The kids are back in school, football in underway and there is a certain crispness to the morning air. Summer is over, but that does not mean we have to put away our camping gear for another year and ride out the winter in suburban solitude!
Camping is a year-round activity for us, due in part to the mild winter climate here in NorCal, but also because camping is just what our family does. We cannot stop being who we are, for six months of the year. For us, winter means beach camping, since our favorite Sierra camping spots are all above 7,000 feet and hopelessly buried in snow.
Beach camping is great in the winter, with many unique advantages over the summer months. For one thing, there are no bugs! But along those same lines, there are far fewer people, meaning campsites are much easier to reserve and you will probably have the place nearly to yourselves once you get there. Of course, camping in the rain is no fun, and trying to predict the weather in the winter months can be much more challenging. Our strategy is to just be ready to go and let the three-day forecast on Friday be our guide. If it turns into a family movie weekend, instead of a family beach camping weekend, there is always next week or next month.
Whether in the mountains, at the beach or just somewhere in a backcountry forest, family camping is all about getting the kids outdoors so that they can appreciate something other than the TV set for awhile. Limiting this valuable activity to just a few months each year seems like a shame. Sure, you are going to need some warm clothes and maybe some better sleeping bags, but the coffee and hot chocolate will taste even better on a cool winter morning, and you will wonder why you did not start doing this earlier!