There is a lot of camping left this year, but now that we’re kicking-off the month of August I thought it would be a great opportunity to reflect on our family camping trips, this year. We have certainly noticed an increase in campers – several of our popular spots are booked solid, into September. Despite that, however, we have scored some great last-minute sites and taken advantage of some often overlooked, first-come, first-served campgrounds.
It’s hard for us to talk about a favorite camping trip, without a recent beach trip coming up. Every time we camp at the beach, the kids discover something new. When I think back over the years, the number of exciting stories that the kids came back with is staggering. Seals frolicking in the surf, dolphins feeding just outside the surf zone, orcas passing by, pelicans dive-bombing their prey – it seems like there is something new, every time we go.
One of the things that the kids like to do at the beach is hunt for seashells, of course. On one of our beach camping trips this spring, the kids found a lot of sand dollars – and even a few unbroken ones, which is rare. Their most amazing discovery, though, was a live sand dollar. Okay, it’s questionable whether it was still alive, but it had all of its motile spines – like a layer of fine hair covering the shell. After lots of “oohs” and “awes” we returned it to the surf, in hopes that the tide would carry it back out to safer locals.
Camping Without the Kids
One of the things we did, this summer, was drop the kids off with their grandparents and head up into the mountains, all by ourselves. Our girls are nine, so it’s been a decade since we’ve camped without kids! This was a lot of fun and we got to go on some longer hikes than we could have, if the kids were with us.
One thing that struck me, camping without the kids, is how much less “stuff” we needed. It was also really relaxing, since we didn’t have three little ones to keep entertained (and fed!). This still isn’t something that we will do very often, but maybe it won’t be another ten years, before we go camping by ourselves, again.
I’m looking forward to some more beach camping, this fall – and I’m really hoping that we can get several Sierra trips in, too. Whether these trips become one of our favorites for the year remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure – we will try our best to make it happen!
Our kids are grown but we have the “boys”. The boys are two Schnauzers and they love camping in our rv in Northern Michigan.
Our littlest one (a Havanese) loves to go camping, too – particularly if we are going on a hike.
Beach camping is best for kids. I just would like to share my observations with some couples involving their kids to camping and hiking as well. They end up carrying their kids for the whole duration of the hike or much worst cancel the hike (lol).
I have definitely heard my share of whining, Dan 🙂 That is a good reason to start with shorter hikes that have a lot of interesting things to look at, which hopefully helps keep the kids interested and entertained.
Hey, you can’t go wrong with a camping trip to the Land Betweeen the Lakes in Western KY. Lots to do if you like to have a more active camping experience.
We have a secret camping area near Mt. Hood. It’s an actual camp ground going back to the 20s but isn’t on the map and has no signs to get there so very few people know it exists. This year it was pretty good; we got there before the yellow jackets arrive so we had a good time.
For some reason, we never have camped up in that area. It’s a great part of Oregon and we have been up there a few times – it seems like we always end up further south in the coast range, or over by Bend.
We just returned from a camping trip on Cumberland Island, an unspoiled barrier island off the coast of Georgia. It wasn’t my first time there, but it was our first with children. It was amazing! Wild horses, nesting sea turtles, armadillos, ruins of mansions built by the Carnegie family – Cumberland is a place like no other. We had so much fun!
Wow, I would love to check out Cumberland Island sometime, Joy – that sounds like a really interesting place to camp!
I have yet to do any real beach camping this year. I think my best trip was to Rock Island State Park in Northeast Wisconsin. It’s an uninhabited island that requires two ferries to get to. The weather wasn’t the best but I was with great company and how often do you get to camp on an island?!? It was fantastic!
That sounds like an awesome camping trip, Jason – even with so-so weather, having an island all to yourself sounds great!
Ah yes! a romantic getaway – a very important aspect for a family. I do not advocate leaving the children behind at every second turn but romantic camping is an excellent way to rekindle and strengthen a relationship between husband and wife. “Good on ya”.
I wholeheartedly agree, Ron!