Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Goal within reach?

Made in the shade

For a long time—decades—my fantasy has been to spend a good chunk of my life under a palapa on the beach, staring at the Pacific. I had assumed I would need to go to Baja for that. But, hey,  I could do it here at San Onofre.

San O is one of the few California beaches where you can park right up against the beach. It's one of the few that has palapas. It's a surfing beach, not a resort beach. It's simple and mellow.

Like many California beaches, there's a day use fee. That could get spendy, except there's an annual pass for only $195. That's an entire year for the cost of thirteen days. Sweet.

The problem is that there's no overnight camping at the beach, and the campground, at $35.00 per night, would break my budget very quickly. So the trick would be finding a cheap or free place to stay at night. San Diego and Orange counties are expensive. Rents are laughably high even for fleabag studios. Anywhere I could boondock would put me way inland, meaning a bad commute. Stealth camping, while possible in a few places, is anxiety producing. And it would be nice to have somewhere to bathe.

So the quest is on for a solution. I have some ideas. It will mean time (maybe more than a year) and legwork and getting out of my introvert comfort zone.

I like living in the desert and forests more than I expected, but I really love the beach. This is where I want to be, as much as possible.


  1. I will often just pull into a chain hotel parking lot, close the front curtains (I have limo tinting on the side and back windows) and crash for the night. No problems. Then go hang out under your little tiki hut come morning. Try it for just a single night and see if it doesn't open up the rest of the country for you.

    1. Some hotels/motels have their guests put parking passes on their dashes. I'd have to cruise through the lots to find out which don't.

      I once spent a night in the parking structure of a hospital. No problems other than worrying I was going to get rousted.

  2. Some 24 hours gyms will let you park overnight in their lot. Then you get a shower included. They aren't free but not as expensive as California campgrounds. Not sure which of those you might find in your area, though.

    1. Yeah, a gym membership is well within my budget. And it would be good for me to actually use it.

  3. There is a WalMart off Pico; you might check to see if you could park overnight there. Showers are shut off at SanO (which you probably found out) until the drought is over.

    You need to make friends with a local who has a long driveway. I am local but driveway is sloped and too short.

    Did you check out the San Mateo campground? Not on the ocean but close.

    1. I would be very surprised if San Clemente didn't have draconian ordinances against sleeping in vehicles and overnight camper parking, but I'll cruise by tonight and check it out.

      The San Mateo campground is also $35/night, so that wouldn't work well for me.

      All this is for future reference, though, since I've already planned to head to San Francisco this weekend, then east. But I'll be back.

    2. Yeah, I bet they do. The motorcycle cops are horrid, I know that from personal experience. There are several guys at SanO who live in their vans or RV's but they have friends with driveways.

      There is a swim club on Vista Hermosa that might have showers for a reasonable rate.

  4. Shoot..At least Oregon decided the beaches belonged to everyone..Not the 1%.
    The weather looks swell where you are..
    Enjoy what you can..