Best minivans for camping

OutsideMom.com | Minivans. The Camping Revolution?
In the kitchen, which comes with a fridge and dishware, she demonstrated the lighting of the single-burner stove, which pulls out like a secret drawer hidden under the sink. She said that one butane canister can last for 90 minutes to three hours of cooking.

Notes for food-shopping excursion: Buy instant rice, not long-grain.


The kitchen in the rear of the minivan includes a fridge, sink and single-burner stove, plus dishware. (Jason Henry/For The Washington Post)

The Jucy journey begins

The 70-mile route to Santa Cruz is a roller-coaster ride of sharp curves, steep climbs and winding plunges. Behind me, my luggage reeled and the dishes rattled with each elbow poke in the road. However, the Champ stayed in its lane and easily kept up with the SUVs and sports cars, as well as its hippie ancestor, the VW camper.

I had booked a campsite at Sunset State Beach, south of Santa Cruz, but didn’t feel any pressure to arrive before dusk: Jucy comes with interior lights. My trip coincided with the winter migration of the monarch butterflies, which vacation in Natural Bridges State Beach from October through February. A chalkboard at the entrance booth announced, “The monarchs are here!” A ranger confirmed that thousands of butterflies had already landed, with more en route from west of the Rockies. At the height of the season, she said, up to 100, 000 monarchs will settle in the grove, transforming the eucalyptus forest into an overdecorated Christmas tree farm.


Monarch butterflies congregate in clusters on eucalyptus trees in Santa Cruz. (Jason Henry/For The Washington Post)

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