checkered.dan Check-Ins

Date Place Comment
April 28th, 2018 Sweet Briar Dam State Game Management Area

Free, legal lakeside camping on state lands just off the freeway. Roads are dirt with muddy spots and mild washboarding. I found a site near a pit toilet. Fire rings installed, but "no campfires" signs posted.

April 26th, 2018 Laughing Larry's Lunchroom

The coffee is always free at this fantastic breakfast and lunch spot just of the highway. Yes, you have to walk through the truck wash to get in, no you won't regret it.

April 12th, 2018 Murray blv

Stayed three nights, it got a little noisy in the morning with commuters parking but sitting in their cars with the engine running and bass thumping stereos on.

November 2nd, 2017 Parking lot past baseball fields

Large, mostly level parking lot with view of Boston skyline. It was empty when I visited save a few locals coming to enjoy their smoke spot.

September 15th, 2017 Gravel Lot

Gravel lot between Walmart and Starbucks, park amongst semi-trucks and #Vanlifers. Bring earplugs for road noise.

June 1st, 2017 12 Ave E

Parking with no restrictions, other than the city-wide 72 hour limit. Near a large park with water, bathrooms and plenty of open space. The neighbors​ get a little ornery, and will slap a 72 hour notice on your rig if you stay too long. Parking is the most open during the day on weekdays, and you may even be able to park a large camper. It's usually full at night.

April 4th, 2017 Gearheads

Outdoor store offering free water inside the store. Bring and fill your own container.

March 3rd, 2017 Emma Wood State Beach

RV camping along the beach. $40 / night. Must have a toilet in your vehicle. Additonal vehicles are $10. No tents. Trains run on the tracks between your campsite and the highway, bring earplugs.

February 20th, 2017 Fili's

Full service auto repair, Fili, the owner speaks very good English, free wifi while you wait. Closed Sunday, otherwise open at 8AM. Business shows up on Google maps as "oil change"

February 20th, 2017 Playa Santispac

Parked at a spot on the smaller, southern beach and my neighbors - who spend half the year down here - are watching television with the volume turned up loud enough for me to hear it clearly. So much for peace and solitude.

February 20th, 2017 Military Checkpoint

Nice guys, inspected my van, looked in the garbage, through my dirty laundry, under my bed, and asked where I came from and if I had reefer. Inspection took about five minutes before they were satisfied and sent me on my way.

February 12th, 2017 NO PLACE

I wasn't able to find this place.

February 12th, 2017 NO PLACE

Turtle releases are at sunset Nov - May on days when turtles hatch. Today they released the 18, tomorrow could be more or less, but there's about 20 nests waiting to hatch. It's Sunday night, so I thought I might avoid the local's parties that other reviews have mentioned... no such luck; a truckfull of jovial people playing their stereo pulled in next to me about half an hour ago. I don't speak Spanish, but at least I have earplugs.

February 12th, 2017 las playitas

Free level parking near the baby sea turtle release site. Turtles are released every day at sunset November - May depending on how many hatched that day. Today it was 18, yesterday it was 40. Tomorrow...? It's Sunday night, so I thought I would dodge the partying locals mentioned in other reviews... no such luck, they pulled up with music playing around 8pm. I'm posting this at 9 and the party shows no signs of letting up.

February 10th, 2017 El Portón

After hiking, I'll note: the road continues 4 miles past the locked gate, eventually passing a restaurant (roughly 2 miles in), and becoming 4wd only before ending at a small ranch. The restaurant didn't appear open either time I passed it, and frankly, it didn't look like it had regular hours at all. If you're planning to hike, you may want to ask around (in Todos Santos, or with one of the local guide companies) about how to drive past the gate and park at the restaurant since the walk along the road is boring and fairly exposed to the desert sun. If you're heading to La Laguna, make sure to turn left at the sign for El Saltito. I missed that turn and ended up missing the lagoon. I hiked in mid February and there was some water in the arroyos just past the ranch and at El Saltito. Bring a way to purify it of you plan on drinking it - you're sharing it with cattle.

February 9th, 2017 El Portón

Trailhead for hiking in to the Sierra de la Laguna. Ramshackle pit toilet and small clearing at the end of the road. 2WD OK. Long vehicles not advised.

February 4th, 2017 El Chorro

Great camping and DIY hot springs (behind the dam). If you want to hike, go up the canyon about 20 minutes until you see a palapa structure up the hill on the south side. Follow the trail up to that (be careful of wasp nests) or keep going up the *steep* canyon wall until you get to a T. I went right and followed the trail for about 3 miles before I lost it when it came back down in to the arroyo. After that, follow the cow paths at your own risk and leave yourself some breadcrumbs to find your way back out. Also skip Santa Rita hot springs for this one instead.

February 4th, 2017 Santa Rita Hot Spring

The owner seemed intent on enforcing the No Cerveca rule (due to being in the national park) so I decided not to bother camping in his crummy dirt lot covered in cow shit. Save yourself the trip and camp at El Chorro hot springs (the next arroyo to the south) instead, it's cheaper, has better camp sites and the water is just as hot. Oh and you can drink there too.

February 3rd, 2017 Free tap water. Filtration reccomended.

The tap is on the north side of the square at ground level. You'll need a hose or small container to get it in to your rig. I see particles floating around in it so I reccomended filtering it.

February 3rd, 2017 Banorte ATM

Bannorte ATM is located just northwest of the town square.

January 29th, 2017 Doce Cuarenta - 1240 Cafe

This place stocks all of the free Baja tourist maps (about half a dozen covering the main attractions from Bahia de Conception to Los Cabos)

Wifi password is
[passwords are not allowed unless explicitly permitted by the owner]
... but it was relatively slow and kept dropping out on me.

January 26th, 2017 Punta Arenas de la Ventana

Public beach parking lot near the shuttered hotel. When you get to the guard shack, tell him your going to the playa publica and he'll let you through. The guards are here to make sure you don't enter the hotel. (Apparently they've had trouble with squatters, though they don't seem to have a problem with short term parking lot camping.) No services, but I do see some porta-potties on the other side of the fence. The snorkeling here gets rave reviews, but with the current high surf conditions visibility is too poor for me to independently verify that claim. Awesome rock formations down by the ocean, and small tide pools where you can collect sea salt. One other camper here tonight, and they're running a generator. 😔

January 21st, 2017 Rancho Ecologico Sol de Mayo

Great campsites overlooking the valley, $150 (pesos) per person per night.

January 20th, 2017 Military Checkpoint

It may have been a temporary checkpoint, but the Army was out checking cars in both directions between the airport and the next town north. I got waved through without question when the guard saw the Spanish/English dictionary in my hand.

January 19th, 2017 Mercado municipal

Don't miss the Thursday night art walks, 5-9 PM in the peak season. Gallery tours with free tequila, handicrafts and street food vendors.


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