SoCAL Camping – 005
Transcript Episode 005
Good morning San Diego. Join us today while we talk about three different campgrounds that we stayed at in the San Diego area. Then we’re going to talk about a wonderful vegan restaurant we found and were able to have dinner with our friends Mary and Marty, shout out to them. Then we went up to Rancho Bernardo and got to hang out with Pat, and Jess, and the gang. Finally, in our “Who knew?” section, we headed up the coast of California, because who knew you could camp right on the beach practically? So stay tuned and join us.
Michael’s going to tell us all about Fiddler’s Cove in San Diego.
Fiddler’s Cove is a department of defense US Navy RV park located in Coronado, California. It has 59 sites and open all year round. It accepts big rigs, class Bs, class Cs, they have 23 pull- throughs, full hookups… everything that you would need in an RV park.
You must have reservations because it is extremely in demand. We lucked out in that there were some cancellations, which are really, really rare. So really recommend if you’re coming to Southern California particularly in San Diego, you get reservations.
So this is absolutely beautiful. When you pull in, if you’re lucky to get the first row, you’re literally 15 to 20 feet from the Pacific Ocean. It’s on the marina, and also adjacent to a Navy housing complex. Absolutely beautiful. Ships are coming and going throughout the day. Little boats are coming throughout the day. It is one of the most sought after RV parks in California.
Additionally, anybody coming to this park has to understand that the Navy uses this area as a huge training area. Directly across the road from the RV park is the US Navy Seals’ bootcamp. If you’re unlucky, or as I like to say, the sound of freedom, there’ll be machine gun firing throughout the night. Because they do a lot of training at night. And also please be aware that it is one of the largest naval air stations, they are training through the day. You’ll hear helicopters, jets, they’ll do night training where they’re dropping people in the water. So even though it can be very peaceful, it can also be very loud and disquieting to folks.
Additionally, I forgot to mention this RV park is located literally two minute’s drive from one of the most beautiful towns in Southern California, Coronado. And it’s about two, if you’re walking it’s about two and a half miles into town. A historic hotel, tons of beautiful shops, restaurants, beautiful beach. It’s just a blessing to have an RV park in this area.
Walking to town
Another thing that we like to do is walk into town to go have dinner. But you could walk into town and get some groceries, there’s a grocery store there. And then you can also meet family and friends if they aren’t able to come in and hang out at the RV park.
Also for you military folks, or people who have access to military bases, the naval base, the naval air facility has full commissary, exchanges, a clinic, so all those are available also for you.
Louisa: We had to remind everybody that Fiddler’s Cove, doesn’t have any trees. And it’s a big slab of asphalt. It’s a parking lot. A lot of people say, “This is a beautiful area, but the parking lot RV park is not ideal.” But you don’t come there to sit in the parking lot, you sit in the parking lot to have a spot and the hookups, but then you have the marina right there to look at. Or you can walk down the street and go to Coronado.
Michael: I almost forgot, it’s kinda funny, you’re also sitting in literally a 20 minute drive over the Coronado bridge to one of America’s finest cities, San Diego, California. It’s beautiful year round. The average temperature’s about 75 in the fall. And you can just stay up all night going to the Gas Lamp District, going to all the hundreds of restaurants, the beaches in San Diego.
Tips for Fiddler’s Cove
Active duty people get up to a year in advance to make reservations. But us retired folks, we only get six months ahead. And then often times there’s really no space when you want to get it, unless you get lucky like we did.
So what we would ask you all to do is put that on your bucket list, and make those reservations way ahead of time and see if you can get into this RV park. Because I believe it’s $40 for front row and a couple dollars less for the second row. And it’s just absolutely beautiful affordable way to see Southern California; San Diego, Coronado.
There is a state campground across the highway, which is a very busy highway. So we’re backed up to the marina in the front and then we’re on the highway, and then there’s the ocean. So you’re not on the big waves-rolling-in ocean, you’re on the marina when you’re on the …
Yeah, we’re on the marina side, which is protective. You can hear the big waves, but you’d actually have to go across the street and down the road to go surfing, wind surfing, paddle boarding.
So I wouldn’t call Fiddler’s Cove the most beautiful RV park, it’s just situated in a really pretty area. And it has the washers and dryers, it has a great brand new renovated bathroom. So we really kinda say we feel very lucky that we’re able to use that one when we come to town.
Lake O’Neill – Camp Pendleton, California
Next, we’re going to go up the road…north to Camp Pendleton. So Michael, tell us about Lake O’Neill.
Michael: So Camp Pendleton is a Marine Corps base about 30 to 40 miles up the road. It has a beautiful RV recreational park in the middle of the base. Once you go to the front gate of Camp Pendleton it’s actually, the RV park is about 10 miles inland. That Camp Pendleton just goes miles, and miles, and miles. But once you get to Lake O’Neill the RV park is sitting right on the lake. You have fishing, you have hiking trails …it’s a wooded area where you actually pull in and your RV faces the lake. It’s another hidden treasure in Southern California.
Luisa: Well if you’re lucky you get one on the lake. But then they have that whole area off to the side that is row after row of RVs that don’t see the lake. But you can just walk to the lake within five minutes. But we were able to stay on the lake basically, because we have a small camper van. So we get to stay closer, and you can also boon-dock there, we have done that. It used to be $10 a night to dry camp. But then they raised it to $20. And now it’s kind of expensive just to pull in and not have any hookups. But you can get just electric and water.the full So we’ve never really had full hookups when we go there. But that’s a place where you don’t really need reservations, because they have a lot of open spaces a lot of the time.
Del Mar Beach – Camp Pendleton
There is another campground on Camp Pendleton, that’s the one on the beach. And we’ve gone there once. It’s very busy. It is on the beach. Literally you drive your RV on the beach, and I would recommend reservations. They have three or four different rows. We found it very hectic at the time we went, lots of families, lots of barbecue pits, a lot of noise, literally you’re sitting on the beach. If you love the beach and sitting there, it’s the absolute spot to try to go to. It was a little bit too much for us. But-
Luisa: We like the quiet places. And that’s why we like the lake better, even though it is further inland and you can’t really see the ocean from there. But we like the peaceful lake with its accommodations. And the people there are very friendly, very nice. And there are some full-timers in there, which is another one of those things that we learned along the way. That not everybody in an RV is on vacation. So there are some military folks who are transferring in and out, and some of them stay there for months on end. So you’re welcome to do that as well if you have the opportunity.
Michael: But we did find the active duty personnel who were there for a longer period of time to be friendly. The place is very clean, very safe. And because it’s a military base and the Marines do a lot of training, you will at times hear gun fire, aircraft going overhead, and interesting enough, something we weren’t aware of, the Marine Corps has literally every other week what I call it a tournament. They have mud races, they have fun runs, bike races, just a lot of sporting activities right around Lake O’Neill.
Luisa: Yes, and they wake you up at 6:00 in the morning. So if you are one who likes to sleep in, you have to look at the calendar and hope that Lake O’Neill isn’t having any of those fun runs. Because you will be awakened by the cannons in the morning.
Sea Breeze RV Park – Seal Beach, California
So next we’re going to go up the highway north, to Seal Beach, California. Where some of you may not be aware that there really is an RV park. Take it away, Michael.
Michael: So the Seal Beach campground, it’s called Sea Breeze. It actually is located at Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach. It is one of the largest naval weapons stations on the West Coast. Navy ships pull in there to load up on all their ammunition, and it’s constant. However, the RV park is located in a very quiet section of the base.
Here’s a little bit of tidbit. In 1990 I was actually stationed at the base clinic, and I didn’t know an RV park existed. Of course we weren’t into RVing at that time. But still, just shows you how quiet the space can be.
It has 85 sites, they’re open all year round. It has concrete pads that are flat, little grass, no trees.
Luisa: Okay, but I would say there’s a lot of grass. The place is really very well manicured. And the spots are not too close together. But with 85 spots, that is quite a lot. But you don’t feel like you’re one on top of each other, because it does have a really nice feel to the place, even though it’s not in the middle of a forest or anything.
Michael: Yeah, and we found that the Wifi and the cable were really good reception at this RV park.
Luisa: And one of the perks of this RV park is it has free laundry. So most of the military bases that we have been to so far have very reasonably priced washers and dryers. Meaning about $1, $1.25, $1.50 at the most for each machine. But at this one, the laundry is absolutely free. So we really like to take advantage of that, of course. And then they’re pet friendly. There is a lot of grass, like we said earlier. So you have a nice walking area for the dogs. And I also like the fact that this campground is not in the center of any city really, except you can walk to Seal Beach. So Michael’s gonna tell us about the city.
Seal Beach, California
Approximately 2 and 1/2 miles from the RV park is the town of Seal Beach. It’s got a beautiful beach, big long pier, and an historic downtown area that has tons of little restaurants, coffee shops, pizza parlors, full grocery shops, and just a fun little small town to explore.
Luisa: It’s actually a lot like Coronado walking down that main street there. But I was disappointed when we got down to the pier, you’re not allowed to walk your dog on the pier. So we could only look at the pier, and it looked very fun just to take a stroll down to the ocean side. But it was a really pretty walk. And two and a half miles is a great little exercise for right after dinner.
Just to recap, we spent several nights at Fiddler’s Cove for $40 a night. Then went to Lake O’Neill for $32 for that one night. And then we drove up to Seal Beach and it was $35 a night, and we stayed two nights there. So next we’re going to go onto our favorite vegan restaurant in San Diego, before we get too far out of the area. And after that, we’re going to talk about how we stayed on the beach practically on Highway 101, so stay tuned.
Dedication to Your Colon
This next section of the podcast is dedicated to your colon. And who better to bring you information about the colon than our son, Doctor Avery Walker; colorectal surgeon, and also known as the “colon whisperer”.
Avery Walker: The best way to prevent colon cancer is to start getting your colonoscopies at the age of 45. You should also make note of any symptoms you may be having, such as blood in your stool, constipation that doesn’t go away on its own, or abdominal pain. And see your doctor if those symptoms are there. The other thing that you can do is make sure you get at least 30 grams of fiber a day in your diet to include green leafy vegetables like broccoli and spinach, peas, and beans. And always drink lots and lots of water.
Luisa: Thanks Doctor Walker. And now Michael’s going to tell you about that restaurant.
Native Foods Vegan Restaurant
Michael: One of our favorite restaurants in San Diego is called Native Foods. It has lots of choices. Vegan burger combos, full entrees, soups, salads, sweets and drinks. They also have adult beverages. One of my favorite meals was a burger that actually they call the Big Nasty Burger. It has lots of soy patties, it had lots of vegetables on it, and I love the sides that go with it. I had sweet potato fries and a side of kale.
And that’s where we went with Mary and Marty to celebrate Mary’s birthday. So shout out to them again. And I had the tacos, which I really like the tacos. They’re like shredded beef, or shredded something, but of course it’s not real animal products, but you can’t tell. And it’s very tasty. The prices I think at Native Foods are a little expensive.
Michael: A little expensive. But the vegan restaurants have a hard time competing with the regular restaurants, so it costs a little bit more. But we always feel blessed that we can go to some place and not have to ask for vegan options. Everything is 100% plant-based, whole food, and delicious.
Luisa: Although we really enjoyed going to Native Foods in San Diego, we don’t always go out to eat. We eat more often in our RV. So next week you’ll have a treat. Because I’m going to tell you about a recipe that I like to make whenever we have full hookups, but I like to use the waffle iron and the Vitamix to make wonderful, wonderful waffles. And Michael loves them too and he puts fresh berries on top of his. And we really enjoy that. So stay tuned for next week when we talk about how you can make waffles from your RV.
Rincon Beach, California
But up next is our discovery of one of our new favorite spots right on the beach where we could pull in our camper van, open up the back doors, and just listen and look at the beautiful Pacific Ocean. So Michael, do you remember what that was called? It was called Rincon Highway.
Yeah, right outside of Carpinteria and right on the beach, literally. You pull up to open slots, and you pay right at the beach facility. Literally you hear waves crashing all night long, you can walk steps to the beach, there are fire pits that people use. And it’s just one of those treasures of living in Southern California.
Luisa: And if you’d like to see some pictures, you can always go on Instagram @heavenInAclassB, where we give you really pretty pictures of what we saw that night.
But then the next morning we woke up and went into Carpinteria for breakfast. And Michael’s going to tell you what that was about in just a minute.
Vegan Breakfast at Lucky Llama
Michael: We had breakfast at Lucky Llama Coffeehouse in Carpinteria. Wonderful oatmeal with blueberries and wonderful coffee.
Luisa: So this ended a wonderful trip to Southern California. And coming up next week we get to visit several more military campgrounds, as well as Idyllwild Thousand Trails park. And our who knew section is going to talk all about those wonderful waffles that I make every once in a while, actually quite frequently. And we’ll give you the recipe. We look forward to seeing you then.
So thank you for joining us on the podcast, and we really hope you’ll subscribe in iTunes, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
We are a retired teacher, Louisa, and a retired physician assistant, Michael, married for 39 years, who want to help busy travelers begin and maintain a healthy life-style while on the road.