About a week ago, on the weekend of June 23rd, Jason and I took our new baby camping:
This is a Coleman Redwood pop-up camper, circa mid 80's, which Jason acquired for a mere $20. It was, and is, an amazing deal. You can see it's been lovingly patched with fabric glue and a nice sailing ship motif fabric. I'll have to get some detail pictures of the inside on our next trip. It has a comfy queen size bed inside, and two additional single beds, one of which folds up into a table with benches. There is also a sink and a propane stove. Tiki is absolutely in love with it. So is Jason. After this trip, so am I.
We went to Morro Strand State Beach Campground, which is located along Highway 1 (The Pacific Coast Highway). It is about 2 miles south of Cayucos, and lies between Hwy 1 and the lovely Morro Strand State Beach.
The campsite itself is fairly urban, as it is located beneath a development of really nice, expensive homes. But this is well balanced by the fact that a gorgeous beach is just steps from your campsite. Here is the view from our site, Space 6, as the sun sets on our first night in camp:
As you can see, the sites are close together and not very private, but again, the beach is RIGHT THERE!
The campsite itself has 55 sites, arranged in three loops with sites in the center and around the edge of each loop. There are plenty of convenient restrooms. There is a foot wash for the sandy beach but there are no showers. There are also no hook-ups for electricity or RV dumping.
We chose this campground as an alternative to getting a motel. I attended a wedding in nearby Paso Robles on Saturday. Jason wasn't going to attend, and I was attending with Becky, a friend from work. I left the campsite, drove to Becky's hotel in Atascedero, showered, changed, attended the 6pm wedding, and drove back to the campsite. I returned around 10pm. I found the site to be convenient to travel to both nearby cities.
Reservations are definitely necessary in the summer. We use Reserve America for all our state park stays. You won't get assigned a site at this campground when you make your reservation. Instead, you pick it when you arrive at the campsite. The Ranger did not let us drive into the campground to look at the sites before picking, so we guessed and got lucky. If possible, try to get a site in the center of a loop because you have more parking this way. We were happy with site 6. We had a guest join us the second night, who slept in his truck, but there was plenty of room if he had wanted to put up a tent. The ground was not very level, and there were a lot of ground squirrels who provided a lot of holes all around the sites.
There was, however, ample parking for our truck, our trailer, and our friend's vehicle:
If you are traveling with your dog, you will be in fine company here. We saw several furry friends, and Tiki got to practice behaving around kids and other dogs. Your dog is required to be in a leash at all times. The rules also state that the leash must be 7 feet or less. These rules do not seem to be strictly enforced, as we saw several campsites with off-leash dogs. We also had Tiki tied off on a 15 foot leash with no problems.
While the campsite is relatively dog friendly, the beach is not:
No dogs are allowed on Morro Strand State Beach, although I am pretty sure you can walk your furry companion (on leash, or course!) a few miles north in Cayucos. This was kind of a bummer, but Jason and I took turns holding down the camp while the other went down to the beach. I had fun taking pictures. There are a lot of shorebirds on the beach:
And much of the area immediately bordering the campsite is protected habitat for the Snowy Plover. There is also a Blue Heron rookery in nearby Morro Bay. Morro Bay also has a lot of cool shops and offers fun day trips like kayaking, where you might see a sea otter or jellyfish in the inner Morro Bay Harbor.
If you are camping with your dog, the nearby town of Cambria is also very dog friendly and it has a dog park you might want to visit while in the area. There are also restaurants in Cambria like The Main Street Grill where you can dine on the patio with your canine friend. Tiki reports that you should try the french fries. Other local attractions include wine tasting tours and the amazing Hearst Castle.
Overall, we had a great experience. If you are looking for remote quiet and solitude, this campsite is not for you. If you are looking to hang out on the beach all day, or want to visit some central coast landmarks, or want a convenient family friendly campsite, or are camping with your dog and don't care about walking on the beach, you might enjoy checking out Morro Strand State Beach Campground.