Sometimes, the fun of an activity rises exponentially when it’s shared with others…think fondue, karaoke, tandem bike riding. With camping, it also lessens the burden (and quadruples the fun!).

Camping is an inexpensive way to take a vacation, but you pay in hard labor: Shopping, packing, setting up camp, etc. Camping with friends helps bring back the balance—you share meal prep and clean up, split the supplies and the kids have pals to explore the woods with while parents get some much-needed down time (Or time to sweep out the tent and reorganize the clothes for the seventeenth time that day). We caught up with Jill Bergman to hear the highlights of her recent multi-family camping trip.

All together now — more kids meant much more fun.

All together now — more kids meant much more fun.

KU Where did the family go for their camping trip?
JB Camping up in the Sierras near Lake Alpine, about 4-hours east of Oakland. Most of the campsites up there are first-come/no reservations.

KU Why did you choose this camping spot?
JB We’ve been skiing in Bear Valley in the winter, and wanted to explore this area in the summer as well. Also, my father-in-law lives in Murphys (a really great little town to stop and visit on the way up or down) so we visit with family and have a great stop on either side of our camping trip.

KU What were some highlights of the trip?
JB We went camping with 2 other families we know well— 6 adults and 6 kids in total. All the kids really had so much fun climbing the rocks, splashing in the river, and just getting very dirty. The adults all planned meals ahead of time, so there was plenty of food, and lots of relaxing time around the camp. Our best day was hiking along the Stanislaus river, and finding a big, deep swimming hole, with a large rock for jumping off into the river, and a rock slide. After checking the water closely for hidden rocks and things below the surface, we found the water in this spot to be deep enough for some fun jumping in, and also sliding down the waterfall rock slide.

KU Would you recommend this campsite to other families?
JB We don’t want to give away our favorite place, but yes! Alpine Lake, Bear Valley and many of the campgrounds in the area are wonderful for families. We also stopped by Big Trees State Park at the end of our trip—a GREAT place for families. It has several looping easy to walk trails with info about the last of the great trees in that area.

Image credits: All images copyrighted by Jill Bergman, all rights reserved.