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RV Destinations: California's Waterfalls

The waterfalls at Yosemite National Park are among the most famous in the world, but California has more than 100 significant waterfalls just as beautiful in their own right, many are close to campgrounds and easily accessible on foot.

"There are more than 100 significant waterfalls in California, many of which are easily accessible for those who enjoy a short walk or day hike in the Great Outdoors," said Debbie Sipe, executive director of the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds.

She added that there are several websites with information on waterfalls, including www.world-of-waterfalls.com, which provides detailed information and photos of waterfalls in California as well as directions on how to get there.

"If you're looking for a fun weekend, visit the World of Waterfalls website to find waterfalls of interest to you, then check Camp-California.com to see which campgrounds are nearby. Many of them have rental accommodations if you don't have a tent or RV."

Here are some examples of campground and waterfall pairings in several areas of California:

  • North of San Francisco: Alamere Falls is considered one of the most beautiful waterfalls along the Northern California coast. Located in Point Reyes National Seashore, it cascades over a cliff onto a beach and then runs into the ocean. It can be accessed via the Palomarin Trailhead at the southern end of Point Reyes. You can do this as a dayhike and spend the night at the Petaluma KOA (www.petalumakoa.com) or Wine County RV Park in Sonoma (www.winecountryrvpark.com).
  • North of Redding: The waterfall at McArthur Burney Falls Memorial State Park is also considered to be among the most scenic in the state. Nearby campgrounds include Rancheria RV Park in Hat Creek (www.rancheriarv.com) and Hat Creek Resort and RV Park in Old Station (www.hatcreekrv.com).
  • In the Santa Cruz Area: Several waterfalls are located in Big Basin Redwoods State Park, including 70-foot Berry Creek Falls, Silver Falls and Golden Cascade. Nearby campgrounds include Santa Cruz Redwoods RV Resort (www.santacruzredwoodsrvresort.com) and Cotillion Garden RV Park (www.camp-california.com), both in Felton, as well as Santa Cruz Ranch RV Resort in Scotts Valley (www.RVonTheGo.com/ca).
  • In the Big Sur area: Campgrounds such as Big Sur Campground and Cabins (www.bigsurcamp.com), Fernwood Resort (www.fernwoodbigsur.com), and Riverside Campground and Cabins (www.riversidecampgrounds.com) are within close proximity to 13 waterfalls, including McWayne Falls, an 80-foot waterfall that plunges from a forested cliff onto the beach below. The falls is located in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and can be seen from State Route 1. Other noteworthy waterfalls in the area include Limekiln Falls in Limekiln State Park and Salmon Creek Falls, which is really a pair of 100-foot waterfalls that join together as they plunge.
  • In and near Sequoia National Park: Waterfalls in this area include Nobe Young Falls, South Creek Falls, Boulder Creek Falls, Peppermint Creek Falls and Middle Fork Tule River Falls, all of which can be accessed within a short drive of campgrounds just outside the park in the town of Three Rivers. These include Sequoia RV Ranch (www.sequoiarvranch.com), Three Rivers Hideaway (www.threerivershideaway.com), and Kaweah Park Resort (www.kaweahparkresort.com).
  • In the greater Los Angeles area: Waterfalls include Eaton Falls in Eaton Canyon County Park near Altadena and Sturtevant Falls in Big Santa Anita Canyon near Arcadia, each of which is within a 30 minute drive of Camp Williams Resort in Azusa (www.campwilliams.com). Another popular waterfall is 40-foot Paradise Falls (also known as Wildwood Falls), which is located in Wildwood Park in the Thousand Oaks area. You could hike to the waterfall in the morning and finish off the day on the other side of the mountain at Malibu Beach RV Park in Malibu (www.maliburv.com).
  • San Diego County waterfalls: One of the county's most spectacular waterfalls is Cedar Creek Falls near the picturesque mountain town of Julian, which has several campgrounds close by, including Pinezanita RV Park and Campground (www.pinezanita.com) Butterfield Ranch Resort (www.butterfieldresort.com) as well as Sunrise Highway RV Park in neighboring Mount Laguna. The more adventurous waterfall seekers may also want to see Three Sisters Waterfall in the Cleveland National Forest near Descanso and camp overnight at Oakzanita RV Resort and Campground, which is also in Descanso (www.rvonthego.com/ca).
  • Of course, if you still have your heart set on Yosemite - and can't find a campsite because all of the hotels and campgrounds in Yosemite are booked - take heart. There are campgrounds just outside Yosemite that may have RV or tent sites or even rental accommodations available, including Yosemite Pines RV Resort in Groveland (www.yosemitepinesrv.com); Yosemite Lakes RV Resort and Campground, also in Groveland (www.rvonthego.com/ca); and High Sierra RV and Mobile Park in Oakhurst (www.highsierrarv.com).

For additional commentary, statistics and sources on the latest camping trends in campgrounds, RV parks and resorts or for leads on parks in your news coverage area, please contact Debbie Sipe at the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds at (530) 885-1624 or (530) 906-4592 (cell) and visit www.Camp-California.com.

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