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Procrastinators have options for Memorial Day weekend

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POSTED May 25, 2013 2:18 a.m.

It’s one of the biggest travel holidays of the year.

And with beautiful weather expected throughout the weekend, getting away to the mountains or the lake for a few days will surely be something that people will be taking advantage of for Memorial Day – throwing the barbecue in the truck with a sleeping bag taking a tent and enjoying what Mother Nature has in store for Northern California residents.

But it’s already Saturday, and you didn’t make any reservations thinking that it would either be too hot or too rainy to truly bask in the glow of the outdoors. Is it too late?

In a word, no.

Everything hinges on the likelihood that you’ll be able to snag either a first-come, first-served campsite at one of several local spots or be able to rough it in an undeveloped campsite that actually offers better recreational opportunities.

Here are a few places to check out last minute:

• 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

• New Hogan Reservoir – A variety of trails and outdoor recreation opportunities surround New Hogan Reservoir – where half-a-dozen campgrounds 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

• 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 Northwest of Oakdale, the lake is accessible by 26-mile Road off of Highway 120. Additional information can be found at

• 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 are often booked months in advance as people travel from throughout the world to witness millions of years of nature’s majesty. But it can’t hurt to check and see if there’s an opening. The worst that they’ll tell you is no. More information can be found by visiting

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