooms: (5) FLUSH TOILETS – VERY CLEAN

Campsite Space: (4) SOME SITES ARE BIGGER THAN OTHERS, BUT WE HAD ENOUGH ROOM FOR 2 TENTS

Shade/Sun: (3) NOT A LOT OF SHADE AT MANY SITES

Ground: (4) DIRT- RELATIVELY FLAT, BUT VARIES FROM SITE TO SITE

Bugs/Critters/Wildlife: (3) ITS THE SIERRAS, AND ITS A LAKE…SO THERE WERE SOME MOSQUITOES. ALSO NOT UNCOMMON FOR A BLACK BEAR TO VISIT OR FOR DEER TO WONDER THROUGH YOUR SPOT. USE THOSE BEAR LOCKERS!

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Dogs can go explore the lake!
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A deer saying “hi”

Amenities: 

  •  RESTROOMS WITH FLUSH TOILETS, SINKS,HAND SOAP AND TRASHCAN IN EACH STALL
  • COIN OPERATED SHOWERS
  • BEAR LOCKERS AT EACH SITE
  • WATER SPIGOTS THROUGHOUT CAMPGROUND
  • TALL FIRE PITS WITH GRILLS CHAINED ON
  • WOODEN PICNIC BENCHES
  • FLAT GROUND WITH BRUSH CLEARED
  • BEAUTIFUL LAKE WITH WALKING PATH AT CAMPGROUND
  • AMAZING HIKING TRAIL STARTS NEXT TO CAMPGROUND
  • OMG THE AMAZING VIEWS!!!!!!!!
  • SECRET HOT SPRINGS ARE JUST A SHORT DRIVE AWAY (RIGHT ACROSS THE HIGHWAY)
  • LOTS OF GREAT SIGHTSEEING IN THE AREA
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Convict Lake Trail head
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The beautiful hike around the lake

Comments from the “Chix”

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Our overall impression of this campground was that it is a great campground for nature lovers. This is a personal favorite campground, and we’d camp here all the time if it was closer. The views are out of this world, and the hiking is amazing. They have hiking for all levels. You can stroll around the lake or take a serious like to reach the peak (and see 3 more lakes along the way).

Pros: The real highlight, as mentioned before, is the beauty. But what is great, is you get that rustic, back to nature feel, but still have the conveniences of a nice campground like flush toilets, showers with hot water, a nice spot to pitch a tent, fire pit and picnic table. Dogs will love this place as well as you can get away with letting them explore off-leash.

Cons: It can get hot during summer and there isn’t a lot of shade. Also, if you are a little scared of animals, you may encounter a bear. Another disappointment was that although we reserved our spot online, when we got to the campground our spot had someone else’s name on it. The campground host apologized and was able to find another spot for us.

Tips: Use the bear lockers please! Also, please go hiking, the hiking is great! For a fun bonus check out the hot springs near by. Link about the hot springs

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And many thanks to Andy Orr for some of the great photographs seen on this page.
Link to book your spot at Convict Lake Campground

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Carpenteria State Beach 2015

Campsite: CARPENTERIA STATE BEACH

Geographic Location: SOUTH OF SANTA BARBARA -VENTURA COUNTY

Type of Campground: STATE BEACH

Experience Level: GREAT FOR BEGINNERS AND FAMILIES

Camping (right) Beach (left)
Campsites to the right, Beach to the Left

(All ratings are based on a 1-5 system. 1=Horrible 5=Amazing)

Pet Friendly:(4) YES – BUT NOT ALLOWED ON BEACH

Family Friendly:(5) VERY

Cleanliness: (5) VERY

Noise Level: (3) NOISY AT TIMES(AMTRAK TRAIN RUNS THROUGH SITE MULTIPLE TIMES A DAY – AND YOU CAN HEAR THE BEACH WAVES FROM SITE)

Restrooms: (5) FLUSH TOILETS – VERY CLEAN

Campsite Space: (4) OFTEN 3 “RV” CAPABLE SITES NEXT TO EACH OTHER -SPACE FOR 1 FAMILY SIZE TENT

Shade/Sun: (4) WELL SCATTERED SHADE IN MOST SITES FROM TREES

Ground: (4) DIRT- RELATIVELY FLAT BUT LOTS OF TREE-DROPPINGS

Bugs/Critters: (4) CROWS ARE YOUR BIGGEST ENEMY HERE

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Clean Restrooms!
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Outdoor Sinks with Soap! AND Hot Water!
Coin Operated Showers -Bring your quarters!
Coin Operated Showers -Bring your quarters!

Amenities: 

  • INDIVIDUAL (GENDER NEUTRAL) RESTROOMS WITH FLUSH TOILETS, SINKS, HAND SOAP AND TRASHCAN IN EACH STALL
  • INDIVIDUAL (GENDER NEUTRAL) COIN OPERATED SHOWERS
  • ADDITIONAL SINKS WITH HOT WATER AVAILABLE OUTSIDE STALLS
  • OUTDOOR BEACH SHOWERS (NOT CURRENTLY RUNNING DUE TO DROUGHT)
  • WATER SPIGOTS THROUGHOUT CAMPGROUND
  • TALL FIRE PITS WITH GRILLS CHAINED ON
  • WOODEN PICNIC BENCHES
  • BIG TREES FOR SHADE  
  • FIREWOOD AVAILABLE FROM CAMP HOSTS FOR $6 
  • TRAILS TO BEACH ACCESS WITHIN THE CAMPGROUND
  • HIKING AND BIKING TRAILS NEARBY BUT NOT WITHIN CAMPGROUND
Direct walk through to the beach from sites
Direct walk through to the beach from sites
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Carpenteria Beach view from Campground

Comments from the “Chix”

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Our overall impression of this campground was that it is a great campground for those new to camping and for families. It’s walking distance to the main town, filled with grocery stores, eateries, shopping and more! If you forget anything – it’s a short walk to the store. They also have pizza delivery, but that’s not quite in the spirit of camping.
Pros:This campground is not as rustic as others, but does offer lots of conveniences like clean bathrooms with soap (say what??) and coin operated showers. The sites were large, pretty flat and good for tents – with natural shade from many trees. The campground also has many activities near by, including the beautiful beach just steps from your site and hiking trails just a short drive away.The camp host was very nice and had lots of good fire wood for sale. Just $6!
Cons: The Amtrak train tracks are right behind the campground, so a few times a day you have to deal with the loud train. Some spots are literally in the sand, which could be messy. The site numbers were almost impossible to read at night and we passed our spot at least once trying to figure out where the numbers were located. But, we heard they are re-numbering this winter season.
Tips: The layout here is three spots in a row then a curve then three more spots, and so on. The parking for these spots is literally 3 RV parking spaces crammed next to each other, so we recommend avoiding the middle spot if you are in an RV.  We, however, were in a middle spot in our tent and our spot still had privacy and lots of room.
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Carpenteria State Beach camp site setup

Link to reserve your spot at Carpinteria Stat Beach