Date of Stay: November, 2010
I wrote an earlier review of this campground and rated it very highly. I went last month and had a terrible experience. There was a group of campers directly across from us who were loud, obnoxious and drunk the entire weekend. We complained, but the rangers didn't seem to do too much until Saturday night (our last night here). The rangers said that they can't do anything until someone complains, which I thought was ridiculous. If the quiet hours begin at 10:00 PM, shouldn't the rangers be able to enforce that? Also, the park is going on a new "site specific" reservation system beginning in March. If you don't know the sites, you should try to do some research. Some sites are large and spacious with lots of shade, while others are small, cramped, and treeless.
Date of Stay: March, 2010
Great family park. We had a great lakeside site for a week. Super close to San Diego and all the attractions. We left the downtown and were in our site in under 20 minutes. The only reason why I gave it a 9 and not a 10 were due to a few things. First of all, I didn't realize that not all "full hook-up" sites include cable TV. The upper campground (above lake 7) includes cable hook-ups, but I didn't realize that until I arrived since it is not easy to find that information on their website. Secondly, there are quite a bit of rules (34 pages!) that are unique to this campground. For example, no drinking alcohol mid-week (it is allowed on Saturday and Sunday). I'm no lush, but I like to have a beer or a glass of wine with dinner. According to their rules, there is NO drinking mid-week. There are too many rules to list, but if you want to have a campfire, be sure to bring your own fire pit. None are provided a the campground. Third, the pool was freezing, literally. I know it was early Spring, but I expected the pool to be heated. I realized immediately when I arrived at the pool that it couldn't be too pleasant since the only people in the pool were kids under 10. Also, there was a clear sign that stated: "NO ONE under 18 allowed in Spa" but there were about 10 kids in there when I arrived. A campground employee actually came around to ask everyone if they were camping at the lakes, but he didn't say anything about the kids in the spa. Finally, you cannot fish the lakes with just a California Fishing License. You MUST purchase either a day use license or an annual license from Santee Lakes itself. In order to fish with my sons for a two days it was close to $40. It would be nice if they offered a weekly fishing license at a discounted rate. To make matters worse, we didn't catch a thing and the fishing was slow all around.
Date of Stay: August, 2009
My family and I camped at Morro Strand State Beach a few months ago. Overall, the location of the campground can’t be beat. You are within a short walk of the shore and the sunsets are incredible, (if you’re lucky enough to not have had the fog roll in). The view of Morro Rock in the distance adds to the ambiance of the campground. There are also some incredible tide pools just north of the campground. The sites themselves are fairly spartan. A table and a fire-ring are provided. Water is readily available in each area and the bathrooms were maintained and clean. (No showers. Not even cold ones to rinse off sand.) The only problem with the campground is that you are packed in like sardines. When they say that the minimum trailer length here is 24 feet, they aren’t kidding. This wasn’t a problem when the site next to us was unoccupied, but as soon as a family moved in next door, it made for a very cramped site. We had a site along the beach side, and for the first three nights we were there, no one occupied the site next to ours. We had neighbors two sites away, but it made for a pleasant time. When the weekend arrived, however, we had a group of about eight people set up next to us. They set up one of their tents approximately four feet from our fire-ring, and we were constantly saying “excuse me” as we walked from the front of our rig to where our tow vehicle was parked. Literally, the “site” was the area directly in front of our trailer. When turning this from a parking lot to a campground, they should have made each site 36 feet each, not 24. It would have made the whole experience there that much more enjoyable.
Date of Stay: July, 2009
Great place for kids, especially if you use the water park! Sites were nice and level. Nice, friendly staff. We stayed in a partial hook-up site with electric and water. You can stay in a full-hook up site for $55 a night. Sites were a little close together in our loop. Half of the spaces were empty, but if the campground was full (as it is almost every weekend in summer) it would have been a little cramped. Lake was beautiful. If you fish, this is the place to be! Great cafe over-looking lake if you don't feel like cooking breakfast. The only issue we had were the yellow jackets. They were everywhere (there was even an underground nest in our site!), but they didn't seem to bother us too much. If we did more eating outside, however, I could see it being a problem.
Date of Stay: July, 2009
Usually, my family and I camp in State Parks, National Parks, or National Forest campgrounds. I was a little surprised to see so many people "living" at the campground. Although some of these "live in" trailers were well maintained, a few looked a little derelict. Seeing old pickup trucks rusting in front of dirty trailers wasn't something I expected to see at a county park. Another problem my wife and I incurred was the amount of traffic. My wife always wears earplugs when we are camping, which I think is unconscionable and I usually like to hear the sounds of nature while trying to get to sleep. The first night we were there, I was woken up numerous times by cars speeding (not driving 10 m.p.h.) through the campground. When I heard cars driving through at 11:00 P.M., I thought it was O.K. But, when cars were driving in and out at 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, and 4:00 in the morning, I wondered what kind of campground we were staying at. Needless to say, I wore earplugs for the rest of our stay and slept well. Another issue was the ants! I couldn't believe how many ants were in the campground. My wife and I camp 6-7 times a year in our trailer, and this was the first time we've ever had an ant invasion. It wasn't a stream of ants that you could identify as to where they were coming from, but just loads of ants everywhere! They literally took over the trailer and made it hard to sleep without having to wake up and shoo off ants every hour or so. And, you can't use any ant spray or traps on your site to get rid of them! On the positive side, the bathrooms and showers were well-maintained. The park itself was beautiful and the sites were nice. We might camp at Sweetwater again, but it would probably be a last resort now as opposed to our first choice. If you do go, try to get an inside loop site. If you do, you'll have plenty of grass in front of your camp!
Date of Stay: June, 2009
For scenery alone, this campground is incredible. Sites, however, were cramped. We were in the middle of a loop and our table was literally five feet away from our neighbor's campfire ring. If you get an outside site on the end of a loop, you'll be fine. Roads within the park are narrow and one class-C owner I spoke to complained that he couldn't fit in the original site he had booked. He was staying one night in the site next to us until he could figure out what to do. Since we're in a hybrid, food storage was an issue. We had to put all of our food in the locker provided at the campsite. This was my first time camping at Yosemite in years. My last trip wasn't the best because of campers "partying" all night long. I was amazed at how quiet it was after 10:00 PM. Rangers have done an excellent job at making sure people are following the rules. If you are a rule follower, that's great. If you tend to slack off or break some of the rules, you might have an issue. Two more things, the wildlife in the valley is incredible! We saw so many deer, it was ridiculous. We also saw a bear crossing the Merced River about 75 feet from where we were fishing (and this was about 200 yards from our campsite). If you have kids, check out the Junior Ranger Program. My sons got their badges and they had a small "ceremony" at the Visitor Center. Classic!
Date of Stay: May, 2009
A beautiful campground above Bishop. Some of the best sites (near the stream) go early with reservations. If you don't have reservations, try to get to the campground early to pick from the best of the rest. Some sites have no shade at all. Use bear lockers if tent camping! We saw two bears rummaging through the trash bins up the road!
Date of Stay: April, 2009
Great campground. Get your reservations early and try to get there early to find a good site. No hookups, so you'll be dry camping, but if you get a shaded site, you'll be happy. Great beach with sea caves close by. Visit the beach at low tide and there are incredible tide pools. My family and I go at least four times a year. They lock the gates at 10:00 PM to keep out the riff-raff. Last few times it was so quiet at night it was incredible. The only sounds you heard were the coyotes in the hills! Incredible place for how close it is to L.A.
Date of Stay: January, 2009
Great campground! Close to Morro Bay, close to San Luis Obispo. My family and I love it here. Book early and get a site with hook-ups (water and electric only). Sites are private and campground is in a very natural setting. One of the few campgrounds where I woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of an owl in the tree above our trailer. You can even get pizza delivered to your site from one of the local eateries! Great stuff!