Shoulder Season Day Camping

All of this warm weather has me itching to get outdoors and get camping. The tricky thing is that most overnight camping doesn’t open until mid to late May so instead of packing up the camper we packed up the truck and did some day camping close to home.

I think we can all agree that everyone needs a vacation right about now. It was so good for our family to take the time to spend the day in nature enjoying our local regional parks. Shoulder season is a fantastic time for day camping. Let’s break down why:

It feels so good to totally unplug for a day and even though I know we’re all topped up on family time lately, changing the scenery can do wonders. In choosing to head out for the day we allow for the lulls and the unplanned things to lead to relaxing, creativity and making memories which are some of the best things about camping.

Like I mentioned above, day camping involves far less packing but I still like to be prepared so here is our packing list.

Because we have two Woodlawn Regional Parks so close to home we decided to utilize both. Our first stop involved arriving at the Woodlawn Regional Park beside the golf course with our bikes and doing a bit of mountain biking through the Twister Totter trail and the Preddy Trails. These trails are so fun and include neat features like a bike teeter-totter, winding paths, log features and bridges.

You can download a map of the trails HERE

After biking we made our way to Woodlawn at Boundary to fill the remainder of our day. We chose a non-seasonal campsite to set up as our home base and fuelled up on some snacks before heading out for more activities.

Even when it’s not swimming weather the beach is an opportunity for a bunch of activities. The reservoir currently has a lower water level than normal which means that you can walk along the sand/rocks all the way from the beach to the boat dock. My kids love examining rocks and looking for clamshells. We like to use the app iNaturalist to help us identify plants and animals in the wild. We think the “clam” shells we find at Boundary are Western Floater Mussels or River Mussels.


With our fire-making bin and cooler of food, we made use of the campsite to have a hot dog roast. I love the option of setting up camp for a day and having everything you need in one spot.

Recently we’ve been watching the reality show Survivor as a family so the kids are pretty obsessed with Survivor challenges and hidden immunity idols. We decided to create a reward challenge out of having to find a hidden immunity idol (mash-up!). Before we left my husband and I created rustic “idol” necklaces and while we were there we hid them. In order to earn their post-day camping reward, they each had to find an idol necklace. It was a fun little surprise and as you’ll see later the reward was greatly enjoyed.

The beach was glorious after supper. No wind, stunning skies and freshly groomed sand. We brought out the volleyball to play a bit of “pepper”. During camping season you’ll also find beach volleyball nets out here. We also brought along Bocce Ball and played a round in the sand. That round may or may not have turned into teaching the kids how to shot-put and then various throwing challenges.

A recent addition to Woodlawn Regional Park at Boundary Dam is the 3 on 3 basketball court. It’s atop the plateau looking over the water and I must say one of the most picturesque places to play basketball around here. The court was seeing great use all day so we didn’t shoot any hoops this time but we’ve come at other times to shoot and highly recommend bringing your ball.

It was such a gorgeous evening we really didn’t want to leave but we did still want to make it back to town for our “reward” before the shop closed.

KON artisan ice cream has recently opened on 4th street so once back in town we walked over to indulge. This shop has such fantastic design and atmosphere. On top of that, the ice cream is delicious. It was the perfect stop to cap off our day.

With a few more weeks before the camping season is in full swing, it’s a great time to plan a little mini staycation at one of our regional parks. Shoulder season is a fantastic time to enjoy parks and you’ll find that September and October provide a similar opportunity. Enjoy!

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Monique Willms
Monique Willms
Monique and her family have called Estevan home for the last 18 years and she has a long history of seeing her surroundings in creative ways and adding whimsy to the mundane. A constant need to explore and adventure has allowed her to seek out hidden gems in our area and cultivate ways to enjoy and engage every season in the South East.



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