So we decided to tackle this National Parks expedition for a few reasons. First, while driving cross-country, we realized how beautiful our country is and that we wanted to explore it further. Second, having twins meant our family budget was going to be tight and the most economical vacations would be camping. Third, it would force us to keep exploring, and hopefully inspire our daughters to carry that excitement throughout their own lives.
To best prepare for camping with the kids, we know we’ll need to start small, setting up the tent and air mattress in the backyard for a night “under the stars”. We’ll do this just in case someone decides to flip out…the babies, Sean, or maybe me! It will also be funny to see how the dogs react to the tent as they haven’t really been around one. This also gives us an opportunity to evaluate our gear with little to no risk before we make our way out to actual campsites. We can ensure our tent is adequate for 2 adults and 2 babies (I would be a little surprised if it wasn’t), but also test our preliminary plan for sleeping arrangements.
The next step in the process will likely be to one of the local campgrounds near our house. Living in Southern California, we are fortunate to be able to camp year round. We are very lucky to have two coastal campgrounds- San Elijo or South Carlsbad State Beaches – within ten minutes of our house. They are right on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific and are amazing for their proximity to the ocean. In terms of campsite costs, they are a bit on the high side, with cliff-side sites going for $50/night and other sites going for $35/night. Regardless, it will still be enormously helpful for us to practice setting up the tent and getting unpacked with the girls in tow.
We are beginning to map out a plan for some of our first National Park visits with the girls starting in the fall, but will share once the plans are more solid.