Wednesday, July 3, 2013


we just finished up with our first official camping outing of the summer season at San Clemente State Beach.  it was our second time down to this spot this year so far, and we still love it! since we live in San Clemente, it's a 10 minute drive, but sleeping a few hundred yards from the ocean never gets old. The normal campsites fit up to 3 cars and a couple of moderately big tents! They've got the usual picnic table with shade, a bbq and a fire pit. They have normal bathrooms and showers available too. This outing was just a one night stay, which seemed like a lotta work for a little bit of camping, but we tried to keep packing simple and the fun maximized.  

For my own good, and maybe yours too, I'm gonna be compiling a running list of MUST HAVES for camping with the little ones. So, here are a handful of things that worked well for us on this trip.

for the night we arrived, we decided to keep it easy and stick w/ hot dogs for everyone. The kids are halfway vegetarian, so they mixed it up with some turkey dogs and some veggie dogs. my favorite veggie dogs are by MorningStar Farms. They taste pretty awesome, and cook great on the grill! we also brought potato chips, chips and salsa, watermelon and carrots. simple food that is easy to prepare! 

The next morning we planned on keeping it super easy with a box of donuts and some juice, but unfortunately I grabbed the wrong bag to store overnight and raccoons had a late night donut feast. oops. good thing we had a whole grip of yogurts/gogurts! 

and of course... 
S'MORES. Always and forever. 

Coleman Instant Tent- I recently upgraded to one of the Coleman Instant Tents, which has been a lifesaver. it's nice to not waste a ton of time setting up your tent, cuz you'd rather be playing bocce ball or doing something cool, right? they claim it's up (and down) in 10 minutes, and I usually come in under 7 minutes! just sayin. 

Poler Napsack- Coop and I both sleep in these things and they're rad. In the colder months, you can throw this thing on when you start to huddle around the fire because you can wear it like a jacket by just cinching up the bottom, and puttin' your arms out the holes. then when you call it a night, put your arms + legs inside, close it up and get to sleep! 

Flashlights/Lanterns/Batteries - might be an obvious one, but I always have enough flashlights for the whole fam, plus one lantern that stays in the tent, as well as a few extra batteries laying around. Coop and Charley are fans of telling spooky stories around the campfire (just not ones about zombies). Plus it's nice to find your way to the bathroom at night without bumping into anything (like zombies.. jk). 

Surf Brush- this thing is not just a camping must, it's an everyday thing for me. I have it in my car ALWAYS. It's a big soft bristled brush that will easily brush the sand off of the pickiest of kids. both Charley and Cooper love to use it post-beach sessions, and it was magical to have around the camp site (kinda like a broom!). highly recommended. 

Outdoor Games- Last time I brought horseshoes, which was shortlived. This time I brought a bocce ball set, which the kids seemed to dig. I've been meaning to build a WASHERS game and/or a CORNHOLE/Beanbag game, so we'll try those out on the next trip. 

Sunscreen - another obvious one, yeah? the whole fam digs this SUN BUM stuff. smells like tropical amazingness and goes on easy. 

GLOWSTICKS - these are ALWAYS a hit with the little dudes. break 'em out right when it starts to get dark, and they play with 'em until they fall right to sleep. The 99 Cent stores usually have these, and Michael's always has a great deal on them too. 

FRIENDS - I mean, right? Cooper and Charley's buds Anthony and Ben accompanied us on this trip. Along with their awesome parents. 

Coop's Backpack- I picked up a backpack for Coop to fill up with HIS camping stuff. Inside we've got: Binoculars, a notebook (for drawing and keeping a list of animals we see!), bandaids (cool ones, no plain boring ones), a flashlight, a hat, waterbottle, snacks, and a jacket. 

lastly, I was happy to remember to put batteries in my portable speaker set, so I could play a little music as the night went on. I'll be putting together a little mix of some of my favorite go-to camping tunes... COMING THIS WEEKEND!

Thanks for reading! oh, and check out the radical "HAPPY CAMPERS" sign Carolyn made to brighten up our spot up there!

here are the kids bouncing around the beds. photo by @crusso ! 

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