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These are great tips. We are really bad at planning ahead for trips – definitely in the ‘grab a bag and go’ category. That’s not working out for us in California because those campsites are soooo booked up. Still nervous of trying out walk-up camping (what if there’s no room and you’re miles from everywhere with tired kids?!!) but will have to try your tips! Thanks!
Thank you so much for your feedback. We understand how difficult walk-up or first-come first-served camping can be, especially in California which is where we’re based as well. We’ve become quite comfortable after many years of successfully securing great campsites but admittedly we always hit the road with some question in our mind about how things are going to turn out. Fortunately, we’ve only had one trip where we actually turned around and went back home and that was when we tried to camp at Kings Canyon on the 4th of July! We learned a lesson on that one and made sure to add that tip to the article. Send us a message if you want to talk more!
Great Site! There is nothing better than nature except your family enjoying nature together.
Thank you for the kind words. We agree wholeheartedly with you! Nothing is better than exploring nature with family!
Great tips! I am curious where you stayed outside of Yosemite. We stayed in a condo on a recent (first) trip to Yosemite. I would like to plan a return visit and try camping next time. Any chance you are willing to share the site where you stayed?
Thank you so much! Happy to share with you – offline – it’s secret. ::wink, wink::
Thank you for sharing your details about visiting Saguaro National Park . We have lived in Phoenix for the past three years and haven’t visted Tuscon yet. This gives me inspiration to get down there! I would love for your to post this on the January Kid Culture Blogger Link-Up here: https://www.mypiccoloitaliano.com/post/kid-culture-link-up. The link up will be open through 1/31. I hope to see you there!
SUPER AWESOME TIPS! Much appreciated as we are attempting to finalize our 4th of July camping trip to Big Sur right now haha!
We are planning a last minute trip in California. We were hoping to be around Mammoth Lakes area or close to Yosemite. My question is this, for the FCFS campsite, how early do you have to or can you arrive for these sites?
Also, if you could privately share where you stayed outside of Yosemite I would appreciate it. I’m desperate to give my kids a great camping experience, want them to enjoy the outdoors and scenery. They are so tired of being cooped up in the house. Thanks!
Help, when is it an appropriate time to show up for a first come, first serve spot? 6 am is too early, but 9 am may be too late?? There could be others in line? I want to try this out on a Saturday. Wish me luck.
Hello! So sorry for the delayed response – “homeschool” got the best of us this week.
It usually depends on the location. If it’s a highly sought after location like in or near Yosemite or Yellowstone, your best chance is to get there as early as possible, check in with the camp host if there is one, and wait for a site to hopefully open up. It’s a gamble for sure.
Most weekend campers try to arrive Friday evening which means you may have less to choose from Saturday morning. Depending on what campground you’re going to, some won’t allow you in until a certain time, but that doesn’t stop the line from forming outside.
We wish you LOTS of luck in finding your best site and hope it’s a spectacular weekend.
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