Camping Coast to Coast with Kids: How to Make It Work

            When we took the troops west from New Jersey the second time, we made it to the Pacific Coast.  For a little over a month we traversed the United States, a beautiful country, taking in the Painted Desert, the Mississippi and Colorado Rivers, icy mountain lakes in Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks in California and Olympic National Park in the state of Washington, and the forests of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, the mighty California Redwoods, and the Hoh Rain Forest in Washington state.
One of the great sites in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.
An alluvium fan at the bottom of the mountain left after a flood.
Yes, it’s true! The trailer became very… how shall I say it? “Cozy?” The trailer could “sleep” seven, it said in the owner’s manual, not sustain their sanity. By the time we got to the west coast, we had it down to a science. 
There was a floating schedule of who sat where in the travel van and at the dinner tables. See my post entitled “Keeping the Peace with Schedules” where I talk about how to create schedules to keep parents from tearing their hair out while driving and camping with kids.
The people with the longest arms in our family; i.e., my husband, our second daughter, and our son, sat on the ends of the dining tables as they could pass things between our two tables and reach things on the counters that couldn’t fit on the tables. 
The “thing” that we could never find when we needed it was the toothpaste, and the “thing” that was everywhere was the dirty laundry.  In fact, it ran around the camper at night. I heard it!
Our towels and bathing suits dried instantly while we camped in the desert, and the towels and suits stayed sopping wet once we reached the coast.
But we saw the county together.  The great Milky Way greeted us each night, stretching on forever as if God swished his wide, white paintbrush through the Heavens for all to see.  We saw shooting stars and the space station moving steadily across the night sky. 
We had black bear visit the campground in Sequoia National Park some nights, although never to our particular site.  We locked our food in bear lockers provided by the park. This is addressed in my post “Don’t Want This Hug.” 
Food should not be left in campers or tents as bears have a keen sense of smell. They have been known to slash through tents and campers to get at food, or what they consider food. Cosmetics, perfumes, and some shampoos have strong fragrances that bears can’t distinguish from food.  These items must be stored carefully if you bring them along on camping trips.
Our family went on nature hikes through the forests and mountains with rangers and saw black bear up close on this lengthy coast-to-coast camping trip.  The mighty Sequoia trees towered above us like sentinels standing guard over all the earth.  We stood inside their massive trunks, scarred by fire, yet still they tower and survive.  These broccoli-topped evergreen trees give new meaning to the word “awesome!” I describe some of our experiences in my post “A Real Live Giant:The Mighty Sequoias.” 
Fourth of July fireworks exploded amid orange cliffs in Nevada.  The Pacific Ocean and California and Washington beaches were windswept and brisk.  San Francisco really is straight up and straight down.  The roller coasters they call cable cars should come with seat belts.  They allow “goofy kids” (mine) to hang on the outside pointing and shouting, “Look Mom!  That road goes straight down.”  Mom couldn’t look.  She didn’t want to lose her place on the Rosary. 
America the Beautiful?  Yes, indeed. I plan to share more stories from our cross-country adventures in future posts. I hope your summer was exciting and memorable. Please feel free to share some of your adventures. Enjoy your Labor Day weekend!

10 thoughts on “Camping Coast to Coast with Kids: How to Make It Work”

  1. The Hoh Rainforest was one of my favorite National Park Adventures this year.

    I've been to San Francisco a couple of times, but I didn't go on the cable cars. The last time I was there, was on Super Bowl weekend of 2016. It was craziness, but the Puppy Bowl was adorable.

  2. Hi Victoria Marie – my summer was nowhere near as amazing as yours – sounds delightful … crazy, extraordinary a vacation to remember for you all – fantastic news … and what fun. Love the idea of the dirty laundry following you around … and hanging on to your rosary for dear life in San Fran … delightful post – cheers Hilary

  3. Thanks, Michelle. It was definitely awesome to see this great country of ours. Thanks again for your kind words here on Camping with Five Kids. I plan to tell more stories about this trip in upcoming posts, so please stop back! Happy Labor Day!

  4. Hello and welcome to Camping with Five Kids, Morgan. Thanks so much for following my blog. It's greatly appreciated.

    The Hoh Rain Forest is a truly unique National Park. I'm planning a post on our adventures there so be sure to stop back at Camping with Five Kids to read it.

    San Francisco is another unique place here in the United States. The cable cars are terrifying–especially for a mother of five crazy kids who liked to hang off the poles to point out things to her. That will be another adventure to share here on Camping with Five Kids. Oh, and my kids think the Puppy Bowl is the best part of the Super Bowl.

    Thanks again for your comment, Morgan. I really appreciate it. All best to you!

  5. Thank you so much for your kind words, Hilary. Oh my gosh, it was an exciting trip. Look for more stories about our many adventures from this trip in upcoming posts. And I'm sure your summer was amazing as well. There are many ways to have a wonderful summer. I always enjoy reading your interesting posts. I learn so much.

    As always, it's a pleasure seeing you here at Camping with Kids, Hilary. All the best to you, my dear!

  6. You and your family certainly get around Victoria Marie. What memories your kids will have when they grow up, not many will have better.

    The Grand Canyon and San Francisco are on my bucket list but will I ever make it? I would love to visit Alcatraz, friends who have been all say it's a great experience.


  7. I must admit, the kids didn't want to go to Alcatraz. I think it was the fact that it was a prison from which no one escapes and only the really bad guys go there and the mafia. I was alright with it. There's so much to see in California. Don't forget to add the sequoia and redwood trees to your bucket list, especially if you make it to California, Bill. They are giant trees.

    It's always a pleasure seeing you here at Camping with Five Kids. Thanks for your kind words, Bill. They are appreciated more than you realize. All best to you, sir!


Leave a Comment