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  1. Default Camping the Coast


    I would like to plan a 2 week trip, starting in Vancouver BC in early September, driving as far as I can go down the Pacific Coast (and back), at a leisurely pace (like 5 hrs/day max). I will be camping in a Westfalia and I want to spend as much time camping on/near beaches as possible. Any camp ground/itinerary recommendations? Will also have my dog with me, if that makes any difference as to where I should go.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Nice time to be on the coast!

    Quote Originally Posted by brooklet
    I would like to plan a 2 week trip, starting in Vancouver BC in early September, driving as far as I can go down the Pacific Coast (and back), at a leisurely pace
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! Good choice on the time of year -- most of the summer fog will be gone by then. Limiting your driving time to five hours per day and accounting for the stop and start nature of coastal driving, you could expect to cover little more than 1575 miles over seven days of driving before you start the trip home. And that is 1575 miles of roadway, not as a bird flies... OK, that is the math version using rule of thumb calculations

    -- Vancouver, BC to Mendocino, CA is about 1000 miles and that is about the farthest you could hope to cover in seven days and still be "relaxed". On the other hand, you could spend your two weeks just exploring either one of the Oregon and Washington coasts and never run out of amazing stuff to find.

    Moderator Judy has many, many posts about exploring the Olympic penisula (use the search utility). And be sure to look at the threads on the bottom of this page!

    Happy Planning!


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Oh, one of my favorite topics!

    Some great places to camp are (in North-to-South order) are below. You might not stay at all of them because there's less miles between them than you plan on driving but, hopefully, they'll give you good ideas of places to stay.

    I've stayed in all of these but, for some of them, it's been a few years so I can't vouch for if they are still as nice as they were then. However, there's also the possibility they can be even better!

    For reservations and further information:
    Washington State Parks
    National Parks
    Oregon State Parks

    Where I remembered if they were a state park or a national park, I indicated that information. However, I could be remembering some wrong and, in some cases, don't remember at all. So you'll want to search the above links to be sure.

    *Deception Pass State Park, south of Anacortes, WA
    *Dungeness Recreation Area State Park between Sequim and Port Angeles, WA
    *Solduc Hot Springs National Park, west of Port Angeles and south of Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park
    *Hoh Rainforest National Park, south of Forks and east into Olympic National Park
    *Kalaloch National Park, south of Forks and north of Lake Quinault (on the stretch of 101 that goes right by the coast
    *Falls Creek National Park on the south shore of Lake Quinault
    *Pacific Beach State Park, in Pacific Beach
    *Ocean City State Park, in Ocean Shores
    *Twin Harbors State Park, south of Westport
    *Grayland Beach State Park, south of Grayland
    *KOA Bay Center, west of Raymond/South Bend on Willapa Bay
    *Fort Canby State Park, south of Ilwaco, on Cape Disappointment, and on the mouth of the Columbia River
    *KOA Ilwaco, east of Ilwaco

    *Fort Stevens State Park, on the Oregon side of the mouth of the Columbia River, west of Warrenton and Astoria
    *Cape Lookout State Park, southwest of Tillamook, on the coast by Cape Lookout (not on 101, but on a small road that goes along the coast for awhile)
    *Devil's Lake State Park in Lincoln City. I don't remember this park being all that nice but it was in a great location within the city if you want to spend some time there.
    *Beverly Beach State Park, just south of Devil's Punchbowl State Park, and a bit south of Depoe Bay...the littlest harbor in the world and a charming town worth a stop
    *Waldport/Newport KOA, in Waldport
    *Oregon Dunes KOA, just a bit north of North Bend
    *Bullards Beach State Park, north of Bandon

    *Crescent City-Redwoods KOA, just a bit north of Crescent City and adjacent to the various redwood parks down there.

    I hope this helps a bit. We've stayed in all of these. We have stayed in some other places in the Southern Oregon area but I couldn't remember which places.

    As for the dog, all of these places allow dogs. Most campgrounds do. Some hotels do as well. The rules generally are something like this:
    1. Keep your pet leashed at all times, and under your control.
    2. Don't leave your pet alone at the campground.
    3. Clean up after your pet.
    4. Keep your pet from incessant barking.

    The only issue I could see that would be a challenge is using bathroom/shower facilities without leaving your dog alone. I would suggest putting your pet in your car, leaving the windows down enough for air but not closed so much they get too hot, and leave a note on your car saying something like "in the shower, returning by 8:30am". As long as your dog doesn't bark a lot while you're gone, it shouldn't be a problem but you don't want people think you've left your dog for more than a short period of time.

    The other thing you need to be aware of is hiking/trails.

    Your dog can be on trails in the national forests and in state parks as long as he is leashed. OK, most people don't leash their dogs on the beaches but have one handy just in case and keep a close eye on him when he's unleashed so he doesn't get himself into trouble.

    However, your dog can NOT be on any trails in the national parks. He can be in the campground but not on any trails. You will get in big trouble and can be heavily fined if you don't follow this rule.

    And, in some areas, it can be confusing knowing if you're in a national park or a national forest. For example, at Lake Quinault, while the campgrounds on the lake are in the national park, the trails on the south side of the lake are in the national forest and, therefore, your dog can go on those trails if leashed. But the trails on the north shore of the lake are all in national forest and your dog can't go there.

    Hope this helps!

    You'll want to check maps to be sure you don't mess up on this.

  4. #4


    Have heard good things about camping at Cannon Beach in Oregon. Not been there myself but may be worth a look.

  5. Default

    Within the last two years I stayed at two campgrounds in the Redwoods area.

    Just south of Mendocino (Van Damme State Park). This was a pretty good campground, good campsite, but fairly full (this was over spring break). No showers, but they were being built as we were there.

    Del Norte Coastal Redwood State park (Mill Creek campground). This was a 2nd growth, very forested campground area -- we stayed in site 55 "the bandshell" (from the very large shell of a redwood tree on the site). Crowded campground, but very interesting area. Showers were available at the campground.

    A couple of interesting places to visit
    -- Redwoods National Park -- Visited Lady Bird grove, and took 1 mile loop trail. Very pretty. Very large trees...
    -- Redwoods National Park Gold Beach -- via a rather bumpy 7 mile dirt road. Saw a couple of sedans turn back, but lots of them made it to the end. There were numerous Roosevelt Elk along the road in several places.
    Down at the end of the road is Fern Gully. Very interesting and scenic.
    -- Scenic drive through Elk Prairie State Park -- very scenic, but its a pretty fast and moderatly busy drive.

    -- One of the better drives was Howland Hill road, which comes north east from Crescent City area and runs into 199. It was a very good quality dirt road which winds through the redwoods and was probably one of the most scenic parts of the trip, and not well travelled. I'd recommend it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default It's a beautiful, coastal town.

    Quote Originally Posted by Craig Antill
    Have heard good things about camping at Cannon Beach in Oregon. Not been there myself but may be worth a look.
    I love Cannon Beach. Beautiful place. Both the beach and town are gorgeous. However, I've never actually camped around there so I don't know what's available. I would assume that camping there would have to be great though considering how nice the area is.

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