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The best camping near San Luis Reservoir State Recreation Area

Discover the most magical spots to pitch your tent or park your rig on your next San Luis Reservoir adventure.

90% (13 reviews)
90% (13 reviews)

Welcome to the largest offstream reservoir in the United States.  

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Community favorites near San Luis Reservoir State Recreation Area

Top-rated campgrounds reviewed by the Hipcamp community.

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Public campgrounds in the park
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Stay at a public campground in San Luis Reservoir State Recreation Area

Top-rated campgrounds near San Luis Reservoir State Recreation Area

100%
(126)

Fern Ridge Flats - Private Camping

2 sites · Tents9 acres · Aptos, CA
Nestled in a canopy of redwoods, less than 10 miles from the beach sits a private and cozy campground. Fern Ridge Flats combines the best of Santa Cruz county. Abundant trees and misty mornings await you at our property in Aptos. Equipped with electricity, water, and a picnic table for your convenience. There are trails on the land for you to explore, animals, and nature to dive into. *************** Smoking and the use of drugs are strictly prohibited. This is a safe and quiet neighborhood with many families including my own. Please do not request to book if you have the intention of partying or using illegal substances. If these rules are violated, local authorities will be called and you will be removed from the campsite. *************** The campsite is less than a 5 minute walk from the parking spot but is relatively steep. Although it is paved it is not recommended for anyone with mobility issues. *************** As an added precaution to protect the lush landscape, the firepit at the campsite utilizes clean burning propane. We chose a burner that closely replicates the size and heat of a wood to enhance our campers' experience.
from 
$65
 / night
100%
(583)

Windsor Family Farm

2 sites · Lodging1 acre · San Martin, CA
We are a small farm in Silicon Valley. We are basically a petting zoo and kid-friendly destination! You can stay in our "Flying Pig" cabin (sleeps up to 5), or our "Room with a view of a Ewe" (sleeps 3)....or bring friends 'n' family - and reserve both :-) We provide a continental breakfast for free or you can add on a hot breakfast. Wake up to sheep and goats outside your door with a view of the pasture. Please PLEASE read further for more information! and read again just before you come :-) ** To assure you of our cleanliness standards, I clean and air out the cabin, clean the restroom thoroughly, wash bedding and towels and sanitize surfaces. The guest restroom (outside entry in the main house) is shared with other guests. I clean it every day, between every group or guest. One mile away is Harvey Bear County Park, with trails for bikes, horses or walking. We are 5 minutes from the Gilroy Outlets, yet a world away from the hustle and bustle! Come, relax and enjoy nature! Enjoy Gilroy Gardens (seasonally) or go hiking at a nearby State or County Park. Or just relax at the Farm. We will make this a special day for you! Let us know if you are celebrating an event :-). Currently we only have one listing so you get VIP treatment! **Starting Jan 2024, we will have the "Room with a view of a Ewe" as a separate listing. CHECK-IN is after 4:00pm and please give us a 30 min heads-up before your arrival. CHECK OUT is 10am, unless previous arrangements have been made. Please be as specific as you can regarding your arrival time (so I can make the temp in there as comfortable as possible, turn on lights as needed, etc.) ** We are a "Bed and Breakfast"; most days we have other day-guests and events here, so please respect the arrival and check-out times. If you stay 2 nights, please be aware that you most likely won't have the whole farm to yourselves during the day. This is an animal farm. If you love new animal experiences, this is the place for you! If you are scared of or allergic to cats or dogs, this might not be the place for you! If you can't handle new smells and sounds, this might not be the place for you. You will feed and enjoy the animals; please respect their space, no chasing and no going into their enclosures. There is dirt, dust and various country critters. If you are adventurous and love animals and want a unique experience, come check us out! Restroom available in the main house (short walk from the cabin). Small fridge and microwave next to the restroom. There is no kitchen/oven/stove available. Gas Fire pit available ; there is no BBQ. We are exceptionally cautious with camp fires. If it is particularly hot and windy, there will be no fires. We now have a gas fire pit where you can create smores or just enjoy the campfire ambiance. Price is $175 for the Flying Pig (up to 5 total). And $99 for the Room with a view of a Ewe :-) (up to 3 total). Another option (as an add-on): you can pitch a tent for $50. "The Flying Pig" has a queen bed, bunk beds twin size, and a loft with a twin mattress, all bedding included. You are not just paying for a place to sleep; you are paying for an experience and the enjoyment of our property :-). We serve a continental breakfast (free) or hot breakfast ($25/cabin) between 8-9am. (we can accommodate vegetarian and dairy free diets; let us know before you come). We provide bedding and towels. There is A/C and a plug-in heater in The Flying Pig. Please do not bring additional things to plug in except for chargers for phone/electronic devices. We are approximately 1 1/2 hours south of San Francisco, 30 min south of San Jose (without traffic). Gilroy Gardens is 15 min away; Harvey Bear County park is 1 mile away; Monterey and Santa Cruz and the Pinnacles National Park are approximately 1 hour away. We recommend bringing dinner or eating before arrival to maximize your evening. In the area: Amazing experience available at the Royal T Ranch nearby, but must book well in advance. They have a camel, ostriches, emus, a cow, mini horses, etc. Also Gilroy Gardens is just 15 minutes away. Contact us for more info. If you want to celebrate a birthday and bring friends for the evening, there is an additional fee for parties. (Please contact us about this). If you want to bring a few friends just to enjoy the evening, we now have that as an add-on. SPECIAL PACKAGES :-). Must be PRE-ordered and paid thru Hipcamp or upon arrival ~ *smore's kit (Everything -- including use of our gas fire pit -- that you will need to create amazing roasted marshmallows and smores sandwiches!) $20 *Child Birthday package: small gift and special treat $10 *use of fire pit (propane expense) $10
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$99
 / night
97%
(413)

Redwood Retreat: Camping & Cooking

5 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents16 acres · Watsonville, CA
Located on 16 acres, Redwood Retreat is nestled among majestic redwood trees. We have a cottage, a tent cabin with queen bed, and two camping sites for up to 4. Sites 1 & 2 combine nicely for a group of up to 8 and site 3 can accommodate a group of up to 6. Enjoy the owls, doves, hummingbirds, and salamanders. Corralitos is ideal for biking, hiking (unfortunately, the terrain on our property is NOT hikeable), wine tasting, and the beach is 30 minutes away. We are equi-distant between Monterey and Santa Cruz (also approximately 30 minutes but depends on traffic) for all of your more "touristy" desires. Under 2 hours to San Francisco. We will send a very comprehensive list of recommendations for things to do, places to go, and things to see & do in the Santa Cruz/Monterey area when you book, as well as specific directions to get here. PLUS, chef Mima has a host of things to offer in terms of culinary temptations like a whole line of SENSATIONAL SKILLETS. Menus are sent when you book. Why not line up a COOKING CLASS ($85. per person plus ingredients) for a 3 hour class and DINING ON THE DECK with your new culinary creation. Scroll to bottom of photo gallery for latest photos. Ask for the current list of classes. Mima spent 6 years at renowned Chez Panisse restaurant before starting a career as a caterer in the food industry. SEE EXTRAS! Imagine a peaceful, serene neck of the woods with NO WIFI. Feel the restorative power of nature building resilience and buffering tomorrow’s stress. Welcome to Redwood Retreat. in the mountains above the sweet town of Corralitos, approximately a half hour to either Santa Cruz or Monterey and 20 minutes to nearest beach. If you are the type of camper that likes to play music or be loud, this is not the camp for you. This is a refuge from that. When multiple sites are reserved, this spot is perfect for family vacations, company retreats, small celebrations etc. It is strongly recommended that you book all three sites if you wish to entertain. No amplified noise. A noise curfew is in effect from 10:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m. for anything but talking. Sound carries and we must respect neighbors and other campers.THX!
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$75
 / night
95%
(221)

WindTree

7 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents64 acres · Los Gatos, CA
WindTree is an awesome retreat perched high on top of the Santa Cruz Mountains in California, over looking the entire Monterey Bay and Santa Clara Valley. WindTree is sacred land used by many over the past 30 years for retreat and ceremony. It has also been a working "Wwoof" -ing farm for volunteers from all over the world to come and learn about organic gardening in a fun, beautiful, nurturing community restoring our sense of interrelatedness and encouraging planetary sustainability by our choices and concerns for the wellness of the environment. You can make your experience apart of this community or enjoy a quiet private camp site away from any activities. We are off the grid with solar power and our own well. We have small organic gardens with chickens and goats. You will love it up here under the stars. Note: RV's over 21 feet will have difficulties on our driveway.
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$60
 / night
94%
(268)

Santa Cruz Bayview Retreat

4 sites · RVs, Tents20 acres · Day Valley, CA
Experience everything the Bay Area has to offer from this mountain top site. Roughly 50 minutes to any city in the Bay Area, this site is ideal for any person looking for an adventurous getaway retreat.   The Serenity and privacy make this an uncommon, yet ideal romantic place to stay. This site is sheltered by the manzanitas and pines of this chaparral community. Adventure seekers will find paradise here!  Mount Madonna Park with miles of trails is 20 minutes down the road. You can dump your septic there as well!  Horseback riding rentals are located near the park as well as an archery range.  Demonstration forest is 15 minutes down the road, with miles of mountain biking. Spend a day at one of the beaches in Santa Cruz, Capitola, Aptos, Rio Del Mar, Davenport, Half Moon Bay, Monterey, or Carmel and return to your private oasis. Or Explore Silicon Valley from this centrally located parcel. Kim Son Meditation Center and Mount Madonna Center are approximately 15 minutes away. There are also wonderful wineries throughout the mountains here. The trip to the site will begin with a three mile drive on a private dirt road.  Being on the very top of a mountain brings more seasonality than the surrounding cities.   Please be prepared for any kind of extreme weather. Summer: Shade is highly recommended it can get into triple digits. *Spring/fall: Temperatures are generally mild but high winds are possible. *Winter: Typically cold and windy. *During rainy/muddy conditions 4x4/AWD is highly recommended.  It is possible for it to get windy, foggy, rainy, hot and sunny, and even sometimes snowy. Please note: the nearest grocer is 30 minutes from this site. Emergency supplies are available for delivery to your campsite. Cell phone reception is good on most carriers.  Pets are allowed.  Enjoy your time howling at the moon, star gazing, bird watching/wildlife viewing, or relaxing with your favorite libation. Don't forget your camera! Since this is our first year renting our land we have found that August is a high wasp season time in the mountains. We are doing everything humanly possible to hunt down each and every Wasp for your enjoyment. With this in mind we ask you use the provided bug repellent, keep the lid to the trash closed, and do not pour grease anywhere you do not want wasps.
from 
$75
 / night
86%
(2491)

The Enchanted Forest Retreat

54 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents45 acres · Los Gatos, CA
Welcome to the Enchanted Forest Retreat! We are a meditation retreat center with 45 acres of some of the most gorgeous redwoods in the Santa Cruz mountains to enjoy hiking, creeks and small water fall exploration, mountain biking, wildlife viewing, star gazing, relaxation, meditation and more. Our campground has running water from a natural spring, Men and Women's Restrooms each with 2 toilets and 1 hot water shower, laundry shed with sink and hot water, and an outdoor amphitheater, (the kitchen and washer/dryer is Staff Only not for campers). We have meditation teaching at the amphitheater and campers are welcomed to attend for free. 4-6 guests maximum with 1 car included in the nightly rate. Each additional vehicle is $15 per day and will be added at checkout once you add the correct number of vehicles you will be bringing. You can bring a maximum of 2 cars. PLEASE NOTE, we do not have a trash service on site, we require all campers to PACK OUT THEIR GARBAGE with them! Pets are $10 per day, 1 pet per group ONLY. Please add this as an extra at the time of booking, you will see the option to add extras once you begin the checkout process. Dogs must be on leash at all times! Quiet hours are 10pm-8am. No drugs of any kind including marijuana allowed. No loud music allowed. This is a private property so no visitors are allowed, only paid guests. Our onsite staff will go around and enforce the rules. NOTICE REGARDING RVs and TRAILERS: While we can not offer hookups, theoretically we have no problem with RVs, the road is steep in a couple of places getting down to the campground and VERY narrow in one spot (10ft). If you feel you're willing to take this risk (we won't be held liable), you're welcome to reach out to us and we can see if the site is good for RV/trailers. Only sites 8, 12 and 5 are good for trailers. No vehicle can drive into Site 7, 9, 10 and 11 (the parking area is separate). Other sites may be ok with small trailers. Check with the host. Any trailer larger than 20ft, take your own risk, there is a narrow point only 9ft wide.
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$80
 / night
99%
(76)

Brigadoon Glamp Site

4 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents10 acres · Watsonville, CA
Stay within minutes of Manresa, Sand Dollar, and Sunset State beaches. There are excellent biking and hiking opportunities on the Watsonville and Elkhorn sloughs, or commune with the redwoods in the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park. The air is amazing here, between the salt sea and redwood forest. We welcome you to relax and refresh on the Monterey Bay coast.
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$85
 / night
91%
(136)

Hidden Spring Ranch

6 sites · Lodging, Tents6 acres · Santa Cruz, CA
Magical 6 acre permaculture ranch just a few minutes to town, beaches and restaurants. Take a bath under a clear night sky, enjoy the morning birdsong and take a stroll on or off the property. We have free ranging chickens, a hidden spring surrounded by two creeks and wild plums. Happy Valley is a secret little gem of Santa Cruz. Plenty of space for relaxing, and amazing location for both convenience and adventures. (2 of the 3 sites have the tubs please read individual descriptions to find out if the one you chose has one)
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$55
 / night
95%
(142)

Santa Cruz Bayview Retreat

1 site · RV, Tent20 acres · Day Valley, CA
Whenever we go on vacation it’s never as nice as home. This is that same experience as we get when we come home.
from 
$75
 / night
97%
(952)

Song of the Ancients

15 sites · RVs, Tents40 acres · Paicines, CA
Winter temperatures make the dark skies darker and layer after layer of galaxies crowd the sky. As we slip into winter the days are cool and nights cold. You can pitch any where from 1 to 15 or more tents at each campsite. Our campsites are RV friendly but remember we are off grid so we do not have blackwater facilities or electricity for RVs. We do have garden hoses to fill up the RV water tanks. We are the same latitude of Carmel (but a world away), Between Hollister and the Monterey - Salinas metro area and Los Banos and the San Joaquin Valley, close to the vast San Francisco Bay Area; which includes Berkeley, Oakland, Walnut Creek and all the East, North, and South Bay to Pinnacles National Monument and the town of Paicines. You can spend the day in San Juan Bautista at the Mission and Shops or breakfast or lunch at Flapjacks in Tres Pinos, Monterey at the Aquarium, walk on the beach at Moss Landing, hike at Pinnacles, Fremont Peak, Griswold Mountains, or Panoche Hills. Then back home to sit in a quiet world under the stars. You can also...do nothing. Read a book doze in the shade drift off in a hammock or walk and discover the land and discover your place in this world. Pitch your tent or park your camper amid the ancient Blue Oaks of California. Warm yourself by your campfire as you drink in the dark skies. Shake the dust off your work worn spirit. Let the celebration begin. Dance to the music in your heart sing along with the songs of the ancients. Regenerate. A place to breathe and to hear yourself breathe. A sacred place in the shade of the blue oaks. It's time to take time. Time to play and enjoy with friends and family. A place to bask in opulent starlight and absorb the sounds of darkness. A quiet place to clear your soul and revive your spirit. As the air softens and relaxes listen closely to the ancients singing in the oaks. Lend your voice to the Song of the Ancients and let Coyote sing you to sleep. What we provide is: outdoor hot shower, flush toilet, water from a faucet, and at your campsite a fire pit and grill to cook on, picnic table with benches, and the blue oak savanna. Firewood for $15/bundle, fire starters -first two free in the winter then $0.50/each. Our firewood is sustainably harvested from downed trees and branches. We sell it for a neighbor. No healthy live trees are harmed in order to produce firewood. No native trees are felled in order to plant fast growing hardwood for fire or anything else!
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$60
 / night
100%
(86)

Redwood Basin Portal

1 site · Lodging10 acres · Soquel, CA
Family-owned since the 1960's my parents chose this ridgetop location on 10 acres for its beauty, serenity, bio-diversity, and amazing peaceful healing energy. The main house is called Rainbow Ridge where a double rainbow appears across the skyline on occasion. We have decided to share this land with conscious folks who want to retreat to the woods from the hustle and bustle but be close to all the action and have all the creature comforts of home with a camping vibe.We have one private site with a glamorous bell tent and a modern tiny home. The site comes as a single package and is exclusive to you and your group!  Nestled on its own private 3-acre redwood and oak forest, leading down to a creek. The site is located just 4 miles (10 min drive ) from Soquel Village and just 5 miles from the beach at Capitola.  The site offers:  - A 20ft modern container home with one queen sofa bed, large screen with Apple TV, kitchen, patio, fridge, microwave, cooktop, shower, and toilet. - A custom, outdoor kitchen, and bar for entertaining with gas BBQ, fridge freezer, sink with hot and cold filtered water, Sonos sound system.   - Large gas fire pit and seating area.  - One large glamping bell tent with queen bed and option for one or two singles to be added on request. The tent has electricity, fan and heating for colder nights.  - Space for 1-2 additional tents. For groups of 8 or more and special events please contact us so we can discuss the possibilities.  - Onsite you should find all the basic amenities from home including all bedding, towels, kitchenware, cooking utensils, dining ware, herbs and spices, cleaning products, gas for the BBQ and fire pit is included etc. There are a few things you should bring: Food, drinks, ice and fun!  The site looks down into a private and secluded redwood and oak forest with trails for small hikes into the redwood fairy circles or all the way down to the creek. The glamping site is on a sunny flat area surrounded by steep terrain up to a ridgeline and down to the creek. The creek is accessible although the final route requires a rope down so may not be suitable for everyone. Within 15-20 min drive you will find almost all major attractions in the Santa Cruz area including The Mistery Spot, Nisene Marks State Forest, Capitola Pier, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, and many famous surf breaks from Capitola to The Point, The Hook, Steamer Lane and many more., as well as many amazing mountain bike trails. There are also several Santa Cruz Mountain wineries to explore in a 3- 5 mile radius. Further afield you will find Monterey Bay Aquarium and the coastal beaches north up to San Francisco Bay ( 1 hour 30 mins north) and down to Big Sur about 1 hour 20 mins south. We ask all our visitors to be respectful of the environment, our wildlife, and our neighbors. Please drive slowly and respect the quiet times: between 9.30 pm and 8.30 am. We check all our guests in and provide a quick tour. We can offer a number of additional amenities and services including shopping, stocking up on your favorite supplies, catering, romantic packages and special picnics on the Rainbow Ridge, and much more, so please just ask about all the possibilities.
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$495
 / night
98%
(152)

Aromas Hills

2 sites · Lodging, Tents5 acres · Aromas, CA
The property is nestled in the scenic hills of Aromas, CA, just 15 minutes away from the ocean. Whether you’re passing through on a road trip along California’s majestic coast, or looking to spend some time getting to know the lush landscape of the Central Coast, we welcome you with open arms!There's no need to pitch camp with our spacious, sun-drenched Yurt! Settle in, and relax on our beautiful 5.5 acre rustic farmstead, nestled in the cozy hills of Aromas, CA! We are just minutes away from Highway 101, but far enough away to enjoy the peace and quiet of the countryside. Our property features sweeping majestic views toward the coast of Monterey and down toward Big Sur. The land features walking trails up toward a beautiful oak grove at the ridge of the property, and down the other side into several acres of wilderness. We are located about 15 minutes from the ocean at Moss Landing, and 30 to 45 minutes away from Monterey, Pacific Grove, Carmel and Santa Cruz.Our furnished private Yurt features fantastic picturesque views of the hillside and farm, as well as our budding food forest on the uphill side. The yurt features plenty of space for a party of four, a queen-sized bed, a comfy couch to spread out on, and an optional full airbed if you need extra sleeping accommodations. There is a propane heater available for chilly nights, and a fan for the warm summer days.The yurt features a full private kitchen, as well as a large communal fire pit and grill, and a picnic table which can comfortably seat 4.  We have a composting toilet for guest use, an outdoor sink, and a guest shower facility with plenty of hot water and pressure, all within steps of the yurt.Whether you’re passing through on a road trip along California’s majestic landscape, or looking to spend some time getting to know the lush landscape of the Central Coast, we welcome you with open arms!PLEASE NOTE:We are a nonprofit educational eco-arts farm and your booking supports environmental stewardship and arts education for underserved communities. Thank you for your support!Our farm features a tent site in addition to the yurt. The bathroom and fire pit are shared amenities. We encourage social distancing during use of these amenities. All common spaces are disinfected daily. Respect: We place the highest value on respect--for the land, and for the people, plants, and animals that call this area home. While you are here, please consider yourself a partner in stewarding this place. Strict Quiet Hours: Please be very conscientious of our neighbors --no loud noise or music after 10pm.Strict Fire Safety Rules: Campfires must be attended at all times, and extinguished fully with water provided. Smoking: No smoking inside the yurt. Dogs/Pets: Several friendly dogs live on the property. Please let us know ahead of time if you intend to bring dogs. Dogs need to be leashed and supervised at all times. Our property is not fully fenced, and there are sensitive habitats. Parking is limited. Please let us know if you are arriving in more than one vehicle.Our whole property is on a slope with dirt paths --wear good walking shoes!If you have made it this far, then I trust you have read and understand our yurt! Please mention "Farm Art Community" in your request to ensure a very quick acceptance of your booking. Thanks!
from 
$89
 / night

The best camping near San Luis Reservoir State Recreation Area guide

Overview

About

San Luis Reservoir, in western San Joaquin Valley, has a lot to offer outdoor enthusiasts. It is one of the largest bodies of water in California, after all. BYOB (bring your own boat) to traverse the three lakes in the reservoir system.

If you love air-powered travel, board sailing and sailboating are very popular here. Just watch the wind warning lights at boat ramps. When high winds hit, boats may have trouble on the water.

Swimming is only allowed at North Beach. Keep this in mind when summer temperatures here average 90 degrees and occasionally exceed 100. Even in winter, this place stays warm as temperatures seldom drop below freezing.

As such, all four campgrounds on the reservoir stay open all year. Basalt Campground is the most popular because it's closest to the actual reservoir. Rustic campsites and RV spots have shade trees to make summer camping more tolerable. San Luis Creek Campground has very little shade, but it has shoreline sites next to the water.

Notable campgrounds

  • Family Campsites: Ideal for a cozy retreat with loved ones amid nature's splendor.
  • Group Campsites: Perfect for larger gatherings, offering ample space and scenic views.
  • RV Sites w/Hookups: Equipped for convenience, these sites cater to RV enthusiasts seeking adventure.

Tips for snagging a campsite

  • Book early, as spots fill up quickly, especially during peak seasons.
  • Be flexible with your dates to increase your chances of securing a reservation.
  • Regularly check for cancellations to find unexpected openings.
  • Explore nearby camping options for alternative accommodations if the park is full.

When to go

The best time to visit San Luis Reservoir State Recreation Area is during the spring and fall when the weather is mild and the natural beauty is at its peak. Summer offers warm conditions perfect for water activities, though it can be busy. Winter may present closures due to weather, so always check ahead.

Know before you go

  • Check for any temporary closures or safety advisories before planning your visit.
  • Remember that dogs are allowed only in the campground areas.
  • Accessibility is a priority, with wheelchair-accessible facilities available.
  • Park hours are from 6am to sunset, so plan your activities within this timeframe.
  • Drinking water is available, but it's wise to bring extra supplies during your visit.

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