The Internet has been a real boon for people trying to find campgrounds with open camping spots available. Online reservation sites, like Reserve America and Recreation.Gov, allow you to find a campground by proximity to a city, town, or popular attraction. Let’s see what we can find around Monterey, California – one of the more popular destinations in Northern California, in the next two weeks.
You begin your search on the Reserve America home page. As you can see, I’m looking for “Any camping spot” in “California” near “Monterey” that is available for two nights beginning on January 30th. You could narrow the search here, by selecting “Tent” or “Cabin” (there are eight choices in all) in the “I’m looking for” drop-down. I prefer to see everything that is available and make my own selection, so I always use the default “Any camping spot” option.
The search results are sorted by distance from the location you used in the “Near” field of the search form, in this case Monterey. Even in January, Monterey is a popular place, so my options here are Sunset and New Brighton (not shown) State Beaches and several inland state parks (also not shown).
Selecting a campground from the search screen lets you see what kind of facilities and camping spots are available. It also allows you to view the overall layout of the camping spots within the campground, which is fine if you are familiar with it, but inadequate for making any decisions if you aren’t.
A quick click over to Google™ Maps gives me an actual birds-eye view of the campground, making it easy to spot where the camping spots are, that are nearest to the beach.
Back to Reserve America, a click on the appropriate camping spot number brings-up details specific to that particular site. If you are satisfied with the selection, simply click the big “Book these Dates” button to initiate the checkout process.
Booking camping spots online is pretty easy, but there is no need to rush if you are not familiar with the area. It pays to take your time and use as many resources (the state parks website, for instance) as you need in order to decide which campground will work best for you.