2012 Top RV Parks & Campgrounds Of The Year

Having finally entered 2013 it’s time to do my annual round-up of the best campgrounds we stayed at last year. As you already know if you read my last post this was the year we slowed waaaay down, so much so that we only stayed at 18 spots (!) all year including 3 private parks, 3 boondocking spots and the rest public campgrounds of some kind. Doesn’t leave much to review, huh? But we were particularly picky this year going to places we reaaaaly love. Given our low total number I’m going to shorten the post to my top 5…the best of the best if you will. So here goes:

1/ Borrego Springs Boondocking, CA (rating 4.75/5)

Early morning hike in our private hills
Early morning hike by Rockhouse Canyon Road

This remains one of our absolute favorite boondocking sites and it scores top marks in every category including 360 degree views, spectacular nature, good access, a cute local town and tons to do in the area. Best of all it’s FREE. I mean, what more could you want? It’s our highest-rated spot of the year and one we plan to return to again and again. Located in the SW CA desert. CHECK IT OUT!

2/ Cape Blanco State Park, OR (rating 4.5/5)

Hiking north beach at Cape Blanco..all alone too!
Hiking north beach at Cape Blanco..all alone too!

We were completely blown away by wild and remote Cape Blanco. Huge (enormous) sites surrounded by the stunning beauty of the cape, miles of isolated beach and the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the OR coast. Plus you’re only ~10 miles from a cute coastal town. If you’re looking to get away and bask in the glory of coastal nature this is the spot. Located on the Southern OR Coast. CHECK IT OUT!

3/ Emigrant Lake County Park, OR (rating 4.5/5)

Sunset at Emigrant Lake
Sunset at Emigrant Lake

We stumbled across this county park almost by accident and lucked into our most perfect RV site ever. Want full-lake views? Your own swim beach? Your own little peninsular? Then site #21B at Emigrant Lake is your choice! And the rest of ’em sites ain’t too bad either. Plus you’re right next the funky town of Ashland for culture & theatre (do not miss the Annual Shakespeare Festival). Located in S.Central OR. CHECK IT OUT!

4/ Alabama Hills Boondocking, CA (rating 4.4/5)

Yours truly in the famous Mobius Arch
Yours truly in the Alabama Hills

Located in the shadow of majestic Mt.Whitney snuggled between cool & wacky rocks with some old Western Movie History thrown in, this is just a fabulous and totally unique boondocking spot. You’ve got 360-degree views, miles of nature to explore and it’s all gloriously FREE. There is no doubt we’ll be back here again. Located in SE CA. CHECK IT OUT!

5/ Bullards Beach State Park, OR (rating 4.4/5)

The cutest little lighthouse on the coast...
The cutest little lighthouse in OR

It’s official…we LOVE the Oregon coast and Bullards Beach is just another great State Park in the area. You’ve got a lovely beach, the cutest little lighthouse on the coast and you’re only 5 mins from an awesome coastal town (our FAV on the entire coast). We’re going to spend another 2 months here next year. Located on S.Central OR coast. CHECK IT OUT!

And a few special mentions…

I can’t deny that almost every spot we stayed at this year was special. My top 5 could easily have been top 18! But there are a few extra notables I’ve got to mention. I can’t forget our fabulous trip down the Eastern Side of the Sierra Nevada mountains (Hwy 395) where we had a full lake-view at Oh Ridge! National Forest Campground and discovered stunning 360-degree views at $5/night Horton Creek BLM Campground. And I have to mention our staples that we’ve come to love (and stayed at multiple times) the always-lovely Armitage County Park in Eugene, OR, the quirky but oh-so-relaxing Sam’s Family Spa in Desert Hot Springs, CA (our only private park in the line-up) and the ever-gorgeous  & spacious Washoe Lake State Park, NV.

To link to our previous years round-ups see here:

That’s it for our 2012 round-up. Next post I’ll bring you up to date on what we’ve been getting up to in 2013. All I can say at this point is there is more than one Dane involved, waves have been ridden, places have been visited (even, shall-we-say, not quite legally)….and yes, a special Danish alcoholic concoction has been consumed :)

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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do

  1. says

    I came across your blog while I was researching a camping trip to the southern Oregon coast in September. Even though I am in a tent instead of an RV, I enjoy your stories of all the places you visit. I know the northern oregon coast well, but had not been much south of Newport. I fell in love with Cape Blanco. The expanse, the open bluffs, the miles of wild beach with no one else on them, oh yes, I’m going back there. And I stopped at the Coquille River lighthouse on your recommendation and agree that it is the cutest little LH ever. Thanks for your stories!

    • libertatemamo says

      LOVE the fact that I’ve got a tenter in my followers :) Come by and see us next year if you go back to the coast. We’ll be at Bullards Beach lighthouse hosting in July/Aug of 2013.

  2. says

    No 4, Alabama Hills is also on top of our list, thanks to your GPS coordinates and recommendations. We enjoyed the interesting and cool rock formations which we have not seen anywhere else. There is no other place like Alabama Hills and its free camping.

    • libertatemamo says

      I’m really glad you guys got to enjoy that spot! It certainly is unique and a lovely boondocking location.

    • libertatemamo says

      You know we’ve contemplated spending a winter in the area just to see what it’s like. Who knows…maybe next year? Can’t wait to go back!

      • says

        We’re in a dreary stretch for the moment, with thick overcast, but I love the winter storms that barrel in and out and leave lakes on the flood plains (all along the Coquille River where it overflows.) It gets a bit cold when the sun comes out -counter-intuitive, but the cloud cover tends to keep the warmth in. But some of the very best days I’ve seen right on the coast have been in the winter.

  3. says

    We have been with you at all these sites. When we were out there, I wish we would have known about Borrego Springs. I think it is one of the most beautiful places you two have been. Thanks for the review.

  4. says

    Just finished a week boondocking at Borrego Springs and see why you like it so much. We spent a couple cold mornings photographing the sunrise at Clarke Dry Lake, did the slots and most of the metal sculptures. Really liked the dinosaur area with the ocotillo, barrel and cholla cacti south of town. The area was packed for the New Years holiday, lots of ATVers but whittled down nicely as the week wore on.

  5. says

    Do you know if there are any States that you need a special lic to drive a 40,-42′ motorhome through?
    We listed or home yesterday so we are one step closer to becoming fulltimers.

    • libertatemamo says

      As I understand it every state has reciprocity agreements which means that as long as you’re legal in your state of residence you’re legal everywhere else. So, just make sure that you’ve got the right license for your state of residence and you should be good.

    • libertatemamo says

      Jill is right. Your state drivers license is legal everywhere, but certain roads may limit travel length (Hwy 1 in CA comes to mind). So, you still gotta be aware of road limits in each state. Also total travel length is usually limited in many states (65 feet is a common one, but it varies). Total travel length is not usually a problem unless you’re towing something longer than usual (e.g. A trailer).

  6. jil mohr says

    to Joe Anderson….there may be restrictions on which roads you can travel..there is a APP from Technomedia called State Lines. I believe it has this kind of information for every state….

  7. says

    I’m really interested in your comments on Anzo Borrego. We’ve always planned on going but a detour has gotten in the way. Maybe this year ?? Where exactly is it that all the RVs hang out??

    • libertatemamo says

      The link, map & coordinates to the boondocking spot is in the post link that says “check it out!” (above). Just click on that and it’ll take you right there.

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