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Beat camping crowds this Easter weekend

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POSTED March 31, 2012 1:27 a.m.

The bright sunshine and balmy afternoon conditions are surefire signs that spring has sprung.

And what better way to take in the majesty that Mother Nature has to offer than to spend time in the great outdoors?

With the peak summer season still months away, most Northern California campgrounds – from Caswell to Lake Don Pedro to Yosemite National Park – are sitting vacant while temperatures extend into the 70’s and recreational opportunities abound.

The upcoming Easter weekend would be the perfect time to take advantage of the facilities that will soon be overrun with crowds.



Here are a few places worth visiting:

• Caswell State Memorial Park – This 258-acre gem tucked beneath massive oak trees along the Stanislaus River provides a getaway without actually having to spend the time and the money to make the trek up into the Sierra. Campgrounds with enough space for Recreational Vehicles provide for comfort, and riverfront spaces allow for taking in serene beauty. Advance reservations can be made at www.reserveamerica.com.

• New Hogan Reservoir – A variety of trails and outdoor recreation opportunities surround New Hogan Reservoir – where half-a-dozen campsites surround the serene lake and provide easy access to the refreshing water that’s popular with both watersport enthusiasts and fisherman alike. The lake, located in Valley Springs, can be accessed by heading east on Highway 26. To make advance reservations visit www.recreation.gov.

• Yosemite National Park – With the magnificent Yosemite Valley carved by glaciers over millions of years, the park draws millions of annual visitors to explore its massive granite formations. Attractions like El Capitan – the largest free-face granite monolith in the world – and Half Dome are as picturesque as they are mesmerizing, And with camping available on the valley floor, getting to view such magnificent natural wonders – including some of the world’s most famous waterfalls – doesn’t have to mean a day trip. Reservations can be made by visiting www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/camping.htm.

• Woodward Reservoir
– Open year-round, this campground and recreation area is the closest reservoir to Manteca and serves a vital role in providing agricultural irrigation water to local farmers. It also provides an opportunity for boaters and fisherman to enjoy the perks of a lake without having to travel to higher elevations. Campgrounds include the popular T-Island – which juts out into the lake – as well as undeveloped sites for those looking to rough it. Located in Oakdale, the lake is accessible by 26-mile road off of Highway 120. Additional information can be found at www.stancounty.com/ER/PARKS/reservoir.shtm.

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