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A few camping options still available for Fourth
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Staff reporter of the
Manteca (Calif.) Bulletin
If you haven’t already made reservations for the Fourth of July weekend inside of Yosemite National Park, it’s safe to say that you missed the bus.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the world-class sights that one of America’s premier national parks has to offer.

With the recent string of warm weather days melting the snow pack of the upper Sierra, tourism at Yosemite – with its raging waterfalls – is nearing its peak season and drawing in more tourists than at any other time in the park’s season.

But there are still a handful of first-come, first-served campsites available for those who get there early enough to stake their claim – including those that cater to recreational vehicles.

Camping without a reservation is allowed as several places throughout the park, including Bridalveil Creek and Tuolumne Meadows (both which allow RVs up to 35 feet) as well as Yosemite Creek (RVs not recommended) and Porcupine Flat (limited space for smaller RVs.)

Admission to the park is $20 per carload, with the exception of those with special passes and placards, on top of the nightly camping fee.

And much like the reserved campsites, those hoping to scale the cables that lead to the top of Half Dome – one of the park’s most recognizable attractions – are out of luck.

A string of accidents last year led the National Park Service to institute a permit-only system that takes, at the minimum, a week to clear.

California’s most famous national park, however, isn’t the only show in town when it comes to camping on Fourth of July weekend.

Just outside of Oakdale, campers and boaters can take advantage of the waters of Woodward Reservoir – which, like Yosemite, tends to book reservations for their key areas far in advance of the upcoming holiday.

But even if there aren’t any available campsites, Woodward does offer unincorporated camping at a discounted rate – still allowing access to the water and everything fun that goes with it.

For those who don’t want to take a chance at driving two hours, or heading out to Oakdale for something they’re not looking for, there’s always Caswell State Memorial Park at the end of Austin Road in Ripon that offers overnight camping for RVs, tents, and unbridled access to the Stanislaus River.

Caswell also accepts online registrations, but the distance from town makes it a safer bet if you aren’t sure about whether you’re going to find a campsite.

For more information about Caswell, visit