Fall Camping Activities


Some of California's best beach camping weather is just around the corner as offshore breezes bring the clearest skies and warmest weather of the year. The deserts are cooling off, too, particularly at night, and the first hints of fall color are starting to touch the highest elevations of the Sierra.

And if you're looking to take part in fun activities while you camp, you're in luck. Campgrounds, RV parks and resorts throughout California offer a wide range of activities and entertainment, from family oriented Halloween costume and campsite decorating contests to adult oriented wine tasting socials, gourmet dinners and nighttime astronomy talks. Some parks even offer classes in kayaking and painting.

"Privately owned campgrounds, RV parks and resorts are no longer simply places to park your RV. Many of them are also becoming places people visit to have fun and to take part in organized activities with other campers," said Debbie Sipe, executive director of the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds.

Here's a sampling of some of the activities taking place at privately owned and operated campgrounds, RV parks and resorts in California this fall:

 Campland on the Bay in San Diego: This park has numerous scheduled activities throughout the fall, including games of capture the flag, dodgeball and pickleball. The park also has arts and crafts classes, tie dye T-shirt classes, kayaking classes and adult dart tournaments. www.campland.com

 Emerald Desert RV Resort in Palm Desert: This park has several special events planned throughout the fall, including U.S.S. Emerald of the Seas Cruise Night on Nov. 10th with a dinner, live music and entertainment, and a Veteran's Day event on Nov. 11th beginning with a bugle and flags presentation, which is followed by a brunch for resort guests. A full course, candlelight Italian-themed dinner will also be served at the resort's pool area on Nov. 17th. http://emeralddesert.com

 Flying Flags RV Resort in Buellton: This park, which has RV sites as well as park model cottage rentals, has several activities, including Friday night Tri-Tip barbecues, Saturday night ice cream socials and movies under the stars and Sunday breakfast in bed delivery service. The park is also hosting a vintage RV show Sept. 23rd and 24th. www.flyingflags.com

 Far Horizons 49er Village RV Resort in Plymouth, Calif.: This park's Halloween themed events include a "best scream" contest. Families also create haunted campsites. The campground also invites drama students from neighboring Amador High School to come over and read scary stories to the younger campers. Halloween activities are scheduled for Oct. 20th to 23rd and from Oct. 27th to 30th. www.49ervillage.com.

 Golden Village Palms RV Resort in Hemet: This park's fall activities include low-impact water exercise, water volleyball as well as groups that regularly gather for arts and crafts and Mexican dominoes. Several different bands are scheduled to perform at the resort in October. www.goldenvillagepalms.com

Lake Minden RV Resort in Nicolaus: This Sacramento Valley park's fall activities include a puzzle themed weekend Sept. 30 to Oct. 2nd, with a puzzle race to see which team can assemble a 500-piece puzzle the fastest. Hydroplane boat races are scheduled to take place on the weekend of Oct. 14th to 16th. The park is also planning a Monster Mash Bash on the weekend of Oct. 28th to 30th with a "Scarier by the Hour" movie marathon, a pumpkin decorating contest and Halloween campsite decorating. www.rvonthego.com

 Lake of the Springs RV Resort in Oregon House: This park's fall activities include a Fall Line Dance Festival Oct. 17th to 21st. The park will also celebrate Halloween on Oct. 29th with campsite decorating, pumpkin carving and costume contests and a kids' fishing derby, plus a tailgate trick or treating event. www.rvonthego.com

 Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort & Marina in Newport Beach: This park will feature 14,000-square feet of haunted house fun from Oct. 26th to 31st as well as a Halloween party Oct. 29th and 30th with a costume contest, music, games and dancing for people of all ages. The resort also offers bicycle, golf cart, kayak and sailboat rentals in addition to guided kayak nature tours and kayak and sailboat lessons. Resort accommodations include 24 park model cottages and 382 RV sites. www.newportdunes.com

 Rancho Oso RV Resort in Santa Barbara: Guests at this park can watch stock dogs herding sheep and cattle every Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon. The park also offers a bucking bull demo with "baby" bulls that are being prepared for future work in rodeos. The resort's accommodations include five rental cabins, plus several covered wagons, which are arranged in a circle around a campfire pit. www.rvonthego.com

 Santa Cruz KOA in La Selva Beach: This park plans to host "Howlin' Halloween" events on Oct. 21st to 23rd and Oct. 28th to 30th with a pumpkin carving contest, a pet costume contest, a campsite decorating contest, a haunted house and trick or treating. www.santacruzkoa.com

 Smithwoods RV Park in Felton: This park plans to host a Halloween spaghetti dinner with Halloween related activities on Oct. 29th. www.smithwoodsrvpark.com

 Sorensen's Resort in Hope Valley (near Lake Tahoe): This High Sierra resort offers several special activities, including a five-day watercolor workshop with Jill Mueller from Sept. 19th to 23rd, and a fall color hike botanist Karen Wiese on Oct. 7th. Sorensen's Resort has 35 cabin rentals and 25 campsites for tent or RV camping as well as a vintage 1947 trailer and a three bedroom, two-bath house for rent. www.sorensenresort.com

 Springs at Borrego RV Resort in Borrego Springs, Calif.: This park's fall activities include Thursday or Friday night wine tastings and a social hour beginning at 6 p.m. as well as water aerobics classes on Saturday mornings. The resort is also planning a Halloween party. Future events will also include star parties with world-renowned astronomer and sky photographer Dennis Mammana. "At these parties, we start out with a light dinner and beverages. Then sit back while Mr. Mammana presents a photo show on the big screen with star talk about what to look for that night," said Daniel Wright, general manager of the Springs at Borrego RV Resort. www.springsatborrego.com.

Stockton KOA in Stockton: This park is planning a military vehicle collectors weekend on Sept. 23rd to 25th that will include a swap meet with hard to find military collectables. The park is also planning a "Halloween Hoopla" weekend Oct. 28th to 31st with a pumpkin carving contest and a haunted house, and a "battle of the businesses" pie-eating contest on Nov. 18th to raise money for the Toys for Tots charity program. www.stocktonkoa.com

Of course, these are just a sampling of some the activities and special events taking place at campgrounds and RV parks across California in the coming weeks. Consumers can find private campgrounds in their area by checking www.Camp-California.com, the travel planning website of the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds in Auburn, Calif. The site includes links to RV parks and campgrounds, which provide their own "activities" or event calendars, which can help you figure out which parks have activities your family will enjoy.

For additional commentary, statistics and sources on the latest camping trends in campgrounds and RV 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.