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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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First trip of the season sure feels wonderful

On a sunny spring day, the Washington Coast is as gorgeous as any place on Earth.

We recently had a week of beautiful sunny days amid the crashing waves and dramatic dunes, taking our first extended trip of 2021 through southwest Washington and Hood Canal.

The beautiful weather matched our new, fully vaxxed feeling of hope as we look ahead for more adventures in the Pacific Northwest this spring and summer.

We all have reason for optimism these days. Why not take that optimism on the road in an RV?

That’s what we said when we planned this trip, starting with a family visit to Longview, followed by a few days on the Long Beach Peninsula, Grayland and then a stop at Fort Flagler State Park near Port Townsend.

The trip reconfirmed for us why we love the state parks of Washington. Grayland Beach State Park and Fort Flagler both offer exceptional access to coastal views and excellent, hook-up camping.

Grayland Beach State Park

We first visited this southwest Washington coastal retreat amid last summer’s “smokemaggedon.” You remember, right? The choking wildfire smoke made for a hard first visit to an otherwise beautiful park, and we barely got a taste of what makes Grayland Beach State Park so nice.

For starters, the camping spaces are beautiful, large and secluded. Grayland Beach also offers a nice assortment of yurts for rent, so if you don’t have an RV, this is a nice place to check out the coast for some comfortable glamping.

What you’ll find is a long broad beach with a large dune area. Car traffic is allowed on the beach -- which isn’t our favorite thing -- but the flat, compacted sand is so wide that walkers, bike riders and vehicles all coexist comfortably.

One of the nicest things about Grayland Beach is its wild dunes area, which offers beautiful places to sit and watch the waves and coastal birdlife.

Most of all, it’s comfortable -- a wonderful place to simply hang out and soak up the feeling living next to the Pacific Ocean for a few days. Put it on the list.

Fort Flagler Historical State Park

As we traveled back home from the southwest corner of the state, we took in the eastern shore of the Olympic Peninsula, driving along Hood Canal to Fort Flagler on Marrowstone Island.

Does Fort Flagler sound familiar? It’s part of the “triangle of fire,” a trio of 1900-era forts that were created as a coastal defense to protect Puget Sound that we wrote about in a previous column. After being decommissioned following World War II, it became a state park in 1971.

Like the two other points of the triangle -- Fort Casey on Whidbey Island and Fort Worden just north of Port Townsend -- Fort Flagler offers amazing access to the shoreline of the Salish Sea.

Our site was right next to the beach, with a 180-degree view of the Salish Sea, Mount Baker to the northeast and the Olympic Mountains to the West. All we can say is, “Wow!”

And if you’re going to do a coastal trip like this the right way, stop in at Hama Hama Oyster Saloon on Hood Canal. A dozen fresh oysters shucked at sunset on the beach at Fort Flagler is the perfect culinary accompaniment to any coastal excursion.

Leslie Kelly
Leslie Kelly is a freelance writer.