So, a friend told you about a great place to camp with your dog. But how do you make reservations? Here are three places to start.
– Reserve America handles reservations for 572 federal, state, private and regional park district campgrounds in California (a dog icon designates those that are dog-friendly).
– Recreation.gov is an umbrella site for reservable activities on federal lands, including camping in national forests.
– “Foghorn Outdoors California Camping” by Tom Stienstra (Avalon Travel Publishing) is a useful tome for finding descriptions and reservation information for more than 1,500 campgrounds, most of them dog friendly.
Be aware that most of California’s coastal campgrounds, as well as most in popular destinations like Lake Tahoe, are booked out six months in advance for summer visits, so snagging a last-minute weekend reservation requires persistence.
Here are some tips:
– Inquire about the cancelation window at your chosen location (30 days at Yosemite, for example) and call that many days in advance of your preferred dates to see if any spots have opened up.
– Find out if your preferred campsite has any “first-come” or “overflow” sites in its inventory (most do). Take a risk by showing up at the gates about a half-hour before check-out time.
– Some popular coastal campgrounds use a lottery system to distribute sites made available through cancellations. This is a good option if your schedule is flexible.
– Choose a campground that operates purely on a first-come basis and arrive on a Thursday if you want to stay over the weekend.
– Go midweek, or wait until after Labor Day.