One of the things I love about living in the Bay Area, and especially about living on the Peninsula, is our proximity to amazing outdoor spaces. We have some of the finest camping and hiking spots available anywhere in the world – I truly believe that.
This past week, my son and I took full advantage of this amazingness to have our end of summer camping trip at Memorial Park – a gem in the San Mateo County park system. Memorial Park is a whopping 45 minutes from our house, but feels worlds away.
Connected with Sam McDonald Park and Pescadero Creek Park, Memorial Park is located in the southern portion of San Mateo County, and on the mountain ridge. Nestled in a dense redwood tree forest, it feels like another world, yet is easily accessed from LaHonda Road.
Memorial Park is 673 acres of beauty. There is a day use area to access trails, and numerous campsites. As a county park, people may overlook it as a great camping option and it can be easier to book a site than for some of the state parks. The park includes a nature center as well as a great camp store (cash only,) with a super friendly proprietor.
Jackson and I have gotten to be pretty good campers together, adding a little something to our supplies each time. This time we added both the hammock (which I hear was comfortable, but was never able to actually sit in,) as well as a Dutch Oven (which was crucial and produced some amazing post-hike nachos!)
We took advantage of the proximity to the two other parks to set out for some hiking. We went into Pescadero Creek Park and were amazed by the wonders we found on our nearly 6 mile hike (including the cool/creepy cover image on this post).
One of the things I really love about hiking with my son is the opportunity it gives us to talk. Without video games, cell phones and work to be done, we can focus on each other and the beauty around us. Having a 13 year old, I am always super grateful for a chance like this.
Even though we were in Pescadero Creek Park, we didn’t really think about having a stream crossing, but we did. I’d like to say we smoothly crossed over without getting wet, but we didn’t. We tromped on through, enjoying the cool down. The creek also gave us a chance to have a great rock skipping competition – I won for accuracy, he won for velocity!
If you’re looking for an easy camping trip, especially if you’re new to camping, Memorial Park is a great place to start. If for some reason the trip is a disaster (highly unlikely,) you can always pack up and be home in very little time. But most likely, you’ll have an amazing time and be able to reconnect with your family and yourself.