Friday morning, after Natalie’s nap, we packed up the crew and headed a little north of Santa Barbara to camp for the weekend. This is the second year now we’ve joined our friends Lukasz and Joanna, and their littles Olivia and Tytus, for a weekend of camping. In fact, last year we went with them twice, and both times I was pregnant with Natalie (I was about 12 weeks along the first time (but hardly anyone knew ;)) and about 30 weeks the second time).
Camping has sort of become “our thing”. Yeah, it takes a lot of prep work to camp. Yeah, it usually means Zack has a crazy schedule at work leading up to our weekend sans technology. Yeah, it is dirty and off-schedule and things are so different compared to life at home. But, IT IS SO MUCH FUN, that it’s totally worth it! Side note: if it wasn’t fun and wasn’t “worth it”, we wouldn’t go.
Our family is used to a smaller space while at home (our apartment in Los Angeles is about 600 square feet), and many things have a dual (or trio!) purpose. Living out of a tent while we camp is of course very different than home life, but our daily experience has made tent camping much less difficult for everyone in our family.
We are used to spending a lot of time together in a smaller space and being creative with the resources around us (hello, daily trips to the park & neighborhood amusements).
My best advice for camping with infants/toddlers is two-part: 1.) give them the chance to adventure throughout the day (fresh air + nature = the best). They love nothing more than to explore what interests them. And 2.) feed them delicious, nutritious food. Both kids fell asleep fast once they snuggled up with their blankets. It was amazing to have a little quiet time at naptime with Zack while they rested, and kick our feet up for a solid 90 minutes.
It was a little bit of a challenge to pull Max away from his play to eat, but if all the littles were eating then it was definitely easier to declare, “meal time!” and wrangle their buns to the picnic table :)
Prior to leaving, I prepared a lot of food for easy meals. For dinner, I made spaghetti with meat sauce and carne asada tacos with pan seared corn & black beans. For lunch, we ate chicken salad, fruit, and cheese & crackers. And for breakfast we brewed lots of coffee, and Zack made eggs and sausage for the family. All super easy, but a little different than what we’ve made in the past while camping.
I almost love the drive home the best. While the kids snoozed, Zack and I had hours of (mostly) uninterrupted time together to goal-set. During this trip we talked about our financial goals and a way to track our debt-pay off progress (so exciting!), along with a few potential trips to New York for Z.
Life, you are so good to us! Pacific Coast, you are gorgeous! Thanks for such a great weekend!
Do you go camping as a family, or take seasonal trips together? Where do you go, and what are your best family travel tips with kids?