Monday, November 23, 2015

Cabin Camping at Samuel P. Taylor State Park

Since beginning our family travels about a year ago we have made several trips to the Point Reyes National Seashore and each visit has left us longing for more. On our most recent trek to West Marin, we capped off our full day of exploring the area with a stay in the Samuel P. Taylor cabins. Located just 15 minutes from the town of Point Reyes Station, the cabins are the perfect option for those looking to spend time in the area without breaking the bank.

After our morning in Point Reyes Station, followed by an afternooon hike at the Tule Elk Preserve, we picked up some pizza to-go at Cafe Reyes in Point Reyes Station and headed on our way. Fifteen minutes later we were checking in at Samuel Taylor State Park and enjoying our pizza on the picnic table outside our lovely little cabin.

The cabins, which were built in 2012, come equipped with electricity, platform bunk beds with mattresses, wood floors, covered porches, and a small electric stove. There are 4 bunks (one full size mattress and three single beds) and the top bunks have rails, making them pretty safe for kids. All you have to bring is your bed linens and you are set! Our kids were ECSTATIC about the bunk beds. They must have spent the first thirty minutes bouncing around on the beds and squealing with joy.

After settling into the cabin we set out for a hike before the sun went down. I originally had grand plans of hiking to the top of Mt. Barnabe, but our earlier hike and excitement of "camping" was enough for one day, so we opted for an easy walk around the park. The cabins sit on the hillside across the street from the main campground area, so we started our hike by crossing Sir Francis Drake and following the path alongside Lagunitas Creek. The combination of the towering redwood trees, fresh air and rambling creek made for a very peaceful and enjoyable experience.

After exploring the grounds, we made our way back to the cabin and got a nice fire started (you can bring your own firewood or purchase a bundle for $8 at the entrance to the park). We gathered up some good sticks for roasting marshmallows and made s'mores while we enjoyed the warmth of the fire.

Bedtime is always a challenge when we travel, and this trip was no exception. The initial enthusiasm over sleeping in bunkbeds wore down as bedtime approached and it quickly became clear that we would be snuggling up together in the bottom bunks. After sleeping on a deflated air mattress on our recent trip to the Steep Ravine Cabins, having a mattress pad was a major luxury. If I didn't have a squirmy 2 year old spinning around the bed all night, I am sure it would have been a great nights sleep!

We woke up the next morning and enjoyed some coffee and french toast (we cheated and bought the frozen french toast from TJ's!!) before packing up the car and heading home. I would have loved to take advantage of the wonderful location and done some more exploring, but that will have to be saved for another trip (possibly when the kids are a bit older!).

Have you ever been cabin camping? Any recommendations for other cabin/glamping options?

Details: Samuel P. Taylor State Park is located off of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in the small town of Lagunitas, just 15 minutes from Point Reyes Station and Tomales Bay. There are 5 identical cabins (2 of which appear to be exclusively for handicap users). We stayed in Hazel Haven which is the closest to the bathrooms (bonus!), but Wren's nest would be the best option if you are looking for more privacy (it's at the end of the row of cabin and furthest from the bathrooms). Cabins rent for $100/night. Each cabin has a picnic table, fire pit, barbecue pit and water spicket outside. There is a general store just down the road in Lagunitas where you can buy basics as well as a larger grocery store and restaurants in the nearby town of Point Reyes Station. You can eat your meals at one of the nearby cafes and get away with little to no camp cooking if that appeals to you!