I’ll be honest. This campground is pretty much the REASON I became convinced this blog was necessary. Because apparently very few people know about the existence of Fremont Peak State Park. And boy howdy, you should. Let me tell you why it’s a park absolutely worth checking out with the kiddos, especially for a weekend camping excursion:
- It’s small. There are only two small campsite loops at the park, with a total of 26 sites. The sites are fairly close together but it’s not a popular destination so everyone there was pretty mellow. (Ok, the campsite next to us was really into 90s hits until later than I would have wanted them to be, but it reminded me of being in college.) If I had kids who were old enough to stay out of the way of cars, I would have felt comfortable letting them wander around without me. It seems like a perfect place to go with a couple of families and let the kids run free.
- While you take a very long and winding road (11 miles) out of the thriving metropolis of San Juan Bautista, you are up, up, up above the clouds. (See header image.) This made for amazing views in the morning. And at night. (True story: I was sitting in a tree with my toddler, staring down at so many twinkling lights, feeling like I was living an Instagram-worthy moment, and my toddler said to me, “Mommy, I’m eating my boogers.” Maybe you will have such an experience as well.)
- Because Fremont Peak is out-of-the-way and up a mountain, there is very little light pollution. This means that amateur astronomers gather there on various Saturday nights from Spring through Fall (check the schedule) and let you, the general public, look at stars through the telescopes they have at Fremont Peak. FOR FREE. The night we were there, the moisture in the air made it hard to see after a bit, but we got to see Betelgeuse, and as I had recently heard this song by Melody Walker & Jacob Groopman about that star, I found it quite exciting. Very cool for kids though, particularly those who have a grasp of what stars actually ARE. If you have a young one who is INTERESTED in stars, it might just be a dream come true.
- Fremont Peak State Park allows dogs! They aren’t supposed to be on the trails, but you can bring the pooch.
- There are a very limited number of trails available. While this may be a drawback for people who wanted to get in a good long run before crashing in their tents, if you have kids who would be happy hiking a couple of miles (again, with some fabulous views), it’s perfect and does not feel overwhelming.
Honestly, I fell in love with this park. We spent Mother’s Day weekend here last weekend and I might request another visit this year. It felt just right for an overnight, and even though we showed up at 2pm on Saturday and left by 11am on Sunday, it felt like we had completely escaped to another world.
It is worth mentioning that this park is not near ANYTHING. If you forget something important, better hope that your fellow campers have an extra of that thing, or do without. Poison oak was thriving when we went, so pack some leggings for the trails.
We visited in May, and I’m fairly sure that was the perfect time to go. Fremont Peak is 3,169 feet, so it may be slightly cooler in the summer, but I would probably aim for spring or fall. Best campsite, in my opinion, is probably #24, in the Oak Point Campground. We stayed at #23, but #24 was right next to the trail, down from #23 and tucked away from the other sites. For the other loop, my guess would be #10, but we did not explore the Valley View Campground.
In short, if you are looking for an overnight adventure, I cannot recommend Fremont Peak State Park heartily enough. This is a gem of a park.