Campland is not a place we would normally choose to stay. It is right in the middle of San Diego, and it’s big. I mean, really big. But we had a friend we wanted to visit here, and at $45 for a dry site, it is actually cheaper than the nearest state park an hour north. Plus it is a convenient place to take care of all our errands before heading down to Mexico.
We are actually relieved to pull in after a full day of driving through LA. We pull over to our spot and are surprised to find a big, empty concrete parking lot. They weren’t kidding about “dry.” On the plus side, we are close to the marina, the beach, and we have a nice view of an estuary to the west. We step out of the car and are greeted by a stiff, cold wind. Wait, isn’t San Diego supposed to be warm all the time? Guess not!
I take the kids over to the park while Matt gets set up. We walk through loop after loop of mostly deserted campsites. There are a few loops that are full of long-term residents. You can tell because they have plants, Christmas trees, and/or full-on lounge areas set up outside. Apparently this place is a big destination for many people, much like Wally World was to the Griswalds. It is kind of a self-contained compound with everything you really need; a convenience store, laundromat, ice cream shop, restaurant, café serving cocktails out of a walk-up window, game room, pool, spa, beach, park, and much more. You really could stay here for two weeks without ever leaving.
We are not on the same track, though, so as soon as we are set up, we head out to meet our friend Joe at a Mexican restaurant to celebrate Matt’s 40th birthday. We navigate the freeways over to Ocean Beach and drive around looking for a parking spot for a while before settling on a pay lot. The streets are filled with people even though it is a Wednesday night. It is a little overwhelming after so many peaceful nights camping. We have a great dinner and head back to the trailer to get the kids to bed. It is probably the most low-key 40th birthday ever, but we are all tired from our long drive and recovering from colds.
The next day Joe meets up with us at Campland and we all go on a bike ride. It is one of the few times we’ve used our bikes, as they have been rather inconveniently strapped to the top of the car, but this bike ride makes up for it. We go around Mission Bay from Campland over to the ocean almost exclusively on bike paths. The kids ride in plastic seats on the back of the bikes and have a great time watching everything go by. We get a taste for what makes San Diego so great. You just won’t find this in Campland!