Steve chose Pinto Lake Park in Watsonville to camp out for a week with reasonable rates and the ability to day trip to other sites we wanted to visit. The park itself is nothing special. It is a city park with a gate that closes around sunset, but they do provide you with a key, so you can enter after hours. There is a small playground with plenty of sand, but we had plenty of drizzly, rainy weather that made the playground not a great option most days. They do have bathrooms, but there are no showers. Did I mention how glad I am Steve fixed the shower??? And the zero water pressure issue that surfaced at our stay in Santa Rosa, due to our expensive, supposed-to last-one-year water filter that only lasted three months??? Many thanks to the nice guy at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds who gave us a water filter that solved the problem instantly!
They do have a local farmer's market twice a week close-by. We did go check it out on Friday evening, but watching the honey vendor's money box get swiped kind of ruined our enjoyment of it. It will be nice to return to a little safer-feeling camping areas.
Nonetheless, the lady who runs this campground was super nice. She offered a set of wildlife cards to the kids that they've really enjoyed, and she offered to refund one night's stay if we wrote a review! Since we had already gotten one night free by staying a week, that meant we stayed seven nights for the price of five!! You can't beat that! You can never predict little blessings like these, but they sure are sweet when they happen!
Overall, I would highly recommend any families looking for an affordable place to stay along the California coast to check out Pinto Lake Park.