We spent 3 days on the bluff this trip (we've been going to San Onofre every year for the past 4 year). There must have been a bad storm that hit the area because San Onofre is bad shape this year. The 1st 20 sites that are opposite the beach (as you go into the camp - they have W/Elec/Sewer) are all closed down and the parking area along the beach is washed away. That only leaves a handful of sites available with all utilities. The beach has been eroded tremendously from what it has been in previous years, the life guard station used to have a buffer zone but there is washout right up to the building now. Walking the beach is a real challenge as it is filled up with rocks and only a small cleared area is available for beachgoers. It was nice up until the weekend when the place suddenly became wall to wall campers to the point of being over crowded and extremely noisy and the bathroom facilities could not handle the crowd, toilets were stopped up and it became a challenge to beat the crowd to get to a working toilet. We were surprised that no one told us of the conditions there when we reserved our site. The place has really taking a nose dive and is looking run down. Views of the coast are still great from the bluff though. The newly renovated clubhouse still was not open even though construction was completed last year. We stayed at Del Mar, just down the road about 30 miles prior to coming to San Onofre and there just isn't any comparison. Del Mar is much nicer. We should have stayed there instead of coming to San Onofre.
The amenities at San Onofre Beach are adequate and well placed allowing all campers to enjoy the beach setting. What was very disappointing is the apparent lack of efficient management, state of repair of laundry/restroom facilities, and overall cleanliness of the campground. Several times prior to arriving I called reservations asking if any full service sites had become available as my reservation was for water and electric only. I was told during all calls that no full service sites were available. Upon arrival, the assigned site was too small for my RV and I was reassigned a full service site which I remained at throughout my planned stay. I also noted that several full service sites were always available during my stay; very puzzling. Unfortunately the entire campground is littered and unkempt with several washers/dryers and toilets out of service. It seems that no one is caring for the amenities, landscaping, and enforcing campground rules. San Onofre Beach could be a real gem conveniently located to many local restaurants, activities, and beaches but considering the state of affairs and depressing condition, it rates an overall two stars at best. Somebody at MWR needs to step up and return the campground to its former condition.
The men's and women's bathrooms were filthy when we checked in on Sun. 9/27. There was no toilet paper in any of the stalls, the trash was over flowing, and feces were on the floors. The RV sites, surrounding roads, bathrooms, and laundry facility are in serious need of repair and maintenance. Our power box was surrounded by several large holes and the front cover had been torn off of its hinges. The office staff were very pleasant and helpful and the views and location of this facility are amazing. We paid $35 per night for water and electric but no sewer hook up. This is top dollar for a military facility. The RV park is frequently sold out on weekends creating a substantial cash flow for the MWR fund. Why isn't this money being used to maintain this crumbling facility? Please hire a Camp Host to help supervise the RV park and address after hours issues regarding excessive noise, loose dogs, leaking faucets, etc.
Being right on the beach is a huge plus. The employees are friendly but the reservation system and policies are ridiculous. I can guarantee that ANYTIME you call for reservations, you will be on hold for 10 to 45 minutes & don't try to reserve a site even 1 day before your alloted lead time. Check in is at 1 pm for camping, 3 pm for the "cottages". DO NOT try to check in even 5 minutes early even if your site is empty. Of course, you won't know if it is empty as they'll not tell you what site you are in until you check in. If you have to move from one site to another during your stay, you may not be able to find out where you will be moving & have to check out at noon but not be able to move into the next site- even if empty- til 1. This has happened to us numerous times. Once we moved 1 whole space & that space had been empty the entire time we were there so we could have been in that one to begin with & not had to move. We have been coming here for 6 years, & my parents came her over 30 years ago. There has been very little maintenance or updating in the last 30 years. In the last 6 years, they have put a nice childs' play area on the beach and on one the bluff. They have not done any road repair & the roads are in horrendous shape. The blacktop sites are very old, unlevel, have large holes & cracks. There used to be gravel between the hardtop sites, now there is mostly weeds. It is obvious that they have not done any weed abatement or cutting this year. The weeds are full of foxtails which is not good for the dogs. There is no grassy area for dogs or kids & dogs aren't allowed on the beach. There is a large dirt/weed field that is called a ballfield. Dogs are not allowed on the field but on summer weekends, it is filled with tents. We've never seen anyone actually play ball on it. Note that they say they have 23 camper/tent spaces & some overflow. What is not mentioned is that they have a couple group camping areas plus the ball field which are often rented to non military groups and add at least 100 additional tents on busy weekends. A couple years ago there were some extremely high tides & much of the beach was washed out at the north end of the campground. The large shade covers on the beach were all removed & have not been replaced. The main road was washed out at that time & has been closed off & on since (it's closed now) so there is no direct access to the base. Of course, the rates continue to increase with no improvement in the facilities. With the exception of the beach location, this place is an embarrassment to the Marine Corps.
Im a SSG retired and I do not know who to contact about Del mar RV park and San Onofre RV park and soon Coronado RV Park CA. First I am by no means rich and not Bill Gates, but you must be to use those RV parks $50.00 dollars a night and $350.00 a week is way out of line for retired and active duty military it is for military personnel to use not civilians that are rich. This was a benefit but not no more. The rv parks do not have a hot tub, swimming pool on site no cable, and no hot showers that are inside with a roof. So why compare it to the high dollar ones. We drove there the 2ND week of Jan and left, it is way out of sight on pricing. That is probably why it was empty. What happened to support our troops, it is now screw our troops. PLEASE BOYCOTT THESE RV PARKS! THANK YOU SSG Richard Kinney
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