Having a good shower on the road is kind of like having a great meal. It makes you refreshed, happy, and ready to take on the rest of your day. It is one of the simplest pleasures in life that we take for granted when we have a home.
Van Life is a fantastic experience, but one of the biggest challenges to traveling or living in a van is finding a place to take a shower. Many vans do not have a shower, so finding a good place to take one while on the road is essential.
Many portable shower options are on the market today that range from just a cheap bucket with a pump to a lovely heated on-demand water shower system. All these options are good, but sometimes it is easier to find a shower. It saves a lot of setup time and the awkwardness of taking a shower in a parking lot or park.
There are many showering options in Southern California you can utilize during your travels. You will not have trouble finding a shower if you prepare in advance.
Most public showers on the beach are free, but the showers at campgrounds, recreation centers, and truck stops typically require a fee ranging from $1 to $25. That fee is usually well worth it if it has been a few days since you had a shower.
The places where you can take a shower in Southern California are:
- Recreation Centers
- Truck Stops
- Other Locations
The most apparent location to take a shower is the beach. Many beaches in Southern California have outdoor showers right next to the restrooms. These are great options if you are spending the day on the beach.
Make sure you read the signs by the shower. Some showers do not allow you to use soap or shampoo because of the proximity to the ocean. Please respect this because we do not want soap draining into the sea and affecting the wildlife.
The biggest downside with showering on the beach is the weather. The temperature at the beach can get cold and chilly especially in the winter and morning. No one likes to take a shower outside when the weather is below 60 degrees.
Most beach showers are not heated, so the combination of cold temperatures with cold water makes for an energizing shower option.
Probably your most extensive option to taking a shower on the road is at a gym. The majority of van and RV nomads have gym memberships to gyms across the US that can be used.
Southern California is a great place to have a gym membership because there are so many gyms throughout the area. You cannot go more than two or three miles without running into a gym.
Even if you do not have a gym membership, most gyms will offer day passes that range from $5 to $25.00 to use their facilities. This is an excellent option if you find yourself in desperate need of a shower and a workout.
Gym Day Visit Cost
|24 Hour Fitness||$20-$25||Location Dependent|
|Golds Gym||$5-$25||Location Dependent|
|LA Fitness||$10-$25||Location Dependent|
Below is a list of the biggest gyms that operate in Southern California that I believe is a good option.
- 24 Hour Fitness: There are well over 100 gyms in Southern California, and I believe is the most populous gym option. This makes it a great reason many van and RV nomads get a monthly gym membership while traveling through Southern California. You can get a free pass to work out for a day but usually must sit thru a membership briefing. Membership fees start at $29.99 monthly.
- Planet Fitness: Is one of the most popular gyms for van and RV nomads. The main reason is that membership can cost as little as $20 a month with unlimited nationwide access. They have more than 100 locations throughout Southern California and seem to be everywhere. They also allow you to bring a guest with you every time you visit the gym. This is extremely valuable if you are traveling with your companions.
- Chuze Fitness: Is a fast-growing gym in Southern California that has become extremely popular. They currently have 18 locations, mainly in Los Angeles and San Diego, but they are not convenient places where nomads want to visit. They offer meager introductory rates as low as $10 a month. This might be a great option if you are going to be traveling throughout the area for a few months.
- Golds Gym: There are not as many Gold Gyms locations than 24 Hour Fitness and Planet Fitness. There are also a little more expensive at around $40 a month, but their facilities are usually nice. You can sign up for the Gold’s Gym VIP Free Guest Pass which allows you 7 days of access.
- LA Fitness: There are around 75 gyms throughout Southern California, and many are in locations that are frequented by nomads. There basic monthly membership is $29.95 a month. They do have a LA Fitness Guest Pass which is good for 3 days.
- Anytime Fitness: Probably my favorite gym for any van or RV nomad in Southern California. They have over 100 locations, and most are in areas frequented by nomads. Membership starts at $39.88 a month. What’s best is that you can go anytime you want, especially at night before going to bed when it’s least crowded. They also offer a free 7-day guest pass. Pro Tip: Many van and RV nomad just end up spending the night in their parking lot.
- YMCA: There are a few YMCA locations throughout Southern California but not as numerous as the gyms above. I believe they are a great option because their facilities are normally nice and never crowded. They offer day passes. Their monthly rate is higher at around $48 a month, depending on the location.
Recreation centers are a great option for taking a shower on the road. They are located almost in every city in Southern California and usually offer good facilities. Some even have small gyms, pools, work areas, and excellent locker rooms. There is usually a small fee associated with utilizing their facilities that range from $5 to $10.
A good recreation center is probably where I look to take a shower first because it’s cheap, convenient, not crowded, and usually spotless.
Most campgrounds throughout Southern California have shower facilities. They range from basic facilities at the state parks to nice facilities at your local KOA campground.
The main downside of showering at a private campground is usually the cost. Most campgrounds charge a small fee of $10.00 an up to use their facilities for the day.
My best recommendation is to find a state campground use their shower facilities. Most state campgrounds will have visitor parking where you can park, just walk in, and use the shower.
This is normally where I take showers within Southern California. You can get a two-minute shower for one token, $0.50. The token machine is usually located at the visitor center, not at the shower location.
Truck Stops are a great option when traveling to Southern California, but there are not many of them compared to gyms and campgrounds once you are here.
The biggest truck stops are Pilot, Loves, and TA, and most of them have showering facilities. However, they are mostly located along Interstate I-5, I-10, and I-15 outside the main van and RV nomad attraction areas.
Showering at a truck stop is not cheap with the average shower costing around $12. They are not my first choice unless I am traveling long distances between locations.
We have discussed the main showering options in Southern California. But there are also other options that are less utilized. These showering options can include reach out centers, churches, VA facilities, homeless shelters, and soup kitchens. I know these are not the most popular options for van and RV nomads, but they need to be mentioned.
As you can see throughout this blog post, there are many showering options throughout Southern California. They range from ice-cold showers on the beach to paid showers at your local gym or campground. There is no shortage of shower options in Southern California. You just must prepare a little bit and have a little bit of knowledge in determining which option is best for you. I hope you found this blog interesting, informative, and helps you plan your next trip. See you out there.
References and Other Adventures:
What are the top 5 boondocking locations in SoCal for van and RV lifers? The top 5 boondocking locations are: Anza Borrego Desert Joshua Tree