To whom it may concern:
We are a family of four traveling for six months across America in an Airstream trailer. We had been anxiously awaiting our arrival to the California coast, but have found the camping facilities to be sub-par, and very expensive.
The cheapest camping we've found was outside the fence of a trailer park in Santa Cruz - the park itself was full, but the owner offered us an ad hoc spot outside the fence, together with an extension cord, for $25.
That's about the most we had paid for any camping before reaching California.
The bathroom looked like it hadn't been cleaned in a month, but the WiFi did work.
Which is an improvement upon the WiFi access advertised by many campgrounds we've encountered. "Oh, the signal must not reach your site." "Oh, our WiFi is really low-tech". "Oh, most people just sit outside the office to get a signal [in the cold, dark night, sitting on the ground?]".
Here, people want a lot of money - we're talking $40 at the minimum - to stay in parking lots with nary a tree, inches from other RVs. In some of these, RVers are expected to have extra-long sewer pipes, electrical cords, water hoses, etc, since to save money, the amenities are located on the wrong side for trailers.
In one place, we had to ask neighboring campers to plug us into their rig, since our standard issue cord couldn't reach our own slot's outlet.
Children are not allowed to ride bikes in these parking lots -- something about more expensive insurance policies, apparently.
Bathrooms have been grotty as a rule, with some places (costing $45, $48) even demanding that guests PAY for showers (only 25 cents or a dollar, but still!).
And what are we supposed to do with dirty water at campgrounds that have neither sewers nor dump stations, where washing dishes is banned in bathrooms and no separate sinks are provided? Are guests supposed to pollute the rivers?
We understand that the California economy, something like the world's eighth largest, is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, but these examples were all private campgrounds.
We wish that coastal campgrounds could follow the lead of the best campground we've seen so far on our trip - one located inland, below Mount Shasta in northern California. Mountain Gate RV Park had the cleanest, most sparkling bathrooms, a welcoming staff that practically broke out into song, a playground, its own trails, a rec room stuffed with TV, sofa, movies and games...AND...get this, a complimentary continental breakfast (coffee, pastries, toast, cereal, juice, etc).
Not to mention special events like pumpkin carving for Halloween and a Thanksgiving dinner.
And guess what? Guests are so blown away by the thoughtfulness of the owners that they do their very best to treat the campground as if it were their own home.
All for under $30.
Complaints off our chests, we must congratulate you on having the most breathtaking coastline we've ever seen, offering hundreds of miles of eyepoppingly beautiful beaches, towering redwoods, dramatic craggy rockiness, mountains surely carved by God himself and the most azure water anyone could hope for. Thanks also for maintaining Highway 1, that road is nuts!
Claire, Daniel, Sophia and Lulu