Monday, September 6, 2010

Our Camping Trip!!!

One of my favorite things about summer is going camping!!! It's about twenty times more difficult than normal when you camp with young kids, but I'm still determined to camp at least once a year. That's how great memories are made!

For this summer's camping trip, we invited some friends, packed the minivan to the max, and headed out to a place we'd never been before. . . Steamboat Rock State Park, about four hours east. I had read rave reviews about the clean campsites and the gorgeous lake they have there. And it did not disappoint! Check out stunnning Steamboat Rock at sunset!

It actually took us about five hours to drive there, since we stopped for lunch. Thank goodness for comfy car seats and sleeping kids! (Well, one sleeping kid).

Veater family camping tip #1: Make sure you have lots of help setting up the tents when you get there!

Veater family camping tip #2: If you've got young kids with you, bring extras of everything you can possibly think of! It's better to take too much than too little! We even took an extra tent, and Natalie ended up sleeping in it in her Pack 'n Play. Queen Natalie in her very own tent. :) Kirsten slept in the big tent with us, but she had her own air mattress. She was SO excited to sleep in her brand new big-girl sleeping bag. . . but ended up sleeping in the middle of the air mattress both nights, clutching her regular blankie, with the sleeping bag tossed aside. Oh well.

Veater family camping tip #3: We found some cool bug repellant wipes that were a lot easier to use on the kids than bug spray, plus it was less stinky and messy. I guess they worked well. . . none of us got a single bite!

Veater family camping tip #4: When you plan out food and meals, the easier the better. We brought Costco muffins and fruit for breakfast, sandwich fixings and chips for lunches, hot dogs to roast for dinner, and all the stuff for s'mores. It was all yummy and super easy!

The sun was setting after we got the tents set up, so we walked the short distance to the sandy beach at the lake, just to check it out.

Definitely not to go in the water! No way! We were just supposed to look at it!
Yeah. . . both of the kids got wet up to their shoulders. But the lake was so warm, and so beautiful! Hard to resist!

Veater family camping tip #5: If your kids are potty-trained, choose a campsite that has real bathrooms, NOT port-a-potties. I was so thankful for the clean bathrooms they had there every time I took Kirsten to go potty.

Veater family camping tip #6: If you plan on cooking all your food on sticks over the fire (like we planned), make sure you bring a small grill or camping stove as a back-up. Or call the campsite beforehand and make sure there's no fire ban in effect. The most disappointing thing about this camping trip by FAR was the fire ban for the whole area. We couldn't even use the fire pit the campsite provided! It was a total bummer! What's camping without a campfire??? At least it was warm enough that we didn't need to sit around a fire for warmth. We had thankfully brought our tiny camping grill, and it was just the right size for roasting hot dogs. And for s'mores. . . our friend Chance had his little burner with him, and we roasted the marshmallows one at a time over the little burner. Hey, at least we still got s'mores! Not quite as fun, but still yummy!

Veater family camping trip #7: Especially if it's hot (high 90's during the day where we were!), go camping by a lake. It was wonderful! Kirsten was SO thrilled and excited to spend hours swimming and playing in the lake!

Our friends brought the super fun inner tube! If only we'd had a boat to pull each other around in! But Kirsten still had a blast!!!

Growing up, I never swam in a lake until I was about 17 and my youth group went on a trip to the Colorado River. Crazy, huh? Southern California girls just don't swim in lakes, we swam in pools or the ocean. But lake swimming is SO awesome, and really great for little kids! The water is gentle and warm, and they still get sandy beaches to play in. It's Kirsten's favorite thing!

We all built sand castles and played in the sand too, even though it was hard to get Kirsten out of the water, even to play in the sand! Natalie enjoyed the sand a whole bunch.

Isn't that such a gorgeous background? (I was on this camping trip too, believe it or not. Just always behind the camera!)

We spent almost all of our time in the lake, since it was so hot! But we hung out on blankets on the grass in the evenings, and then played card games at night after the kids were asleep. Under the beautiful stars! Camping is so wonderful!

Kirsten had lots of fun playing on the sand dunes right by the campsite with our friends!

Camping at Steamboat Rock State Park turned out to be totally fun and SO worth it! We loved it and I'm sure we'll go back, maybe next year!


  1. What a pretty place! I can't believe how big your girls are getting. So cute!

  2. So fun!! I haven't been camping forever, this post made me REALLY want to go!

  3. Oh I am always behind the camera too. I feel like the only time I get my picture taken is at night when I am in my jammies all frumpy looking. LOL.


  4. Looks like such a fun trip! I'm glad you guys had a good time.

  5. Beautiful lake pictures! Looks like the girls had a blast in the tubes!

  6. Beautiful photos! Looks like an amazing spot for camping!

  7. Great photos and excellent details about the park, thank you!! We're heading to Steamboat Rock State Park in a few weeks for our first camping trip of the summer and can't wait! Thanks again!



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