January 22, 2008

Washington's Coast: South Beach Campground

This is not a place to go to get away from people. At first glance, someone might think it looks like an unpaved parking lot with the occasional picnic table and fire pit, but looking past that, there is so much beauty that the rest just seems to melt away. With that said, and not being afraid to share the beauty of the ocean with others myself, I LOVE this spot!!! For the last couple of years, Josh and I have been dumping the kids on my grandparents' doorstep and running away to this place. And it's SO easy to do. We keep a camp box in our storage that has the essentials in it like unperishable foods, foil, utensils, soap, matches, etc... we grab that, pack a cooler with fresh yummies, pack up some clothes (only the comfortable and weather appropriate stuff), some games, a great book, blankets for the beach, a kite, the cameras, and we run away for a night or two. When we get there, we back the van up to one of the sites, set up our bed in the back of the van, start a fire (wood can be purchased at a local store up the highway if you can't scavenge enough drift wood) and get cozy as we drink in the fresh sea air mixed with the warmth of the campfire. During the day, we wander down to the round rock beach (just about EVERY rock on the beach would make a perfect skipping stone) and find a spot between the giant driftwood logs to make our own little fire pit on the beach. From there, we read, snack, and watch the sunset. Josh likes to make forts with the logs on the beach. The wind is perfect for kite flying. And it always amazes me how fun it is to feng shui the beach with a stack of rocks on a log. I get so relaxed here that I almost like doing this more than any big fancy vacation I have been on. I dream about going back during the cold months that the grounds are closed. Sites are under $15 a night. It can fill up pretty quick in the summer months. We have found that the trick is to get there at least an hour or two before the campground's check out time. This has worked out really well for us so that we can have our pick of spots right up to the beach, because some of them are back behind those spots and you have to look over someone's site to see the view. It's about a 4 hour (beautiful) drive if you leave from Seattle and go south through Olympia and over to Aberdeen. On the trip home, it's fun to make a loop and drive north up the coast through Port Angeles (where you will find my favorite Antique store ever and a very yummy Mexican restaurant... more on that someday in another post) and over to the ferry on Bainbridge. Fares for the ferry are MUCH cheaper if you go from west to east than if you go from east to west, and going either way takes about the same time for travel. If you want a little more seclusion, the Kalaloch campground is about 5 miles up the road... but it costs a little more per night, fills up even faster, and only has VERY few sites with views of the ocean from them. In between these two campgrounds is the Kalaloch Lodge. We have never stayed there, but if you have some extra money ($100+ per night, at least) it looks like a very nice place to stay.

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