[Photo credit: Reserve America]
Last weekend we took our family camping for the first time to El Moro Campground. Yes, I spent two nights in a tent with the family and I have to say, it was REALLY fun. I am not really a camper type, so I was a little nervous, but with this campground you can test out a camping experience while staying close to home. My kids had so much fun it was worth it. So for anyone wanting to do some OC beach camping, I wanted to tell you all about the fabulous El Moro, also known as Crystal Cove SP Moro Campground.
The camping area is fairly new and is situated on an oceanview bluff off PCH between Corona del Mar and Laguna Beach by beautiful Crystal Cove. 58 sites with picnic tables are available. If you drive down the hill from the campground you can park and take the small tunnel under PCH to go to the most gorgeous beach.
So, it is beach camping, but not on the sand beach camping. Here is the view of the beach parking area from the campsite.
And this is the amazing beach, which also includes an on the sand, new and clean restroom. Mommy like.
On the loops around campsites, kids can ride bikes and scooters and just have a grand old time. On Saturday, we got the most phenomenal day, felt like summer. We were able to spend the entire day at the beach. The sunset that night was unbelievable.
Tips / Info on El Moro Beach Camping
~ Sites are reserved through Reserve America. To have your choice of prime weekend dates, you have to book far in advance. Sites open for booking on the 1st of the month 7 months in advance. If you are flexible on your dates, there are still lots of spots available this summer, especially on weekdays.
~ There are several CLEAN restrooms throughout the campground. There are also very nice showers that run on tokens. The token machine takes bills only, not quarters. This was a big one for me and I was pleasantly surprised by the bathroom situation. Thank God.
~ Fire pits are not provided and fires are not permitted. Gas only fires and BBQs are permitted. If you didn’t know this, you might be disappointed. We were given the heads up ahead of time, and friends loaned us a Camp Chef Portable Propane Fire Pit. It gave off heat and is all you need to make s’mores. Essential.
~ Another essential to have camping is COFFEE. I slept terrible the first night, and needed some major caffeine in the AM. Friends we were camping with us had this amazing Coleman Coffeemaker that works on most two and three-burner camp stoves. If you do not have access to a coffee maker, never fear, there is a Starbucks in the Crystal Cove Promenade, literally 2 minutes away. So, as you can see, this campground is not totally “roughing it!”
~ If you have too much stuff and have to take two cars, the second car is $15/night additional.
~ If you have little ones under 4 years old, bring the jogger or a good stroller for walks.
~ Pack your walking shoes. There are gorgeous trails all throughout Moro Canyon backcountry which is right behind the campground. We didn’t do a hike this time, but I would like to next time. Or, would even make a fabulous day trip.
~ If you still have one, bring a little portable potty. My oldest woke up in the middle of the night and had to go potty. It would have been highly convenient to have one of those little portable potties for middle of the night use instead of having to walk to the bathrooms.
~ Bring hand sanitizer. I don’t think the restrooms had soap, so we kept a pump hand sanitizer on the picnic table for use before eating and after using the restroom.
~ Bring a lantern and lots of flashlights. It got very dark at night and we needed the light.
~ In my opinion, this would not be a fun trip if it rained. I would check weather prior.
~ Borrow camp stuff if you can. I posted on Facebook that we were going camping asking for recommendations on tents, and a friend responded and loaned us an awesome huge tent and gas fire pit. Nice to try it out camping before you commit to buying stuff.
~ Since it is a new campsite, there are no trees or shade, so I would definitely invest in a pop up canopy if going in the spring or summer. Even in the winter, it is a lot to be in the sun all day, so we used it even in February.
I really loved it. And I am surprised to hear myself say that. In the photo above, on this particular morning we took a walk, girls still in their pajamas, and made really fun family memories. Every once it awhile it is really nice to get a break from TV, electronics, etc. and have a little time in nature.
If you are considering braving a camping trip, I highly suggest checking out Crystal Cove SP Moro Campground and I hope you too will be happy campers!