Point Reyes National Seashore | California

Point Reyes Coast Camp: What was it like backpacking with kids for the first time?

Well, let’s put it this way. Honestly, Ashley went backpacking when she was young and hadn’t been ever since. I (Justin) have never gone backpacking and only occasionally went camping with the family. We’ve been hikers since the girls were young, but never with packs weighing more than a few pounds. This was the first time taking them several miles with weight on their backs and camping in close quarters (when you’re packing it all on your back, you have to be very selective about what you’re bringing with you– and a huge tent is not really an option). In full disclosure, I didn’t actually want to go. SUPER glad we did, but this was all Ashley’s brainchild. When she first brought it up, I said if I was going to do it, I would want to be by the ocean. We’ve been going to the Oregon coast for years and the ocean has always been such a special place to us. It was the only way it sounded a little appealing to me and Ashley could get what she wanted as well.

So Ashley went to work looking for just the right place. And a few weeks later, she called me in from her office to say she’d found it. On her screen were photos of a California peninsula called “Point Reyes” that could only be accessed by backpacking a few miles in. I had to admit, it looked pretty awesome. Ashley then said, “There’s even a spot called “Secret Beach” that’s only accessible during low tide!” With a name like that, we HAD to see it.

Backpacking for the first time… with kids?

The girls were quite the troopers going in, obviously needing to stop a time or two (even I didn’t mind stopping once or twice, 40 pounds on my back wasn’t exactly something I’d adequately trained for). But when we arrived at the camp, I was blown away. It was awesome– hidden, close to the beach, and lush green as far as the eye could see. Secret beach, like you see in the video above, was as remarkable as advertised. Easily one of the most memorable moments of the trip– except for the sandstorm that kicked up on our way back. Secret beach was about a 40 minutes walk from camp, so it took a while to fight through.

While far from the easiest thing they’ve ever done, the girls said they loved most of it– except the sandstorm and freeze dried Neapolitan ice cream chunks from our food rations. As far as first timers go, this was definitely a good one to start with for us. The hike in was about 3 miles and mostly flat. There’s another way that’s a steep mile uphill. We took this on the way back and totally regretted it. The girls all said they wished we’d gone back the way we came. Longer wasn’t necessarily a problem when the terrain was much more forgiving.

What made it nicer?

The potable water made life easier (we had water purifiers, but decided to go a little less stressful on round one). There were also bathrooms close to camp, which saved our lives on more than a few occasions. It may not suit everyone’s vacation plans, but it might have just become our new annual vacation spot. See the video and you’ll understand why.

First Song: Credit to MixKit, all the rest from Filmora
Additional Sound FX: Credit to ZapSplat