A Travellerspoint blog

Our favorite, we saved to last!

Nehalem Bay State Park

What a fantastic campground and park this is! I'm glad we saved the best for last, for we thoroughly appreciated the recommendations we had received once we experienced this park.

Nehalem Bay State Park is located not far south of Canon Beach, but because we were there mid-week, and it is located about 3 miles west of Highway 101, we felt we discovered a little hidden gem. Actually, there are a large number of campsites at this campground, though during our stay it was not crowded at all. Our site, as well as most of the occupied sites, was next to a small dune shielding us from any ocean view, but also protecting us somewhat by the wind, that seemed to be pretty constant at this location. Just a short 100-yard walk over the dune brought us to 4 uninterrupted miles of open beach, with fine sand so fun for a puppy to play in! Restrooms and showers at this park were the same standard as other state parks, with plenty of hot water.

We strode the beach quite far a couple of times, though not far enough to get into the little town of Manzanita. It is probably a two-mile walk to the town, and I suspect this could be a wonderful outing for someone wanting to do some browsing, check out the pier, or find dining options. We were quite satisfied to find a few sticks to throw for our puppy Sammie, and to watch the beautiful waves always rolling in.

A two-mile one way bike ride to the mouth of Nehalem Bay provided diversion one afternoon. We rode through the horse camp, and in fact met horses on the trail at one point. The trail is a single-track with a few very sandy spots, but otherwise a clean-cut through the sandy-dune brush. At the end, one would have to rock-scramble quite a bit to reach the water's edge; we were satisfied dropping the bikes and walking a quarter mile west to where the inlet opens up to the Pacific Ocean.

Another option we enjoyed both on bikes and on foot is a 1.8 mile loop that leaves the campground, through sunlit forests, around the end of the tiny airport runway, and past Nehalem Bay. This is a very scenic stroll, mostly on pavement. We did spot a couple of deer at various points.

We had big grassy areas, both at our camp site and around the campground, where Sammie could romp and play. The playgrounds were never occupied while we were there, but what a wonderful location for a young family, with a campsite that back right up to a playground area.

Alas, our trip is coming to its end -- we plan to make a quick overnight stop in Beaverton and then make tracks for Bend. I'm just thankful we had just a wonderful campground and great weather to enjoy our last few days on this 2013 Oregon Coast trip!

Posted by Joyful Feet 17:01 Archived in USA Tagged camping oregon_coast nehalem_bay_state_park Comments (0)

Quick stay, fun play

Beverly Beach State Park, Newport, Oregon

Just a few quick notes about this campground, since we were only here one night:
-- large campground, sites fairly close together, some pull-through right along-side the streets
-- crowded, lots of kids on this day
-- our site was quite a walk to the beach, though we were in the loop furthest east from the entrance
-- great beach! The walkway goes under Highway 101 and opens out to the beach, a hundred feet or so below the level of the highway
-- pretty beach location, with sheer cliffs dropping to a wide sandy beach
-- option to hike along Spencer Creek in the forest, though this trail was really muddy when we were there

Posted by Joyful Feet 16:54 Archived in USA Tagged camping oregon_coast beverly_beach_state_park Comments (0)

Seals, sand, sun!

South Beach State Park

We awoke to blue skies, sun and fresh clean air -- Yeah!!

South Beach State Park, on the west side of Highway 101 and just south of the Yaquina Bay bridge, sprawls across grassy expanses, and cozies up to coastal forest and sandy shrub-covered hills. Getting to the beach here is not difficult, for there are three well-maintained trails from the campground to the beach, from 1/4 to 1/2 mile in distance. Once at the beach you can also walk to the jetty for great views of the Yaquina Bay Bridge.

The campground has a welcome center, staffed by a very pleasant park volunteer the day we were there. The center offers books and DVDs to lend, reference books about flora and fauna along the coast, and a free cup of coffee or tea. This is a very large park, but we never had a problem with noise or feeling like our neighbor was too close. As several large state campgrounds do, this one had a very large, and actively used playground. Restrooms were clean, showers were good with hot water.

We rode our bikes to the Oregon Coast Aquarium one afternoon. One publication lists this as one of the top 10 aquariums in the U.S., and we found it small in comparison to others we've been to, but still very interesting. A lengthy inside course winds through numerous nautical displays of corals and fish, all within the Northwest environment. I really appreciated the kelp forest exhibit. All these areas were quite kid-friendly with interactive displays. We watched a 15-minute feeding of the seals while one of the staff explained their habitat and the training the staff provides for these creatures. It was a really interesting walk through an acrylic tube, with sharks, colorful rockfish, sturgeons and more swimming over, under and all around us The volunteer staff at the Aquarium were just as impressive as the aquatic life. There were many of them, easily identified in their volunteer-labeled vests, and they were eager to answer questions and give detailed information about what we were seeing.

One sunny morning, Sammie and I walked much of the Cooper Ridge Trail that circles the campground. The trail is well-maintained, undulating up and down hills and in and out of dense forest stands. At one point, I became the "bride" with Sammie as my "maid of honor" as we walked beneath arching vines and low tree branches, with the walkway covered in pink rhododendron blossoms that had freshly fallen to the ground.

I would recommend this campground to anyone that enjoys the beach, along with easy access to other activities in town, at the port, or at the aquarium.

Posted by Joyful Feet 16:37 Archived in USA Tagged camping oregon_coast south_beach_state_park Comments (1)

Good resources for Oregon Coast travelers

Just wanted to mention a couple of good, and free resources we have been using on our coastal trip, in addition to some of our travel books and maps:

Mile-By-Mile Guide. This guide is published annually by Oregon Coast magazine. It provides short descriptions of communities, state parks and recreational areas, lighthouses, bridges and other interesting points, listed by milepost numbers. Most every mile on Highway 101 is numbered with road sign posts, so the publication is quite easy to follow, and we have found it accurate in nearly every instance. We picked up a printed copy at some visitor center or restaurant, but a complete digital version is available at www.oregoncoastmagazine.com. This website may also be helpful in planning a trip to the Oregon coast.

101 Things To Do, Western Oregon & The Coast Though not as thorough as the Milepost publication, the entries in this magazine are more descriptive, and highlight many interesting activities and opportunities. It can be found at www.101things.com/west oregon.

Posted by Joyful Feet 21:01 Archived in USA Tagged oregon_coast highway_101 travel_guides Comments (0)

Ahhh...on the beach

Beachside State Park Campground

Memorial Day: Rain, rain...clouds, then more rain! We drove from Bullard State Park just north of Bandon north on Highway 101 Monday through rain, mist and clouds. In better weather, we would have lingered at Heceta Lighthouse, or some of the coastal viewpoints. When the low clouds cleared enough to even see the waves, we did pause occasionally, but we merely watched the wave action and the sea gulls from the dry side of the windows.

We arrived at Beachside State Park, 17 miles south of Newport, during a lull in the wet weather, thankfully --always easier to maneuver an RV into its home without the raindrops. Beachside lives up to its name, the sites on loop C are just yards from the wide sandy beach, and we are soothed by the ever-present roar of the waves. One of the other sites just down the drive from ours is reputed to be the best-view camp spot on all of Oregon. Restrooms and showers here are clean and nice with plenty of hot water. This being mid-week, the park campground is quiet with few neighbors.

The weather cleared some on Tuesday, and we walked the beach a couple of times. At low tide, we could walk further north than we had energy, I'm guessing more than two miles. And, the same distance going south seemed possible. Our puppy, Sammie, began stopping at every piece of shell she spied, and we tried to teach her those things were not chewing material. She shied from getting her feet wet in a couple of little streams running across the beach, but with coaxing, and mom & dad striding away, she managed to conquer the fear. Despite the clouds, there is nothing like fresh brisk air and rolling surf to love being on the Oregon coast.

There are bunnies at this campground, fascinating to Sammie, and whimsical to me.

Posted by Joyful Feet 21:43 Archived in USA Tagged camping oregon_coast beachside_state_park Comments (0)

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