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Thursday, April 18, 2019

Our Camping Trip at Lopez Lake // Arroyo Grande, CA

My mom and dad recently returned from Flordia after a 6-month stay during which time my dad received a liver transplant. He is doing wonderfully, all things considered. Since my parents weren't sure of anything, planning a vacation ahead of time was out of the question. Because of this, my mom pretty much just looked for whatever was available during Spring break that was 5 or fewer hours away.

She hesitantly booked our site at Lopez Lake in Arroyo Grande, CA. We all love San Luis Obispo County but we'd never heard of Lopez Lake. We didn't know what we were getting ourselves into. I will say that their website needs a facelift because we loved every bit of this trip and would happily return.

We unknowingly vacationed during the slowest two weeks of the Spring. I'd do it again in a heartbeat! The only downside was that the Vista Lago Adventure Park and Mustang Waterpark were both closed so we missed out on ziplining, an obstacle course, and waterpark adventures. The weather wasn't the best for the waterpark but we'll hopefully make our way back to check these things out.

Even with the parks closed, Lopez Lake kept us all busy and happy. Scroll down for details and visuals about what we did.

Boating
The lake has so many boating options! From kayaks to pontoons, they have something for your boating needs. Plus, the staff was so friendly! They also have a restaurant/bar and general store in the same place. 
Even with colder weather, being on the lake was refreshing. We definitely had to snuggle up to keep warm! Something I don't hate.
Our kids did not love their life vests. It was a challenge keeping them distracted. My mom was great about asking them to point out things like trees and clouds and my husband helped them fish off the boat. They also took turns "driving" the boat, but this turned into quite the ordeal. 
Fishing & The Lake
Just the walk to the lake was a ton of fun for the kids. They jumped over every crevice and decided to just plop down and dig a little because they saw some "good digging dirt." Haha! We took our time, coffee cups in hand, to enjoy life at their speed for a bit.
My favorite morning was when we basically woke up, grabbed our coffee and snacks (because that's all the kids ate) and headed to the lake. Watching my kids and niece enjoying nature instead of asking for a screen was the kind of rejuvenating this mama's heart needed.
We didn't plan on the kids actually getting the water, which was totally ridiculous on our part. Slowly but surely they made their way at least waist deep despite our comments of "don't go so deep." Part of me wanted to have a talk about being good listeners but then I just decided to let it go. They were outside, in nature, fully enjoying themselves. Maverick spent the entire morning wading into the lake, filling up his bucket or my coffee cup, walking it back on shore, and dumping it out. Over and over and over.
My husband and brother really enjoy fishing so it was important to camp near a lake. They got what they wanted! The kids really enjoyed trying to fish as well. Payton, our youngest, told me, "mama! I was patient! I was patient!" after reeling in the line without a fish on it. She was just thrilled to try. I pray that spirit grows in her.
With all the things and all the kids in arms, the walk back was a tad more challenging than the walk there. But totally worth all the arm shuffling and sighing.
Hiking
Josh, my husband, and I were able to sneak away for a hike. Lopez Lake offers quite a few different trail options and they're rated from easy to difficult. The ranger station has a list of hikes with a map that includes the length and approximate time needed to complete it. We chose a moderate hike that was just under 2 hours.
When we noticed ticks, we veered off the path and did a little exploring of our own. We admired the adventure and waterparks from afar and watched hawks gracefully glide over the lake. It was a fun little date.
I just love his hat! He really is the best dad ever. 
Kiddo Activities 
Grandparents & family! Just snuggling and giggling was very popular and in high demand.
The park. Now, most camping situations don't have parks, but we were very grateful for this very modern and well-maintained park that was just outside of our campsite. My biggest desire for this trip was to get our kiddos outside way more, especially right in the morning. Maverick woke up one morning and immediately pointed in the direction of the park and said "ide?" which means slide in Maverick talk. They played so hard!
Cards & board games. I just don't think a whole lot needs to be said here. Little kids feel really big when they get to play cards and games with adults. Plus you get to do it outside.
I mentioned the scavenger hunt here. This gave the kids something to focus on and also something for us to distract them with no matter where we were. It was wonderful! We tried so hard to find a turkey feather with no luck. Maybe next time.
They still had screentime, which broke my heart a little but ultimately, it was really good cousin time. They watched way less tv while camping, by a whole lot and it was the perfect time for the adults to get ready for bed.

Never underestimate the power of dirt. If we could, we would pay all the dirt a whole lot of money for keeping our kiddos entertained. 

S'mores
  Enough said. Just make them while camping. They're delicious.
Going to Town
Arroyo Grande, the town about 10 miles from Lopez Lake, is adorable! It has wonderful restaurants, coffee shops, and charm that will tickle you happy.

If you're shopping around for places to camp in Southern California, I cannot recommend Lopez Lake enough. We loved it so much that we talked about making it a Spring Break tradition.

Check them out and let us know if you've been there! What did you love about it? 
Is there something we missed? 

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6 comments :

  1. This looks like such a fun and rejuvenating family trip. It's so great you were able to sneak off for a little hike with your husband and see your kids enjoy nature without missing screens at all. Lopez lake looks completely beautiful, makes me anxious for outdoor adventures this summer!

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    1. Jordyn, it is so funny to me how everytime we spend time outside we want to do it more and say we'll do it more and then we just don't. Haha. That follow through in life is tough. Do you have any plans for your summer adventures? XOXO Lindsey

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  2. I'm glad to know that your dad is doing well! It looks like you had a great family vacation. My family always loved camping.

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    1. Beth, my dad is doing so well and it's something I'm trying to figure out how to write about. I just feel like so much of it is story and not mine to tell...we shall see what the future holds. What were your favorite camping spots as a kid? Thanks for reading! XOXO Lindsey

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  3. Looks like a great trip - and really beautiful there! And I agree, no camping trip would be complete without s'mores ;)

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    1. Becky, we're kindred spirits! There is something about a s'more. I'm tempted to make them at home but I think things would get way out of control. Haha. I almost bought peanut butter cups to use instead of just plain chocolate. IT was really beautiful! I'm glad that message was relayed. Do you have any disney spins for a good s'more dessert? XOXO Lindsey

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