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!