What comes to mind when you think of Death Valley National Park: scorching heat? An endless expanse of dry brown earth? Depending on when you visit, it can definitely be insanely hot, but endless brown it is not! When we visited in late February we were stunned by the colorful badlands, diverse landscapes, and the beautiful weather! It’s truly a photographer’s paradise and we want to share with you some of absolute best places to see.
Archive of posts with category 'California'
There’s just something so striking about the patterns that form in dry cracked earth – it’s pretty dang photogenic. That’s exactly what you’ll find here at Silurian Dry Lake Bed, just north of Baker, California. Be aware though, you will also find incredibly strong winds – so much so that we kept both our slides in the entire time and had to park in a way that shielded our RV door because otherwise the wind was ripping it out of our hands!
After spending a couple weeks in the Anza Borrego Desert State Park we were excited to get back over to the coast – this time to meet-up with my sister and our parents! We booked a stay at Lilac Oaks RV Park in Valley Center and had about a twenty minute drive each day to where they were all staying in Escondido. We hosted my parents for a couple nights in the RV which is always fun but sadly we had nothing but cold and rain and so we spent most of the time just hanging out and working on small projects in the rig.
It was probably in December when my sister shared with me that a super bloom was expected in the California deserts this spring. I didn’t really know if our schedule would line up but it certainly stayed in the back of my mind. The heart of the super bloom was predicted for late February/early March and unfortunately we ended up having plans and reservations elsewhere during that time frame. We were however able to visit the Anza Borrego desert in early February to witness what was called the first pulse of the super bloom. The base camp for our stay near Borrego Springs was a popular free camping area called Rockhouse Trail Road.
The Anza Borrego Desert State Park in southeastern California is a dramatic desert terrain full of hiking, camping, badlands, slot canyons, and off-roading trails. Star-gazing is top notch and if it’s been a wet winter you just might catch the desert in bloom in the early springtime. One of our favorite free campsites is the Carrizo Badlands Overlook at the very southern end of the state park.
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!
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.
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!