Memorial Day ~ 4 Camping Trips in Soon to be Closed State Parks

I was completely outraged when I read that Gov. Jerry Brown has chosen to axe 70 parks statewide by July 2012, to make up for the state's ongoing budget crisis. While our NorCal friends are being hit hardest, with some of my favorite parks on the chopping block: including Tomales Bay & Samuel P. Taylor. Sadly the list goes on...
 {Samuel P. Taylor State Park}

13 of the 70 slated for closure are south of San Luis Obispo and it includes about half of our California's desert parks. Because lots of you have been asking me for Memorial Day recommendations, and since the CA State Parks Foundation says the best way to support the parks is to visit them,  I'm encouraging all of you to pack a tent and visit one of these amazing state parks (all of which still have camp sites available) for the longholiday weekend. 

 {Mecca Beach Camp Ground}
1. The Salton Sea's 360 square-mile basin is one of the world's largest inland seas. Popular with boaters, water-skiers and campers alike, the sea has been coined "California's crown jewel of avian biodiversity". If you're looking to get out of LA this weekend, the Mecca Beach campground has shore side sites with breathtaking views of Mt. San Jacinto and the snow-covered Santa Rosa Mountains.  Each campsite has a fire ring,  picnic table and desert vegetation and trees to give you shade.  If you're new to camping, camp hosts are available at the visitor center to help you settle in. Since Mecca Beach is not on the reservation system, it's first-come, first-served camping. Note: Be sure to take a hike in the Mecca Hills Wilderness Area during your stay. Contact 760-393-3052 with questions. 
{Picacho State Recreation Area}
2. Set along the banks of the lower Colorado River, Picacho State Recreation Area is known among its loyalists as California's best kept secret. What was once a gold mining town is now a hidden desert gem with amazingly diverse scenery, including beaver tail cactus, wild burros, bighorn sheep and thousands of migratory birds. There are two camping options to choose from (both first-come, first-served). First, if you have a boat, the park offers 5 remote and primitive, boat-in only campsites along the river shores. If you'll be traveling by car there is the 50 site Picacho campground near lots of amazing trails and hikes. Questions? Call 760-996-2963
{Saddleback Butte State Park}
3. Wildflowers are still in bloom at Saddleback Butte State Park, just east of Lancaster on the western edge of the Mojave Desert. There are 50 first-come, first-serve family camp sites in the 3,000 acre state park, and all offer tables, stoves, fire rings and shade. Its $20 a spot and $5 for every additional car, but thats a small price to pay for endless miles of hiking trails (including the short self-guided Dic Dowen Nature Trail located at the Visitor Center). 
{Palomar Mountain State Park}
4. Palomar Mountain State Park is one of the few Southern California areas with a Sierra Nevada-like atmosphere. Camping in a thick coniferous forest, while looking out over spectacular views of the Pacific and low land deserts this park has it all: camping, picnicking, hiking, and even trout fishing in Doane Pond. You'll need to reserve a camping spot (Here) but act fast...there are only a few spots left! No spots? Don't fret there is plenty to enjoy with a cheap day use fee of $8 per car. 

Can't go camping this weekend, but want to do something to help save our parks? Spread the Word! Re-post, Re-tweet and ask your friends to do the same! 
You can also join the CA State Park Foundation on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. I can't believe 70 are being closed! That is so sad -- really sad. CA has some amazing camping spots too. they are really hurting the great outdoors. Now I'm depressed. :)

  2. So sad ....but don't be depressed. Spread the word! Then come back to Cali for a visit! I'd love to go camping with the newly weds!!!!!! PS. I need your Philly addy. xo

  3. holy bear shit! i didnt know this either, Samuel P and Tomales, i will be hellbent at spreading the word for the next year! Tragic.

    good to see you a t b2b albeit briefly. when's your next trip up this way?

  4. in fact you readed my mind, this is the normal activity for every year in this day, of course we first go the cementery to visit my grandpa's grave, and later we go to somewhere, forest or well a lake to celebrate Memorial day.