Found a great website/newsletter resource for California troop leaders called   Choose either Northern California or Southern California regions and you’ll receive a weekly newsletter with hiking/camping/etc ideas for your area.  Found some great hikes that are just the right length to take a troop of girls out for a day trip and I am also discovering some other ideas that may turn into great overnights.

We spent the day on the Sonoma Coast and it was perfect weather.  While our intended “loop” turned out to be a bit of misdirection on their leaders part (that would be me), we still had a good hike for about 2 hours and then headed into the town for a pizza lunch.  This was the perfect length of time for busy high school girls.  Left the house at 9am and were home by 2pm-ish.  Still plenty of time for other activities (homework) in the afternoon.

While we do plan a few overnight camping trips (mostly during the summer and fall), the rest of the year has become so busy for my troop of older girls that it is hard to get them all together for an activity.  Sometimes we have two carloads of girls and other times just one, but what I have found is that we can’t wait for everyone to be available.  Plan an outing, get it on your calendar, and then go!  Scheduling some of these shorter “half-day” type outings makes it a little easier for the girls to plan around homework and other activities.

Another resource that I am currently looking at (but have not yet actually used) is  This gives you some alternative camping options, many of which are on private land (and depending on the amenities, can be a little pricey), but they also include most of the regional and state campgrounds as well.  Especially if you live in an area where all of the state and national park campgrounds fill up fast during the summer, this can be a great resource to find a hidden spot that might become your new favorite campground.

Let me know if you have an inspiring online source for outdoor ideas and we’ll start a list for outdoor opportunities.