By: Erin Tessier
We’ve had a blast camping here in the Glenn! We hiked through nature with our binoculars, finding different animals, their tracks and scat (that’s poop to the layperson, or as many of my fellow campers referred to it… “poo poo”). We then found sticks to help us roast our food over the campfire. Finally, after a campfire story, it was time to settle down for the night. We headed into our tent and listened for all the animals we’d seen. We heard a rattlesnake rattle and knew we shouldn’t go near. We also heard the loud screech of the barn owl, the sorrowful call of the mourning dove, and the excited howling and yips of coyotes. Come sun-up our little campers helped put out the “campfire” before heading back to class.
I love this time of year for camping because of how green it is here in San Diego County and the potential for wildflowers. It is a bit late to get a coveted spot in Anza-Borrego for the blooms this year, but maybe start planning ahead for next year =). Here are some recommended local campsites that aren’t too far and are family friendly:
For the local residents in the area this is a close and easy camping trip for novices and those with young children. Lake Poway offers specific camp nights starting in April as well as family camping nights including s’mores, guided night hikes, a magic show, and a pancake breakfast. The first family camping event is July 8th. See the link below for more information.
Fishing, paddles boats, and playgrounds make this is a great family camping site and very easy to get to. They are primarily an RV camp site, but do have limited tent spots, as well as floating cabins available. And you have Mission Trails for more hiking right next door.
Roar & Snore at the Safari Park:
So this is a bit different than your typical camping in San Diego, but quite the experience. Disclaimer, I might be a little biased given I used to work there =). It’s the only place I know of in San Diego where a lion’s roar is your alarm clock. You often hear the elephants talking throughout the evening too. And that view over the African plains field exhibit as the sun rises is just amazing. Campfire activities, dinner, snack, breakfast, and animal activities included.
Bandy Canyon Ranch:
Ok, so I’m a bit biased on this one too since it was our wedding venue, but if you’re looking for more of a glamping experience along with a ranch feel this is a great spot. Horseback riding available and pool on site. They even allow dogs in some of the cabins. It’s right across the valley from the Safari Park.
Really want to get away from it all and expose your kids to a completely different ecosystem? Then this is the place for you. The coniferous forests of pine, cedar, and fir make you feel like you’ve stepped into the Sierra Nevadas. Simply beautiful!
San Elijo State Beach:
It might be a little early for beach camping, but as it warms up a bit more I love this site. You have the adorable town of Cardiff at your back, Encinitas just north of you, and Torrey Pines’ hiking just to the South. Reservations are accepted 7 months in advance.