After we visited Doran Beach Regional Park back in April, I noticed there were campgrounds in the park and thought it would be fun to camp there. I checked their website thinking nothing for the summer would be available on such late notice, but there was one lone campsite at a time where both my parents and our family had free, so we made the reservation. The campground was even dog friendly and allowed dogs right on the beach; Ripley was excited to come with us too. (Of course, she’s excited whenever we let her out the front door, haha.)
Our campsite was beautiful but not ideal for little kids – we were right across from the beach, which was gorgeous, but also close to the road, which was not so good. You’d look down to take off your shoes or something and look up again and Damien is three steps from the road. (To his credit, he never went into the road without someone there, but still, he is three after all.) There’s only one road in and out of the park, and unfortunately the day use parking lot is at the very end of the road while the campgrounds are in the middle, so there was always traffic (even at night, which was a little bright – another drawback of this site.) However, there were lots and lots of good camping sites that were bigger and backed up to the wetlands/bay, where there were no roads or traffic, so we just need to get a reservation earlier next time.
The last time we were at the ocean, Damien was afraid of the water and spent all his time in the sand. This time he seemed to have spontaneously overcome that fear – he didn’t go into the water without people with him (the water being fairly cold may have had something to do with that) but he was happy to jump at the edge of the waves and play in the water. That made my beach-loving heart very pleased. 🙂 I didn’t even take Rowen down to the water (it was way too cold for him) so he had a great time playing in the sand and splashing in the water Damien brought back in buckets.
The first day, it was pretty windy and so we flew our poor cheap kite, which barely survived (although Dan still did a great job of flying it anyway.) There were other schmancy kites that could do cool tricks and were fun to watch, even when ours was done. The next day was hot, so we traded off playing on the beach/in the water and resting in our shady tents. Dan and I left the boys with my parents during naptime and drove into Sebastopol to wander around. We found the cutest used bookstore ever, a really fun toy store (parent tip: it is much more fun to look in a toy store without little people begging for things and pulling toys off the shelves to play with and/or ruin), and a delicious bakery/coffee shop. (We also went to Safeway for more water, because neither our family nor my parents brought enough. Oops.)
We had a few typical issues – I totally lost my temper with Damien after he wouldn’t stop harassing Rowen; Damien insisted on sleeping with us the first night so we had four of us squished on one bed (he slept with my parents the second night, thank goodness); despite frequent applications of sunscreen I still burned worse than I have in years (I had one strip of skin on my back that blistered and actually made me sick for a few days) (amazingly, the burns turned to a tan, which hasn’t happened to me in a good 20 years, so that probably means I have officially damaged my skin beyond repair.) But despite the problems we still had a great time, and I definitely want to go back there – hopefully next summer, if we don’t move too far away.