We have officially entered the first camping trip of our 2022 season!
A quick background to give you an idea of how we are making this camping season work for us: my (Marissa’s) grandparents have been campers for a long time, in fact I have many memories of camping with them growing up. My grandpa in his wisdom got a Thousand Trails camping membership and was grandfathered (fittingly named) into some of the features at Thousand Trails. When they decided they were of the age to move away from camping they graciously transferred the membership to us. It was such the Lord’s timing and favor that they would honor us with that for only a few short months later we would find ourselves selling our home and living in our trailer. Due to their generosity, we are able to stay at Thousand Trails campsite for a significant discount. We pay a yearly membership which allows us to stay 50 days for “free” under that yearly fee and then after that you can pay per stay at a discounted rate. So far in our 2022 camping season March – Sept we have reserved 57 nights at Thousand Trails Campgrounds. (We will also be staying at other campgrounds like KOA’s and Private campgrounds which will cant wait to share with you all as well.)
SEASIDE THOUSAND TRAILS
We are excited to share our adventure both in video and here on our blog:
You might be surprised that we would camp over spring break at a highly sought-after location, especially since we are not fans of crowds. In fact, Darren was super surprised when I suggested it, BUT my grandparents had talked highly of this campground so we wanted to give it a try and USUALLY the Oregon Coast can surprise you with good weather during winter and spring.
Darren got a new remote job recently so he was able to work remotely this week while we were away, which is such a blessing and something we prayed for a pursued.
We arrived at Thousand Trails Seaside, for those of you that do not know most of Thousand Trails are a first come first serve when it comes to picking spots; because of this you sort of are at the mercy of the spots left. We came on a Sunday so we hoping that some new spots would be available since maybe some would have only camped for the weekend. BUT also we went camping on Oregon states spring break (so I was a bit nervous there would be no spots.)
When you come to Thousand Trails Seaside there is two campgrounds (North side and South side). The pool is on the northside so we drove to that section to look for a place to park.) There were 3 sites available on this side, and two of them were hard for our 32 ft camping trailer to fit in so the one that left one to pick. We snagged the spot and it is within walking distance of the bathroom and pool so that is perfect for us. (There are full hook ups at this Campground which is awesome but we try out best to still use the showers and bathroom in the provided facilities.
It was POURING rain (cats and dogs!) so when we arrived we had time to set up camp, make dinner, play some indoor games and then head to bed.
Our first full day of camping here at Seaside, and guess what: it was raining again! ALL DAY! But they have a pool at the park (which opens 10 – 11 for adults lap swim and then open swim from 11:00 to 6:00), so after playing games and having a low key morning we headed to the pool from 11 – 12. We came back and had lunch together, which brought us to the time that Darren gets off work, so we cleaned up and loaded up to head to Fort Clatsop. This awesome historical site is filled with things to see and do for all ages. We were able to walk through the modest museum, watch a commentary documentary video in their theater, and see the replica of the original Fort that Lewis and Clark stayed in. There is many hiking trails around the Fort as well. Then we headed home for dinner and game night indoor due to the rain.
Day three and our second full day here in Seaside. Darren worked today instead of his normal 5:00 am to 1:30 pm, he split it into two 4 hour sections, so that we could go see Hug Point. Hug Point is safest to see when you go at low tide. Low Tide was at 10:30 am (just to be clear it changes each day so you need to check before you go). We left the campsite at 9:30 am to have plenty of time but when we arrives at Hug Point pull off there was NO parking, it was completely full and a line of cars waiting. So we decided to head to Arcadia beach which is the next one to the north. The parking lot was empty there, hooray! So we pulled right in and then looked up on our All Trails app that this beach is about 1 mile away from hug point. So we decided to walk it over there. This was a huge success, it was a beautiful walk and we arrived at Hug Point, and got to see the caves and waterfall. Hug Point was busy (which was to be assumed from the parking lot) but it was so pleasant to be away from the crowds on our walk there and back. (You may have figured this out about us but we don’t like crowded things so we love to find things that are beautiful and off the beaten path.) We stayed there for 2 hours, saw an eagle, a dead whale, tons of shells, caves, waves and the beautiful hug point and hug point waterfall. Then we came home from lunch and bike riding while Darren finished his work day. When Darren got off we made dinner then headed to watch the sunset (this would be the only sunset without clouds this week). We went to Gearhart beach, we accessed the parking lot by the Golf course. (A cool feature that we did not do but LOTS of others did, is you can access the beach with your car and pull out right on the beach). We decided to walk the bluff to see the sunset from there, but before the set actually set we walked for a while on the beach finding sand dollars.
Super low key day and stayed at the campsite all day which was a nice change up from being away all the day before. The rain was projected to come after lunch so the morning we rode bikes and walked around everywhere. After lunch we had some down time inside the trailer while it was raining, we played games and read books. Then our “big plans” for the day was to spend time swimming together with daddy. After swimming we came back, made dinner and enjoyed sitting around the campfire.
I am happy to report the weatherman was mistaken and what was supposed to be a cloudy day turned into a BEAUITFUL partly sunny day! It was wonderful! We spent the morning riding bikes and play at the park, then after lunch and when Darren got off work, we head to explore Fort Stevens. We have been to Fort Stevens many times as it has been a tradition for us every September to stay at Fort Stevens State Park but it is always a joy to visit. This time the museum was open and we got to read about the historical things we were seeing. After spending several hours there we returned home for dinner and then headed out again to the Seaside Promenade where we walked to see the historic site of the Salt Works, then walked back on the beach (which was beautiful!) And lastly, we ended the day giving the kids a ride of the carousal.
Our goal was to go to Ecola State Park to see Tillamook Lighthouse but it was CLOSED, the whole park! So that was a bummer. So instead we walked Cannon Beach to see Haystack Rock. It is a treasure and BEAUITFUL but not really a great place to see the tide pools because it also is closed off from the public. After walking the beach we walked into the town and got ice cream, yum! Then returned to the campground and swam together at the pool. Then enjoyed a fire and popcorn over the fire.
The last day camping and time to pack up camp. We had a yummy breakfast and slowly packed up to head home. We had one more adventure in store for the way home, about a hour towards Portland from the beach is a place called Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area. This is a wonderful stop with a bathroom, great parking and ELK! We saw so many Elk and other animals. It was a fun surprise since we were sure what we would see when we stopped. They feed the elk earlier in the morning (for future knowledge.)
Activities We Did:
- We really enjoyed the Pool at Thousand Trails
- Bike Riding is always a favorite, and something that is wonderful for the kids to do independently around the trailer site.
- Fort Clatsop is such a wonderful historic site, it has a visitor station that is filled with information, a replica of the fort Lewis and Clark Wintered over in, and many hiking trails around the site. (They have a Junior Ranger booklet that the kids can fill out and turn in to get their own badge, super cute.)
- Walked Beaches: Gearhart, Arcadia
- Saw Hug Point and Hug Point Waterfall
- Played at the Playground at Thousand Trails (they have two playgrounds, tennis courts, basketball court , and nice volleyball court, and fun large community fire pit)
- Fort Stevens – explore all the forts and walk through their museum, they also have an AWESOME disc golf course!
- Walk the Seaside Promenade, it is a great easy walk with beautiful scenery (the whole stretch is 1.5 miles)
- Ride the Carousal inside the Mall – if you go in the evening (before 8:00 pm) there is barely anyone there since the rest of the shops are closed.
- See the Salt Works Historical Site – it is a quick stop so pair it with walking the beach or promenade
- Haystack Rock
- Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area
Food We Ate:
Dinner: Tempura Shrimp, Simple Slaw, and Brown Rice (helpful hint: bring a rice cooker, you can use it indoor or out)
Breakfast: Blueberry muffins (made at home prior to coming) and Greek Yogurt
Lunch: Polish Sausges (we made our own, vlog here), orange slices and kettle chips.
Dinner: Korean BBQ Chicken, Slaw and Brown Rice (our original plan was to do in the Instant Pot but Darren decided to grill them up in our cast iron)
Breakfast: Yogurt and Banana Bread (made at home before coming)
Lunch: PB&J’s with chips and apple slices
Dinner: Stuffed French Toast (cream cheese and strawberries), lemon curd and sausage
Breakfast: Pancakes, eggs and sausage
Lunch: Hummus, crackers, cheese and fruit
Dinner: Italian sausages, no. odles and salad
Breakfast: Oatmeal (we bring our electric water heater when making individual packets)
Lunch: bagels and cream cheese with fruit
Dinner: Indian Chicken, Peppers and onions with Brown Rice
Lunch: Hot Dogs and fruit
Dinner: Polish Sausages, Slaw, Potato Fried
Breakfast: Pancakes, hashbrowns, eggs
SUGGESTIONS FOR NEXT TIME
There is so much to see and do and honestly some things are not quite yet our children’s age and ability level.
But for the future we would LOVE to do the disc golf course at Fort Stevens, we might start with half the course and then progress to the whole one.
The other big goal we would love to do one day is to hike Saddle Mountain. The Saddle Mountain Trail is an absolutely gorgeous path that climbs to the peak of Saddle Mountain, one of Oregon’s most well-known hiking and trekking spots. The summit is a good 3,290 feet above sea level, and many parts of the path can be steep and slippery, so you’ll want to be in good physical condition before you go.
Another thing I saw recommended but didn’t do the research ahead of time to get the details is to attend a reenactment of the Salt Works with locals that act out the parts. Sounds like a great time to visualize the historical event.
Since we wanted to and weren’t able to see Ecola State Park and the Tillamook Lighthouse (which is in the ocean not accessible by walking) this would be on our list for next time. 🙂
Next Camping Adventure is La Pine, Oregon (right outside of Bend). Make sure to follow along to see our Adventures and leave in the comments if you have any suggestions for MUST see things to do.