RV Campgrounds Along El Camino Real

Oct 17, 2022 | Campgrounds

RV Campgrounds Along El Camino Real

California’s 600-mile El Camino Real offers lessons in history, stunning coastal views, and plenty of camping options for RVers.

By Madeleine Balestrier

Waypoint Ventura Vintage Trailer Hotel & Campground at Ventura, California. | Photo: Jim & his T@B

El Camino Real was one of the first paved highways in California. It stretches 600 miles from San Diego in the south to Sonoma County in the north. This historical road, also known as the Royal Roadway, connects the 21 Spanish missions in California. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, missions were established by the Spanish for haven and travel as they sought claim over the Pacific Coast. Today, California missions are historical relics with beautiful adobe architecture. 

El Camino Real’s highway system aims to connect the past with the sprawling coastline, bustling cities, and quiet countryside of California. The best time to visit El Camino Real is during the shoulder seasons, specifically September to November. The roadway is less busy, the fire season is ending, and temperatures along the coast are mostly pleasant. 

If you’re planning on traveling California’s expansive coast with your rig, here are some of the best RV campgrounds along El Camino Real in California. 

a campground in the fall
San Diego Metro KOA. | Photo: Campendium

San Diego Metro KOA, San Diego, California

Number of Sites: 243
Pad Type: Concrete
Reservations: Yes
Tent Camping: Yes

El Camino Real begins or ends in San Diego, home to the USS Midway Museum, beautiful beaches, and Mission San Diego Alcala. San Diego Metro KOA is the perfect base camp to explore the area. 

This campground is worth the price as it provides full hookups, WiFi, pet amenities, a dump station, full-service restrooms, and laundry services. Aside from nearby activities in the city, the campground also offers a swimming pool, hot tub, game room, basketball court, and bikes. 

two tear drop trailers parked at a campground
Waypoint Ventura Vintage Trailer Hotel & Campground in Ventura, California. | Photo: Jim & his T@B

Waypoint Ventura Vintage Trailer Hotel & Campground, Ventura, California

Number of Sites: 35
Pad Type: Gravel
Reservations: Yes
Tent Camping: No

After visiting the missions in Los Angeles, stay at the Waypoint Ventura Vintage Trailer Hotel & Campground in Ventura, California. This campground is only 5 minutes away from Mission San Buenaventura

Waypoint Ventura is home to vintage trailers you can rent or pads where you can pull in your own camper; however, your rig needs to follow the campground’s classic “BYO trailer” guidelines. Some approved rigs are Airstreams, teardrops, VW buses, and Boles Aeros. 

The grounds offer full hookups, full-service restrooms, WiFi, and complimentary bikes. Nearby are beaches, historical sites, and the Ventura Pier

two shiny silver airstream trailers are parked at a campground
Flying Flags RV Resort in Buellton, California | Photo: Campendium

Flying Flags RV Resort, Buellton, California

Number of Sites: 360
Pad Type: Mixed
Reservations: Yes
Tent Camping: Yes

Flying Flags RV Resort is in wine country outside of Santa Barbara. The grounds offer full hookups and dry camping, WiFi, full-service restrooms, and laundry. There are also big-rig and pull-through-friendly sites. The resort is home to a pool, hot tub, and recreational trails. 

“Flying Flags RV Resort in Buellton was the most expensive RV park or campground we have stayed at yet, but it was one of the few that have deserved the title ‘resort,'” according to a Campendium review. “You get what you pay for. It is a very well-maintained, fancy RV park with top-notch amenities in a prime location minutes away from downtown Solvang and close to Santa Barbara and many vineyards.”

Aside from vineyards and beaches, Mission La Purisima Concepcion de Maria Santisima, Mission Santa Barbara, and Mission Santa Ines are nearby. 

a wooden entrance sign for paso robles rv ranch
Paso Robles RV Ranch in Paso Robles, California. | Photo: Campendium

Paso Robles RV Ranch, Paso Robles, California

Number of Sites: 73
Pad Type: Gravel 
Reservations: Yes
Tent Camping: No

Paso Robles RV Ranch is off Highway 101, and it’s a Central California access point for Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, Mission San Miguel, and Mission San Antonia de Padua. The quiet campground offers full hookups, WiFi, full-service restrooms, laundry, and a dump station. It’s also big-rig and pull-through friendly. 

Beyond the history of El Camino Real are sleepy beach towns like Cambria and plenty of vineyards. 

a person sits at a picnic table next to a silver airstream parked at a campsite
Mt. Madonna County Park in Watsonville, California | Photo: Dave Burns

Mt. Madonna County Park, Watsonville, California

Number of Sites: 118
Pad Type: Dirt
Reservations: Yes
Tent Camping: Yes

Disconnect in Mt. Madonna County Park. This Santa Clara county park spans 4,605 acres of redwood forests, hiking trails, and dreamy California scenery.  

“My husband and I are not big fans of campgrounds and prefer boondocking, but Mount Madonna was a pleasant surprise,” according to this Campendium review

The campground within the park is minimal, but it offers partial hookups, dry camping, full-service restrooms, and water. Pull-through sites, fire rings, and picnic tables are also available. 

a white truck and trailer are parked at a campsite surrounded by trees with golden leaves
Park Delta Bay in Isleton, California | Photo: reno

Park Delta Bay, Isleton, California

Number of Sites: 120
Pad Type: Mixed
Reservations: Yes
Tent Camping: No

Park Delta Bay is a large campground with shady groves and a quaint marina to watch the sunset. The campground has full hookups, WiFi, full-service restrooms, and laundry. The grounds also offer fishing, boat access, volleyball, tennis courts, and a swimming pool. 

Nearby you’ll find recreation areas, including Franks Tract State Recreation Area, which is only accessible by water. Park Delta Bay is also an ideal stay for exploring San Francisco, Mission Dolores, Mission San Rafael Arcangel, and Mission San Francisco Solano. 

an aerial view of a beachfront campground
Wright’s Beach Campground in Bodega Bay | Photo: Livinginastream

Wright’s Beach Campground, Bodega Bay, California

Number of Sites: 27
Pad Type: Dirt
Reservations: Yes
Tent Camping: Yes

Wake up nestled alongside the California coastline, to the sound of the ocean and under the shade of the trees, at Wright’s Beach Campground in Bodega Bay. 

“Likely our favorite beach camping spot so far along the coast, as you are literally backed into the beach,” according to this Campendium review

When you stay at this campground you exchange amenities for location and views. Wright’s Beach Campground is a dry camping campground—offering a fire ring, picnic table, and flushable toilets. From the grounds, you can access the beach and nearby recreational trails. 

This campground is an hour north of San Francisco, the first city along the El Camino Real if you’re traveling north to south. 

El Camino Real Travel Tips for RVers

Here are a few tips to consider if you’re planning to visit the area with your RV:

  • Bring a tow vehicle so you can explore the missions with ease. 
  • Know your vehicle’s capabilities. California is known for curvy roads, hairpin turns, and steep descents and inclines. 
  • Check your brakes before your trip. 
  • Prepare for city traffic. 
  • Gas is expensive in California. Plan your budget accordingly and download apps like GasBuddy to find the cheapest options.

Follow local fire bans and be responsible about campfires and wildfire safety.