Summer Fun at San Elijo State Beach

Monday, August 6, 2012

San Diego is a fantastic place to live. We have great weather and fun attractions. But, and rightly so, we're known for our beaches. We have miles and miles of coastline with spectacular views. We're very lucky that our family spends a full week every year at the San Elijo State Beach campgrounds. My husband's cousins hold a mini reunion every summer and we head to the beach every day they're here for boogie boarding, sand castles and s'mores.

campsite San Elijo State Beach

The campground has WiFi, Bull Taco restaurant, a full camp store and offers surf lessons. San Elijo is across the street from a 7-11, Starbucks, Jack in the Box and Subway. Also within walking distance are the Cardiff Seaside Market home of the famous Cardiff Crack (ask a local about it!) and VG's Bakery has some of the best doughnuts in San Diego.

Bull Taco San Elijo State Beach

Bring your bikes to the campground and you'll be able to get back and forth really easily to some of the nearby attractions and eateries. A few minutes north of the campgrounds on PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) is the community of Encinitas. Downtown Encinitas has great restaurants, bars and shopping. Get up early, go to Potato Shack Cafe for breakfast and share a manhole chocolate chip pancake. Head south on PCH to Las Olas Mexican Restaurant for happy hour.

The next community south of the campground is Solana Beach, also home to great shopping (on Cedros Avenue) dining and live music at The Belly Up Tavern. Have breakfast at The Naked Cafe or The Orange Blossom Cafe (try the lemon crepe) or some of San Diego's best pizza and craft beer at Pizza Port. Make sure you stop into Leaping Lotus for souvenirs and gifts.

beach camping San Elijo

Camping at San Elijo is really one of the best things San Diego has to offer, especially in terms of summer fun. The access to great stretches of beach, really good local restaurants and unique shopping can't be beat. Here are six things you should know before booking a campsite at San Elijo State Beach.

Tips for Camping at San Elijo Sate Beach in San Diego

beach campfire San Elijo

1. Book early! The online reservations go live at midnight in January. Campers wait up till all hours to jump on sites they like. The summer months fill up really fast but you can always take a chance on a walk up reservation for a site that may have had a last minute cancellation.

sandcastle San Elijo

2. If you can, walk the campground, or have someone do it for you. Some sites are definitely better than others. We usually have 5-6 tents on one site and need to make sure we've got one of the largest lots. Decide ahead of time if you want an ocean view, need to be near the showers, want to be close to the stairs leading down to the beach or near the mini amphitheater.

3. Stingrays and jelly fish are pretty common on that stretch of beach. Make sure you know first aid for those types of stings.

sunset San Elijo

4. There aren't really any banks or ATM's nearby (except for 7-11) so have plenty of small bills on hand for shower tokens and Bull Taco.

5. Be prepared for pests. Squirrels are a menace. All your food should be in plastic totes with lids. Go to the dollar store and buy several of the largest ground cinnamon containers you can find. Sprinkle it on the ground around your site to help keep ants at bay.

6. The campground has covered up the electrical outlets outside the bathrooms. Invest in some type of solar or backup chargers for your devices or be prepared to schlep your things across the street to Starbucks to juice up everyday.

Since I leave the campground at night to sleep in my own bed, veteran campers probably have better tips than these.

What is your best advice to prepare for a camping trip?

This is post six in a series of sponsored posts for the San Diego Honda Dealers Association.   

Four Simple Ways to Go Green at Home

Monday, July 30, 2012

I have a love, hate relationship with going green. I like knowing that we're using less resources and putting less chemicals into our bodies and the earth. It feels good to be less wasteful. But, let's face it being more responsible is often a choice between convenience, price and effort.

I started feeling so guilty about so many of the things we were buying, I knew we'd need to make changes. We are not the greenest household out there, but we're making progress and steadily adopting new habits with results I can actually measure. Here are a four environmentally products we've been using that have a made a difference in our house.

Vapur water bottles
I can't remember when I first saw someone using these bottles. They stuck with me and I bought two about mid way through the last school year. Since I bought them, I've almost completely cut out juice boxes and pouches. I fill these the night before school and add single serve flavored drink powder. In the morning, I put them in the freezer while we get ready for school.

Vapur water bottle eco friendly
They hold more liquid than a juice pouch so I know our son is staying hydrated and they double as an ice pack. This school year, I'm going to try cutting back even more. My plan is to not buy as many drink powder sticks and instead make pitchers of juice and refill. The Vapur bottles aren't super expensive but you will get mad if one doesn't make it home from school. I'm spending less on lunchbox items and drastically reducing our waste. We took them on our last trip Disney World and it was so nice to be able to refill cold water all day.

Reusable hemp coffee filters
We drink a lot of coffee. No really, a lot. Even though I was buying the brown, non-bleached filters, I felt bad about how many we go through. We were throwing away two filters a day at least six days a week. I looked for another solution and settled on a hemp filter. I bought one to start with to make sure we like it and will use it.
Re-usable hemp coffee filter
I was worried about mildew since it's cloth but buying additional filters and caring for them according to the directions should keep them mildew free. With more than one filter, we'll always have one clean, dry and ready to use. For heavy coffee drinking households like ours, I think 5-6 filters would be perfect. The coffee tastes the same as a paper filter. I bought ours from BonaFide Green Goods.

Copco reusable travel drink cups
I've talked about these before, but since I love them so, so much I'll talk about them again. I adore my Copco cups. They're permanent fixtures in my car. My husband uses one hot cup every day and we each have them when we know we're going to be at the ice rink for more than an hour. Last week, our family was in town camping at the beach. I took an iced coffee with me every day.

Copco re-usable cups eco friendly
These cups last forever, they save at the coffee shop since sometimes they're considered a refill, they maintain the temperature better than the disposable cups, they make an affordable gift and since I always have Starbucks Via in my purse, I can make a drink whenever I want to.
Reusable produce bags
I had some credit on a daily deal site and bought these Essie produce bags about a year ago. They were another purchase born out of guilt. I hated bringing home the plastic bags since there's nothing else they can be used for. These bags are great. People stop me to ask where I got them.

An added bonus is buying more produce. I like using them so much I bring home more fruit and vegetables than I ever have before.

Those are just a few of the ways we've been greening up our lives. I'm always on the lookout for more small changes we can make. Being green is definitely a lifestyle choice and takes commitment. But, it's something we all need to do and sets a great example for our kids.

What are your favorite green products? 

This is post five in a series of sponsored posts and sweepstakes for the San Diego Honda Dealers Association. Visit and comment weekly for a chance to win Amazon gift cards! Some affiliate links used.
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