After being parents for almost six years we are starting to get the hang of planning family friendly camping trips. If you want to go during popular times like long weekends to places that are easily accessible, it often requires planning well in advance - something we never used to do before kids. I now often have a reminder in my calendar 4 month before a long weekend reminding me to book whatever campsite, and it seems that I am not the only one. This year we got an email from our friend Krystil in January keen to get started on planning for the May Long weekend. Before long we had settle on Singles Bay on Pender and booked out all but two of the campsites there.
We headed of for the ferry Saturday morning, meeting up with a bunch of the other families on the way. Most of us were on bikes, but Scott and his kids and Tim and his daughter brought a canoe on the ferry, so they could paddle to the campground. After arriving on Pender we headed straight to the campground at Shingles Bay. F ended up biking the first half there with her friend L, but then decided that it was too hilly just as we got to the good downhill stretch. She opted for a ride on the haul-a-day and we were happy yet again to have the flexibility of a cargo bike. Despite the added weight Christian made it up the final gravel hill no problem, but I needed some additional help from Jen.
At the campground I counted a total of 12 adults and 13 kids in our group. It turned out to be a great place for the kids. It very steep all around the campsite, so the kids are naturally contained to the campsite meadow and the beach, which is pretty protected and the water shallow. Most the time the older kids would run run around entertaining themselves. It was great. In the evening time we got to borrow the canoe that Tim and Scott arrived in. It was N's first canoe outing and she really liked it. She insisted on paddling herself, and I was really impressed with her ability to hold on to her paddle. After a trip with mom she insisted on going out with dad and a bunch of other kids. I have been shying away from canoe as I remembered how much supervision F needed in a canoe before two, but I guess N is more ready for canoeing.
On Sunday most of the other families went for a bike or a hike, but F wanted to go exploring along some small trails in the forest, so that is what we ended up doing. The trails ended up leading us to the next bay south, where we spent some time exploring the low tidal area before heading back. In the afternoon we went for a small bike ride into town to get an ice cream. That evening all the bigger kids ended up naked on the beach, swimming and playing in the sand. That is until the tide took over the beach faster than we all expected. We almost lost a number of shoes and sets of clothes.
After spending a relaxing morning at the campsite we headed back to the ferry happy to have spent another weekend outside as a family, and happy to have lots of friends to share our adventures with.
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