Car Camping Adventures for Families

A blog detailing the ins and outs of car camping with children throughout the Carolinas region and beyond. Learn about kid friendly campgrounds, fun camping activities and healthy, tasty camping food that your kids will love!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Huntington Beach State Park

Well, we survived (and even enjoyed!) our first camping trip of the season.  Huntington Beach State Park was great.  I loved that there was so much to do there and it made it even better to have the Scott's sister's family join us on the adventure.  We were there from Thursday through Sunday which, for me, was just enough to have fun but not so much as to give everyone complete burnout.  The campsites were nice, the bathrooms were clean and the beach was amazing.  My only complaint about the campground was that it really seemed to be RV heavy.  I only saw a handful of tent campers during our stay.  After a day of being there, I didn't really notice it as much, but I will say I still usually prefer to mingle among other tent campers. 

The first night we were there, we had a huge thunderstorm, so as you can imagine, we all slept in one tent together.  The boys started out in their own tent, but I knew the second I saw the first flash that we'd be having visitors.  And sure enough, Nicholas was so startled by the lightening that he left his younger brother alone in the small tent and just came running screaming, "Lightening!!  Let me in!!"  I'm not sure why, but it always seems to storm on our first night out camping.  Anyway, here are the tents set up at the site.  The big eight man tent and the where the boys slept for part of the first night and both of the following nights:

We enjoyed hanging out at camp at least a part of each day.  Scott's sister managed to snag a great campsite right next to the trail to the beach that also happened to be set back a bit and had a great climbing tree for the boys; both young and old.  If you camp there in the future, I recommend checking out site #33 and reserving it if you can.  It was definitely a prime location!  Here are a couple shots from around camp:

So I mentioned the fabulous beach above and I wasn't kidding.  I love South Carolina Beaches.  The sand is amazing and the waves are so mild that even my kids can enjoy them.  And of course you can't forget the tidal pools.  Endless fun for the younger crowd.  The first full day we were there, we headed down to the beach which is just a quarter mile hike through the woods.  It was so nice to have the ocean so close.  You could even hear the waves from your tent at night which was amazing.  The shells were all over as well so the kids had a blast hunting for ones they deemed special.  By the end of the trip they were all over our picnic table.  Here are a few shots of the beach:

On the afternoon of the first day, we took a hike over to one of the causeways where the birdwatching was supposed to be really great.  There are so many things to see in the marshes; they are just teeming with life!  The kids really enjoyed the hiking and the cousins got very into checking out their bird book to identify what they were looking at.

The next day we ventured over to BrookGreen Gardens.  What a beautiful garden!  They had plenty of activities for kids as well as adults.  I wish we could have spent more time in the actual gardens, but there was so much to do and not enough time to get it all done, so we focused on the activities we thought the kids would enjoy the most.  We first headed to the zoo portion of the gardens.  While the zoo is somewhat small overall, there are some really neat parts to it.  I really loved the two bird enclosures they had set up.  One was for water birds and the other was for the raptors.  You were actually able to walk right into the enclosure and view the birds up close and all the enclosures contained naturally occurring waters, swamp, etc. which I thought was really innovative.

After the zoo, we ventured back to the low country center and checked out the Discovery Center with kid's activities for my two oldest.  They really enjoyed hanging out in there and spent a good hour trying out all the different projects they had to offer.  When they wore out from that, we went to an animal show talking about the native animals of the area; they even let you touch them all which was pretty neat.  The piece of it that I watched had a skunk, turtles, and a bird.

Finally we wrapped up our day with a trip through the butterfly exhibit.  This was neat but I have to say I was a tad disappointed that they only had three different types of butterflies on display.  Usually when I've gone to an exhibit like this in the past there have been several types of butterflies to view.  None the less, the boys enjoyed it and that's what matters most.  Here are a few pictures of the trip to Brookgreen Gardens:

Finally, I had to share one of my favorite shots of the trip.  This was at the end of the final afternoon when I knew everyone was starting to feel the effects of a non-stop spring break.  I asked Nick and Alex to pose for the camera and here's what they gave me:

Do you think we sufficiently burned them out?!  Of course Alex is already asking when the next trip is going to be and talking about how much he loved the camping trip, so I know it was a success despite the worn out little rugrats that emerged from our extended weekend expedition.

Finally I wanted to mention that most of the meals turned out great.  I say most because we did have one dessert disaster.  I have learned from it though and hope to get it better the next trip so stay tuned.  I have a couple meals that did turn out yummy and I'll plan to share them here before our next camping trip in May.

Overall we had a blast at this park and I would highly recommend it as a family friendly camping destination.  Next trip, Stone Mountain!  We'll be heading there on Memorial Day weekend.   Thank for checking in and Happy Trails!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Camping Time!

Yay!  Our first camping trip is finally upon us and I can hardly wait to get out to the site.  We'll be heading to Huntington Beach State Park for a little fun at the beach. 

I have already planned the meals and bought the groceries.  Our dinners while we're there are the Easy Peasy Herbed Fish, Chicken Shish Kabobs, and Potato Kielbasa Skillet Dinner.  I'll be sure to add those recipes to the site with pictures after we get back from our trip.  I like to keep lunches and breakfasts a bit easier, simply because with three kids aged 5 to 1, one fully cooked meal at the campsite is about all I can handle.  So lunches will be sandwiches, fruit and chips and breakfasts will be cereal, organic toaster pastries (a special treat that we only get when we go camping) and fresh fruit.  And of course we need desserts and in betweens.  In case your wondering what in betweens are, I consider them the stuff you have in between meals, such as trail mix, granola bars and cheese and crackers.  For dessert I'm whipping up a batch of the Best Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Ever. (Look for this recipe next week on Mommie Cooks), some rice krispie treats for the boys, and I may try my hand at one "over the campfire" dessert.  I'm thinking about a three ingredient dessert; cake mix, fruit, and butter cooked over the campfire.  Although, I prefer not to used a boxed cake, so I may create my own cake mix before we head out the door on Thursday.  I'm also looking forward to trying out my new dutch oven!

The two older boys will be bringing their own tent again along with their star guides and bird books (we've heard this area is one of the best birding areas in the country).  The younger one will be living life in the pack and play  and the baby carrier as he's not walking yet.  I was hoping he'd get there in time for this trip, but no such luck. 

Does anyone else have a first camping trip of the season coming up?  I'd love to hear where you're planning to go and what your bringing to make your outing a special one!  Have a great week and I'll be back starting next week with all kinds of goodies to talk about!