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Spring Break camping in California, Arizona, Utah?

San Diego...
posts: 64
reviews: 12
Spring Break camping in California, Arizona, Utah?

Hi everyone,

We're thinking of some sort of camping trip in mid-April of 2014. Any recommendations -- somewhere in California, preferably, but possibly Utah or Arizona? We just want somewhere where we can get away for a few days, enjoy some family time, hike, relax at the campsite, etc. Some ideas: Grand Canyon, Sequoia, Lassen Peak, Joshua Tree. Any thoughts on those?

Thanks,

Cassandra

Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah
posts: 1,620
reviews: 18
1. Re: Spring Break camping in California, Arizona, Utah?

Hi Cassandra,

Are you already in California or will you be flying in from elsewhere? How much overall time do you have? Will you be with kids? How old are they? I know Utah better than CA so I'll just offer options there since you mentioned Utah in your post.

With kids I might explore the Moab area with Arches and Canyonlands within a stones throw. There is a ton of activities for kids to do including rafting, biking and ziplines. Of course great hiking and lots of rocks to climb around on and sand dunes to play in and dig holes (for kids). You could visit nearby Goblin Valley and Little Wild Horse Canyon.

If you don't want to drive as far as Arches, (I'm assuming you're in CA), you could hit some slot canyons, arches and waterfalls on Scenic Byway 12. Calf Creek Falls is a hidden 125 foot fall in the middle of the desert. It's an easy 3 mile hike with minimal elevation gain and runs along the creek, so there are ample opportunities to play in the water or throw rocks. Willis Creek Slot is a fun and accessible canyon about an hour away. backroadswest.com/trips/…

There is also the Escalante Petrified Forrest. Bryce Canyon flanks one end of Byway 12 and Capitol Reef the other. Lots of scenic views, petroglyphs, hiking, and the Fruita orchards which should be in blossom and offer a stark contrast to the red rock cliffs.

Seattle, Washington
posts: 1,984
reviews: 27
2. Re: Spring Break camping in California, Arizona, Utah?

We went to Utah - Moab one spring break and it was miserable...rainy and windy. I was warned not to go by other mountain bikers we know but I didn't believe them. I wouldn't go in the spring again....well May or early June maybe. It was so windy I had to pull the bikes into our tent to keep the tent from blowing away.

Edited: 4:11 pm, September 30, 2013
San Diego...
posts: 64
reviews: 12
3. Re: Spring Break camping in California, Arizona, Utah?

Yes, we live in Southern California and would have about a week to spend. We have two teenage daughters.

Edited: 12:15 am, October 01, 2013
Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah
posts: 1,620
reviews: 18
4. Re: Spring Break camping in California, Arizona, Utah?

Every spring day in Moab in isn't going to be rainy and windy just because it happened once. Having said that, i think Moab might be to far to drive for a week vacation. Snow Canyon is a very fun state park near St. George that would offer fun day hikes. Then you could hit Zion and possibly tackle The Narrows, Angels Landing, and others before heading to Bryce and checking out a little bit of the Scenic Byway 12 hikes I mentioned. Another close by state park with a very nice camping ground is called Kodachrome Basin. There are a couple of easy loop hikes here as well. I think you will know your children's interests, if they want to be very active or if they will want to spend time relaxing by water. Another nearby option is Page, AZ where you could raft below the Glen Canyon Dam or take a speed boat tour in Lake Powell. There is also the nearby Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon. Lots of options to pick three or so places to visit.

Seattle, Washington
posts: 1,984
reviews: 27
5. Re: Spring Break camping in California, Arizona, Utah?

I'm not sure that the bad weather happened ONCE since we were warned by 3 other bikers (who don't know each other) not to go to Moab the end of March for spring break. BUT that said.... I do agree that you cannot predict the weather so plan accordingly.

Oregon Coast
Destination Expert
for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
posts: 38,999
reviews: 831
6. Re: Spring Break camping in California, Arizona, Utah?

Page is a good suggestion. The smooth water raft trip is *great* fun! Antelope Canyon is *well* worth seeing, and you can take the Glen Canyon dam tour.

Grand Canyon may be a bit chilly in April, and Bryce will still be quite cold due to its very high elevation. Probably snowy.

Are you thinking tent or some form of RV?

Joshua Tree to me is quite dull, but you'll need to balance the varying interests of your family!

You can find pictures and reviews about all of these places here on TripAdvisor. You should also post in the California and Arizona forums. Be sure to tell folks you have just one week, and you're starting from ____. You'll find them here:

tripadvisor.com/ListForums-g191-i3-United_St…

San Diego...
posts: 64
reviews: 12
7. Re: Spring Break camping in California, Arizona, Utah?

We have both a tent and a pop-up camper...so we could do either!

Any suggestions in California?

Edited: 9:38 pm, October 04, 2013
St. Johnsbury, VT
posts: 53
reviews: 12
8. Re: Spring Break camping in California, Arizona, Utah?

We are from Vermont but lived in Utah for four years and have been to San Diego on a family vacation.

I agree with Shake801's thoughts on Utah. We often camped in March and April in southern Utah. Bryce is a big favorite but as noted, might be cold, snow even. But gorgeous, and the snow only highlights the orange hoodoos! We were in Zion for Easter one year, and at sunrise when I took a solo walk, I felt like I was in the Garden of Gethsemane. You do NOT hike down in the dry creek beds of any of these places in the spring as you can have sudden flooding from melting snow. I think I loved Escalante more than the kids, but it is a lovely little hike. If your kids love the out of doors, the national and state parks of Utah are wonderful. Even if they do't love the out of doors, they are likely to enjoy the one-way down hill bike rides in Moab if you rent bikes and pay for the shuttle ride up to your start off point.

Our kids aren't as excited about hiking but loved our trip to San Diego, La Jolla, Legoland, and the California Wolf Center in Julian. They loved everything from the palm trees (OK, we're from Vermont) to the landscaping in Balboa park, to watching surfers and seals in La Jolla, and to seeing the wolves in Julian and then eating the locally famous apple pie in Julian.

Usa, Japan
posts: 1
9. Re: Spring Break camping in California, Arizona, Utah?

Southern Californian here!

The place most people from out-of-state seem to know is Yosemite, but we have a lot of other options! I'm gonna leave a link to the site where you can see all the CA state campsites, and you can check 'em all out. Below is a general guide for the types of camping experiences you can find. Pick one you like, look for it on the site, and have fun!

I've spent more than 100 nights camping all over the state. Here's a quick breakdown of types of camping trips you can find:

Beach Camping- I'd look in Ventura County or Orange County for these kinds of spots (No beach camps in Los Angeles that I know of) Orange County and San Diego county usually have a lot of sites available, but they also fill up quickly, so make those reservations well in advance! Beach camps get expensive relative to the cost of camping elsewhere, but they're typically beautiful. They tend to attract people from all over the country.

Mountain Camping - The Sierra Nevadas are an obvious choice for people who want to camp in the mountains, because they're spectacular. Still, if you're making the effort to come all the way to California for your vacation, I'd suggest the lesser-known San Bernadino mountains. They're still very impressive, they host the 7th-tallest peak in the Continental US, and they're only a couple hours' drive from Los Angeles! I spent a week hiking up San Gregonio mountain (in San Bernadino) and it's really quite beautiful. I'd definitely recommend it.

Desert Camping - Californian deserts are far from barren. The most popular Desert campsite in Southern California is Joshua Tree National Park (Bring your U2 album). It's beautiful, and close-ish to other cool places you can visit. The Mojave Desert is home to a lot of Native American cultural sites, and I think there's an Indian Reservation in it somewhere, but I haven't actually camped there. Death Valley is iconic and scary and cool, but if you're gonna go all the way there, you might as well camp at Mt. Whitney, the tallest mountain in the continental US.

Here's the link to the campsite-reserver: reserveamerica.com/…

Here're some yelp reviews of some other campgrounds:

yelp.com/biz/bolsa-chica-state-beach-hunting…

yelp.com/biz/…B1ada-flintridge

www.yelp.com/biz/indian-cove-twentynine-palms

HOPE THIS HELPED! HAVE FUN IN CALIFORNIA!

10. Re: Spring Break camping in California, Arizona, Utah?

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