Excellent Toddler Camping: Lake Chabot
By the end of the summer playgrounds are full of parents boasting about camping trips. I have heard some crazy stories such as, “we took our three month old backpacking in remote Nepal for six weeks” and “our three year old wore his own pack and trekked ten miles near Joshua Tree.” I am sure you have heard a few outdoor tall toddler outdoorsy tales, especially if you are here in the Bay Area.
My camping tale is much more subdued. I choose a spot about twenty minutes from where we live. Lake Chabot is part of the East Bay Regional Park system. It is fabulous! I had scouted the campsite out months earlier to make sure it was toddler-friendly, we had cell reception and to pick the site with the best view. I have found a little over-preparation can really pay off with toddler outings….
I had a lot of peace of mind because I knew that if my daughter wasn’t happy and/or couldn’t sleep and/or there was uncomfortable weather that we could always head home and be there lickity split. It turns out the camping gods and goddesses were smiling on us. We had great weather, my daughter slept comfortably and more soundly in her pack ‘n play in the tent than she does at home and we thoroughly enjoyed this milestone first family camping trip.
There is plenty of hiking, fishing biking and boating at Lake Chabot. Sadly there is no swimming though the rangers can direct you to nearby swimming holes. The campsites were clean and the views were beautiful. Doggies are only $2/day. The rangers’ hourly drive thrus could frustrate some but I appreciated them: I felt safer with the munchkin in tow and I think it kept rowdy campers in check which can always be an issue when car camping. All in all the trip was a resounding success! I highly recommend the park for day trip activities too.