Fri., Oct. 25, 2019
Beachside State Recreation Site perfect place to set up camp
The hiking along the coast is exceptional at Cape Perpetua, just south of Yachats, Ore. (John Nelson)
YACHATS, Ore. — Welcome back! That’s exactly how we felt arriving at Beachside State Recreation Site on the central Oregon Coast.
It’s been a long time since we’ve visited this gorgeous stretch of sand between Waldport and Yachats. It was an annual pilgrimage for us in the 1990s, when we would drive from Spokane every fall to drink in the stunning views, autumn sunshine and eat loads of local seafood when our kiddo was little.
While much has changed, the appeal of this region remains strong, especially when staying at one of the best parks we’ve ever rolled our rig into.
We booked a spot online at Beachside and arrived slightly road weary, having traveled over the Cascades from Bend in the middle of a snowstorm. When we pulled in, all the road drama was forgotten and we were downright giddy.
We got camp set up and then explored the rest of the park, which offers 32 electric and water hookups, 42 tent spaces and two yurts. Besides offering unparalleled access to the waterfront, we loved Beachside’s towering trees. Even the sites away from the beach are nice, although outer loop sites do experience some road noise from Highway 101.
Our site was just across from the beachfront and gorgeous, but we soon started having major envy for No. 63, the camping spot closest to the beach.
“It’s the most requested site in the entire state of Oregon,” our camp host told us.“That’s really something, considering we’re not open year-round.”
Our planned two-day stay morphed into a week, and we managed to snag No. 63 for a couple of nights. And while the views are amazing, they do come with lots of sand, so be ready with a broom inside the RV. You cool with that? Seems like a fair tradeoff for such an excellent location.
We had some fantastic evening campfires, and wandered a few steps down onto the beach to check out the full moon. Talk about magical!
Besides the camping, Beachside is well situated to explore the towns of Waldport and Yachats — both short bike rides away. Each coastal town offers its charms, and we found ourselves hanging out for coffee at Espresso 101 in Waldport and had beers at Yachats Brewing.
We bought crab and exceptional smoked salmon at Luna Sea Fish House in Yachats, which also provided a mighty fine ling cod lunch one Sunday as we explored the town’s farmers market, where locally foraged and cultivated mushrooms were a major highlight.
This section of coastline feels remote, with secluded walks on the beach the norm. It wasn’t unusual to go out for a four-mile stroll and see nobody else, the waves crashing just for you. We even reacquainted ourselves with “The Big Stump,” a 100-year-old redwood stuck in the sand south of Waldport that was a fixture of our visits years ago.
Longer, more dramatic hikes are available south of Yachats at Cape Perpetua Scenic Area at the Devil’s Churn, a rocky section known for its wild wave action. Farther south, Heceta Head Lighthouse and Carl G. Washburne Memorial State Park offer additional trails and views of this rugged section of the coast.
On our final night, a storm blew in, complete with rig-rocking winds and pelting sheets of rain. No problem. We were warm and cozy in our tiny home on wheels.
This experience affirms our commitment to the RV life, showing us the best experiences are something you don’t exactly plan.
Today’s Going Mobile Question
We drive a 23-foot RV, pretty small for full-time winter travel. We see so many fifth wheels and Class As that dwarf us as we travel down the West Coast. What’s the minimum-sized RV you would consider for full-time travel? Tell us your RV size requirements at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll pass along your ideas in the next column.