Shimmering Oceans, World Class Beer and Champagne Lakes
Escondido California is just a small blip along the Avocado Highway in Southern California, but trust me this little blip is worth a major stop. We were heading south from the Chino Hills area for a Date with San Diego this November, but we had a week to kill before our reservations, so we booked what we thought was a small campground in the middle of nowhere in order to get some work done.
Escondido is a Spanish word meaning “hidden” so we weren’t far off with our planned escape from connections. The town is the oldest in San Diego County and is rich in Spanish and Mexican history before the United States took it over in 1850. Now it’s famous for avocados and beer.
If you really know us you can read between the lines and know we stopped in Escondido for a visit to one of our favorite beer drinkin’ places in the world, Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens. We’ll spare you on the details because we’ve already gushed about it in a previous article aptly titled Get Stoned. To make drinking beer a business expense we decided to have a local meet up in the beer garden, where we met some great people, shared some great beer, and totally forgot to get a photo with the entire group. So all you get to see is the die-hards who hung in till the end… in horrible cell phone resolution.
We have done a couple of these meetups now and they have been so much fun! What has been really surprising to us is that each meetup has been 15-30 people, the average age is 30-45 and the reasons for RV’ing are all so diverse. It’s got me to thinking of a new interview series about why people get into RV’ing. Could be some good stories but I digress.
A short drive west leads you to the ocean and two great towns for more eatin, drinkin and playin: Oceanside and Carlsbad! We hit up Oceanside on the first day to paddle the harbor, do a little impromptu boat browsing at the marina and of course say hello to the native sea lions.
We finished up our postcard day with a sunset walk on the beach searching for sand dollars…talk about perfect!
If you’re in the area here are our faves from our short trip that you may want to consider:
Eat and Drink
- Pizza Port – Killer Beer and Great Pizza
- Bull Taco – Amazing Unauthentic Tacos
- Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens
Where to Paddle
- Oceanside Harbor – Free Parking and a Kayak or SUP Launch
- Carlsbad Lagoon – We had plans to paddle here, but we ran out of time
We booked a campsite at Champagne Lakes RV Resort based on its proximity to Stone and the easy on, easy off location from I-15. It’s surprisingly quiet considering the proximity to the freeway and the number of campers in the park, the only real noise we heard was the occasional “honking” of the locals when we got too close to their pond!
Our newly paved site was plenty large, it came with full hook-ups, pretty fast wifi and cable. Our neighbors were close but not too close and the hill outside our front door provided plenty of privacy for our morning coffee. We stayed in site 66 in what they call “center camp” but there are a few primo sites you should try and reserve if you visit: The hidden site 93 (also in center camp) for smaller rigs or the Vista Mesa Camp up on the hill for great views. The park is owned and operated by a nice young family, it’s clean, the staff is extremely nice and there’s even recycling and a car wash station which comes in handy if you plan on crusin the beachy small town streets.
It seems to always happen, we attempt to be good by putting ourselves in a remote and quiet location and only end up with more to explore than we can possibly do in a short visit.
Have you ever visited the Escondido or the “North County” area? Feel like we missed something great? Please share in the comments below, I’m sure we’ll be passing through again in the not too distant future.
Disclaimer – Although the campground hosted our stay (thanks CJ & the Williams Family) our thoughts and recommendations are our own, cannot be purchased, and we would tell you it if we didn’t like it!
In all my years camping, backpacking in remote areas and traveling I have met and seen many, many single, (and married) women of all ages camping without problem. Remember that those who are camping around you are just like neighbors. Always helpful and mostly courteous. There are many men both young and old who love to help out. Don’t be afraid. Be observant but don’t be afraid. Bad things don’t usually like a crowd. There are millions of wonderful adventures for every aw-shucks moment. Enjoy your adventures.
Thanks for sharing James!
AJ and Beth
Stone is Awesome! The food and atmosphere there is unlike any other brewery we’ve been to.Thanks for the campground suggestion. Would love to take the Moho out there. The photos are beautiful!
Jason…glad you didn’t fall off that paddle board….that water is freezing cold.
Haha, yep CA water isn’t the best for swimming…that is unless it’s a sweltering 100 degree day.
One more sea lion and that pier is under water. Great photos!
Seriously! Those guys really have the life.
OCEANSIDE is an option!
This is at the other end of the scale of RV camping… Very tight – parking lot–no slides-mostly beach bums/lovers/prodigy but very fun and friendly.
Camping : Overnight camping is allowed in the Harbor Beach area in Lot 11B year round. Lot 12 mid- September to mid- May only. – See more at: visitoceanside.org/travel-tips/beach-and-pier-rules-and-regulations/#sthash.Gnmmsjsd.dpuf
Harbor Beach Campground
A fishing pole comes in handy at Harbor Beach Campground because it’s adjacent to Oceanside Harbor and Harbor Beach. Anglers most often catch white bass, California halibut, panfish and smelt; if you fish from the small pier you don’t need a license. RV camping is in a small parking lot at the north end of Harbor Beach, next to to the harbor. You won’t be able to make reservations; it’s first come, first served with a five-night-stay maximum during a 30-day period. Hookups are not available, but you can claim a barbecue grill or fire ring at Harbor Beach. If you don’t want to cook, there are seasonal snack bars. You’ll also find restrooms with showers and plenty of play room on the sand.
Thanks for the heads up Rand, we did see some RVs there but didn’t get the scoop.
Nancy A, Vancouver WA
Nikki, do you drive and setup the RV too? I am a 67 years young female that has been on the fence as to going fulltime in a smaller RV. My biggest concern was safely handling the rig in traffic and parking it. Next was how to handle all of the hookups, hoses, etc. Then whether I could be sure all of the mechanicals and electrical circuits were working properly. I had visions of getting stuck somewhere and having a breakdown.
I love the idea of being on the road, and actually had a older (1986) Country Coach with my ex several years ago. However, I am just not sure I could go up in the mountains and hang out for a few days and stay safe.
Any thoughts about this? I would love to hear from other single gals who have done this. And any tips they might have.
I have taken the RV all by myself from state to state over the years. When I am alone I stick to state and national parks as I feel safe and I know I the roads will be good vs taking the rig out wild camping. If we had a smaller rig, I would feel confident wild camping no problem. We have met so many single women who travel solo and love it.
You both are something special! I need to print out all of these and make a binder. ( Old school I know ) I look forward to all you offer, can’t wait to wrap up our old life and set out. Be safe!