Surf camping is the best
Ever since high school, I’ve rarely missed an opportunity to do a surf camping trip. Most of my trips have been with my surf buddies, Larry Ramos or Michael Duke. Or as my son calls him “Mikeduke.” I don’t think Nate knows what Mike’s last name is.
This year, Larry and his family couldn’t make it, but Mike and his family, wife Lilly, sons Warren and Merritt and daughter Angie, all joined me, Beth, Danielle, Kristen and Nate, for a beach camping trip at the new Crystal Cove El Moro beach campground, which formerly was home to mobile homes. The campground opened to the public the beginning of July.
As a journalist, I often wrote about the mobile homes that were situated on state park lands. They had been there for years as a part of land deal with the Irvine Co. that is too complicated to explain today. But I reported, with much criticism from the mobile home owners, that the land needed to be available to all the public. This trip proved that correct.
The campsite is up on the bluffs where the mobile homes used to be just south of El Morro Elementary School. The site is nice with new amenities and beautiful ocean vistas at every campsite. The downside is that it isn’t really a “surfing” beach and more of a bodysurfing or bodyboarding beach. More importantly, it is a GREAT beach to bring the family to. Even if you are not camping, you can spend $15 for day use and park on the east side of Coast Highway and walk underneath the tunnel to the beach. The other downside to camping there is there are no fire pits and no campfires allowed, except for portable gas fires.
Also joining us on the trip was my daughter’s friend, neighbor Bridget Gross, and Joe and Helene Duarte and their daughters Bella and Sophia. Sophia brought a friend too but I can’t remember her name right now.
Bella Duarte is on Danielle’s OC Revolution Club soccer team and is a superstar player. Joe and Helene, ironically, hail from Cerritos, like Mike and me. In fact, Joe and I even spent a short time together at St. Linus Catholic School.
Of course, there were lessons to learn also. Mike’s son Merritt, got stung by a scorpion and Kristen stung by a bee. That’s right, a scorpion, California brown scorpion to be exact. The little critter was hiding under the tent. Both Merritt and Kristen were just fine. So just remember that while it looks like paradise, nature isn’t far away. Also, a few of us paid the price for not enough sun screen after the fact. Another lesson to keep in mind. Despite those minor glitches, if you get a chance, pay a visit to Crystal Cove El Moro State Beach. You won’t regret it.
Check out more photos of our trip on my Facebook page.