Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Park your RV on a Washington beach: Pacific Beach (video)

Finding a special place along the ocean beach is sure a rarity. Up in the Pacific Northwest, there aren't too many places where you can take your RV right out to the beach and stay for a day or two. But north of the mouth of Grays Harbor, about center point along the north-south Washington state line, lies the little burg of Pacific Beach.

The state maintains a park in Pacific Beach by the same name. Perched on the beach, in some sites you can sit in your rig and watch the tide roll in and out. Kite fliers and beach combers spend plenty of time decorating the seascape, and overall, its a quiet, relaxing park.

Some summer visit, you may catch those occasional brilliant days of blue sky and sunshine. But Washington's weather is notably fickle, and a two-hour stretch of sunlight can suddenly change into wind-driven rain that may hang around for weeks. Come winter, park in some of the "ocean front" sites and you can watch winter storms toss the waves around, helter-skelter.

Years back, you could come nearly anytime you liked and find a place to park your rig. But like a lot of those things we "love too much," nowadays you'd best have a reservation year-around.

Top picks for ocean views? Sites 1 through 6 are great, non-hookup areas. Several of these back up to a bluff, and you can drag your chair up on the bluff and have almost a private outlook over the beach. Sites 7 and 8, and 17 through 30 too, have super ocean views, and offer partial utilities. The park has other non-ocean view spots, too, that cost a few dollars less than view sites.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Otter Crest Viewpoint on Oregon Coast

Otter Crest Viewpoint looking south on Oregon Coast. (Julianne G. Crane)
The Oregon Coast Highway has long been a favorite scenic byway for RVers who want to travel at a leisurely pace and soak in some of the most beautiful vistas in America. And, the Oregon State Parks has provided numerous pullouts for the millions of annual sightseers and photographers.

For RVers, a great time to travel this popular route is in the autumn and winter when there are fewer families on the road and camping sites at state parks are easier to come by.

On one recent trip along the northern Oregon Coast we pulled out at the Otter Crest State Scenic Viewpoint. It thrusts out into the Pacific Ocean between Newport to the south and Depoe Bay to the north. It is a beautiful place to take a few snapshots, stretch your legs or fix a bite to eat.

Looking north from Otter Crest(Julianne G. Crane).
However, there are a couple of possible downsides for folks traveling in an RV:

- Traveling north, entry to the viewpoint is on the outside curve and signage was a little confusing. We missed the first entry and turning into the second access road was challenging because of the awkward approach and heavy oncoming traffic. However, there is a protected turn lane.
- Parking is extremely tight for larger rigs and any outfit towing a trailer or boat/car. 
- Only toilet facility available the day we were there was one porta-potty that had not been service in a long, long time. (Thank goodness for self-contained RVs.)

That said, upwards of half-a-million travelers pull off the coast highway each year for the spectacular view from 500-feet "above the ocean on the breathtaking crescent sweep of white sandy beach stretching to the south (pictured above). Cape Foulweather is stunning and inspirational with its picturesque panoramic views. This popular whale watching spot also provides a good view of the Devil's Punchbowl (to the south)" according to Oregon State Parks.

Read more about the RV lifestyle by Julianne G. Crane, go to RVWheelLife.com.   Photos: Otter Crest State Scenic Viewpoint with fog bank and Gull Rock offshore. (Julianne G. Crane)