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Helpful camping tips for year-round camping enjoyment

No matter what your destination is or whether you have a reserved or a first-come, first-served site, it's always a good idea to call ahead and check on park conditions.

For Reservation Sites - Plan ahead

You can make reservations up to seven months in advance through Reserve America at 1-800-444-PARK (7275) or on-line at Reserve America's website

Determine where you want to camp and be flexible

Have alternate parks in mind in case your first choice is booked.

To help you, get your copy of the California State Parks Camping Reservation Guide by calling (916) 653-6995 or writing to:

California State Parks Information Office
P.O. Box 942896
Sacramento, CA 94296-0001

Consider non-reservation sites

If the reservation sites are full, look for first-come, first-served campgrounds, and try and arrive on a Wednesday or Thursday to maximize your chance to get a campsite.  Please call the specific park for details.  They include:
Emma Wood State Beach
Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park

Consider less busy days

Sometimes reservations are easier to make if you can camp mid-week.

Consider less popular camps

Southern coastal campgrounds can be full year-round. You could have better luck getting reservations at State Parks north of Santa Cruz or inland.  Look for sites which are more remote and away from major metropolitan areas.

Remember the holiday crush

The closer you try to make reservations to a holiday (Memorial Day weekend, Fourth of July, or Labor Day weekend), the further north and inland you may need to go.

Consider cancellations

Check the Reserve America website or call the 800-444-7275 phone number. While no waiting lists are maintained, cancellations are rare but they can occur.

Consider visiting the park for a day

If the campgrounds you want to visit are booked, consider a day visit to the park for a picnic, hike or other outdoor recreation.

Consider April, May, September, and October

The "shoulder season" (April, May, September, and October) is a good time to enjoy California State Parks.  The weather during these months is usually good.