Our last camping trip of the season was at Portola Redwoods State Park in San Mateo County. The campground is usually booked up during the summer months but we managed to reserve a spot towards the end of the camping season.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Location: Located in the heart of San Mateo County about 20 miles southwest of Palo Alto.
Amenities: Flushing toilets and showers
Pets: Allowed at no additional charge
Pros: There are two creeks (Pescadero and Peter’s Creeks) that run throughout the park and provide campers fabulous views of nature from 18 miles of trails. Campsites are quite large and site 9 had paved parking for three cars!! If you can brave the windy roads that lead to and from the park, you can visit the nearby cities of Palo Alto and various Santa Clara County cities.
Cons: The campground is located at the end of a windy road that isn’t pleasant for people who get car-sick. Once you arrive at the campground, you will find an area for self check-in, which we have never encountered before. Make sure you have exact change for firewood (you stuff money into envelopes and leave them at the check-in stand), which rings in high at $10/bundle (good thing they give you a small bundle of kindling to make up for the extra $3). Although sites are large, there aren’t a lot of flat areas for large tents. Cooking and sleeping were all done at a downward slope. The restrooms weren’t the greatest nor cleanest. The restroom stall doors offered limited coverage so taller folks will get more than they bargained for.