Nehalem Bay State Park
06.02.2013 - 06.04.2013
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!