Teddy Crete, Adventure Outings assistant trip leader, is from Durham and has been exploring Northern California since he was a child, but the first place he ever went camping is still his ultimate favorite spot — Van Damme State Park.

Van Damme is about a four hour drive from Chico near the small seaside town of Mendocino. The campground is coastal but tucked back into the redwood forest far enough that you don't realize how close you are to civilization, Teddy said.

The campground is also right next to the ocean, which is what makes it ideal for Teddy, whose passion is abalone diving.

“It was my first camping trip when I was four-months old, and I’ve been going every single years since,” Teddy said. “I love to dive, I love to camp, and I love the ocean and they are all just right there.”


Abalone diving has become an annual adventure for Teddy’s family. Van Damme State Park is directly across Highway 1 from the beach, and provides convenient access for diving. Kelp forests and flat rocks make this cove an ideal habitat for abalone and therefore a good location for divers of any skill level.

“It’s one of my favorite trips of all time," Teddy said. "I’ve done it dozens and dozens of time and it doesn’t get old."

Type: Abalone Diving

Location: Van Damme State Park

Duration: Weekend trip

Distance: 400 miles round trip

Drive time from campus: 4 hours

Approx cost: $35 per night, $60 in gas money

What you need: Car, wetsuit, tent, dive equipment

Experience level: Experienced (Suggested previous diving experience or going with someone who has dived before.)

Level of difficulty: Medium