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Seaside campground opens in Orange County

June 30, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Transformation on what used to be a seaside mobile home park is now complete.

The new campground opens to visitors for the July 4 weekend. Millions of dollars went into making Moro Campground at Crystal Cove State Park into a tourist destination.

Laura Jumani and her 2-year-old daughter Elle took a look at their campsite.

"Really excited to see it opened up and it's beautiful," said Jumani. "Really natural and simple and just a beautiful perfect day."

People got a sneak peek at the campground before it officially opens on Friday. The $15 million project sits between Newport Coast and Laguna Beach and has been a long time coming.

Nearly 30 years ago the state acquired the land. Five years ago nearly 300 families were forced to move when the state started transforming the space. In 2009 construction stopped on the 35 acres due to the budget crisis.

Last year work resumed and the mobile homes are now replaced by 60 campsites, half with hook-ups for electricity and water and each with an ocean view. Nearly 20,000 native plants dot the landscape.

"It's gorgeous they did a great job," said Laguna Beach resident Jill Espinola. "It's so close to the beach, we can walk to the beach in the morning or in the evening."

Two hundred spots are for day use right across from the ocean, and right next to miles of hiking trails. Park officials expect about 1,000 people will use the area every day.

"I'm thinking it's looking pretty good," said Newport Beach resident Tim McVicar.

Camping costs start at $50 a night. Camping reservations at Moro Campground began a few weeks ago. This July 4 opening weekend is sold out.

"In fact most of July and part of August are almost entirely sold out," said Crystal Cove State Park Superintendant Todd Lewis.

While park officials recommend reserving several months in advance, Jumani and her family and friends lucked out.

"This morning we called and we're going to be back next week," said Jumani. "This is our site right here, beautiful."


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