I love camping season! And in California we are blessed with so many climates to choose from. This past weekend we started our camping season with a trip to Del Valle Regional Park. The campgrounds are tucked into a picturesque valley just 1.5 hours from San Francisco or San Jose. And if you’re a resident of the Tri-Valley, then it’s a short drive past downtown Livermore, through the wine region (love!), and down a winding country road.
In the past we’ve always booked individual sites at Del Valle, butthis year my friend had the foresight to request the Punta Vaca Group Camp. What a great decision it was. To pitch our tents we had the option of a grassy meadow or soft sand bars right by the water, and the site’s picnic tables were grouped together in one spot, near the fire pit, which meant we didn’t have to table hop in order to see other families, AND we had a clear view of our kids when they played in the nearby arroyo. Last year I don’t recall a drop of water in that seasonal creek, but after this very wet winter it was still flowing (although somewhat slowly and very shallow in parts).
I can easily say that we didn’t have to stray far from our tents (at all) because the arroyo provided a convenient play spot for kids and adults — our kiddos collected rocks and feathers along the shore and ran after slippery tadpoles and fidgety water bugs in the warmer waters, while the adults took to the deeper areas for a refreshing dip in the cooler pools.
For those want a good hike, especially one that builds your calf muscles, the tall and small hills of Del Valle provide tons of sloping trails, many are good for biking too! In the summer, this area can be very hot, so our preference is for spring and fall, but there’s also a huge body of water nearby that you can’t miss, called Lake Del Valle, which is great for swimming, kayaking, and canoeing. Don’t forget, the East Bay Regional Parks Pass is accepted at Del Valle.
What are some of your favorite, local places to go camping?
Copyright © 2010 by Rita Szollos. All rights reserved. Be wise. Don’t steal. For permissions to use any of the above images or written material, please contact me.