Camping for Thanksgiving

Turkey Casserole

Turkey Leftovers?

California Camping on Thanksgiving

If you’ve had it with the traditions, the big meal prep, or just sick of the family. Maybe you are a solo traveler, or a new transplant to California and need to explore more. Take a holiday away – for once this time.

Camping for turkey day? What a concept.

VWBus Death Valley
California is the perfect place for camping, all year long!

Stick to the lower elevations, look for canyons, and seek seclusion


California mountains often have snow during November. Avoid camping in snow @ 4000-5000′ elevation and above; Freezing temps above 3000-4000′ elevation.

Deserts, coastal regions and foothills are top choices for late Autumn car camping. Always check the weather ahead of departure, and have a plan B as an alternative. NorCal will be much wetter than the rest of the state.

MEALS: Prepare dinner meals ahead of trip departure. Bake turkey days before your trip and create meals based around that. Make mash potatoes at home and don’t forget to bring the butter. Pack pre-baked turkey for sandwiches, plus other quick snacks & meals for on-the-go travel.

seafood

Non Traditional: Seafood Feast

Desert Camping is premium at this time of year. Luckily the eastern half of Southern Cal is desert. The lower the elevation, the better the temps will be overnight. Be prepared for wind when the ‘storm fronts’ approach, the winds do get a cranking! Dirt roads can become flowing washes during a good rainstorm, so know the weather forecast.

Coastal campgrounds may need advanced reservations. Be prepared for wet weather, especially up north. The redwoods groves are gorgeous anytime of year.

Gold County Reservoirs are prime areas for relaxing in nature, while everyone else is out shopping. Oak hills, rivers and canyons. RV campers love these large lakes; boating, fishing, mountain biking trails, kayak rentals, hiking near historic Gold Rush towns.

River Canyons of California are always beautiful destinations in the autumn months. Many campgrounds can be found at lower elevation, river access areas. California’s abundant Hot Springs are also top picks for holiday weekends.

Joshua Tree Campout

Joshua Tree National Park may be busy during this weekend. Instead try nearby Mecca: Box Canyon and Mecca Hills Wilderness, BLM desert lands near Interstate 10.

Anza Borrego Desert State Park is always a nice, easy and relatively close get-away for any holiday. Open camping on the backroads (for free) makes it one of the most attractive camping options in all of SoCal. Many dirt roads are accessible for passenger cars, if extreme caution is used. Don’t plan on driving more than a few miles on dirt.

Masses of off roaders love to camp out, especially on Thanksgiving weekend. Wheel all day, eat, drink, bon fires every night and rumor has it ‘they roast their big bird outdoors – deep in a dirt pit’. Really? El Centro, Glamis, Imperial Dunes, Ocotillo Wells, Truckhaven Hills, Johnson Valley. All popular off roading areas in Southern California, so consider yourself warned.

Imperial Dunes

Mojave Desert, near US Hwy 395
Jawbone Canyon expect to see RVs, toy-boxes and families outside enjoying the weekend. OHV style. Often the group tries to create a round corral with their huge convoy of vehicles, to keep thru traffic to a minimum around “their camp”. Just stay well away from those gear-heads. In general, it is a very busy area around Mojave up to Hwy 178 during the holidays. Try high desert Horse Canyon instead.

Tent Camping

ghost towns
meteor showers
hot springs

Death Valley National Park is one of the best destinations for Thanksgiving, cuz Panamint Springs serves their free turkey dinner.

Did someone say FREE?

Leon at Mahogany

California Camping Fishing

California Camping & Fishing Destinations

CA Camping Fishing / Camping Lakes in California

Wanna camp at a California lake surrounded by pine forest & blue skies? And you want to fish the lake too? Well, you’ve come to the right spot. Total Escape features tons of great California destinations such as these listed below. Small lakes, big reservoirs, alpine favorites, plus some high country, hidden gems.

Edison Glow

Twin Lakes Campground California

Multiple developed campgrounds & resort facilities surround these two gorgeous lakes in the Eastern Sierra, next to Bridgeport CA. Hoover Wilderness trail access to the High Sierra & Yosemite too.

Lakes Basin Recreation Area

Also known as Gold Lake, this Northern Sierra Nevada region features many small secluded lakes to hike to. Campgrounds are located near the lakes, but not on the lake edge. Some of these locations have cabin rentals that are open seasonally. Sierra Buttes is the key granite feature & attraction. Frazier Falls is also close by.

June Lake Loop

Just north of Mammoth Lakes, the June Lake area is one of the best places to fish in the Autumn season. The Eastern Sierra aspens start changing colors in late September. Make your reservations well in advance for cabins or campgrounds.

Pinecrest Lake Sierra Nevada

Sierra Nevada alpine bliss, Pine Crest Lake offers camping & fishing, but no motorized boats. Plenty side creeks & hiking trails nearby

Lake Almanor California

Known as a huge fishing destination, great boating & plentiful camping resorts, this Northern California lake is situated south of Lassen Peak, near Chester CA. Family vacation favorite.

Camping Lake Tahoe

This is the jewel of the Sierra Nevada mountains, centrally located for anyone to enjoy. A huge alpine lake surrounded by parks & outdoor recreation. Campgrounds book up months in advance, so make your reservations. Or you may end up camping the back roads, Total Escape style!

Clear Lake California

And a bunch more California Lakes with prime camping & fishing…

California 4×4 access to Fishing Lakes

Blackrock Reservoir

Black Rock Reservoir, in the Western Sierra Mountains