Backpacking the Beautiful Little Lakes Valley Trail (Near Rock Creek)

Little Lakes Valley in the Eastern Sierras is one of the most beautiful hikes in the high sierra and one our favorite backpacking hikes in California with kids and for beginners. This beautiful hike follows along a creek, passes several pristine alpine lakes and offers gorgeous scenery without too much hard work. This is almost … Read more

50+ Amazing Spots for Camping in Southern California

Best beach camping in Southern California

Camping in Southern California is one of the best outdoor, social distance activities available. Lakes, mountains, and beaches – a multitude of campgrounds in Southern California offer an incredible array of places to match the season and everyone’s interests. With vacations being cancelled and people worried about gathering in groups, camping is the in thing to do! Below is a collection of our favorite campgrounds in Southern California that we will continue to update as we come across more.

If you have some favorites that we have missed, please share them with us as we would love to check out more off the beaten path sites around the state.

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Ultimate Guide to Backpacking the Trans Catalina Trail

Backpacking the Trans Catalina Trail is a bucket list trail for many in Southern California. Located 22 miles off the coast of Southern California, Catalina Island offers diverse rugged scenery with opportunities for outdoor activities like diving, snorkeling, hiking and spotting wildlife. It is here that the Trans Catalina Trail resides – from sea to land and back to the sea, this 38.5 (or 40+) mile trail traverses the entire island with beachfront camping, beautiful views with a few creature comforts not often found in typical backcountry trails. Think restaurants, picnic benches and firewood deliveries!

One might think this trail would be easy since the highest elevation on the island is only around 2000 feet, but the constant ups and downs, lack of switchbacks with little shade make backpacking on Catalina Island challenging. The Trans Catalina Trail has been on my wishlist for years, but the expense and difficult rating continued to scare me away. However, as we learned during our trip, the beauty of this trail is that it is difficult, but doable and can be modified to fit all skill levels!

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Backpacking In California: 20 Amazing Spots You Must Visit

Our two favorite things to do in the outdoors in California is hike and camp. Why not combine the two with a backpack camping trip? We know camping in Southern California is very popular with families to couples and folks with their dogs, but for the more adventurous, finding cool spots for backpacking in California is even more exciting.

There are some amazing spots for backpacking in California, from the Bay Area of San Francisco to Southern California and everywhere in between. Some favorite places for backpack camping include Joshua Tree, the Lake Tahoe area, Yosemite National Park and the Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park areas. Much of these wilderness areas are more ‘hard core backpacking’ for those with experience and the legs to carry themselves further than a couple of mile hike.

For those of you who are new to this outdoor adventure, we share relatively easy, doable backpacking trails here in California to consider for your first (or second or third!) backpacking camping trip with or without kids. As we explore more of the backcountry camping options throughout California, we will update this list.

Don’t miss our top tips and backpacking hacks for beginners!

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Let’s Go Glamping Southern California! Top Places to Book Now

Looking for amazing locations for glamping in Southern California? Come on in, we have you covered.

I love camping, as in, I love being out in nature. But I actually don’t really love setting up a tent, sleeping on a half inflated air mattress (I mean they never stay inflated for the whole night right?) or cooking on a one pot stove or an open flame (anything besides a s’more that is!). Does this sound familiar?

What I like to do instead these days is go glamping, California style.  What is glamping you ask? Basically, glamping is the combination of a natural experience of the outdoors with more glamorous amenities (aka having a bed!). This can be as simple as a canvas tent in nature with a real bed tucked away inside or it can go a few steps further and include things like prepared meals, spa treatments and more. What all glamping experiences seem to have in common however, is a getaway in nature with some comforts of home.

Our family loves being outdoors and experiencing nature in as many ways as we can, but not always roughing it! Here are our top picks for glamping in Southern California with (or without!) children.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

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21 Insanely Practical Backpacking Hacks & Tips for Beginners

Getting ready to go backpacking? Our backpacking hacks and tips for beginners will get you on your way feeling more confident with less weight in your bag.  

One of the best ways to get off the beaten path and head outdoors is to go backpacking. For beginners however, it can feel quite daunting to start a new hobby such as this. There is a ton of gear to check out, it’s not always easy to figure out what the best backpacking routes are or how to get permits and of course you need to figure out how to get the most out of your trip with the least amount of weight. 

I am not an avid mountain explorer or athlete, so when we began backpacking, I researched a ton to figure out the best ways to do things for not only myself but for my 10 year old son. Below I share some of the backpacking hacks and tips that I learned along the way by researching and asking every backpacking I could find and then by making the mistakes myself! If you are already to hit to road, don’t forget to check out our detailed Backpacking packing list with everything we take with us, as well as a FREE downloadable packing checklist for yourself.

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10 Easy Camping Meals That Will Make You Want to Go Camping

With camping season upon us, it’s time to get planning! The top ingredients for a perfect camping trip includes friends, food and fun. We have you covered with our favorite easy camping meals for family and friend get togethers. These are some of our tried and tested favorite easy camping recipes that we eat on almost every campout!

If you haven’t quite figured out where to go camping, our top spots for camping in Southern California is a great place to start. For now though, get busy planning what you will eat on your next camping adventure! Below are our favorite 10 easy camping meals that are perfect for your campouts big or small!

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Kings Canyon Camping Advice You Need To Know

Camping in Kings Canyon is one of the best ways to really experience the magic of the Giant Sequoia trees and the rushing rivers found deep within the park.  Kings Canyon National Park is truly one of the most underrated parks in the national park system, with visitors often just skimming the surface, rushing ahead to Yosemite to the north or Sequoia National Park to the south. However for those of you in the know, this is the place to beat the crowds and to experience towering trees, cold snow melt rivers and spy a few bears along the way too.

Below we share all you need to know for planning the best Kings Canyon camping experience- with information on the best sites, which campgrounds to choose and how to book it all.

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40+ Car Camping Essentials For Families

These days everyone is venturing into the outdoors, looking to get away from the crowds. From hiking to camping, there are a multitude of options to experience nature. Here we share our top car camping essentials for families (and even those without kids!) to get you going this spring and summer. In addition to this list, I also have a family camping packing list that is printable here if you want that to help packing for all of our car camper friends!

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

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Guide to a Mojave National Preserve Camping Trip

Thinking of a Mojave National Preserve camping trip? If you read our post on Exploring the Mojave Preserve, you might remember that the basic premise for this park is a place for self discovery, adventure and exploration. This extends to where you will stay as well. Given that there is no town anywhere nearby and the park itself does not provide any accommodation options, camping is essentially the only option if you wish to really explore the park rather than just driving through.

Researching for our first visit to Mojave felt daunting as there seemed to be little information or photos on where to stay. Therefore, I thought I would outline some of the possible options for camping in the Mojave National Preserve that we came across during our visit.

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Family Camping Packing List

Family Camping Packing ChecklistI am the yearly organizer of my son’s class camping trip. I have been organizing our class trips since preschool and have gotten better and better at planning it and packing for it each year! The more you camp with kids, the more you learn. My tips for camping with kids post continues to grow each year!

I love the planning and organizational aspects of my role as camping mom, but I hate when I forget items. For posterity’s sake, I have written out our family camping packing list as a reference for myself for each year, as well as to help anyone else who is planning a camping trip with their little ones.

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