All About Thousand Trails In California: 25 RV parks

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All 25 campgrounds thousand trails california collage

California is one of the best states for Thousand Trails RV resort locations. The fact that California has such a variety in elevation and latitude provides an opportunity for finding just the right climate for your RV travels year-round. With so many being interested in keeping their RVing stays affordable, now is the time to get up to speed on all of the campgrounds by Thousand Trails in California.

For the last ten years, our Thousand Trails membership has been our most valuable tool for saving money on RV parks. We write about them extensively on our website. Here is a link to our main page, all about Thousand Trails

In this post, we will be highlighting all of the Thousand Trails locations in California. We organize them first by the type of membership needed to access them. Then secondly, the region of California where the RV resort is located, Northern or Southern. We have personally visited most of the resorts mentioned.

But before we take you on a tour of all of the Thousand Trails parks in California, here’s a quick overview of Thousand Trails itself and which camping memberships give you access to all of their California properties

Nationwide TT campgrounds map

Overview of Access to Thousand Trails Membership Parks

The public can access many Thousand Trails resorts in California at a retail nightly rate between $35 and $100. If you have a basic Zone Camping Pass or upgraded Thousand Trails Membership, you can stay for NO nightly fee in the Thousand Trails RV parks. Currently, 16 of their RV parks in California can be accessed with a zone pass or upgraded membership. Depending on your membership type, you could spend most of your RV travel days bouncing between these 16 parks.

But, if you add the Trails Collection upgrade to your Thousand Trails membership, you will have access to nine additional membership RV parks in California (110 nationwide). Most of these additional RV parks also allow you to stay with NO nightly fee. A handful of RV resorts require a $20 per night fee. But some of those $20/night fee resorts normally charge the public over $100/night. 

With the right membership, you could spend the entire year in Thousand Trails campgrounds in California for no nightly fee. Yes, you heard that right. Zero nightly fees for the whole year, and in 190+ RV parks nationwide. That is amazing affordability if you are planning to spend significant time in your RV. Check out our comprehensive review of Thousand Trails after over ten years and 1,000 nights in the system here.

The above information is a very high-level explanation of the membership benefits. To learn more about the various membership levels, pricing, and value, click here.

UPDATE MAY 1, 2024: Thousand Trails is celebrating their 55th Anniversary, so complete the form below, or read on, to get their special discount. 

New TT Memberships (Pat and Joanna)

YES, Please send me info on Thousand Trails memberships and the 55th Anniversary Special Offers



Now that you have that basic information about Thousand Trails memberships let’s dive into information about the types of RV parks and resorts in California.

types of TT campgrounds and quantity plus map of California

Types of Thousand Trails Campgrounds in California

There are three types of Thousand Trails RV resorts in California. First, there are the regular Thousand Trails RV Parks. These RV parks and campgrounds are available at all membership levels. There are 16 regular Thousand Trails California campgrounds and 80 nationwide. Some of the RV parks in northern states or high elevations are only open seasonally. 

Second, there are the Thousand Trails Encore resorts. These are only available to people who have the Trails Collection Upgrade. There are only two of these Encore resorts in California and 110 nationwide. Unlike Arizona and Florida, which have many age-restricted RV parks, none of the Thousand Trails California RV resorts have an age restriction.

Lastly, there are the ‘Destination’ campgrounds. There are seven of these in California and dozens nationwide. Thousand Trails manage the Destination campgrounds but are not currently included with your Thousand Trails membership. But, like the Encore RV resorts mentioned above, you can stay in these parks with a Trails Collection Upgrade.

Our RV site at Marina Dunes RV Resort near Monterey California

Additional notes and considerations about the mini-reviews below

As mentioned above, the RV resorts below are first split by the type of membership needed to access them. Secondly organized by the northern or southern California region. Third, the resorts are arranged alphabetically within the region. Elevation is an important factor in California RV parks because it varies so much and impacts when to visit them.

It was not important to add elevation when creating our post about all the Thousand Trails Florida parks since everything in Florida is low elevation and very far south. 

Also, since we have been to most of these Thousand Trails RV resorts in California and have read multiple reviews for others, this blog post will provide you with information to balance with the promotional marketing information you might find on their websites.

For example, their website might have you envision a tranquil ranch setting among the trees. But the reality is that it is adjacent to a major highway or railroad tracks. There might be trees, but not exactly tranquil. Or when they say it is a short drive to an attraction, but you check google maps and see it is over two hours away. It depends on your definition of short, I guess.

Ok. Let’s dive into all of the Thousand Trails locations in California.

All California Thousand Trails RV Resorts Accessible With A Standard Membership

First, we will give highlights of all 16 California Thousand Trails RV resorts that can be accessed with a basic membership. Separated into northern and southern California. All of these RV resorts can be accessed for no nightly fee with a Thousand Trails membership.

thousand trails northern califonia text with wooded river background
map of all northern California Thousand Trails campgrounds

Northern California Thousand Trails

Thousand Trails has nine RV parks accessible with a standard membership in northern California. There are also five Destination Campgrounds accessible with a Trails Collection membership that will be detailed further below.

Lake Minden daytime smooth lake reflection

Photo credit: Thousand Trails

sunset over the lake at lake minden rv resort

Lake Minden in Nicolaus, CA

We have stayed here more than once and enjoyed our stays. Open year-round, but their primary season is April – October. This RV park is located 20 miles north of Sacramento. Lake Minden has 212 sites split up into two main sections on either side of their 41-acre lake for fishing, swimming, and occasionally remote control boat racing. This RV park also has areas for dry camping and RV storage.

For those who don’t have an RV, there are 13 cabins and cottages available to rent. The surrounding area is predominantly rural agricultural property. With its extremely low elevation of only 26 feet, it stays warm here year-round. It does get very hot here in the summer, and many sites only have 30 amp power. So if you have a 50amp RV, you might want to avoid the hottest months.

Lake Minden also has facilities for large group gatherings.

Lake of Springs rv site with greenery
lake of springs kayaks on the lake

Photo credit: Thousand Trails

Lake of the Springs in Oregon House CA

Lake of the Springs rests at an elevation of 1,526 feet in the foothills of the Sierra Mountains. It is about 2.5 hours west of Lake Tahoe and 75 minutes north of Sacramento. You will find great scenery and wildlife in these mountainous, forested surroundings.

Situated next to a large 120-acre private lake on a 950-acre property. Paddle boats and kayaks, and even motorized patio boats, are available to rent. Fishing and swimming are very popular here too. They have a dock and beach area and even a separate dog-friendly beach.

The cute little historic mining town of Nevada City, with shops and cafes, is less than an hour away. This California Thousand Trails RV resort has 556 RV sites, a few cabins, and a couple of yurts to rent if you don’t have an RV.

Their many amenities include a pool, tennis courts, hiking trails, a restaurant, and more. Campsites are spread out into many separate sections, making it feel smaller and more private than having all sites in one area. Snowflower RV resort, mentioned further below, is about an hour and a half away on the way to Tahoe

Morgan hill headquarters office
Morgan hill pool area

Photo credit: Thousand Trails

Morgan Hill in Morgan Hill CA

We first stayed here back in 2014. Morgan Hill is located about 30 minutes southeast of San Jose, California, at 350 feet elevation. There is a winery just outside of the RV resort and 20 others in the area. The 45,000 population town of Morgan Hill is less than 15 minutes away from the campground for all your needs.

Interestingly, this area is one of the top 500 most expensive places to live in the US. So, being able to stay here for no nightly fee with our Thousand Trails membership is a nice bonus. The RV park isn’t super fancy or high-end but provides nice proximity to all the area offers. An Olympic-sized pool is popular in the hot summer months. This 66-acre campground with 320 sites is open year-round.

If you love Garlic, make sure to plan your trip around the Gilroy Garlic Festival in nearby Gilroy. The pacific ocean is only about 15 miles west. But driving there will take about an hour and a half because there is no direct route. Santa Cruz is one of the closest beach areas. If you are looking for coastal RV resorts in this area and you have the Trails Collection upgrade, definitely check out Marina Dunes RV Resort mentioned further below.

thousand trails ponderosa rv park in california rafters on american river

Ponderosa in Lotus, CA

We stayed here in our first month of full-time RV life, and really liked the RV park and surrounding area. Located in the foothills of the Sierras. The campground runs along the south fork of the American river which is popular with whitewater river rafters and kayakers. In fact, it is one of the most popular whitewater rivers in the United States. Open year-round, thanks to its relatively low 750-foot elevation.

The primary amenity is the river access but it also has a pool, sports courts, and clubhouse. This California Thousand Trails RV resort has 146 sites. Most RV sites are water electric only. Very few RV sites have sewer hookups. There are about a dozen rental cabins/getaways, and a dozen tent-only sites. The local area includes wineries, casinos, skiing, and golf. Fun fact, Marc’s dad used to be a bartender at the nearby Coloma Club many years ago.

Read other reviews of this campground at Campground Reviews (7.5 stars)

sign at russian river rv resort a thousand trails rv park in california wine country

Russian River in Cloverdale, CA

We stayed here early in our full-time travels and had a really nice time. Located at about 350 feet elevation, less than ten minutes to the nearby town of Cloverdale with many restaurants. It is right off Highway 101, so it is easy to access. And it is only a 35-minute drive to Santa Rosa, CA, or less than two hours to San Fransisco.

There are many wineries in Sonoma County. Russian River RV Park encompasses 44 acres, with 125 RV sites. None of the RV sites have 50amp power and there are no sites with sewer connections. All sites have 30 amp power and a central dump station for wastewater.

If you don’t have an RV, there are nine cottages for rent. The Russian River is adjacent to the property for fishing, swimming, rafting, and kayaking. RV sites are spread out into multiple sections. It is an older and more basic campground, light on amenities.

Being older and on a rolling terrain, it is also not a very big-rig-friendly RV park. About 25% of the sites are 45 feet deep. But maneuvering a large RV in this RV park can be a little tricky. We had fun dressing up and going out for Halloween here on our first time through the area. Check out this fun blog post and related video here.

Read other reviews at Campground Reviews 6.1 stars

San benito rvs in sites with scenery

Photo credit: Thousand Trails

San Benito in Paicines, CA

Pretty funny. The Thousand Trails website says that this is a Monterey Bay RV campground and is only 14 miles from Hollister. With its grocery stores, restaurants, and shopping, Hollister is the nearest town, but it is 20 miles and 40 minutes away.

The beautiful Monterey Bay that runs from Santa Cruz to Monterey is a great area. But they are 1.5 hours away. So, calling San Benito a Monterey Bay resort is a bit of a stretch. If you have a Trails Collection membership and want to be close to Monterey, stay at Marina Dunes RV resort or Santa Cruz Ranch resort listed below.

If you enjoy off-roading, check out the Hollister Hills state vehicular recreation area just 10 miles away. San Benito is located at 682 feet in elevation and is a rural getaway in the foothills. It is a large campground with nearly 600 RV sites. Another thing to be aware of is that this general area has a lot of tarantula spiders in the fall. It is a draw for some people and a deterrent for others.

We have not been to this campground yet. But from the pictures we have seen, it looks like it has lots of big trees and relatively level RV sites. No RV? There are 18 cottages and cabins and dozens of tenting sites. Amenities include two pools, sports courts, a clubhouse, a country store, and RV storage.

snowflower rv resort rvs with trees
Snowflower rv resort waterside rvs

Photo credit: Thousand Trails

Snowflower in Emigrant Gap, CA

Located about an hour west of the north side of beautiful Lake Tahoe. Snowflower is also only about one hour drive from Reno, Nevada, since it is easily accessible from I-80. Open from early May to late October. Closed for the winter season because of its relatively high 5,200 feet of elevation in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains.

There are 208 RV sites and a handful of other rental accommodations nestled among the pine trees of this very pretty RV resort. Nearby trails for hiking, biking, or even ATVs. Lakeside RV sites on the small Snowflower Lake allow swimming, kayaking, and fishing.

This California Thousand Trails resort also includes a clubhouse, pool, and other amenities. Like Lake of the Springs, it is about an hour’s drive to the little historic mining town of Nevada City. Despite being in the mountains, it has good cell coverage from almost every carrier.

Read other reviews at Campground Reviews (rated 6.8 stars)

Turtle beach RV park rv in site

Photo credit: Thousand Trails

Turtle Beach in Manteca, CA

This is a small 72-site RV campground located along the San Joaquin River. So it is popular for fishing and boating. We haven’t been here, but looking at a map it is virtually surrounded by lakes and rivers. It is a simple campground with few amenities, easily accessed from I-5. Being that close to a major interstate, we would expect there would be some road noise, but we didn’t see others complain about that. Manteca, California, has a very low 36-foot elevation. So it is likely warm here year-round. Manteca is a large 86,000 population town.

This campground is located right where the suburban areas transition to rural agricultural land. So it is easy to access anything you want or need from a town with over 80,000 people, like stores and restaurants. But it is still a relatively tranquil property virtually surrounded by water. Turtle Beach is 70 miles south of Sacramento and 80 miles east of San Fransisco.

Read other reviews at Campground Reviews (rated 7.7 stars)

yosemite lakes thousand trails california rv resort rvs in sites along river

Yosemite Lakes in Groveland, CA

We had a wonderful time exploring Yosemite National Park using this campground as our base. Open year-round despite the rural and elevated location at 3,100 feet of elevation. The small 500-population town of Groveland is 25 minutes away. But the gas station just outside the campground can provide some basics so you don’t need to drive too far. 

This RV park is only six miles from one of the entrances to Yosemite National Park. There was virtually no cell coverage or campground WIFI when we were there, whether in the campground or the National Park. But recent reviews state that there is good ATT coverage now. And some RV sites with the open sky are good for Starlink if you have that.

Be careful with route planning to this campground. There are many steep grades and narrow mountain roads. So do your research on RV Trip Wizard and other trip-planning tools. We drove our towed vehicle separately to put less strain on our motorhome. Note, There are two California Thousand Trails resorts with the name Yosemite. Make sure you have the right one. They are not close to each other. This one is west of the National Park. The other is south of it. Once you reach the entrance, it will still be a long drive into the Yosemite valley lodge and loop trail from either Thousand Trails RV park.

This large 490-site campground is on 400 acres of forested land. The south fork of the Tuolumne River runs through the preserve, making it appealing for swimming, fishing, and gold panning. If you don’t have an RV, there are about 130 tent sites and a huge variety of about 50 yurt and cabin rentals.

thousand trails southern califonia text with palm tree rvs background
map of all southern California Thousand Trails campgrounds

Southern California Thousand Trails RV Parks Accessible with Standard Memberships

Ok. Now let’s look at which Thousand Trails RV Resorts in southern California can be accessed for no nightly fee with a standard membership. There are seven resorts accessible with a standard membership. Trails Collection members will access four additional RV resorts. We share descriptions of the Trails Collection resorts further below.

Idyllwild campsite with an Airstream
Idyllwild snowy rental cabin

Photo credit: Thousand Trails

Idyllwild in Pine Cove, CA

Though it is located in southern California near Palm Springs, this is a high 5,400-foot altitude/elevation. So this RV park should not be considered an appropriate winter location unless you are wanting to do snow-shoeing or other winter sports. Pine Cove is a small 3,000 population town. The nearest large cities are Hemet, 45 minutes away, and Palm Springs, 1.5 hours away. Interestingly, Palm Springs is only about ten miles away if you could fly. But it is a 5,000-foot change in elevation and 50 miles by car.

Idyllwild is a mountainous RV park with steep grades to get here. So do your route planning to ensure you are comfortable with it. RV sites are spread out and forested. So they feel relatively private. But most RV sites are not very level, so plan on bringing leveling blocks. We would not recommend this RV park for big rigs.

Hiking or snowshoeing are popular activities, depending on the season. The pool opens in the summer. Idyllwild has 252 sites, including tent sites and cabin rentals. Located near Mt San Jacinto State Park, which you can also access quickly via a tram from Palm Springs.

If you are wanting to visit the Palm Springs area, there are two other great options mentioned further below. Where we spend most of our time in this area. They are in the Palm Desert and Cathedral City areas of Palm Springs.

Oakzanita springs cabin
oakzanita springs rv in sites

Photo credit: Thousand Trails

Oakzanita Springs in Descanso, CA

We really enjoyed staying here and liked the location. It is elevated in the foothills/mountains, forested, yet still easy access to the large metro area of San Diego. Oakzanita Springs has 118 RV sites, all with water and electricity. About half have sewer.

If you don’t have an RV, they have five cabins and about a dozen tent sites. Rolling hills, sharp turns, and relatively short sites. So this is not a big-rig-friendly RV park. They recommend no RVs over 32’ in length, but we have seen larger RVs there. Note there is also a very sharp turn to enter if northbound on Hwy 79. Consider driving two miles past, turning around at the rest area for easier entry.

This California Thousand Trails RV park is located at 4,000 feet elevation but is open year-round, thanks partly to being located so far south. The pool and other amenities are unavailable in the fall and winter months. It is a pretty remote location in the foothills/mountains 45 miles east of San Diego. But it still has cell coverage from Sprint and Verizon.

Amenities include a lodge, sports courts, and hiking and biking trails. Fishing at nearby Cuyamaca Lake, 15 minutes away. The cute little town of Julian, 30 minutes further up the canyon, is especially great during apple harvest season. We really liked the Julian Pie Company pies.

our rv site at thousand trails palm springs california

Palm Springs in Palm Desert, CA

We have stayed at this campground more than any other in the thousand trails system over the years, and as recently as February 2023. You can check out everywhere we stayed in our recent California RV Trip Recap and Comparison post. We really love the Palm Springs area. With an elevation of only 200 feet and so far south means, it is a fantastic winter climate. Which also means it is a very hot summer climate. 

Many RV resorts in the area, this one included, close for the summer. This resort is open from mid-Sept until mid-May. As much as we have loved visiting this rv resort, please know that it rarely looks as green and lush as pictured in the photos shown on the Thousand Trails website.

The palm trees are great. But most of the resort is very sandy, especially after any windy weather. There are 400 RV sites and 20 cabins. All RV sites have full hookups. A bit over half have 50amp power, and the rest have 30amp. Read our very detailed review of this RV resort and the surrounding area here.

Pio Pico rv park cabin and rvs in sites
Pio Pico view of rv park from hillside

Photo credit: Thousand Trails

Pio Pico in Jamul, CA

Located just 30 minutes from San Diego and 20 minutes north of the Mexico border at 1,000 feet elevation. Thousand Trails Pio Pico is open year-round. They have 532 RV sites split up on two sides of the road. Very few RV sites have 50amp power. So it might be tough to keep a 50amp RV cool in peak summer months.

The north side RV sites have water and electricity but do not have sewer connections. Sites on the south side of Pio Pico mostly have full hookups, but many are seasonal sites not available to short-term guests.

If you don’t have an RV, there are 20 cabins and 15 tent sites. Amenities include two large pool areas, a store, sports courts, and hiking and biking trails. This area has very limited cellular coverage, and the campground’s paid wifi is intermittent. 

Check out other reviews of this California Thousand Trails RV resort at Campground Reviews with this link.  (6.4 star)

Rancho Oso in Santa Barbara, CA

Rancho oso rv resort western theme rentals
rancho oso rv resort cabin and rvs with view

Photo credit: Thousand Trails

We stayed here years ago and loved the resort. But we could not stay past the weekend because of the lack of cellular connectivity, which is still a problem now. So it is great to get away from it all, but not good if you need to stay connected. Rancho Oso encompasses 310 acres, with 190 RV sites, most of which are full hookups.

We couldn’t find accurate data but estimated the elevation to be around 500 feet. This property has multiple horse stables and a terraced campground with great views across the valley. It is a pretty remote location in the foothills northeast of the coastal city of Santa Barbara, about 30 minutes away.

There are some steep grades and a very narrow road into the campground. So it is difficult to access with big rigs. The interesting Danish architecture and wineries of Solvang, CA, are also only 30 minutes away. Lots to see and do within an hour’s drive. Literally 1,000 miles of trails in the surrounding area. Rancho Oso has a cool western theme and feel. There are nearly 40 old-west-themed buildings, cabins, and covered wagon replicas to stay in. Horseback riding is very popular here. Other amenities include a pool and sports courts.

This campground was evacuated and closed during major storms and flooding in early 2023. It is currently scheduled to be closed until June 2024. Check with Thousand Trails regarding availability before making your travel plans to this RV resort.

Check out Campground Reviews for other opinions of this 7.9-star-rated park.

Soledad Canyon RV park nice landscaping

Photo credit: Thousand Trails

Soledad Canyon in Acton, CA

Soledad Canyon is a very large campground with 850 sites. Located at 2,700 feet in elevation, 50 miles north of LA in the high desert foothills. The nearby residential town of Acton has a population of 7,000, providing some services and restaurants. Despite its rural campground location, it is only about an hour away from major theme parks in the Los Angeles area. Large pool at campground, and sports courts. When we visited it was during a multi-year drought. So, the Santa Clara River that runs through the RV park was dry.

The RV park was very run down, and many electrical posts were broken or not providing good power when we stayed here years ago. It was one of our least favorite Thousand Trails RV parks. With all the rains in 2023, it might not feel so desolate. There is also a loud train line adjacent to the park. 

More recent reviews on Campground Reviews state that many of our concerns years ago are still concerns today. So, set expectations low if choosing to stay here. Rated 5.2 star

Wilderness lakes rv resort ducks near a pond

Photo credit: Thousand Trails

Wilderness Lakes Menifee, CA

We enjoyed our stay here. This California Thousand Trails RV resort is on the edge of where city residential becomes rural. So it feels like it is out of town, even though it is easy to access all of the benefits of a larger 100,000 population town, like restaurants, shopping, parks, and entertainment. The cool town of Temecula is 30 minutes away. Southern California beaches are a bit over an hour away. Palm Springs is also about an hour away.

Wilderness Lakes encompasses 80 acres with 523 sites at around 1,400 feet elevation. All RV sites have full hookups. Most sites are 30 amp, but some are 50 amp. If you don’t have an RV, there are almost 30 rental cabins and trailers. Fishing is available on-site with a California fishing permit. Other amenities include two pools and sports courts. If you love golfing, there are five golf courses within 10 miles.

paverstone rv site with privacy fence

Encore and Destination campgrounds in California – Accessed with Trails Collection

As discussed at the beginning of this article, some Thousand Trails RV resorts in California can only be accessed for no nightly fee if you have the special Trails Collection membership upgrade. The following nine RV resorts in California are among the 110 Trails Collection properties nationwide. Most of these 110 resorts are available at no nightly fee. But some of the California Trails Collection RV resorts have an additional $20 fee. Those resorts often have $100 nightly rates for the public.

Encore Trails Collection northern califonia text with dunes background

Northern California Thousand Trails, Trails Collection Locations

Like the standard Thousand Trails resorts, we will start with Trails Collection resorts in northern California, then finish with southern California.

aerial view of marina dunes rv resort

Marina Dunes RV Resort in Marina, CA

Marina Dunes RV Resort is one of our favorite RV resorts in the entire Thousand Trails network of campgrounds, not just in California. We stayed here in February 2023. You can check out everywhere we stayed in our recent California RV Trip Recap and Comparison post.

This smaller, 96-site boutique-style RV resort is in a fantastic location. It is just off Hwy 1 and across the street from some beachfront dunes and a pet-friendly beach. Monterey and Carmel by the Sea are two of our favorite coastal cities in California and are only minutes away from this Monterey Bay RV resort.

Top golfing resorts, wineries, Big Sur, Santa Cruz, and many other attractions are less than 35 miles away too. There are impressive coastal drives, great restaurants and shopping, and tranquil beaches. If you don’t have an RV, they have two cottages and a few glamping tents or yurts available.

This excellent RV resort requires an additional $20 per night fee. Totally worth the extra payment. Read our detailed review here.

san fransisco rv resort our rv

San Francisco RV Resort in Pacifica, CA

We enjoyed staying here despite its shortcomings because of the great location. Located right on the cliff edge of the coast. This RV resort is only about 16 miles from some of the most popular attractions in the San Francisco area. The Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, Half Moon Bay, and Alcatraz. The 150 RV sites are almost the tightest we have ever experienced. There is a slight downward slope throughout the RV park, so you will likely need leveling blocks.

The area has consistently cool temperatures all year, with highs year-round in the low-50s to low-70s, rarely seeing low temperatures below 40. This RV resort is entirely paved, so it feels like a parking lot. But at least it is right on the coast for great sunset views. It is also right off of a highway, so you may have a lot of road noise if you are closer to the highway side of the RV park. If you are parked on the ocean side, the waves drown out the road noise. The RV park has shrunk over the years as some of the sites have fallen into the ocean as the coast erodes.

This resort also requires an additional $20 per night fee. Read the more detailed review of our stay here.

Santa Cruz ranch rv park with airstream in site

Photo credit: Thousand Trails

Santa Cruz Ranch Campground in Scotts Valley, CA

This Thousand Trails RV park is located only six miles north of downtown Santa Cruz and 30 miles south of San Jose, right off Highway 17. Highway 17 is the primary road between those two cities. So expect some road noise here. Mostly commercial properties surround the RV park, but there are some residential properties. With the name ‘ranch,’ I would have envisioned a more rural setting.

The elevation is about 500 feet since it is so close to the coast. Only 30 amp power is available, and the RV spaces are tight. There are 117 RV sites open year-round. The sites are tight spaces and only offer 30amp electricity. Most of the sites are back-ins.

The pull-through sites are mostly arranged so that RVs pull in right next to each other, facing opposite directions. Likely sharing the same utility connections. If you don’t have an RV, there are eight tent sites but no other rentals. It is a simple, small RV park with a pool and spa. But reviews of the resort on Campground Reviews are mostly favorable (6.3 stars). It has good access to nice areas.

Tahoe Valley Campground in South Lake Tahoe, CA

Tahoe Valley is the very first Thousand Trails campground we ever stayed in. We stayed here in our first week of full-time RV travel way back in 2014. But we also stayed here in October 2023 and really enjoyed both stays.

It’s located at an elevation of 6,200’ feet in the Sierra Nevada mountains. South Lake Tahoe has a population of about 21,000. So it is a substantial-sized town with almost anything you could want or need. The other two Thousand Trails RV resorts in the Sierra Mountains are in very small rural settings requiring you to drive a bit for supplies or entertainment outside of the campground.

South Lake Tahoe is also near the town of Stateline, Nevada, where there are casinos. Tahoe Valley Campground is open year-round despite its high elevation. Check out our other Lake Tahoe area blog posts, What we love about Tahoe, and fun facts, to learn more about the area.

This RV resort has 439 wooded mountain sites. Other amenities include hiking trails, a pool, and sports courts. About half of the RV sites have 30amp power, and the rest have 50/30amp. If you don’t have an RV there are ten cabins and cottages, and about 50 tent sites. Also, there are some large group sites if you have a big gathering. This campground is split up into four separate areas, which makes it feel more private and smaller than it actually is. It is a nice campground in an amazing area. We would love to go back.

Yosemite Rv resort Coursegold california cabin
Yosemite RV resort coursegold california rv in site

Photo credit: Thousand Trails

Yosemite RV Resort in Coarsegold, CA

It is a little confusing that this is listed on the Thousand Trails website for California, but then mentions Thousand Trails do not manage it, and that reservations must be made directly with the resort. Yosemite RV Resort is in a remote location in the valley foothills at an elevation of 2,200 feet, 40 minutes drive north of Fresno, California.

The town of Oakhurst, 10 miles away, has a grocery store and a few other services. Yosemite National Park’s south entrance is about 25 miles north on Hwy 41. But it would still be a long way from there to the main Yosemite Valley. Probably about 1 hr 40 minutes in total. This RV resort has 90 sites on 35 acres. About three dozen rental accommodations also include yurts, cabins, and cottages. And about four dozen tent sites.

Recent Campground Reviews state that there is cell coverage with T-mobile and Verizon despite the remote location. (6.7-star rating)

Encore Trails Collection southern califonia text with pacific dunes background

Southern California Thousand Trails, Trails Collection Locations

And finally, here are the additional southern California RV resorts accessible with a Trails Collection memberhip.

Oceanside RV park aerial view
Oceanside rv park spa patio with rvs in background

Photo credit: Thousand Trails

Oceanside RV Resort in Oceanside, CA

Oceanside is near the ever-popular city of San Diego, California. Legoland is only 15 minutes away. San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld are only 40 minutes, and Disneyland is about an hour away. Surrounding properties are a mix of residential and commercial. The RV park itself has paved roads and concrete sites. So it has a nice clean but perhaps sterile look from photos.

Oceanside is a big coastal city with over 150,000 population. So everything you could want or need for shopping and restaurants will be within a short distance. The beach is only a few blocks away, and google maps show a footpath easily accessible from the RV park.

Fun fact, Oceanside, California, was voted one of the most ideal climates in the world. So, visiting this area at any time of the year would be great. Amenities include a pool, bike rentals, and a recently remodeled welcome center. There are 140 RV sites. But sites are pretty tightly spaced, and with very little greenery or other visual distractions, the sites appear even closer together. There are a couple of glamping tents for rent if you don’t have an RV. 

It is fairly small and simple. Be warned that there are commuter train tracks adjacent to the RV park, which we are told have trains running every 30 minutes. Great location for accessibility to San Diego and southern Los Angeles. Especially for no nightly fee with a Trails Collection membership. But it definitely has its drawbacks too.

Read other reviews at Campground Reviews (5.2-star rating)

aerial view of full pacific dunes ranch campground

Pacific Dunes Ranch Campground in Oceano, CA

We stayed here in February 2023 and thought it was great. Unfortunately, the storms and flooding in January 2023 closed the horse stables next door and some of the RV resort amenities. But the location right on the coastal dunes was fantastic. Pismo beach is only a few minutes away, and the popular California city of San Luis Obispo is less than 30 minutes away.

Even though it feels remote, surrounded by dunes and agricultural areas, it is still less than 15 minutes away from many restaurants, shopping, and even some wineries. There are no busy roads or rail lines near this RV park, so it is very tranquil. What a great mix of accessibility and serenity.

The dunes adjacent to the RV park don’t allow dogs or vehicles. But dunes that do allow vehicles are very close by. There are 229 RV sites and two rental cabins. Most sites are pretty level, and the large pull-through sites are big enough for almost any RV. Internal roads are paved, and sites are gravel. This RV resort is one of the few that require an extra $20 per night fee with Trails Collection. We think it is worth the extra cost. Read our detailed review of this great Thousand Trails California location here.

class c rv and jeep in campsite at palm springs oasis

Our RVs in sites at Oasis from our last two stays. Above in February 2023, and below in December 2023.

Our RV site at Oasis RV Resort in Cathedral City, CA

Palm Springs Oasis in Cathedral City, CA

We stayed here in February and December of 2023 with different RVs. You can check out everywhere we stayed in our 2022/2023 season California RV Trip Recap and Comparison post. Palm Springs and the surrounding cities are one of our favorite places to visit in winter. We have spent a LOT of time in this area over the many years we have been RVing. Cathedral City, California, is only 300 feet above sea level but is surrounded by mountains.

There are great restaurants and shopping in the Palm Springs area. And virtually the entire valley seems like it is beautifully landscaped and filled with golf courses and other great outdoor activities. This area gets very hot in the summer. So we generally avoid this region from June – September in our RV travels.

Palm Springs Oasis is a relatively small RV park with 135 sites. Internal roads are paved, and the RV sites are concrete. They have two pools. It is in the downtown area so there is some road noise. But accessibility to all the valley has to offer is excellent.

Unlike the other Thousand Trails location in the Palm Springs California area, this RV park is open year-round. Read our detailed review here.

Pilot Knob RV sites daytime
Pilot knob rv park beauty sunset with fifth wheel

Photo credit: Thousand Trails

Pilot Knob in Winterhaven, CA (near Yuma AZ)

Easy to access right off of Interstate 8 in extreme southern California near the borders with Arizona and Mexico. The property is surrounded by open desert land. Nearby Los Algodones Mexico, also known as Molar City, is a very popular destination for medical tourism, especially dental. Read our most recent article about that here.

At only 140 feet in elevation and a very far south desert location, you can imagine it gets hot here. Which makes for a great winter destination. But if you can take the heat, this RV park is open year-round. Nearby Yuma Arizona with a nearly 100,000 population will have all the stores and restaurants you might want.

Pilot Knob has 23 acres with 269 RV sites. Some, but not all, have 50 amp power. There are very few amenities in this simple RV park, but it does have a pool, billiards room, and clubhouse. All internal roads are gravel or a natural surface. RV sites have a concrete patio. Cell coverage from most carriers is available here. A unique tourist attraction called Center of the World is right across the street from the RV park. Campground Reviews rates it at 7.0 stars

Our RV near the iconic Bixby bridge on the California Coast Hwy 1

Summary of Thousand Trails in California

So there you have it. A summary of all the Thousand Trails resorts in California. There are dozens available for your upcoming travel plans. Many offer rental cabins if you don’t have an RV. We have really enjoyed staying at so many of them. And you can’t beat the savings, with most of our stays having no nightly fee. If you don’t have a Thousand Trails membership already and would like to learn more about them, check out our extensive articles about them here.

Of course, this is just a taste, and keep in mind that the term “resort” is subjective. Thousand Trails calls many of its properties “RV Resorts.” But we wouldn’t necessarily agree when it comes to some of them. So do your homework and know what to expect in advance of your stay. The way we look at it is, it’s hard to beat for the price. Our Thousand Trails membership is what makes our RV life affordable. Especially as full time RVers, when we would spend 90-180 nights a year camping within the Thousand Trails network, for no nightly fee most of that time. 

Thousand Trails Reps Joanna and Pat in Miami

Joanna and Pat Parizo, our recommended Thousand Trails Membership Specialists

How To Buy A Thousand Trails Membership

If you don’t already have a Thousand Trails camping membership, and would like to learn more about the options available and prices, you have a few options.

Safe travels!

New TT Memberships (Pat and Joanna)

YES, Please send me info on Thousand Trails memberships and the 55th Anniversary Special Offers


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Picture of Author Bio: Marc Bennett

Author Bio: Marc Bennett

A Colorado native, Marc is an avid cyclist and hiker who has lived, worked, and traveled by RV to all 50 USA states, while working full-time. He is co-author, with his wife Julie, of two bestselling books: "RV Hacks: 400+ Ways to Make Life on the Road Easier, Safer, and More Fun!" and "Living the RV Life: Your Ultimate Guide to Life on the Road". In RV life, Marc takes care of all the dirty jobs – fixing things, washing dishes, and dumping the black tank.


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2 thoughts on “All About Thousand Trails In California: 25 RV parks”

  1. Loved South Lake Tahoe and Palm Springs Oasis! They both made TT Encore membership worthwhile. Wilderness Lakes in 2018 was awful! Run down and just not a comfortable place to stay.

    • Hey Steve! South Lake Tahoe was our first TT campground stay! It was a bonus park as part of our Zone Camping Pass (which we only had for 5 months before upgrading). We had a wonderful two weeks at Tahoe! So many special memories as it was our first real park stay at full time RVers! Palm Springs Oasis is nice in that it’s closer to downtown Palm Sprngs and not nearly as dusty/sandy as TT Palm Springs! Also Oasis seemed to fare much better than TTPS during a big wind storm! We only stayed at Wilderness Lakes once, in 2014 I believe. It was when the farm was nearby and so many flies! We liked the location to Temecula though. Apparently it’s changed and developed a lot over recent years, and from what we’ve hear it is much better! – J


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