Adventures in the Villa


February 2017

Campground Review – Crystal Cove State Park – El Moro Campground

Crystal Cove State Park features 3.2 miles of Pacific coastline and over 2,400 acres of open space, including wooded canyons, open bluffs, and off-shore waters designated as an underwater park. Visitors can enjoy the Historic District (1930s era cottages now restored and used as vacation rentals), the beach, the back country, and activities such as swimming, surfing, sunbathing, scuba and skin diving, fishing, mountain biking, hiking, and horseback riding.

The El Moro Campground consists of 58 campsites with picnic tables. 28 are designated as RV and trailer sites, and feature water and electricity (30 and 50 amp); there is a sewer dump station on-site; 30 sites are “dry” camping, for tents, vans and small trailers and RVs; maximum RV length in the RV sites is 38′, and 25′ in the dry sites. There are two restroom and shower buildings with pay showers. Restrooms and showers are well maintained.  The entrance to the campground is accessed by driving behind the El Morro School off Coast Highway.

The best features of this campground are the ocean views and the proximity to the beach, shops, and restaurants.  The park is located mid-way between Newport Beach and Laguna Beach, and it is directly adjacent (10 minute walk) to The Crystal Cove shopping center, which features Trader Joes, Starbucks, The Gap, many restaurants, and several other shops.  The beach is a 1/2 mile walk down a (steep) hill (you can drive and park if you like…) and there is a tunnel beneath Coast Highway to access the beach. There is also a snack bar (open only during the summer) and plenty of day use parking with picnic tables and shade ramadas. Two more restaurants are located in the Historic District, about 1 1/2 miles up the coast: the beach-front Beachcomber and the bluff top Shake Shack.

The campsites are large, and every one has an ocean view, due to the terraced hillside streets.  My recommendation for conventional trailers and RVs (with bedroom or bathroom at the rear) are site #13-21, 21 being on the end with unobstructed views from the ocean to the hills. These sites are angled so that the best views are seen adjacent to the side of the trailer or RV.  However, for trailers and RVs with rear living areas, site #2-12 and 22-30 are better. The the parking areas at these sites are situated such that the windows in your rear living room  has a full on view to the ocean.



Rules:  There are many!  No check-in before 3:00 pm.  No wood fires or charcoal BBQs. Propane fire pits and BBQs are OK.  No more than 2 cars allowed to park on the site, in addition to your RV.  Day use closes at sunset!  No day use cars parked at the RV sites.  Pro tip: If you have friends coming to visit for the day, and you have parking space at your site, tell them to get an overnight pass for your site. It costs the same as a day-use ticket ($15.00), but they can then park at your site and they can stay later than sunset…

Overall, this is a great campground for those who enjoy “urban camping”. Easy to get to, no worry if you forget something, plenty of things to do… No bugs, moderate temperatures (it does get cold after dark…), and plenty of ocean, where ever you go…

Reservations:  Reservations open at 8:00 am, on the 1st of the month, six months before you camp. RV and trailer sites fill up within seconds for summer s and holiday weekends; fall and spring weekends might be available for 2-3 minutes after 8:00 am.  It’s a competition!  Be prepared, log on early, and hit “reserve” exactly at 8:00 am!


Philip Terhorst








Crystal Cove 2/19/17

Another cold, overcast, and windy day – but no rain.  Once again, we walked on the beach, marveling at the changes wrought by the pounding seas over the past few days. But the beach is still beautiful, in all its changing forms…


Last night we again enjoyed a cozy dinner with friends inside their Airstream – Various hors d’oeuvres, salad, pot roast, dessert, plus several wines, topped off with limoncello… And an enjoyable time was had by all.

This has been our 2oth visit (give or take) to Crystal Cove State Park – El Moro Campground.  Twenty five years ago (give or take) it was all owned by The Irvine Company, who donated all this land to the State of California – over 3 miles of Pacific Coastline, plus over 2,400 acres of wooded canyons, open bluffs, and the Historic District, complete with cottages dating from the 1930, now restored and available as vacation rentals.

I’ll do a campground review later, but for now, suffice it to say that is one special place on the California coast that everyone should visit…



Crystal Cove, 2/16/17

Crystal Cove State Park, between Laguna Beach and Newport Beach, on the southern California Coast, is one of our favorite places for a quick weekend getaway. It’s about a 20 drive from our home in Irvine, all sites have full ocean views, and there are plenty of opportunities for walking and relaxing, with stores and restaurants nearby if we have a need for them.

Most of the time we walk on the beach for an hour or two in the morning, then read, work on jigsaw puzzles, watch an old movie, and just hang out. Every evening brings happy hours with friends who are camping with us.  We also take turns preparing dinner for the group, so all meals are very relaxing and fun times.  We have visits from other friends and family, and weather is usually beautiful – even though each year we camp four or five times between September and March.

This year is an exception. This past January we had rain and we had to have all happy hours and dinners inside our Airstream.  Yesterday when we arrived and set up, the weather was again beautiful. Happy hours and dinner was outside at the picnic table, and an enjoyable time was had by all.

Today rain showers started about 4:00 am and all morning it was cloudy, overcast, and very windy.  Heavy rain is expected at noon, with 1-3 inches of rain expected over the next 24 hours.

These pictures show the contract between yesterday and today…

With all this rain I should be able to add updates through the weekend… We hope you can stay dry, wherever you are…

Phil and Lynda

Who we are…

Lynda Terhorst:  High School English teacher for over 40 years, reader of romance novels, mother of 2, grandmother of 3. Watches house and food shows on TV (while she reads), loves jigsaw puzzles and college sports…

Philip Terhorst: Architect for over 40 years, primarily involved in large, high density multi-family housing projects, mostly in California, father of 2, grandfather of 3. Watches old movies on TV (while browsing the computer), loves bourbon and college football…

We’ve been married over 42 years. Currently we live in Irvine, California, but after we return from this trip we will explore other options…img_6515

About our rig…

We are traveling in our 2002 Airstream travel trailer. It is almost 35′ long, and it is a self-contained home on wheels. Our tow vehicle is a 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 3500, diesel, 4 wheel drive.  Our Airstream was nicknames, “The Villa” by other members of the Airstream Club, on our first campout with the group. Here are pictures…


We are making Plans…



We are Phil and Lynda Terhorst. We are retiring soon, and we will begin our first long trip in our Airstream, “The Villa”, in June, 2017. Our plans take us across the country, from Southern California to Rhode Island, visiting friends, historic sites, and examples of fine architecture along the way.

In July we will join an Airstream Caravan, arranged by the Airstream Club (WBCCI or WBAC), which will consist of 25 Airstreams traveling from Rhode Island to Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, for about 6 weeks.

In August we will begin our trip back to the OC. We will again make many stops along the way, traveling along the northern US and Canada, to Washington, then down the Pacific coast.

Join us in our adventure! Send me your email and I will keep you informed on Blog updates.

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