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Books about Camping in N. California

June 2004

Do you have a great book about camping in Northern California? Something that addresses the needs of beginners would be perfect. My husband and I are thinking of giving camping a try - with our 2 kids (ages 2 and 4). The info in the archives did not seem recent. Much thanks! Nancy


The ''bible'' is California Camping by Tom Stienstra, available through Foghorn Press. I have seen this book for sale at Costco, and it has been updated several times. Stienstra is a local columnist for the Chron and the sections on Northern California campgrounds are particularly fine.

Two other books we have found useful are Tom Stienstra's Outdoor Getaway Guide Northern California, which has all the best ''tips'' in one place, and The Best in Tent Camping Northern California by Bill Mai, published by Menasha Ridge Press out of Alabama. The later I got at Target, of all places.

I have also used general guides to camping, such as The Camper's Companion, also through Foghorn Press, and Camping with Kids, for those little suggestions that make the trip more comfortable. But I also urge you to post for suggestions on message boards this this one, as a lot of my best tips have come from other parents. We have been camping with kids since our middle child was a year old --she's now 13--and I'm happy to share any information you'd like if you e-mail me directly.

Happy camping, b_p


The book you are looking for is:

''Easy Camping in Northern California'' by Tom Stienstra

We bought this book a few years ago and have found it extremely useful. We found our fave campsite in Mendocino County via this great book. Detailed and well-written, and includes info on cabins. The campsites and cabins the author suggests are broken down by region (S. F. Bay Area; Sonoma-Mendocino) so you can easily find the information you seek.

The author, Tom Steinstra, is the outdoor writer for the S.F. Chronicle. phillip


I have two of Tom Steinstra's (the ''guru'' of hiking/camping in Calif.) books and, while they have been very useful and I'm glad to have them, I want to warn any one considering purchasing any of his books that his driving directions to the sites he reviews tend to be rather poor. I have discovered that he frequently has missing information, incomplete information, confusing information or just plain incorrect information in the directions. I have had, on more than one occasion, a frustrating time trying to find a place, because of one or more of these issues. I'm sure it's not true for EVERY set of directions he gives, but, overall, it seems to be pretty consistent.

Wish Tom Would Check His Directions


I just wanted to second what someone else said:

''I want to warn any one considering purchasing any of his books that his driving directions to the sites he reviews tend to be rather poor. I have discovered that he frequently has missing information, incomplete information, confusing information or just plain incorrect information in the directions. I have had, on more than one occasion, a frustrating time trying to find a place, because of one or more of these issues. I'm sure it's not true for EVERY set of directions he gives, but, overall, it seems to be pretty consistent.''

I completely agree. I absolutely love the book of his that we have, and it has helped us to find some AMAZING sites we'd never have found otherwise, but it has also gotten us lost a time or two. The directions can be very vague and based on easy-to-miss landmarks. Once the book said to take a left turn when we should have gone right, and twice we have been completely unable to ever find the sites and had to go elsewhere. Once it took us 5 hours longer to find a site than it should have. And I was pregnant and had to pee REALLY BAD by the time we got there! LOL!

What I would suggest is using the book to get a basic idea of where the site is, and then calling the office of the site to get directions from them, or to use the internet to get the directions.

Doesn't trust his directions either


More recommendations

Having just planned a California camping summer vacation for our family I can recommend a really good book. It's Moon Publications, Northern California Handbook. It includes SF Bay Area, Sonoma, Redwood coast (further than 2-3 hours from SF). I know you can get this book at the Travel Store on Rose and Shattuck in Berkeley. June (2001)
From: Colleen
This book is a great resource. I got this listing from www.amazon.com.

Easy Camping in Northern California, 1996-97 : 100 Places Anyone Can Camp This W eekend
by Tom Stienstra
1996-97 ed
Paperback
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