Life · Travel

Let me tell you about Montecito

For the past nine years now we have been spending our summers at Montecito Sequoia Lodge, located in the Sequoia National Forest. This is probably my favorite place to visit every single year because to me it feels like a true vacation and I think I will rave about this place until the day I die. If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, this may sound familiar because I think I write about it every year. If not, let me sell you on this place.

Wagon to carry your belongings to your room. Or a fun ride for your kids?

First of all, it’s not tent camping, so for those of you that need running water and a bed – this is your place. They’ve done some really nice upgrades to the rooms, which have been really nice to see. They have rooms that have their own private bathroom/shower (what we like to book) or you can also choose the “shared bathroom” option. All this being said, if you’re the kind of person that needs your bed made, room service and your mess cleaned up daily, etc., this won’t be your cup of tea.

View from the door into our room.
Where the girls sleep.

If you are someone that loves to disconnect and be surrounded by God’s beautiful creation with countless options as far as outdoor activities goes, then keep reading. Or you need a week of just relaxation, also keep reading. Keep in mind you’re in the middle of the mountains and forest so WiFi won’t be available everywhere or at the high speed you’re used to and there is also no phones or TV’s in the rooms. This will be a blessing, trust me!

Exploring around the lake, a family tradition.

Their family summer camp is 6 days and consists of ALL INCLUSIVE meals, drinks (non alcoholic) and snacks. That means for 6 whole days you don’t need to cook a single meal or wash a single dish. The food is laid out for you buffet style and every meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner) is freshly cooked and includes a delicious dessert. You do need to clean up after yourself and pick up your dishes, silverware, and cups and place them in the designated spot. Please DO NOT be the person/family that just gets up, pushes your chair out, and walks away expecting the staff to pick up after you. I can’t tell you how much it peeves me to see that. Thankfully most people are not so oblivious and rude and they follow simple directions.

And then there is the kids activities (read daycare)! The schedule for them is laid out into 4 periods of 1 hr and 45 mins each, with 2 periods between breakfast and lunch and then the other 2 periods after lunch. Guys. Daycare included. If you’re a parent you know how priceless this is. Your child gets assigned to a group based on their age and then the young, energetic, fun, silly and just downright awesome counselors with their names like Pluto, Bark, Kong, Echo, Finch, etc take your kids and entertain them for you.

Did I have you at All Inclusive? If not…

So here you are, with all this free time while your kids are with their group making new friends and doing any number of fun activities like playing tennis, archery, air rifle, gymnastics, doing arts & crafts, having sand play at the lake, taking a pony ride, tie dying, swimming at the pool, etc. What will you do? Have down time with your spouse/partner/loved ones and bond connect without interruptions, read a book, play some basketball, do some yoga, go on a guided mountain bike, or a guided hike, go for a lake or pool swim, canoe, kayak, paddle board, take an art class, learn a new skill, explore the surrounding area? You get the idea.

Then there’s the people you meet from all around the country and sometimes even the world. Covid changed things a little bit as far as running into families from around the world because of the restrictions on travel, but in previous years we met families from Canada, Germany, France, Venezuela, etc. The main lodge is all communal seating so (prior to COVID) you would often end up with another family sitting at your table and you meet people from all walks of life and with fascinating stories and life experiences.

My husband during Archery qualifications.

If you want to learn more, check it out for yourself at http://www.mslodge.com They’re open all year round so if you can’t go in the summer, consider visiting them during other holidays or other times of year. This year we also happened to visit them for a few nights during Valentine’s weekend and we got to see Montecito for the first time ever in the snow. It was magical!

There was a Hollywood themed night where guests could dress up and we all danced and had fun.

Here’s some photos of our time there this summer, during week 10 which was August 15 – August 21st. Montecito staff really goes out of their way to make the experience not only fun for the kids but also for the adults. Kids can just be kids and learn that being your self is the best and that you can just enjoy and have fun! I honestly can’t rave enough about this gem of a place.

Getting ready for the canoe race.
Their photographer had nights where you could play with lighting and a flashlight to create these awesome images.

There’s so much to do and experience. I won’t bombard you with more photos. I’ll just say, it’s money well spent to have this time with our family to relax and create fond memories.

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