We had such a glorious stay last week in Cardiff by the Sea but with a maximum 7 day stay allowed at San Elijo State Beach it was time to change campgrounds. Luckily we only had to move just a few miles up the coast for a stay at the lovely South Carlsbad State Beach Campground. So similar to San Elijo yet oh so different – it’s just a completely different vibe. The Carlsbad campground was just more quiet, more relaxed, and they had a lot more available campsites. We’re not quite sure why so many more people gravitate towards San Elijo but we’ve got some guesses: it connects to a dog friendly beach, there are several great surfing spots nearby, and it’s a short walk to some nice shopping and groceries. Up in Carlsbad you aren’t nearly as close to the city and the beaches maybe aren’t quite as inviting, but it is equally as beautiful and since it wasn’t fully booked we had several days with an open view of the ocean, even from our ‘back row’ campsite!
Archive of posts from 2019
As much as we love to boondock in the middle of nowhere, we still find ourselves drawn to certain destinations and we’re definitely willing to spend a little cash to be there. Whenever possible, our favorite option is to stay in state park campgrounds – there’s usually plenty of natural beauty, you’ll typically find much better rates than private RV parks, they are often close to bike paths, and when you’re along the California coast it’s just one of the best ways to be able to stay beachfront. We lived in North San Diego County for two years before we hit the road and we still love what the area has to offer: that laid back surf town vibe, beautiful beaches, healthy restaurants, great breweries and so much recreation.
Community. It’s something that nearly every person craves and you might think that moving into an RV and hitting the road sounds like a lonely endeavor – well, like many things in life, it will be what you make it to be. There are so many options for meeting other travelers: you might meet people at your campground or your neighbors out in the boondocks or you can go straight to the source and join an RVing group.
I’m not sure when I first saw photos of this camping area on social media but I immediately added it to my list of places we should visit. After a short stay in Tempe, we needed to stick around the area but we were ready to get back out boondocking and it was a great time to check out this spot. Brad discovered that this is one of the highest rated boondocking sites in Arizona on our favorite camp-finding app: Campendium, so we were really looking forward to checking it out.
We hadn’t quite figured out where we were going to be for Christmas this year but when Brad mentioned a free boondocking spot on the Colorado River I was quick to sign on. This spot is just a few miles from the Cibola National Wildlife Refuge, on the California/Arizona border.
Sometimes you just need a place to stay the night and we’ll always choose BLM land over a rest area or truck stop – those can be so noisy with semis coming and going. Out west BLM land is plentiful and this spot was actually quite scenic, even though we were barely off the highway. One downside to this spot was all the trash around the site. There was a mattress and old tires, lots of broken glass. We collected the smaller items that we could in an effort to leave the site better than we found it – an important way we can help ensure that these lands stay available for us all to enjoy!
It surprised us to learn that the Desert National Wildlife Refuge – just about 30 minutes north of Las Vegas, Nevada – is the largest wildlife refuge outside of Alaska, at 1.6 million acres! Much of this is inaccessible of course but we enjoyed getting our ‘new’ Nissan Xterra, Frida, out for some 4x4ing to take in the sites. You don’t have to go too far down Mormon Well Rd. to reach the Yucca Forest, which is super impressive, but the road is definitely rocky and you’ll want a high clearance vehicle to do it.
As you might know from our previous St. George post, Brad had gotten our new car all set up to be towed behind the motorhome…except that when we went to hook up and leave, none of the lights were working on the car. This meant another week in town so he could troubleshoot the problem but it also meant we got to spend a little more time with family.