Get Out of Town: Camping in Big Sur
The fall equinox is a magical transition of time. The hot summer sun gives way to cool breezes while the bright blue sky pales. Leaves detach from their branches and gently float to the earth below. To commemorate the change of seasons, Autumn, our friend Tania and I planned a family road trip camping adventure. The last time the three of us camped together, Tania was newly pregnant, and Autumn and I were sans babes. Now, the three of us have each have a child, and Autumn’s due with her second! My, how time flies. We thought it would be fun take our little ones to the woods to bid farewell to the last rays of the summer sun, so on the twentieth of September, three couples, three toddlers, and two dogs loaded into three cars in Los Angeles and hit the road to Big Sur.
The tiny town of Big Sur is nestled between Monterrey and Morro Bay in Northern California, where the pine-topped cliffs meet the bold cobalt sea.
After a six-hour drive up the coast from Los Angeles, with breathtaking views from the winding roads, we turned down the path that leads to the Big Sur Campgrounds and set up camp. We slept in tents beneath starry skies, skipped rocks atop the crystal clear river, chased our children through the maze of majestic redwood trees. And after the little ones were snoring in their sleeping bags, we sat around blazing campfires and chatted late into the evenings.
The Big Sur Campgrounds are ideal for families with small children, as well as those who are new to camping and not quite ready to take on a full wilderness experience. The campground is incredibly well-appointed. There’s a huge playground for the kiddos, a basketball court,
Big Sur Campgrounds are ideal for families with children, and for those who are new to camping and not quite ready to take on a full wilderness experience
and an impressive stash of board games to borrow from the camp office. For those who care to drift along the Big Sur River, inner tubes are available to rent for the day for just a dollar. The campground general store sells all sorts of sundries from toiletries to gluten-free foods, serves freshly-baked cookies in the afternoons, and pours free coffee all day. The grounds are pristine, the campsites spacious, the bathrooms are very clean and fully-equipped with hot water and free showers.
It’s incredible how liberating it feels to be out of touch in the middle of the redwood forest. With the constant distractions technology brings to everyday life, it’s rather refreshing to be off the grid. There was no cell service to check emails, send text messages or scroll through status updates. We were there, together, living moment by moment, no one checking phone alerts or wondering about the time. Such a lovely change of pace. (Though, if necessary, you can make the five minute drive toward town where cell service works just fine.)
The highlight of our weekend was celebrating Autumn’s birthday! We made blueberry pancakes and played Apples to Apples beneath the canopy while a soft rain fell from the sky. In the evening, we feasted on blacked catfish, red beans with rice and cornbread.
After dinner, we played Birthday by The Beatles for Autumn. Once her wish was made and candle blown out, we indulged in Tania’s decadent s’mores cupcakes, which we topped with marshmallow fluff and brûléed with a culinary torch. (Another brilliant find by Tania on Pinterest!) We put the babes to bed, poured ourselves a little whisky, (pregnant birthday girl excluded), and played Cards Against Humanity next to the crackling fire, our uncontrollable laughter echoing into the black night sky.
Are you the outdoorsy type? Where’s your favorite place to camp?