We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Pacific Highway in an rv?

Beds UK
Level Contributor
42 posts
27 reviews
Save Topic
Pacific Highway in an rv?

I'm planing a trip in August from San Francisco in an RV & want to see the wine valley (north), PCH & Yosemite National Park. Would it be best to pre-book RV parks in advance or is it ok to do them along the way? Any advice about the weather or where not to take an RV would be good too please. Thanks

Oregon Coast
Destination Expert
for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
Level Contributor
42,791 posts
1,036 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Pacific Highway in an rv?

You absolutely *must* prebook at Yosemite - in fact the campgrounds within the park are taken within minutes of them becoming available. Ask on the Yosemite forum for more information about this. The alternative near Yosemite is to stay in a private RV park and most of those are located about an hour outside of the valley, but will not book up nearly as far ahead. Yosemite is extremely busy in August.

August is very very busy in many parts of California, especially along the coast. All State Parks will book up many months in advance. Again, there are private RV parks and campgrounds but those also will need to be booked ahead of time.

I think there are very few RV parks in the Napa area, but am not familiar with most of the wine country.

A single motorhome of a smallish size (up to 30 feet) will go just about anywhere. Roads are good and wide. Do not try to take it into San Francisco, though!

Highway 1 has lots of curves but many thousands of RVers drive it in very large rigs every year with no problems. Just don't drive your motorhome the way you drive your car at home and you'll be fine ;-)

Here are some handy websites to help you find RV parks:

http://www.rv-clubs.us/rv_campgrounds.html

http://www.rvparkhunter.com/page2.asp

http://www.rvparkreviews.com/index.html

http://camp-california.com/

http://www.koa.com

Woodall's "Campground Directory" and Trailer Life "RV Parks & Campgrounds Directory" are both great reference books available through www.amazon.com or www.barnesandnoble.com

Beds UK
Level Contributor
42 posts
27 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Pacific Highway in an rv?

Thanks for that advice, will have a look at the references that you suggest & get pre-booking I think. I thought August might be busy but one of the group is a school teacher so unable to take holiday at any other time of year! Thanks again :-)

Christchurch
Level Contributor
652 posts
52 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Pacific Highway in an rv?

Hi Staveley-Stars

As part of our 2008 trip we travelled from LA to Montery before heading over to Sequioa and Yosemite.

Just beware that some state parks along the coast do not allow rv's over a certian length in - we had a 30ft and could not get into several parks with this. The websites for the state parks is a good place to research http://www.parks.ca.gov/ and if they don't say then e-mail them (wish I had - would have saved me a lot of grumps from the other half!!).

What Half-brit has said about Yosemite is right. We were lucky - I had been forewarned by others on TA. But it took a middle of the night trip to a beach with cell reception (an aircard and laptop) and pre planning to get our booking. We were away camping on our summer holiday out of cell phone contact when the bookings for our time period openned. I had researched the site we wanted and my husband logged on at the exact time they opened - took about 4 minute to do the booking and when he finished he checked the booking site and all sites were gone! But we had a great site and a wonderful 3 nights in Yosemite Valley. Now want to go back in the winter and see it in its winter mantle.

Good luck with the planning

cheers

Kiwi

Beds UK
Level Contributor
42 posts
27 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Pacific Highway in an rv?

Thanks Kiwi for the warnings as it was a 30ft rv that we had thought about renting. Might think about downscaling but will look into it further. Thanks again :-)

Oregon Coast
Destination Expert
for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
Level Contributor
42,791 posts
1,036 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Pacific Highway in an rv?

Be assured that private RV parks have no problems with a 30 footer.

Most State Parks in Calif were built many decades ago and were designed for tents and the very small travel trailers of the time. Sadly, they have not kept up with the times and many of them still do not have room for today's big rigs or even have hookups :-(

Beds UK
Level Contributor
42 posts
27 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Pacific Highway in an rv?

Ok, a really silly question now ,but the difference between state parks & private parks I presume is the price?? I have been to America on several occassions but as you can tell this is our 1st experience of travelling this way :0)

Santa Cruz...
Destination Expert
for Santa Cruz
Level Contributor
31,729 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Pacific Highway in an rv?

>>Ok, a really silly question now ,but the difference between state parks & private parks I presume is the price?? <<

Well, yes, but that is not the main difference. The State Parks exist as "actual parks", owned by the State and designated as parks by their scenery, historical value, etc. The private RV "parks" are where you can "park" the RV.

State parks may or may not have camping facilities and may or may not have spaces for RV's. And if so, as you know, may have to limit the length of the RV's they can accommodate.

Private RV parks vary widely in their amenities. They may just look like a parking lot, with side by side spaces for the vehicles. Or they may actually be a "park" with lawns and trees and some privacy between the vehicles. Some will have showers and laundry facilities and a mini store. Others not.

Some State parks may have hookup and dumping facilities. Others will not. If there is no electrical hookup there will most likely be restrictions on the hours when you can use a generator.

The same is true, generally, of private RV parks, but they are more likely to have hookups.

We did our RV trip in Alaska. It was a first for us. Alaska is easy.....made for RV travel and almost necessary because the lodging facilities are not necessarily where you want to sightsee.

Good luck.

Edited: 30 December 2010, 01:24
Oregon Coast
Destination Expert
for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
Level Contributor
42,791 posts
1,036 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Pacific Highway in an rv?

Good explanation, Puter :-)

The only info I'd add is that Alaska is a bit "rough around the edges" when it comes to RV parks (we spent 4 weeks there in our motorhome a number of years ago).

In Calif, all RV parks will have showers and nearly all will have *full* hookups plus cable TV. Full hookups are defined as water, power and sewer. A small percentage might have only water and electricity for various reasons, but will always have a dump station. Most RV parks nowadays have wifi and many have recreation/meeting rooms, excercise rooms and a swimming pool.

State parks will usually have paved interior roads, but the camp spaces themselves may be dirt, or sometimes paved. Private parks will have paved, gravel or concrete camping pads.

And no, it's not a silly question :-)

Seattle
Destination Expert
for Grand Canyon National Park
Level Contributor
8,695 posts
69 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Pacific Highway in an rv?

A 30-foot Rv will also greatly limit your choices (and chances) in Yosemite, assuming you want to stay in Yosemite Valley. The sites are specific to the length of the RV, and there aren't many that will accommodate a vehicle that size. I checked Lower Pines campground for examples, and there were maybe one-fifth of the sites or less that would take a 35=foot RV, only one or two for a 30-foot RV. Not many for a 27-foot, and lots of sites for a 24-foot. Upper Pines had almost nothing for vehicles 30 feet and over.

You might want to familiarize yourself with the Yosemite reservation website now so you can explore your options and learn how to use it. As Half-Brit mentioned, the reservations are all booked within minutes on the day they open up (this will be on March 15 for early August reservations; April 15 for reservations starting August 15 or later.)

The reservations for the Yosemite Valley campgrounds are site-specific, so you will need to know in advance which ones will accommodate your RV; make a list and then on the day the reservations open up you will try for one on your list. It is quite a scramble to get it done. Reservations open up at 7 am Pacific time, which I believe is 3 pm your time, and you want to be logged in and ready to go at the starting bell. Check whether Daylight Savings time applies.

The website is www.recreation.gov and it would be prudent to go ahead and register now and practice a bit. The website is not intuitive, at least I don't find it so, and if you aren't careful you can get into a loop or dead end in your site search, and it will slow you down. Best to figure it out in advance.

Edited: 30 December 2010, 14:41
Beds UK
Level Contributor
42 posts
27 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Pacific Highway in an rv?

Well guys you have given us some brilliant info here, all of which is new to me so will be very helpfull indeed. There will be 4 adults travelling so we were advised to go for a "coach" type rv as they give better viewing for all passengers when travelling - but hearing all your suggestions here I think we need to re-look at this as I know the coaches tend to be at least 30ft or more don't they?

Anyway, thanks again & anything else you think is necessary for us to know would be much appreciated.

Thanks :-)