Tourists who travel in RVs across America stay in KOA campgrounds, state parks and other lesser known campgrounds. One of the favorite destinations listed on numerous sites is the RV park at Dockweiler State Beach in Playa del Rey.
The California Best Beaches site calls it “one of the rare oceanside campgrounds in Los Angeles County. Although the sites are close together in parking lot fashion, their proximity to the ocean and the wide expanses of Dockweiler State Beach make them highly sought after sites.”
Dockweiler is a state beach, operated by L.A. County, but in L.A. The most difficult aspect of this campground is nabbing a reservation, which is required. Circling the News tried to book a spot, but the earliest space found was the beginning of October.
One family wrote on one of the many websites devoted to Dockweiler RVing: “You can book no sooner than 90 days before your arrival (and no later than 24 hours before your arrival). It is a VERY popular campground, especially in the summer, so book as early as possible!”
This is yet another location where Councilman Mike Bonin has suggested housing the homeless, taking away public space from children and families.
After the CAO report came out on August 10 keeping this site as a possibility, Traci Park, who is running for Councilman Mike Bonin’s seat in 2022, went to the Dockweiler RV park.
“I stopped to chat with several families – they were all from out of town, enjoying a late summer vacation with friends and family. They’ve been coming here for years and consider Dockweiler to be one of their favorite destinations,” Park told CTN.
The lot, located at 12001 Vista del Mar in Playa del Rey, near the Hyperion Waste Treatment Plant and Los Angeles International Airport, has a total of 118 RV spaces, plus 19 dry camper spots.
In 1987, the RV park underwent a $1 million renovation. Electrical and water hookups were installed, sewage disposal facilities built, new paving and lighting added — and the spaces were reduced from 139 to 118.
Stronghold Engineering was responsible for a $11.5 million project in 2019 that completely refurbished Dockweiler State Beach and the adjacent Recreational Vehicle Park at 12001 Vista Del Mar.
The scope of work included six new buildings; rebuilding of the main entrance, parking kiosk, and four parking lots; installation of a children’s play area; and new landscaping throughout to enhance the natural beauty of the shoreline.
Reconstruction was also performed on buildings used by the beach crew, including the garage, lifeguard headquarters and stations and maintenance facility equipment yard. Renovation of the RV Park converted all spaces to full hookups.
According to the Coastal Commission, the $11.5 million effort served to provide important public recreational improvements and support the need for low-cost access to the beach.
In 2019, L.A.County applied to the Coastal Commission to add 19 spaces for tent campers. The proposed nightly fee would be $45. Visitors with RVs pay $70 per night for hookups to water, sewage and electrical outlets.
A June 2019 Coastal Commission report, which approved the expansion, noted: “Dockweiler State Beach is one of the most visited State Beaches in California. Major transportation corridors or regional connections including the 105 Freeway/Imperial Highway, Culver Boulevard, Manchester Avenue, and the coastal route, Vista Del Mar, link inland areas directly to the State Beach. The beach contains restroom and concession facilities, playground areas, volleyball courts, fire rings, regional bicycle path, and RV campground facilities. The regional bike path, the Marvin Braude Bicycle Trail, connects Torrance Beach to the Pacific Palisades, crossing every coastal city/town in Santa Monica Bay. The proposed development will not affect the public’s ability to gain access to, and/or to make use of, the coast and nearby recreational facilities.
“One of the basic goals stated in the Coastal Act is to maximize public access and recreation along the coast. The Chapter 3 policies of the Coastal Act also require that recreational opportunities be provided, and that development shall not interfere with public access. To facilitate public access, Section 30213 provides that lower-cost visitor and recreational facilities shall be protected, encouraged, and where feasible, provided.”
Advice from previous campers included: 1) showers are free; no coins required, 2) planes at LAX stop coming and going at 11 p.m., 3) Some found the sound of the planes soothing, other said to bring earplugs and 4) keep valuables inside trailer or RV. (Visit: https://beaches.lacounty.gov/dockweiler-rv-park/)
(Editor’s note: While researching this article, I discovered the area between the airport and the beach used to be a thriving coastal community, Palisades Del Rey (aka Surfridge), which was at one time an “isolated playground for the wealthy.” According to a website (http://www.tresbohemes.com/2015/08/los-angeles-ghost-town/), “In the 1960s and 1970s, the area was condemned and acquired by the City of Los Angeles in a series of eminent domain purchases to facilitate airport expansion and to address concerns about noise from jet airplanes. Homes were sold, and some went to auction.” It is now the protected habitat for the endangered El Segundo blue butterfly. Old residential streets are still visible through the chain-link fencing.)