The old saying, “The coast is clear,” takes on more meaning than a go-ahead nod for a clandestine adventure. To camping enthusiasts, it’s one reason to go early season camping during winter or spring. There are many more.


Capt. David Bacon (Ramona Lisa McFadyen photo)

The coast is clea r… of those pesky June Gloom clouds we seem to have for about three months each year. March and April can be tranquil except when storm systems pass through or air pressure regimes shift quickly. Fire season is definitely over, thanks to heavy storms in January and February, meaning we can head to some mountain campgrounds that are not always open during the dry part of the year.

Heavy jackets and thick sleeping bags are necessities, because nights and mornings are chilly. During the middle of day, folks are often comfortable in T-shirts and on some days even bathing suits.

The coast is clear… of hoards of tourists and campers. I don’t mean to badmouth tourists, because we depend upon them for our local economic survival, and also because every time we visit another town, we take our turns at being the tourists. But it sure is nice to find a quiet campground!

The coast is clear … of local campers, because camping is just not a common winter or early spring pastime. It should be! The campgrounds are just as beautiful at this time of year as they are in the summer, plus the crowds are way down. Those are good reasons why a camping trip is a better relaxation remedy now than it is during the summer.

There is something luxuriously relaxing about a campground with only a handful of spots taken. Each party has room to spread out and not worry about all of the social issues involved with having neighbors just a few yards away in the next campsite. Also, the recreational facilities available at a given campsite are equally uncrowded and readily available.

A camping trip may just be the perfect way to surprise the family or lover. It can be a delightful break from the daily grind and a sure cure for cabin fever. It helps to keep things simple, while camping, because that provides the maximum relaxation factor. A little relaxation can go a long way.

The coast is clear, for choosing a campground on the waterfront. It might even be possible to get in at Refugio — the all-time favorite campground of many campers. The Morro Bay area has some nice camping spots. Lake campgrounds, such as Cachuma and Casitas, are gorgeous places and feature plenty of wildlife viewing, as well as fun fishing options. Mountain campgrounds can be quiet and inviting places in winter and spring when you have the mountains to yourself.

So what are you waiting for?

Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a new nonprofit group providing seafaring opportunities for those in need.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.