Friday, December 9, 2022


Want to boondock in CA this fire season? Go West!


Here’s a question from a reader of about boondocking. 

Hi Bob,
Making camping location decisions has been especially hard this year with the wildfires. Can you recommend anywhere we can boondock in the West (we’d prefer to stay in California if possible) that won’t be so smoky or where we won’t be driven out by the fires? —Bud 

Hi Bud,
As Horace Greeley famously said, “Go West, young man.” In your case, go west until you can’t go west anymore. The prevailing winds are blowing west to east, and the smoke and fires with it. Granted there are not too many places to boondock – or camp in no-hook-up forest service campgrounds – on the coasts of California, but there are some.

Prairie Creek Redwoods SP

And you don’t have to go very far inland to find more.

You may have to plan your arrival times closely as people are leaving campgrounds, because there may be others who followed the “Go West” mantra also. Forest Service campgrounds don’t take reservations and you have to be there as soon as the campsite is vacated to claim it, but I’ve done it for years and it is possible.

On the coast of California on Route 1 above Pt. Reyes you will find terrific no-hook-up public campgrounds near the shoreline from Bodega Bay north to Manchester State Beach to Fort Bragg (MacKerricher State Park – Main Beach) and beyond. From Leggett, where Route 1 turns inland to follow Route 101 to Eureka, you will find campgrounds in the redwoods (where elk visit campgrounds like Prairie Creek Redwood SP). And again from Eureka north to the Oregon border there are several campgrounds. 

Read more about boondocking at my BoondockBob’s Blog.
Check out my Kindle e-books about boondocking at Amazon.

Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) .




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4 years ago

Having driving that stretch of hwy 1 between Ft. Bragg and Leggett, I STRONGLY recommend that nothing over 30 ft attempt that drive. It’s gorgeous, but some of those hairpin turns are brutal.

4 years ago

And reference this map before you go. The NOAA fire and smoke map.

Smoke images are updated daily by 10 am eastern.