Amir and I love camping and since Colette was a toddler, we thought now was a good time to introduce her to it. Initially, we were going to stay in a camper, because we thought baby steps were best. However, that ended up falling through. To be honest, the start of this trip was ridiculous. We hadn’t reserved a place to camp, and picking up the camper was turning into a nightmare. I had already packed for having an oven and warm camper, but at the last hour I had to pack for tent camping. I was so frustrated and annoyed but looking back, it turned out great. Suppose I should learn how to roll with the punches more?
Here’s how our first family tent camping trip went down last October in Malibu – one night only. Best to dip our toes instead of doing a straight week!
Once everything was re-packed, we headed down along the beach to test our luck and find a camping spot at one of the state parks – with no reservations. Well we had no luck. Everything was fully booked and the rangers said they booked up months in advance. We knew this but we thought we could be the lucky ones to find something. Bah. So we’re about to go home, pissed and annoyed, when we see Malibu Beach RV Park. We thought, maybe they’d have a few tent spots. And they did!!!
I’m so glad they did because really, I was in no mood to go home after all the work I put in. Packing for camping takes a lot of planning from meals to sleeping supplies to how to keep a toddler entertained. It’s no joke. Not that we couldn’t find a grocery store and anything else we needed – we’re in Malibu. I just wanted it to feel like we were camping away from life. I get a little hard core about wanting it be an authentic camping trip – like I did growing up.
So yes, I know it’s an RV park but the tent camping area was so cool. It had at least 20 sites with the option to face the mountain or face the ocean. It’s $40-50 dollars in the winter, low season with just a tent, no hookups, per night. We were camping in the low season, October, so it was perfect. We selected an ocean view because, we’re in Malibu and why wouldn’t we? Well perhaps because you are on a cliff and the ocean winds were blowing at us on an already chilly day. We coped, the view was worth it.
A few extras about the RV Park. The tent area has a huge, very clean restroom with showers and an outside sink to rinse dishes. The view of the beach was just amazing – we really loved it. There wasn’t a lot of shade so if it had been sunny or in the summer, I would want to bring a pop up. I could however, see us inviting friends and family and having a huge camping trip with everyone up there. Near the front office, which is down the hill, there was a mini-convenience store, a pool table area and a small play area for kids.
Once we arrived we set up the tent and unloaded our stuff. I immediately started making chili for dinner because we were loosing light. What a perfect dish for a chilly camping trip! If I would have pre-made some cornbread it would be been that much better. After dinner the wind started to pick up, making it chiller, so we headed down to the front office area to play some pool. I know, I know, that’s not camping but whatever. Rolling with the punches guys.
Once we finished our round of pool we headed back up and inside the tent for some fun. I will say because we lost light much quicker, it was very important to pack stuff for Colette to do inside the tent. Kids love lanterns and glow sticks so it was pretty easy to entertain her. She really loved camping. Combined with the lights and the fact we were all sleeping in the tent together, well forget it! Once she fell asleep Amir and I headed outside the tent for some hot chocolate, but the winds and weather made it very chilly. We weren’t outside long before we decided to call it a night.
To be honest, I’m not used to cold camping. Growing up we mostly camped in the summer, in the south, so I was ill-prepared for the wind and cold. Amir and Colette slept just fine, but not me because I was cold. We ended up setting up the blow-up mattress – something I won’t be doing again. Colette and I slept on that and Amir was on the floor with some padding. Blowup mattress are inherently uncomfortable so that was a bad call on my part.
Morning came and it was crisp and cool. The ocean looked still and perfect. We made breakfast and coffee, which always tastes better while camping. That’s the thing I look forward to the most while camping – breakfast. Colette finally got to explore the area and play around outside. Rain was heading our way so we packed up and headed out. It was a super quick trip, but one I remember fondly already. We headed down the 1, stopping at piers and beach spots on our way home.
Overall camping in Malibu, in the fall, was lovely. With some tweaks next time, it will be even better. I’d recommend the Malibu Beach RV Park for tent camping and anywhere in Malibu as a camping destination in general. I also encourage you to start camping with your toddler too! Camping is such a novel idea to a toddler: sleeping outside, cooking outside, bugs and dirt. What’s not to love? Add in some cheap dollar store toys and it’s even better.
Malibu Tent Camping Menu:
- Turkey & cheese sandwiches
- Pre-made or store bought cornbread
- Scrambled eggs
- Orange Juice
- Lunch – dine out
- Fruits, that travel well oranges & apples
- String cheese
Toddler Toys for Camping:
- Easy crafts – Micheal’s has lots of sticker crafts that require no glue or extra items
- Crayons & Paper
- Books – took these from home
- Glow in the dark anything, bracelets, necklaces, wands, etc… I picked up ours from the dollar store
- Balls to play with outside
- Mini bowling set, croquet set, any kind of fun outdoor game – again dollar store