Family Fun Adventure: Big Sur, CA

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Skipping back to May to play a little blog catch up brings you a Family Fun Adventure from Big Sur, CA! I believe this drive along Highway 1 and exploring this area should be on everyone’s bucket list and certainly so if you live in Cali. It IS just that amazingly beautiful. We barely scratched the surface of visiting here in the day and a half that we spent there and look forward to returning again soon.

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Left:  A foggy Bixby Bridge Right: A tiny happy camper

Remember when I mentioned that we had decided to do some camping this year with the kids? Well, we basically took a look at our schedule and made the call to kickstart our summer camping idea Memorial Day weekend. Hooray, we have 3 days to make a trip in, not such good news is that because of the holiday everything that can be reserved has been. We had a couple friends driving down to meet us and they were able to score a camp spot at a private campground about an hour north of the area we wanted to hike around.

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First order of business after arriving at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park which is a day use area is to A. Find a place to park (SO crowded! Probably made worst by the holiday), B. Have lunch and C. Restroom break. The parking is $10 (if I remember correctly) you can also park on the street across from the park. After accomplishing those listed items we were off on a very short walk  (about 10-15 minutes) to see McWay Falls.

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The cool McWay Falls and a lovely little cove. It was a really foggy day so we didn’t get real great pictures. You can definitely take the jogging stroller along for this walk and its a very manageable stroll for all ages. That being said you are gonna wanna hold tightly or keep the little kids within arms distance. The board walk right at the viewing area of the falls, has a wooden railing, but huge holes that curious littles can easily fall through. Especially be careful when taking pictures that there is always at least one pair of eyeballs on the kids! We had four adults and three older children keeping tabs on our one preschooler while trading off to take pictures. Geez-Oh-Petes…all I wanted to do was get a couple pictures and get away from that dangerously scary spot!

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Left: Another angle of the gorgeous cove Right: View right next door of the coastline. Like I said it was really foggy, but I’ve seen breathtaking photos of the bright blue water here

Here is a link with more information: http://www.hikinginbigsur.com/hikes_mcwayfalls.html

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Left: 3 big boys hiking Canyon Trail Right: For some reason Azure was smitten with a piece of bark he was pretending was a boomerang. Funny boy! He also wanted a picture in front of this burnt tree

The Canyon Trail to Canyon Falls a 60 foot waterfall is a wonderful 1/2 mile hike round trip. It took us quite a bit longer than a 1/2 mile usually does and the credit goes to McWay Creek that runs alongside the trail. My littlest LOVES to throws rocks into water and pretend he’s fishing. We spent a lot of time trying to coax him away from the waters edge. The creek is small, so it is quite safe to let your littles hang out there while the grown up have some lunch.

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This hike is like a wonderland for kids and grown ups alike. There are many fallen log bridges to keep things interesting. Its such a peaceful and shaded forested trail. It was quite crowded with many hikers all over. But it wasn’t too uncomfortable as most of the trail is a wide path. It was easy for our littles aged 3 and 6, but I don’t think its jogger stroller friendly.

Next we headed up the Ewoldsen Trail which was equally as beautiful. This trail climbed and it did have a steep drop off the side, though with all the trees and brush it didn’t feel dangerous. Our little guy was pretty tired by now and he got Hubbs to carry him, so it worked out well. We made it about 2 hours up the trail and could make out an ocean view. Again, this trail had quite a few hikers and since its a bit narrow in parts we found our big group of 7 plus 2 friends, stopping from time to time to let others pass us. Most people were pretty patient letting the kids move off the path but sometimes we felt a bit in the way. Maybe I have a complex 🙂

Here is more information: http://www.hikinginbigsur.com/hikes_ewoldsen.html

Next we headed back to camp for a cookout and some campfire smores and that completed day one.

The next morning was spent breaking down the camp and packing up the gear. It was a late morning when we arrived at our hiking area so instead of carrying lunch with us we opted for getting lunch out of the way first. Today we hiked in Limekiln State Campground. There is a $10 day use fee, if I remember correctly and there are restrooms and a few picnic tables. This is a small 28 site campground, really beautiful with huge shady trees and a creek. Or yeah, there’s also the beach across the street. More on that later.

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First we took the Falls Trail which is a lovely easy walk for all ages. Their were quite a few other families with young children making this hike. It’s about 1.5 miles round trip and takes about an hour.

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There is something about water that makes a hike magical. At least it keeps things fun and the kids really enjoy it. Personally, I love the sound of the water and all the shade! I would definitely push to hike more often if I found these types of trails near home.

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Left: Little hiker Right: This guy was convinced by his big brothers that this plant was giant clovers, so he HAD to have a picture with them and tuck one behind his ear

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Here are the bottom of the Falls. It was nice that you could walk right up to the base of them and even climb up, as there were a ton of people trying to do just that and since we didn’t want to be wet for our drive home, we decided to enjoy them from the bottom. The falls are about 90 feet high and it was nice and full of water at this time of year (May 2014)

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Next we back tracked and took the other trail to the limekilns that the park gets its name from. They look like giant chimneys, not particularly interesting to the kids…but it was another great and easy hike

Here’s a link with more information: http://www.hikinginbigsur.com/hikes_limekiln.html

After completing the hike we walked across the street to the beach. Now the beach is just a small little cove, not too amazing, but what IS special about it is the stream!

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Yeah, hmmm. So I let one of my older boys take photos of the stream, but he ended up taking pictures of his brothers instead. Anyhoo, there is an awesome stream which I’m guessing is the one that runs through the campground. It is definitely a fun element you don’t normally find on the beach. It’s a nice decent size with large rocks lining the stream. Perfect for making little splash pools for the kiddies. We certainly could have spent hours letting the littles play and the beach was pretty full of families with the same idea. I imagine most of the people were campers from across the way. Sadly, we needed to head back home by this time, but the day was nice and clear so the drive was spectacular! The views of the cliffs and water is absolutely gorgeous.

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Left: Seals sunning themselves Right: A couple of seals fighting

On the way home we stopped by the elephant seal rookery near Cambria, CA. We had been here before but it was a super cold windy day in April last year. This time perfect sunny weather. There are always lots of people viewing the seals here, but there is plenty of space to walk along and get a good look. Our kids were being lazy (the older ones) and sleeping (littles) so Hubbs and I got to have a look-see on our own! We even held hands, really enjoying the couple of minutes we wandered around 🙂 Hey, gotta’ take what you can.

Here is more information: http://www.elephantseal.org/

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And one close up to close up this post. Have a fun summer all!

 

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