Central California -> Northern Oregon Surf Camping

thekadvang

OTF status
Jan 29, 2013
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i think we're central
Planning a one-week surf camping trip starting in San Francisco and ending in Manzanita in late May / early June. Have no concrete plans beyond spending the first night in the Sea Ranch area.

Any recommendations on good coastal campsites or zones to explore? Boards to bring? Wetsuit thickness?

No need name spots I don't expect that and my surf expectations are super low -- just stoked to see that part of the coast.

Thanks!!!!
 

Bob Dobbalina

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Feb 23, 2016
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Check Sonoma County Campgrounds. Gualala and that.. They're slower to fill than the State sites.
MacKerricher State Park is Fort Brag is pretty sweet.
Samoa/Manila Zone off Humboldt can be worth a look if the wind is light.
I got stuck without a campsite between Brookings and Port Orford and ended up paying for a private site at a spot called The Honey Bear. Ended up crossing the highway and surfing some marginal beachbreak.
 
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Dec 18, 2020
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Wow! Going on a camping surfing trip from San Francisco to Manzanita seems great. Even though I have vast experience with camping, I have never tried surf camping, but I will try soon. Well, why not search the internet for campsites in that area? You will definitely find a camping spot that suits you. That's what I always do. For example, I needed a campsite with special attractions near the Lower Suwanee Public Boat Ramp. I found and camped at the suwannee river rv camping. It was awesome!
 
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PeterDj

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Jul 11, 2018
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Shelter Cove is a popular camp site. Tolkan camp in the mountains nearby has cool mountain biking trails too.
 
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SeaFoamGreen

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Apr 10, 2009
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I got stuck without a campsite between Brookings and Port Orford and ended up paying for a private site at a spot called The Honey Bear. Ended up crossing the highway and surfing some marginal beachbreak.
Drive up most any river into NF and steak your claim.

Marginal beachbreak is the norm.......
 
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Mr Doof

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Jan 23, 2002
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1 What Rice said.

2 Humbug Mt.

3 Something something various lighthouses something something.

4 Jetties.

5 Tahkenitch (hike and camp?)... dune hike means you gotta trust the signposts.

6 Neahkahnie Mountain Trail for day hike.

7 Skip Short Sands unless it looks great.
 
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SeaFoamGreen

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Apr 10, 2009
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It's been a ragged cold spring up here. A constant bump and persistent biting devil wind. Spring can be hit or miss as any season on the north coast, the last 2 prior were damn good and fall like, but in my experience it's better here than spring in central California excluding SC and south swells. The NW wind machine really does not fire up until July and May and June can have periods of light winds and decent mid period wind swells which open up the playing filed a bit. As much as I would like to not admit, Shortys is a staple this time of year and often unavoidable if your looking for for serviceable waves in a short time frame. One week to cover that much ground is a blink of an eye trip and If your staying in Manzo, it's going to be your best bet esp if the north winds are nukeing. Parking lot fills up quickly on weekends. Pleasantly dead around here rn, but that's going to change soon I think.
 
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thekadvang

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Jan 29, 2013
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i think we're central
Trip report! Surfed every day and got mostly good weather which feels like scoring given the high variability of the zones up there. Rode a 5'0" Album Plasmic pretty much the whole time which went well in the weird/flat/sometimes good waves on offer and was toasty warm in a 5/4 with boots except around Port Orford where it was freezing!!!!

Thanks to everyone who provided information on this thread and via PM on where to stay/surf -- it was super helpful given how much ground we had to cover.

Highlight sessions:

a south-facing cove in northern california that surfed up reefy rights and lefts with an unexpectedly positive “local” crew
creek-mouth zone in oregon with a surprisingly rippable right amongst the sea stacks; grumpy mid-length-guy could not kill the vibe
hike up a mountain in manzanilla

Lowlight sessions:

rivermouth zone in oregon serving up crossed up wedges right on the beach along with baby seals frolicking in the murky water; too many shark thoughts to surf alone at sunset for more than 30 mins
The miles of closed out beachies in oregon
All the spots that we did not get to check

100% would do this trip again; so much to see and explore. Non-surfing photos below:

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SeaFoamGreen

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Apr 10, 2009
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Wow looks like you scored some sun in the banana belt! A rarity up north this spring. Wettest in 80 some odd years :drowning:
 

vanrysss

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Mar 25, 2019
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If you ever get a chance to do this trip again try to aim for September/October timeframe. Usually a good time to surf Oregon with the added bonus of spawning sharks!
 
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