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Overnight camping at Oceano Dunes sold out every weekend for six months

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Posted at 3:18 PM, Feb 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-20 00:40:02-05

For the first time in nearly a year, beach camping and off highway vehicles are allowed again at the Oceano Dunes.

State Parks says beach camping is sold out every weekend for the next six months.

"I can't wait to lay my foot into this thing and let it rip," said Josue Valadez of Arroyo Grande. "We've just been dying to come out here and we just got this new RZR so we came out here to break it in."

"Spend time with my family and drive around here," added his son, Joshua.

1,000 off highway vehicles can ride on the sand as part of phase 2 of reopening. That's compared to the more than 1,700 that can usually recreate.

Friday also marks the first night that campers can stay on the beach.

"Big day for our visitors and the operation in general," said Kevin Pearce, Oceano Dunes District Chief Ranger. "Kind of the next step to kind of restoring services that we had shut down for quite a while since the pandemic began in March."

100 camping spots can be reserved daily versus the typical 500 spots.

"We've been waiting since the day they closed," said Kai Ellis of Bakersfield. "We actually had a trip planned and it got canceled because of it."

Reservations opened on Wednesday and within two days it sold out for the next 25 weekends or so.

"The first day, we were up and we made our reservations soon as they opened up the office. We called them and made it happen," Ellis said.

If you didn't get a weekend reservation, you're not completely out of luck though.

"We still have lots of availability during mid-week," Pearce said.

State Parks says it'll take the next couple of weeks to determine when to transition into phase 3 to bring even more camping and OHV use online.

"We look forward to seeing everyone out here on the dunes," Pearce said.

State Parks says they didn't have to bring on any more staff for the new changes as it's like a mid-week Summer Day.

A day-use pass is $5 and an overnight stay is $10.

State Parks encourages people to check out their social media accounts to ensure that day-use passes, OHV passes, and camping spots are not sold out before you arrive.