The combination of closed vacation destinations in Hawaii, Europe and elsewhere, as well as fully booked cabins and campsites in California, forces many vacationers to struggle to find answers to the question of where to go this summer. “We booked each of our cabins in mid-August, and this has never happened before,” said Harold Jones at the Sugarloaf Resort in Shasta Lake. “It’s like that everywhere. It’s urgent. People feel like they are running out of places to turn. This has led to a new travel situation this summer, which includes moonlight prices for some vacation rentals on Lake Tahoe and houseboats on Lake Shasta. As the peak holiday season arrives in “COVID summer,” as some call it, I have adopted eight rules to avoid grief and find opportunities. They range from what I call “The Egegik Behavior Testament” to adventures in the wilderness of northern California. If you follow them, planning your trip this season will be much easier. Impose the wearing of masks: Egegik, 109 inhabitants, is located southwest of King Salmon in the remote region of Alaska, roughly on the east shore of Bristol Bay. When the salmon arrive in summer, the population of Egegik reaches a few thousand rockets, a mixture of fishermen, canneries and support staff. My son Jeremy works there over the summer and runs a salmon boat. “When you show up, everyone is quarantined for two weeks,” he said. The city, which is isolated and without roads, has hired three full-time law enforcement officers – “Mask Police,” said Jeremy – to ensure that no one exposes COVID-19 to the community and does not spoils the economy of three months. It works. The city has no case. Call it Egegik’s Will. There is a lesson here: protect people and the outdoors through law enforcement – starting with a mask – and, in the process, you protect the economy. Go further: thousands of trips to Hawaii, Europe and across the country have been canceled, and everyone who has canceled trips has new vacations. I believe 95% of travelers tend to visit 5% of the available destinations. This is amplified this summer. To be very lucky to have a place to call yours, you need to venture far from the radar, either into a remote national forest, 4×4 and / or hike, and better yet, do it on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday . Look for cheap accommodation: because of canceled trips and compression, the prices for high-end vacation rentals are overpriced – both to the benefit of travelers and not. At Lake Tahoe, for example, A-frames that can accommodate four to six people can be hung for around $ 225 to $ 300 per night. A bungalow in Tahoma with five bedrooms and a terrace overlooking the lake, for example, was listed last week for $ 457 per night, or about $ 3,000 for a single week. These are flights compared to normal summer prices. But beware: other popular spots have experienced high inflation in accommodation costs. If you’re looking for a hotel, be sure to inquire about the new discounts and group rates. Get there early for walk-in campsites: In the parks and major campgrounds of the Forest Service, about 90% of campsites are available by reservation, and most are booked on weekends. The remaining 10% is first come, first served. It is best to go from Monday to Wednesday to hang a site. Another option heads to the most remote sections of Northern California to a national forest, where around 200 first-come, first-served campsites are available. During the weekend of July 4, even these filled up. For everyone, check out my book “Moon California Camping” or check out the Forest Service. • Information: US Forest Service, region 5, Consider a barge: a barge solves the problem of finding a campsite by the lake, because you literally create one every night. The No. 1 destination for barge excursions in Lake Shasta, with its size, private coves and warm, clean water. Other destinations include the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, Lake Trinity, Lake Berryessa and Oroville, as well as the Don Pedro, Bullards Bar and New Melones reservoirs. The catch? The price. In Jones Valley at Shasta Lake, for example, one of the most popular houseboat models, the Getaway, with a barbecue and hot tub upstairs, costs $ 4,790 for a three-night weekend up ‘in mid-August, $ 6000 for a week, plus gas. • Information: Look locally: the online outdoor guide to the Chronicle, which we call the Tracker, presents an interactive map that details more than 350 leisure destinations in the region. New items from the past week include boat rentals at Chabot Lake and Los Vaqueros marinas, the manual launch kayak site for Drakes Estero at Point Reyes; In addition, the salmon fishery has turned red off Pedro Point, near the south of Pacifica. The rule here: risk the unknown. Many return to familiar sites over and over again. Consider a motorhome: Yes, motorhome rentals are increasing this summer, as travelers are looking for ways to socially distance themselves during their vacation. For about the same price as rural accommodation, from $ 100 to $ 175 per night, you can rent a camper van. The question is, “Where do you end up for the night?” The answer is that many RV parks across northern California have sites available from Sunday evening to Wednesday evening, and after that it is best to book a reservation well in advance. This is the lesson. On weekends, they fill up and many newcomers to RV life can be left to pray for a flat spot in a national forest. • Information: Cruise America,; RV Share,; Outdoorsy, Wilderness favors the daring: those who are ready to penetrate deep into the national forests until the beginnings of wild paths, then put on a backpack and walk eight hours a day along the ridges , passes and pools can create hikes where you end each day in a beautiful campsite by the lake. It may be a vacation in paradise, but the lesson is clear: you have to earn it. A trek in the middle of nature requires time, physical fitness, the right equipment, camp skills and often a vehicle that can handle rough roads until the beginnings of the trails. For many, these requirements present a collective bottleneck. • Information: US Forest Service, region 5, Tom Stienstra is the outdoor author of the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @StienstraTom

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