Growing up, we went almost nowhere. Sure, we did the standard we live in California things, like go to Disneyland, Universal Studios, Lake Tahoe, San Francisco, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and whatnot. But I can count on one hand how many family vacations we took during my childhood. My goal with our kiddos, to take them somewhere each month. It doesn’t have to be a fancy trip. Or far away. Or expensive. Just somewhere. Ever since Steamboat Rock State Park, I discovered different state parks with cabins. Hence Twin Harbors State Park.
After we made it home from Steamboat Rock, I booked a few state park cabins. Twin Harbors was first up. Cabins—and yurts—are about as campy as I get. I like that electricity thing. And beds, even if they’re not that comfortable. Doors, doors are good. Walls, too. A roof. I booked the cabin—one of four at Twin Harbors—for two nights. The plan was to head down Friday afternoon and leave Sunday around noon. Plans changed. Brian had a long week at work and I had a long week with everything school kicking off… neither of us were up for driving Friday afternoon in heavy traffic, only to arrive at dark, close to bedtime. Instead, we left early Saturday morning. Which worked out better… we didn’t hit any traffic, and we arrived rested and ready for the day.
It was close to noon when we arrived. The goal was to grab lunch on the way but we ended up driving straight there. It took us a bit to find the cabin. Now we know this, but there are two separate camping areas of the park. I suppose it’s one large one, separated by a main street. We didn’t know this. We followed Google map’s directions to the entrance of the state park, which seemed legit given the large brown state park signs—with arrows—telling us to turn where we did. Where we turned, there were no cabins. We drove around the campground, looking for cabins. I was pulling up the park map on my phone, trying to figure out where the cabins are located. On instinct, we drove around again and found a stop sign at a busy road. We could see more entrance signs across the street, that also say Twin Harbors State Park. We went straight and sure enough, cabins. Score.
Everyone was hungry after we unloaded and settled into the cabin. We brought Impossible burgers for dinner, which became lunch. Brian started in on making burgers while the kiddos and I joined our friends in the cabin next door, who arrived Friday night. They gave us the rundown about what they explored, where the beach is in relation to the cabins, what the beach is like, and so forth. The plan was made to hit the beach after lunch. While lunching, our friends whom we go to the yurt with every year happened to be in Westport the same weekend. They stopped by our cabin to say hello. We ate, visited with our friends, and got ready to hit the beach.
The beach is beautiful, because ocean. It’s no Cannon Beach but nice in its own way. It felt small, like it’s squished. That makes no sense but whatever. The cool part about this beach is that you can drive on the sand. There were several cars parked and a few driving past where we settled down. It’s also a big fishing spot. I have no idea what kind of fish everyone was hoping to catch, but every 20 feet or so, there was a person standing with a fishing pole.
All the kiddos immediately got their beach on, digging holes and running into the water. We must have spent 2-3 hours there. After Blaise’s hole filled in with water, he and I went for a walk north on the beach. He wanted to find sand dollars. There were so many! Not many complete ones but so many broken ones. We nosed around the broken ones and other shells, and picked up a few cool rocks. As we were walking back toward the others, Brian was packing up to head back to the cabin.
Back at the cabin it was close to dinnertime. Because we ate our dinner for lunch, we needed to head into town to grab a dinner. I pulled up a pizza place online, easy peasy. They only had online ordering until 5pm and it was 4:50pm. And of course the online ordering wasn’t working. Even calling, the line was only ever busy. Brian decided he’d head over there, order in person, and wait for the food to be ready. And that’s what he did. He said it was a hopping place; clearly a favorite with the locals. He said he enjoyed a good 30 minutes sitting alone at a table, having a beer. Brian drinks about two beers a year, maybe three. He still talks about those 30 minutes, how enjoyable they were.
While Brian was gone, Laine took it upon herself to get the fire going. I love having outdoor kiddos. At almost 43, I have no idea how to start a fire. I mean, I probably could if needed, but I leave that up to those with skills. Like Brian or the kiddos. I have people, haha. Laine did a fabulous job! And of course, Maive helped. After the fire was raging, Brian made it back with dinner.
The pizza was really good! We totally over-ordered food. Pizza, fries, chicken strips, corn doggies… a total smörgåsbord. It was a nice family dinner, all of us sitting down outside of the cabin, enjoying our time together. Dinner, check. On to the evening. The kiddos played around the cabin, climbing trees and nosing about the campground around the cabins. As it started t get dark, Maive was running on fumes. I took her to the cabin to ready her for bed, getting her jammies on and brushing her teeth. She was out in about two minutes. I left her on the bottom bunk and opened the curtains across from the bed; we could see in from outside. The sun went down and the kiddos started asking about roasting marshmallows and making s’mores. Maive missed out on the action but the rest of the kiddos went to town. I lost count of how many marshmallows each kiddo had. Eh, there are no junk food rules when camping, right?!
Saige and Baby called it a night around 9pm, while Blaise and Laine stayed up a bit longer, chatting with us around the fire. We all called it a night around 9:45pm. Laine was fast asleep while Blaise read his Kindle in bed. The kid reads like crazy. He even reads while brushing his teeth. There are times we have to tell him to stop reading, which sounds awful. But he would read all day, every day if given the opportunity. I’m pretty sure he was still reading when Brian and I went to sleep. I had remembered to take a sleeping pill, a necessity for me when camping. I fell asleep quickly but was up around midnight, before falling back asleep. I never sleep well away from home. Which is also another bonus to only staying one night.
Everyone was up when the toddler woke up. She isn’t quiet. It was about 7:30am, so not too early. We all slowly rolled out of bed while Brian started in on making pancakes. One of the best buys we’ve ever made is an extra large griddle. That thing is so handy. We use it multiple times a week at home, and it has become our main cooking source when camping. And by camping, I mean in cabins with electricity. We usually make food outside since we’ve seen no cooking inside rules at other cabins. I imagine that’s to stop people from using those small gas grills/stovetops. But an electric griddle, we may have broken the rule Sunday morning?! I don’t remember seeing a no cooking rule on the paper posted on the wall, but I may be wrong. When Brian made the burgers for lunch on Saturday, he used the outdoor outlet and cooked on the picnic table. But Sunday morning, it was cold. And we were confining the kiddos to keep them quiet for other campers still sleeping. The pancakes were tasty; even I had some, and I rarely eat breakfast. Breakfast, check. What to do next…
It was windy and starting to drizzle. We opted to skip the beach. Wind and beach don’t mix well, in my opinion. Instead, the kiddos played around the cabin while Brian and I loaded back up. Not even 24 hours but worth the time we were there. As we finished loading up, it started to rain. It was time to head home. We hit the road around 10:30am. Traffic wasn’t terrible heading home. Brian wanted to stop and grab lunch; I wanted to head straight home. We always disagree on feeding kiddos. My take is that they can deal, and wait a bit longer. They always get hungry when they’re bored. Like in car rides. Brian thinks feeding them will make life easier. And while it probably would, I don’t like unnecessary stops. And feeding them a few hours after pancakes isn’t necessary. There was some tension that last hour, but we made it home and shocker—the kids didn’t pass out from starvation. And none of the kids went straight to the kitchen looking for food.
The best part of going away is coming home. I can’t leave unless the house is super clean, with all laundry and dishes done. It makes coming home so much nicer! And since we left earlier than planned, it felt like we had the whole day at home, with nothing to do. Total bonus.
September trip, check. We had an October state park cabin on the books but we ended up rescheduling until next March. We were in need of a nothing weekend, which was glorious. Nothing is on the calendar for November. I’m enjoying the downtime. We’ll get back to the monthly trips come December. Until then.