This week it’s really hitting home that summer’s over. Not only are the kids fully back in school (well, except for my daughter who keeps getting excused for doctor appointments due to breaking her wrist on Day 2 during PE!), the weather has also officially turned on us.
I know those of you not familiar with the Seattle area probably won’t believe this, but we really do get gorgeous summers. It’s also not unheard of for those summers to stretch all the way to the end of September.
This year, though, it just wasn’t in the cards. We’ve already had 3 lightning storms this month- summer and summer travel are over and I’ve finally had time to start sorting through the pics of some of our adventures. I hope to share a lot of them with you here but also, drum roll please, at…
My brand new instagram account: @Your18Summers
The idea behind the account is to showcase family friendly spots to vacation with the kids (and places you can stay while there) so you can make the most out of your 18 summers together.
I really hope you head over and check it out.
Our multi-family camping trip to Diablo Lake was the last travel event on our summer calendar this year, which meant a few things:
- It was late in August which, in Washington, normally comes with serious danger of having to deal with lots of smoke from forest fires. This can also lead to burn bans, which can be a bummer when camping.
- We were a little travel tired by the time we went. In fact, I looked back, and part or all of my family had traveled 9 of the 11 previous weekends!
All that to say, we were looking for a super laid back camping experience (or, at least, as laid back as camping can be).
We were also so thankful that the forest fires in our area were low this year, and there was no smoke or burn bans, that we absolutely didn’t mind a little rain.
Let me tell you, if laid back camping is what you want, you really can’t do much better than Diablo Lake.
Part of The North Cascades National Park in Washington State, this gorgeous spot is pretty north and not near much (except Canada), so it will be a bit of a drive. But it’s so worth it.
If you’ve never experienced the beauty of a glacial lake, it’s hard to imagine that lakes so turquoise, green and blue actually exist.
As glaciers in the surrounding high country slowly wear down the mountains, the grinding of rock against rock produces a fine silt (in this case, made up of quartz and feldspar) that meltwater streams carry into the lake below. This rock flour is what gives the lakes their unusual colors.
The particles are so small that they remain suspended in the water and the sunlight scatters through the floating particles of glacial rock flour. Green-blue wavelengths of light reflect, while other colors are absorbed.
You really do have to see it to believe it.
We were at Colonial Creek Campground and were so impressed by the large campsites, many of which had their own beaches.
There was no hiking in and out with our crew of small children at this camp site.
Within minutes of unloading the car, the kids were already playing on the beach.
And once the adults got our tents set up, we were able to kick back and relax in our camp chairs while observing the fun.
The beaches at this spot aren’t really sand, but they’re not rocky either.
The weekend we went it was sprinkling rain off and on, so the beaches were basically mud in many spots. Which worked just fine for our kids. They happily dug in with the sand toys and went to work.
One thing you need to know about glacial lakes like Diablo, though, they’re cold! (Makes sense right, they are filled with water from glaciers after all.)
While we saw tons of people out in kayaks, paddles boards, and canoes, this is not a kids’ swimming lake, it’s just not warm enough.
We went in knowing that and still had plenty to do, including fishing from the pier adjacent to our campsite…
making art in nature…
reading in our favorite camping hammocks (we brought 3!)…
and just general exploring.
Once the sun went down it was time for the best part of camping, the camp fire! We broke out the s’mores, ghost stories, and even some glow sticks.
We absolutely loved our time at Diablo Lake and are already making plans to return next year.
Good to Know
If you’d like to check it out, here are a few more things to keep in mind…
There are very nice bathroom facilities with toilets and sinks but no showers, though there is a foot washing station for getting off mud from the beach. There’s also garbage and recycling service.
During the summer, part of the campground is first come, first served and part is open to reservations for $16 – $40/night. These become available to reserve months before summer arrives and fill up fast! Go here for more info.
The drive up to get to Diablo Lake is gorgeous and widely touted as one of the most scenic drives in America. You’ll travel through a rustic tunnel carved into the mountainside the kids will love and can also make a stop at Diablo Dam, (which Diablo Lake is the reservoir for).
Diablo Dam is part of the Skagit River Hydroelectric Project that supplies the city of Seattle with a large proportion of its power needs. It’s definitely worth a short stop on your way up or back.
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