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Thursday, March 3, 2011


I followed Odel into the Anza-Borrego State Park CampgroundOur Opinion: Rave.  Reasonably priced, convenient RV campsites in California’s largest state park.

Date of Stay: February 27 and 28, 2011.  Not recommended in summer!

Weather During Stay:  Sunny, mild days; cold nights.

Site Description:  This review applies specifically to the section of the campground designed for RV’s, sites 1-52.  Roomier, no-hookup sites are available in other sections of the campground, and in other sections of this huge state park.

The RV sites are all FHU, with 30 amps.  Voltage and water pressure are good.  With the exception of 10 “pullout” sites along the edge of the perimeter road, all sites are designed as long, paved pull-throughs.  Each as a substantial picnic table and some desert landscaping.
Site 39, A-BWe were in site 39.  Though the reservations clerk and the Reserve America site (which California state parks use for their reservation system) showed our site as suitable for a rig no longer than 35 feet, we had PLENTY of space for our motor home and Jeep.
Roads are paved and easy to navigate in a big rig.  Though most sites appeared reasonably level, there are some that would be challenging for a big motor home, with considerable front-to-back slope.

Rate:  $35/night for FHU.  14-day limit.  Reservations strongly suggested for weekends during high season (Jan-March), but sites appeared to be available without reservations early in the day on weekdays.

Phone/radio/TV:  Strong Verizon signal here for both phones and aircard.  WiFi is available at the visitor center, a half mile walk.  Our site had no obstacles for our roof-mounted satellite TV dish.  Air antenna had a couple of stations.  NPR on 89.3.

Elevation/landscape/terrain:  Anza-Borrego is California’s largest state park, a landscape of arid mountains and cactus.  Great views of the desert!  Elevation in the campground is 600 ft. or so.
Rows of RV campsites in A-B Typical RV site at A-B
Lighting/noise:  Very dark and quiet at night.

Favorite Sites: We like the sites on the northern edge of the campground, but there is not much difference in the pull-through sites - unless yours happens to directly face the restrooms or one of the pullout sites along the perimeter road.  We would NOT take or reserve a perimeter pull-out; the ones we saw were not suitable for big rigs (24-29 and 49-52).

Morning Sun on the mtns at A-BHiking/Walking: Walk a paved trail .6 mile to the Visitor Center, or head off to the west up Palm Canyon on either the Palm Canyon trail or the Alternate Trail.  A short overlook trail also leaves from the campground area.  Wonderful hiking with a chance to spot Bighorn Sheep (Borrego).

Comments:  The state park staff here was unusually friendly and accommodating, allowing us check in early since the site was empty, and to drive our Jeep in (rather than towing it in) without charging us a separate day use fee for the Jeep (it is surprising how many places are sticklers about that!).  Wish we had been able to stay longer.


East side of parkOur Opinion: Neutral.  A small, friendly, well-maintained mobile home and RV park.

Date of Stay: February 24-26, 2011.

Weather During Stay:  Sunny, cool days; cold nights; breezy.

Site Description:  Originally a mobile home park, this palm tree shaded property has spaces for 60 +/- RVs around the perimeter.  Roads are paved and rather narrow for big rigs and the office is in an inconspicuous spot.  Travel slowly!

All sites are back-ins, on gravel; most have a palm tree on each side and shrubbery at the back.  Sites are FHU, some with 30 amps and some with 50.   Few sites appeared level, but both motor homes and trailers made do with leveling blocks under tires and jacks. 

Site 51 BHHRVOur site (51, on the east side of the park) was barely long enough for our 38’ motor home (we backed into the shrubs), though we had sufficient room for our slides.  We had to park our Jeep in the parking lot at the end of our street, an inconvenient distance.  Sites on the south and west sides of the park are larger, with space for a towed or tow vehicle. 

Our site had 50 amps, with voltage on the low side (our EMS kicked off due to low voltage in the cold morning hours).  Water pressure was low, too - we augmented it with our freshwater pump.  The park has an appealing pool and spa, and a clean laundry room with 3 washers/3 dryers. 

Rate:  Though the rate sheet shows $30/night for the east side lots, we paid $82.50 for three nights, $27.50/night.  Maybe we used had a discount of some kind??  Quoted prices range from $30/night to $35/night for the largest sites.

West side of parkPhone/radio/TV:  Excellent Verizon signal here for both phones and aircard (blazing fast).  I believe WiFi was available, but we didn’t use it.  Our site had no obstacles for our roof-mounted satellite TV dish, but that would not be the case in all sites.  Cable TV available only through the cable company for long-term stays.  Air antenna had a couple of stations.  NPR on 92.5.

Elevation/landscape/terrain: This rectangular park, with palm trees and mature landscaping, sits on a slightly sloping desert hillside at around 600 ft. elevation, surrounded by the arid mountains of Anza-Borrego State Park.   Near views are of palm trees, neighboring rigs and mobile homes; distant views are of arid mountains.  It would be a pleasant oasis in the desert with a bit more space!

Lighting/noise:  Our site was comfortably dark at night.  Very quiet at night.

Favorite Sites:   We would opt for the larger sites on the west and south sides of the park (none of which were available when we checked in.

PoolHiking/Walking: Head out into the desert from any site and walk south to intersect a broad trail that goes into town.  Many, many good hikes in the surrounding state park, California’s largest.

Comments:  This is one of the friendliest parks we have ever visited - both the staff and the other renters.  Everyone seemed happy to be there!  Staff was busy all the time sprucing the place up.  We liked the mature landscaping… but a windblown palm frond did fall onto our rig from quite a height.  Fortunately, no damage.

I suspect we might have given this park a “recommend” rating if we had been in a larger site – it has a lot going for it (location, pool, friendly staff and residents).  Maybe next time!