Review Detail

4.0 45
California 170784
Winter/Spring 2012-2013
(Updated: December 29, 2013)
Overall rating
Overall Experience
This is our favorite West Coast campground. Super convenient, adjacent to everything, on an iconic Southern California surfing beach. It can get hectic during holidays but during the off-season it is Valhalla. This is especially true for the beach sites. We stayed the limit twice with no discount whatsoever, $35/night despite relentless attempts at bartering, last winter and spring on two stays culminating with the New Years or Easter holiday. Beach sites do not offer sewer (duh - beach) but offer weekly drainage service for $10. Sites across the street from the beach with full hookups are like living on a main street with a beautiful view. Traffic is surprisingly plentiful but unnoticeable from beachfront sites. The bluff sites are close, very close, you will get to know your neighbor, but the views are spectacular and the traffic unnoticeable. Any other site is like camping on I-5, seriously, literally on I-5, with a high speed rail line for a buffer. The staff is nice and accommodating, but it is difficult to understand the placement system since one cannot reserve a particular site. We came back once from a day out to find a neighbor right next to us on an otherwise empty beach. We were also scheduled to move a couple of times, but they worked it out and we did not have to move. We did, however, ask to be moved to the north end of the beach during the King Tide, and they could not have been more accommodating. Considering the mega-campgrounds in San Diego where campers cannot fully extend their awnings without intruding in their neighbors' space for $70/night, and the CA state campgrounds that charge $60 for "premium" beach sites, San Onofre is a bargain. It has indoor and outdoor showers, two laundry rooms, a workout area, a commissary and exchange, gas station, and a library hidden in plain sight off the freeway near San Clemente, and it has the beach. The beach is alive with dolphins, avians, seals, whales, amphibians - the Marines landed one morning, views of Santa Catalina on clear days, and the entertaining antics of surfers, many of whom we got to know as they walked between beaches. The Marine gate guards are polite, respectful, and make entry uncomplicated. It really is a fabulous place.
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