Calif. Parks See 20% Hike in May Bookings
On Nov. 1, opening day for making May camping reservations at California's state parks, campers made 8,472 camping reservations, a 20% increase from last year and an all-time record for that day, according to a news release.
On this day last year, California state parks had 7,065 reservations for the month of May, which includes the busiest camping weekend of the year – Memorial Day weekend. This year, when reservations opened at 8 a.m., the department received more than 1,000 reservations in the first two minutes.
The first ones to go were the 14 Crystal Cove cottages on the Orange County coast, the 10 Steep Ravine cabins at Mount Tamalpais on the Marin County coast and the 25 RV sites with full hook-ups right on the Santa Cruz County shore at Seacliff State Beach.
"Competition for popular California state parks' campsites is fierce," said Jim Luscutoff, who heads the Concessions and Reservations Division. "We understand those who did not get the reservations they wanted are disappointed, which is why we encourage our visitors to consider many of our other beautiful parks. There are 278 to choose from and each one has something worth experiencing."
Parks that were 90% full by close of business on Nov. 1, in alphabetical order, were Bolsa Chica in Orange County, Carpinteria State Beach in Santa Barbara County, Doheny State Beach in Orange County, San Clemente State Beach in Orange County, San Elijo State Beach in San Diego County and South Carlsbad State Beach in San Diego County.
California state parks have 15,000 campsites across the state, with 11,000 on the ReserveAmerica reservation system and another 4,000 that are first-come, first-served.
"We always suggest that visitors trying to make a reservation have a second choice in mind and maybe third choice," said Luscutoff. "Visitors have a better chance of getting the campground they want by planning to go during the week, during the cooler months and by selecting a park further north and inland."
This year, California state parks had 24 log cabins built at McArthur-Burney Falls in Shasta County, which started taking reservations on June 20. Also, 40 tent cabins at Big Basin Redwoods State Park in Santa Cruz County went on the ReserveAmerica reservation system in October. Previously, a private concessionaire was operating the reservations for that park.