Coachella is a music and arts festival that brings together 250,000 people each spring. Taking place in Coachella Valley, Calif., this massive party grosses more than $100 million.
But you might think twice about camping at the festival. Keep reading to find out why I will never camp at Coachella again.
What Kinds of Camping Are Allowed at Coachella?
Camping options at Coachella include staying in your own tent or car, booking one of the festival’s tents or lodges, or staying at Safari Campground in a tent or yurt. Most people do tent or car camping, as it’s the most budget-friendly option.
The festival’s Safari Campground has furnished tents and yurts to rent. They include guest passes for two people with the option to add more guests.
Or you can stay in a tent or lodge at the festival’s Lake Eldorado. These accommodations have cots, bedding, toilets, and showers.
How Much Does It Cost to Camp at Coachella?
You will need to purchase a camping pass along with your festival ticket. Camping passes start at $102 for tent and car camping. You’ll also need to pay TOT (transient occupancy tax) and other fees, such as a $10 convenience fee. There are also preferred car camping options that provide you with a reserved site near the venue entrance. Preferred camping is $266 plus fees.
Why I Would Never Camp at Coachella Again
Besides the high prices and close quarters, there are five other main reasons I’ll never camp at Coachella again. Take a look.
Sand Gets Everywhere
Coachella is in the desert, and it’s in a windy valley. Therefore, sand gets everywhere. Literally everywhere! From people walking around to vehicles moving about, the sand gets kicked up and flies into everything.
Attendees often have to wear a bandana or mask around their faces to keep from breathing in the vast amount of sand and dust. It took me days to get all of the sand out of my camping gear, clothes, food, and vehicle.
No Escape From the Heat
The heat is intense in Coachella Valley in the spring when the festival takes place. Imagine being in the desert heat for a weekend with 250,000 of your “closest friends.”
On top of the sun’s heat, you’re at a music festival, so you’re dancing and moving around a lot. And when you’re tent or car camping, you’re stuck sweating through any sleep you manage to get.
Your Stuff Can Walk Away
Camping at a large festival, unfortunately, leaves your possessions at risk. Theft is quite common at Coachella or any other event its size. Some of it is premeditated, while other times might be a drunken mishap.
Either way, don’t think your belongings are secure when camping at Coachella. If you do camp at the festival, I highly recommend only bringing the things you need and leaving any valuable gear at home.
You’re Exposed to the Weather
As I mentioned, the heat and wind can be intense in Coachella Valley. While camping at the festival, there’s little you can do to get away from the weather.
Tents and cars sit close together in the designated camping areas, and if there’s inclement weather, that’s all you have. Plus, vehicles must stay on the festival grounds for the entire weekend.
Packing Up After Partying Is Awful
Coachella is one big party! And packing up your campsite after you’ve partied hard for a weekend is awful. The last thing I want to do is to clean up and travel at a designated check-out time.
Staying at a campground off-site from the festival that I had booked for a couple of days post-Coachella would have been my preferred option, looking back. I could have taken an Uber back to the campground and slept off the partying without having to pack up as soon as the festival concluded.
Do They Allow RV Camping at Coachella?
The only vehicles allowed to camp at Coachella are passenger cars, trucks, and vans. So you could get in with a camper van, but not an RV or bus. There simply isn’t enough space to accommodate anything larger than a van.
What Are Other Lodging Options at Coachella?
You can stay in the Safari Campground or at Lake Eldorado if you don’t want to bring your tent or car. But there are also plenty of options outside of the festival grounds.
There are several campgrounds and RV resorts in the Coachella Valley area. You can even find some boondocking spots on BLM land near the south entrance of Joshua Tree National Park, which is a short distance from the festival.
In addition, there are numerous hotels in the area. However, you’ll need to book well in advance to get a room during Coachella. Airbnb and other vacation rentals are also plentiful in the Indio and Palm Springs area.
Is Camping at Coachella Worth Trying?
In my opinion, it’s not worth it. But if it’s a bucket list item for you, I say go for it. My recommendation would be to book a campground nearby for when you have to leave the festival grounds so that you can sleep off all that partying.
Attending Coachella is a fantastic opportunity. It’s fun, energizing, and an all-around good time. If you have a chance to score tickets, I highly recommend attending.
But I would skip camping at Coachella until you see what it’s like for yourself. You could always try camping at the festival the following year if it looks appealing to you.
Would you ever camp at Coachella?
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