We've been going here for years and have noticed that the last few years they've become very strict. But this year was the icing on the cake. I beleive we must have been dealing with this Jerry person as well (the previous review) We were treated like we were 2. It was 10pm on a Saturday night and we were asked to use our inside voices. Are you kidding me. I could see if we were yelling and carrying on but we were honestly sitting around the camp fire talking. This guy should not work in customer service if he doesn't like people. This is a place where people go to relax and get away from lifes hustle bustle and then to have someone breathing down your neck harrasing you really ruins your entire vacation. I know it wasn't just are camp site as many people throughout the camp were irritated with this guy come Sunday morning. It is a beautiful place but unfortuntley they do not value their customers that have been coming for years. It's a shame that this new management is on such a power trip and so edgy. You can hear it in there voices that they are about ready to snap anytime you ask a question as noted in the last review.
Even though it had some sketchy reviews about having too many rules, and rude security, still we considered it since it was relatively close to the city and had a playground for our kids. We booked two sites in advance and paid for them over the phone. I was not sure which relatives would be able to come, so I asked them to put both sites under my last name. They said they could not do that because I was not staying in both sites. I thought that this was kind of strange and was about to cancel, but they then reluctantly agreed to put both sites under my name as long as I promised to call them as soon as I found out who else was coming and provide a name for the other site. So, I called two days later to give them the name of who was staying at the other site.
It was labor day weekend, so we left as soon as we got off work. Our relatives for the other site told us they would not be able to come until the next day. The drive is very curvy, and with the traffic it made for a long trip from S.F. It was myself, my pregnant wife, our two kids(age 1 and 3), and two friends. We figured that since we had paid in advance for two sites, there should be plenty of space. But, when we arrived at the front gate, there was a man in a security uniform (his name is Jerry, but he also goes by Rudy). I got out of the car and started to check in with him. In general, he seemed to be annoyed with any questions and quite confrontational about the rules of the park.
He asked many questions, including who was present, where everyone would sleep, how many tents we would be setting up, and which car would park at which site. I explained that my relatives for the other site would not be coming until tomorrow, so my wife and I and our two kids would stay in one site, and our two guests would stay in the other site. He explained that there was only 2 people allowed in each site for the initial rate and every additional person would be 5.00 per day and that only 2 tents could be set up in each site, and that each site could have only one vehicle and any additional would be 18.00 per night. I was fine with this, I told him that I was not sure who would be sleeping where or how many tents I would set up since we had not even seen the site yet, but I assured him that we would not be setting up more than two tents per site. He responded with the response " oh, I KNOW you won’t be setting up more than two tents." I also wanted to confirm with him that we paid in advance for the sites and he said "no, you did not pay" and I responded" Yes we did pay, I can show you the receipt", he then responded "well I don’t know" and he got angry and suddenly said " do you want to stay here?? Then keep your mouth shut or I will turn your ass around and you can go back to where you came from!"
At this point I was tired, our kids had been in the car for 3 hours, so I had to agree to whatever he said and Keep my mouth shut so that we would have a place to sleep.(keep in mind this is Labor day weekend, so there are no other places to go and we are out in the middle of nowhere. So we got checked in and that was that.
The next day, I spoke to the management the next day and they apologized, but also made excuses for Jerry, stating that he deals with so many rule breakers and rudeness from the campers that he probably was just frustrated. I could tell that nothing was going to be done about Jerry, and that the management is close friends with him and probably go way back.
SUMMARY: The park is pricey, and they will charge you for everything they can, but this is expected for a resort-style campground so close to the Bay Area. But, to bring your family out there to be yelled at and threatened to not let your enter the park just because you ask a few questions about how the rates work is inexcusable.
This park is a family oriented campground and dog friendly. When my family was there on a busy weekend in July, 2010, it seemed like 2/3 of the population was under 3 feet tall. Maybe the facilities are not the most modern, but they do have power and water at each site, flush toilets, hot showers, a laundry room and a small store. If you are looking to beat the heat of the valleys in summer and find a place that is as fun for the kids as for yourself, a place where you can bring other families and group camp, or just be by yourselves on the bank of the river, then Gualala River Redwoods Park deserves your consideration. There is a beach for sunbathing, a river to swim in, the Pacific Ocean nearby, a recreation area with basketball, volley ball, ping pong, bocce and horseshoes. The old growth redwoods that were lumbered at the turn of the 20th century have left huge stumps that have mellowed over time into fantastic forts and hiding places for kids to play on.
The new management takes their responsibility for safety and insuring that everyone has an equal opportunity to enjoy a peaceful camping experience seriously – as well as their stewardship of this fragile riparian ecology. If your idea of a fun camping experience is to speed through the park, erect as many shelters as you can, attack the local flora for firewood, throw your trash about, build a bonfire and party hearty with your buddies until dawn, then you would be well advised to look elsewhere.
I read with some surprise the negative reviews until it dawned on me that the people writing them are the people who kept us awake at night with their partying and those who feel that the price of a campsite entitles them to do whatever they want. Fortunately for the rest of us, management is rather severe with these people. Entrants are screened at the gate to prevent unwanted visitors. The park closes to drive throughs at supper time. The 5 mph speed limit is enforced because of all the children. A CPR trained night security officer roams the park after dark, ready to respond to everything from a request for firewood or ice to complaints about your neighbors to a medical emergency. We found the staff to be friendly and accommodating.
The park has been there for 41 years and many of the campers we met have been coming since they were kids themselves. We certainly look forward to returning to this beautiful and well maintained redwood grove next summer. My advice is to read the camp rules on their website and decide for yourself if that is the kind of camping experience you are looking for.
My family and I have been going to Gualala River Redwood Park for over 40 years. It USED to be the best place around with the best camping sites...something for everyone. If you wanted privacy, it was easy to find sites for that. If you had a group of people you wanted to be close to, it was easy to find sites for that, too. But the new owners, the Browns out of Los Angeles, have destroyed this campground. All sites run into each other. Even walking with the map of the grounds, I could not determine where one site ended and where the next one began.
We were there the week of June 13 - 20, 2010. The management team overseeing the grounds are rude and obnoxious. One security guard, Jerry or Gerry, was determined to pick a fight with my nephew the first night we were there, even though my nephew explained to him that he was talking with his mother and not to him, this Jerry guy literally LEAPED over our fire pit and RAN toward my nephew screaming "You wanna pick a fight with me? YOU WANNA PICK A FIGHT WITH ME?" We all stood there stunned wondering what was this guy 's problem? He threatened to have us thrown out of the park. We had done nothing wrong. He simply came over to tell us something about redwoods having shallow roots and about how trees fall, blah blah blah, and my nephew began telling his mother about how he saw a redwood fall many years ago. This Jerry guy thought my nephew was mocking him and that's when he began screaming at him about picking a fight. AND, we later found out from another security guy, that Jerry had TAPED this yelling match but ONLY AFTER he screamed at my nephew and ONLY AFTER he asked if he wanted to pick a fight with him. Believe me, my nephew would have pummeled Jerry. He works as a guard at a VERY notorious Bay Area prison, and he is used to provocation and how to avoid it. But when Jerry didn't let up, my nephew was ready to take him on. I would have liked to see it except for the fact that my other nephews got between the two.
The women at the front entrance when my sister and I were checking in, were insolent, rude and condescending. All of our campsites were paid in full in advance and I had the email to prove it, yet they insisted that one of the campsites had not been paid for. My sister had to leave her credit card info with them, otherwise when her daughter and family came later that night, they would have been charged even though they had already paid.
Jerry and his merry band of fellow security guards continuously hounded us after that first night. I think they were hoping to find us in violation of something so that they could kick us out. They drove by in their golf carts and continuously shined their flashlights at us, even so much as to come into our camp and make a U-turn. They continuously checked to see if our dogs were tethered, or whether we had our music too loud. Every day and night they were down our throats about something.
When speaking to other campers that week, I heard stories similar to mine. Campers saying this would be the last year they visit the Gualala River Redwood Park, because the management staff was so rude and put on a patronizing superior attitude. This does not make for good PR. In fact, we were surprised that the campground was that empty considering it was one of the lowest tide weeks of the season. Usually this campground has to turn people away because it was so popular and friendly. When the Welches of San Rafael owned this park, it was the best place to be every year no matter what. Richard and Marina Welches NEVER would have treated their patrons the way the Browns allow their management to treat us. I am sorry that for the first time in over 40 years, the Gualala River Redwood Park has left a bitter taste in my mouth. I hope the Browns get wise to the harm they are doing to this once-fabulous park.
Extended family and friends have gone here for over 18 years, but may not be back. The staff are not friendly, and too many rules have ruined our "old favorite" campground. The number of "allowed" campers per site, and how you use the site is unrealistic. Not being allowed to have friends all gather around one campsite is wrong. Not being able to talk above a whisper after 10:00 pm is wrong. I've attempted to communicate with the owners and staff, but have not received a reply. The ammenities (restrooms and showers) are shameful for the price we are charged. These current owners/staff have taken a beautiful campground in an ideal location, and have ruined it. I no longer recommend this campground to anyone, in fact, I discourage it.
This is our first time in this place, the redwood trees are awesome but the staff are not kid friendly...our kids had a very bad trauma with one staff member, instead of talking to us parents, he went directly to the kids with his finger pointed at themand reprimanded them....that is not right.
They charged us for our 14 year old girls ($20 extra per day) and our dog $8 and an unknown charge of $10. The bathrooms were always closed b/c they were stopped up. They have 200 campsites and only 3 toilets and 2 showers! Never going back again!!
Very scenic. Everyone we met was friendly and helpful. Large campsites, and very clean and well maintained. It was easy to get the trailer into and out of the site, and plenty of room to park the truck next to the trailer. We enjoyed our stay, and will definitely be back.
Gualala River Redwood Park is wonderful. The sites are large and spacious. Full hook ups were a plus! Close to the river and the beach. Very friendly staff. The kids enjoyed the play area and the adults enjoyed the horse shoes and basketball. We've already made next years reservations!
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