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Some of my favorite places around San Diego (picture heavy!)
There was interest in the other thread in hearing some specific parking places as well as water access in San Diego, so I thought I'd share some of my experience. I'll be talking about the greater San Diego county, as that's what most locals refer to as San Diego, and most of the good stuff is on the outskirts!

Better than half the gas stations out here offer water for vehicle/radiator use and none of them have minded me filling my water tanks when I've asked. I usually only do this if I'm buying gas though. In my posts below I'll mention a couple open spigots I came across. Also, there's a dump station around Sea World too.

**Note that each of the below images contains a street address / GPS coordinates to the referenced location. Click to see the picture full size. **

Part 1 of 2

Coronado Dog Beach, Coronado.
The circled area is part of Sunset Park. You can't park there overnight but you can park on any of those residential street just around the corner, and show up in the circled area at 6 AM and have prime real estate all day. Note that Coronado is a high brow area with snooty old money so don't park in front of the same house twice or they'll probably call the cops.
+Right next to the beach.
+Dogs allowed on the beach.
+Fires allowed on the beach.
-The residential streets are not level (for sleeping).

[Image: fi6KkhY.jpg]

Tourmaline Surfing Park, Pacific Beach.
Purportedly a parking lot for surfers but there's always ample parking if you show up early and all types stay there.
+Stay right on the water.
+Some cool cliffs around.
+Plenty of beach to choose privacy / socializing.
+Public bathrooms. Completely open. They don't even close at night. Go in there at 1 AM and take a dump and shower if you want to (cold shower).
+There is a water spigot on the back of the bathroom building. The handle is removed, but seeing as all the shower etc water is used publicly I didn't feel bad about accessing this spigot with a key to fill my water tank. However I did so at night so as not to create a poor image.
-Signs say no parking between 2-4 AM, but this is a brief period and I've never seen it enforced.

[Image: I7MlnDn.jpg]

Ocean Blvd street parking, Pacific Beach
+Great view of both the ocean and the yoga babes activity at the park.
+Cool cliffs.
+Legal to park all hours.
+Walk to the beach.

[Image: LdUdc13.jpg]

Emerald St by Cheeba Hut, Pacific Beach
Trust me on this one. But probably only if you're in your youth; the reason to park here is to be downtown Pacific Beach, which is a college/party area. Bring alcohol and meet people on the street.
+At a couple blocks off the main downtown drag you don't have to fight for parking too hard.
+Walking to beach and all of downtown PB.
+Get parking early and stay there all day/night.
+Juxtaposed between a liquor store, fast food and a half dozen bars *cough*primeatlastcall*cough*
-Technically 2 hour parking business hours but never seen it enforced.
-If you're looking for a quiet night's sleep this isn't the spot.

[Image: UvmFWCf.jpg]

Sloane Canyon Road, El Cajon
This sprawling dirt road is out of the way from most everything and makes for a good getaway without going too far from the city.
+Awesome windy drive and hillside scenery.
+Totally secluded.
+Near a cemetery where you can access water spigots.
+Near a casino.
-Not walking distance to anything other than bushes.

[Image: znhykub.jpg]

Palomar Airpor Rd turnoff, Carlsbad
+Right by the water.
+Cool cliffs.
+Relax on the cliffs with a drink for the sunset, everyone drinks openly here.
-Right by a busy road.
- / + Lots of other vandwellers around.

[Image: ymWMSjo.jpg]

Imperial Beach
This address is for residential parking.
+Feet away from the beach.
+Legal to park here any time.
+Level parking spaces, not side street parking.
+Marsh / preserve on opposite side is scenic and filled with wildlife.
+Can see Mexico from here.

[Image: K5xS8si.jpg]

Mariner's Point, San Diego
+One of the easiest places to park in the immediate SD downtown area.
+Public bathrooms.
+Walking distance to Mission Beach.
+Fires allowed.
-Not allowed to park overnight, but seldom enforced.

[Image: oZTbwcP.jpg]

Downtown Oceanside
Two options circled here, the address and larger circle are for a seldom used parking lot, smaller circle is street parking.
+Walking distance to the beach (just out of frame).
+Lively downtown is scenic but not a party area.
+Street activities occur weekly (think fair food).
+Plenty of legal parking options.
+Public bathrooms at the beach within walking distance (but parking nearest to the beach is paid only).
+Cemetery nearby with access to water.
-If choosing street parking it is not level.

[Image: j3IXJPw.jpg]

Oceanside Harbor
+View of the water.
+Sea lions congregate here, walk up to them if you want.
+Legal street parking all hours and it's even pretty level.
+Cemetery nearby with access to water.
- / + Lots of other vandwellers.

[Image: vhsYMfd.jpg]

[Image: W2lacLw.jpg]
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Part 2 of 2

**Note that each of the below images contains a street address / GPS coordinates to the referenced location. Click to see the picture full size. **

Some random empty road, Oceanside
This was a drive-in theater which was abandoned, and became a swap meet. The road in question just happens to be vacant and no one cares about it.
+Great place to get away without leaving the city.
+No one cares what you do here.
+All sorts of wildlife, rabbits, big birds (heron?), coyotes at night.
+I think the decaying industrial stuff from the old drive in looks cool in the distance.
+Cemetery nearby with access to water.
- / + Not sure what it's like when the swap meet is taking place, I've never been there during.

[Image: hZidns4.jpg]

Lowe's Oceanside
Box stores are everywhere so I haven't bothered to mention them (e.g., I've stayed at Target in nearly every area of San Diego with no trouble) but I like this Lowe's enough to give it a mention.
+Good for when you just want to park somewhere but not necessarily be out and about.
+Right next to a grocery store.
+Strong wifi signal.
+There is an open water spigot (its location is the smaller circle).
+No one cares how long you park here even though you're technically not allowed (for sale vehicles and 40' RVs stay here for days).
-Nothing scenic around, it's just a place to live when needed.

[Image: WZSlqOV.jpg]

Overall image of San Diego and a rough color legend of these locations.

[Image: UOmn6lO.jpg]

There are plenty of other places to park - basically anywhere near water will have a park where you can stay during the day and most box stores you can get away with parking at night (but avoid Wal-Mart or any upscale mall, they hire mall cops to chase you out, the lesser known box stores are usually safe). The above are just some of my preferred places I've found in my stay around San Diego. It's a diverse city and you can choose scenery, action, privacy, upscale or low income areas just by moving a few miles and choosing your preferred atmosphere.
[Image: W2lacLw.jpg]
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Great post!!!
Love the format and detailed info.
Thanks Smile
Jay and Margie. 92 Dodge Maxi van. 300 watts Renogy solar, 2X 6volt deep cycle @ 230Ah.

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. ~Edward Abbey
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This is extremely valuable, thank you!

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Thanks! Great information!
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Thanks so much. I Evernoted this so I will have it when necessary. Awesome.
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A lot of good info here! I've been spending a few weeks in San Diego for each of the last 3 winters. But haven't explored the city like TMG51 has. Most of my time is spent in Ocean Beach, where I really love the ambiance and easy parking close to the beach. I spent some time in Poway and Imperial Beach also, and slept at the various casinos too.
Thanks for sharing details like this!

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I love a broad margin to my life- Henry David Thoreau
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Glad you guys find it useful, happy to help.
[Image: W2lacLw.jpg]
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The following 1 user says Thank You to TMG51 for this post:
dr_nelson (04-16-2017)
Cool. Thanks.
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