2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

by | Sep 9, 2016 | Camping/Glamping, Destinations, Family Adventures, USA, Weekend Trips, West Coast

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What could possibly go wrong? Four boys jostling in a small space, no husbands to pawn them off on for a few seconds of peace? Well. This. This could go wrong.

 

 

kid throwing a tantrum - camping at san onofre state beach - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

having a hard time x10

 

 

And it did. Over and over again. But that’s not the whole story. The idea was born after my husband told me he was going away on a surf trip with our oldest son, Kyle.

 

 

The big boys bonding while surfing in Ixtapa - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

The big boys bonding while surfing in Ixtapa, Mexico

 

 

 

 

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Camping at San Onofre State Beach - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

 

 

He chose to go the one week of summer when there would be no camp. So, while they got to go do this:

 

 

beach during sunset - camping in san onofre with kids - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

view of their world for one week

 

 

I would get to do this

 

 

crazy kids with mom confused in the middle - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

just another day in paradise

 

 

No. I refused to let it happen. So, I asked the boys: what should we do?

 

 

2 young adventurous boys - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

You talking to ME!?

 

 

We had to do something. I didn’t think I’d survive the week without having to become a zookeeper and finding a way to re-invent the hokey pokey. Plus, I wanted to have some fun too. I’d been thinking a lot lately about San Diego. It’s where I went to college and a place I’ve always loved for it’s beauty and people’s friendliness.. There’s a beach campground in the northern part of the county called San Onofre State Beach. I used to tent camp there with my girlfriends, pre-marriage, and then our family started RV camping there postpartum. It’d been years and I wanted to go back.

 

 

 

 

 

Young boy Getting face covered with surfing zinc atSan Onofre - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

This was the last time father and son, Kyle surfed here

 

 

I booked our campsite on a website called Reserve America. Most campsites nationwide can be booked there. Because there is such a high demand for space in some campgrounds, you’d normally have to make a reservation 6 months in advance (the earliest you can reserve a campsite in California) and it still wasn’t easy. You’d have to get on your computer, your smartphone and your friend’s computer at 7 in the morning and keep hitting refresh until you found a site you could call your own. It’s like winning a crazy radio station contest. For some reason though, there were still plenty of spots available when I looked at dates two weeks out, so hurray!

 

 

Stay at San Mateo Campgrounds

 

Since we wanted to be around the San Onofre State Beach area, there are a few campground options but if you want to be as close as possible to San Onofre State Beach, then you have to stay at the campground there. However, there are two different areas to choose from, the ones at San Onofre State Beach and the ones at San Mateo Bluffs. It’s tempting to choose the San Onofre State Beach ones because those sites are closer to the ocean. I made this mistake the first time I went. They’re also closer to the 5 freeway and the railroad tracks. When you finally lie down after a long day at the beach, it feels like the cars are inches, instead of feet, away from rolling over your head. Instead of falling asleep to the serenade of ocean waves, you’re awake all night praying not to get hit and popping awake every 5 seconds after drifting off between passing trucks. When the train rolls by, you get the extra added pleasure of having the ground bounce beneath you. Earplugs might help but not by much. The San Mateo Bluffs, on the other hand, is a 5-minute drive away, still very convenient….and quiet. Just do a search for San Onofre SB and under “Narrow Results” click on the drop-down menu called “Loop” – then select a San Mateo Bluffs site from there.

 

 

Have an RV delivered to your site

 

We are bargain travelers and always trying to get the best deal. Normally, when we camp, my husband goes onto Craig’s List and finds a private party from whom we rent an RV for a fraction of the cost of renting from a dealer. We drive it ourselves. We stuff our SUV with everything we’ll need for the week or so that we’ll be using the RV and transfer everything when we arrive to the place it’s parked. It’s not hard when you have someone helping but I didn’t have the time or energy to do all that on my own with two crazy kids. I had heard of companies that do drop off rentals of trailers. It turns out, every campsite has its own companies they’re contracted to allow RV drop-offs. I called to see which companies were authorized to drop off at the campsite we chose and I was told Luv 2 Camp was my ticket. I was a little annoyed that there wasn’t a few to choose from (some campgrounds have this option) but renting from them ended up being about the same price as renting a nearby RV, driving it to the campground, and then paying extra to have them stock it with all the essentials Luv 2 Camp would already have included. Remember, we’re going for easy here. Besides, they were cool when I spoke with them and told them what we were doing and gave me a free night for an honest review. So with the foundation of our 3 night trip in place, all I needed was to recruit a trail blazing friend with kids to be my partner in crime. I found my kindred spirit in my friend, Lori, whose husband is NOT into camping and wished her well as she packed weekend gear for two boys and a mommy.

 

 

women packing surfboards and gear on top of car - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

Not afraid of heights

 

 

4 young kids inside a car smiling - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

her car

 

 

messy car, stuffed with bikes etc - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

my car

 

 

Use a list to remember what to bring

 

I’m pretty sure I have permanent mommy brain, which is a form of temporary amnesia that affects the hormonally-charged and sleep-deprived moms in early parenthood. Only mine never seemed to have gone away so lists are a must. There are several that are helpful for camping but I used the one at GoRVing.com to help me remember all those little items that non-regular campers might forget. Like firewood (they sell this at the campground for $6 a bundle if you do forget) or a first -aid kit. (We use colloidal silver first -aid gel and band-aids to heal mostly everything.) You must bring a first-aid kit because someone always gets hurt.

 

 

kid with a scraped knee - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

Ouchy

 

 

Not sure why with my mellow kids.

 

 

kid climbing rv ladder - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

Not afraid of heights either

 

 

Luckily, Lori’s boys were mellow so they sort of balanced my jumping jellybeans out.

 

 

4 young boys holding up the Shaka sign - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

Shaka bra

 

 

Sort of.

 

 

4 young boys Doing the dab - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

Doing the dab

 

 

Even with a list, we didn’t make it to the campsite until about 7pm -after all the last minute shopping…

 

 

young boy helping pack for trip- 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

he’s only pretending to be helpful

 

 

…and fighting that went on throughout the day (everything takes MUCH longer when you must stop every 2 minutes to break it up)… https://youtu.be/QBUSJ920yoo …everyone was super excited to see the RV trailer all set up and waiting for us!

 

 

inside of the RV - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

the calm before the storm

 

 

4 young boys hitting the dab in front of an RV - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

the welcome dab

 

 

We unloaded our stuff fast because the inmates were getting restless and hungry. I had brought salmon to grill on the campfire pit and Lori tossed together a salad and pasta inside the trailer. That’s the really nice thing about having an RV. You get a smidgen of comfort next to the rugged wild.

 

 

Women grilling while camping - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

wild campfire!

 

 

How to build a campfire

 

All you need to build a killer campfire is dry wood stacked in a tepee formation, newspapers beneath it and lighter fluid sprayed over the whole set up. Perfect every time.

 

 

4 young boys in front the perfect fire for the perfect night - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

the perfect fire for the perfect night

 

 

One thing I didn’t love is the rental company provided dishes and cups that were all plastic. In real life, we try and stay away from plastic, especially with hot liquids, because of all the carcinogenic and hormonally disruptive chemicals that it leeches. So we just put paper plates and cups on our shopping list for the next day (there’s a Ralph’s about a mile away). We would temporarily forego our commitment to the environment so we wouldn’t have to do dishes or poison ourselves with plastic. I think Mother Nature would understand. The next day found us up early and excited for the beach after a delicious breakfast of eggs, hash browns and turkey bacon. Score another point for the stovetop inside the warm RV.

 

 

family waking up inside of an RV - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

Morning Sunshine!

 

 

We packed our beach gear and set out.

 

 

back of car fully packed for a trip - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

remember the days when you’d only bring a towel and baby oil to the beach?

 

 

One great thing about camping at this campsite is that your parking pass for the campground is also good for the beach parking lot. Try to get to the beach on the early side, as the lot fills up fast and you have to wait in a line of cars until the current occupants call it a day.

 

 

Bring a surfboard or boogie board

 

One reason we love San Onofre State Beach is because it has the best and longest wave in Southern California. It’s the perfect place to learn to surf or just ride the ocean for what seems like forever. We specifically like a section of the beach called Old Man’s. Costco has reasonably priced foam boards which are perfect for beginners and you’ll find this beach sprinkled with them.

 

 

2 youngs boys carriny surfboard and boogie board - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

Getting ready to shoot out the tube

 

 

The waves were perfect the first day, small and long. All the boys went in and loved splashing around.

 

 

young boy boogie boarding - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

Grommit in training

 

 

3 boys surfing - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

Innovative ways to use the boards

 

 

boys surfing - there's always someone unhappy about something - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

Nothing’s perfect – someone’s always unhappy

 

 

Bring a wetsuit and booties

 

If you’re going to surf or boogie board, then you should probably bring a wetsuit and a pair of booties to protect your feet from the small rocks in the shallow parts of the beach.

 

 

young boy holding surfboard while walking over rocks - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

Ouch

 

 

We forgot ours. The boys brought their spring suits, which are wetsuits with short sleeves and pants legs, but we all forgot booties. It kinda sucked. The boys handled it ok but mommy has sensitive feet (or she’s become a wussy) and didn’t love having to navigate through those slippery, pointy little rocks. You can rent a wetsuit for $15 a day through a surf shop like Rip Curl and even a surfboard which is what Lori did.

 

 

women posing next to surfboard - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

Gidget getting ready to charge it!

 

 

We spent the day headquartered at the beach.

 

 

family sitting at beach - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

Home Away from Home

 

 

Went into the water when we felt like it.

 

 

Young boy surfing - Camping San Onofre - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

Charging it!

 

 

Even mommy got into it!

 

 

Women holding up peace sign about to go surfing- 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

See ya!

 

 

women surfing- 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

Riding the tide!

 

 

But it was Kaleb who really impressed.

 

 

young boy waiting for the wave before surfing - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

Waiting for it…paddle hard!

 

 

This is the boy who 2 years ago wouldn’t even get in the water.

 

 

young boy surfing at San Onofre - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

My guy…..

 

 

And now he rushes it!

 

 

Young boy surfing at san onofre state beach - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

Carving the waves

 

 

We had an epic day at the beach…..

 

 

Family posed in front of surfboards at the beach - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

Moms, boys and surfboards….living the dream!

 

 

…but all good things must end. We weren’t sad though because we still had our campsite to look forward to!

 

 

Family taking off wetsuits at the beach - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

Those wetsuits sure do stick!

 

 

I have said before that camping people are notoriously nice. The boys made friends with a man who was camping with his family at the site next-door. At first I wasn’t so sure this was a good idea so I stayed around to watch. Then, I made sure they all knew they couldn’t go into anyone’s RV alone and after a while I realized that despite all the media portrayal to the otherwise, there are still nice people in this world with no hidden agenda (I still kept an eye out though;)

 

 

young boys playing frisbee with their friend - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

Playing frisbee with their new friend

 

 

young boy missing the frisbee - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

Almost!

 

 

Bring Bikes

 

It’s not just for boys. Kids love to explore and there isn’t a safer place to do it than around a campground. It really is like a little village where everyone looks out for each other.

 

 

3 young boys riding bikes - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

cruising

 

 

Plus the mommies finally got a break when they could relax…

 

 

wine bottle - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

appropriately named 🙂

 

 

…and make some dinner. This night’s menu was organic hotdogs, veggie burgers, salad and s’mores!

 

 

family eating smores while camping - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

a camping essential!

 

 

After all that fun, I was super happy to climb into my warm bed.

 

 

RV bed - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

perks of an RV #246

 

 

The next morning, we were up bright and early, ready to head back to our favorite beach!

 

 

Family waking up and eating together in an RV - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

happy campers

 

 

The boys put on their beach uniforms.

 

 

boys in their wetsuits - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

punk rock surfers

 

 

And we headed out for another day of adventure. Today the tide was super low and after battling the rocks enough times (and gathering some toe injuries along the way), the boys decided to explore the tide pools created by the receding water.

 

 

boys at the beach exploring - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

exploring the finer things

 

 

Boy exploring at the beach - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

who’s that handsome guy?

 

 

After another long and fun day at the beach, we went back to our campsite and loaded up on more s’mores, wine and chocolate (oh yeah, there was a dinner in there too but this time we just got Mexican because there was a drive-through restaurant next door to the surf shop where we had to return our wetsuits and surfboard – the mommies had earned a break!) The night flew by…..

 

 

moonlight camping - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

moonlight camping

 

 

Sadly, the next morning we had to load up our gear to head back home.

 

 

mom packing it all back into her car - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

packing it all back in

 

 

As we were getting ready to leave, the boys rode back to us, bike tires blazing, to tell us they had discovered a blind cat in a sewer and could they have some food to feed it?

 

 

boys sitting outside - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

camping really does bring out the best in a city boy

 

 

Success! The “blind” cat succumbed to their entreaties to eat and he gobbled up the remainder of my lox and salmon jerky. I think this cat had a good day.

 

 

black cat - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

lucky cat

 

 

We were determined, despite how tired we were, to squeeze out every possible moment from the beach which had also become our friend’s favorite. Even though our camping passes expired on this third day, they were still good for beach parking thus saving us $15. We discovered the waves were a bit bigger on our final day.

 

 

family surfing big waves - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

bigger = real waves

 

 

The boys went in but soon gave up.

 

 

boy dragging surfboard at the beach - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

what a drag….

 

 

So they did other things to get their energy out before riding in the car for two hours.

 

 

boys wrestling at the beach- 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

I think the surfers were taking bets….

 

 

Bring A Camera

 

It was time to go home and although the overall beauty we all experienced during the three days of camping lies more in our hearts than in these words or pictures – it will be through these pictures that we will be able to relive our experiences.

 

 

brothers sitting at the beach- 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

a moment of true brotherhood…

 

 

boys playing pokemon - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

playing pokemon with cards instead of screens

 

 

2 women posing for a selfie - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

waking up with friends

 

 

young boy smiling at the beach- 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

overcoming fears

 

 

Family holding thumbs up in front of RV - 2 Moms, 4 Boys and an RV: 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

We not only survived, we thrived!

 

 

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2 Moms, 4 Boys, and an RV - 7 Tips For Camping at San Onofre State Beach

 

 

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