Shipwrecks, Forts and Shopping….

We just returned from a jam-packed weekend of fun on the Oregon Coast as a twist to our traditional Memorial Day weekend excursion. Memorial Day weekend has always been spent with family and this year was no exception. We decided to take a chance and head to Oregon (mostly because every state park west of the Mississippi was full many months ago), to the Astoria/Seaside/Warrenton KOA with my cousin and her family. Normally we would have had reservations somewhere but last years job hunt took precedence and we missed the reservation deadline for the holiday weekend. You seriously have to reserve 9 months out(at least in Washington and Oregon) to get a spot for a holiday weekend. So this year we did something we do not normally do and reserved at a KOA.

As is typical for the northwest rain was in the forecast for this weekend and a lot of us. Luckily for us the skies didn’t open up and downpour until Sunday evening while we were in the indoor pool. We again lucked out with the weather and were able to see a lot of things in overcast, but dry weather. Saturday was our history lesson day as we took a day trip to Fort Stevens State Park which was conveniently located right across the street from the KOA. I had not been to Fort Stevens since I was a little girl and had forgotten how massive that park really was. We stopped at the ranger station to get our day pass and maps and started our adventure.The first thing we did was explore the campground for future reference. Fort Stevens was on our list of Oregon State Parks we would like to visit but we might have to cross it off the list after our quick drive through the campground loops. We did not go through all loops (there are 500 spots at this massive park) but the ones we did see we were not impressed with.  In fact, we are not sure that we’d be able to get our trailer into most of them. There was more privacy and wider sites at the KOA which almost never happens.  After our short campground tour we headed down to the beach to see the shipwreck, the Peter Iredale. After finding a spot in the really small beach parking lot we were greeted by a massive sandy beach, although crowded, it didn’t seem so crowded due to its size. After some time spent in the waves and some photos at the shipwreck we headed back up to check out the Fort.

Fort Stevens is a massive fort. Around every corner is a piece of history. The first place we stopped was a gun battery all off by itself. It was not what I expected, it was almost the size of a fort, in fact Fort Ebey in Washington is not much bigger then this one gun battery. There were Memorial Day festivities going on at the Fort this weekend as well, so there were guided tours and people giving out information about each place as well as some Civil War reenactments going on at the main fort. Our oldest son is actually working on a Civil War project for his final middle school presentation and it is on the Civil War (specifically the Battle of Perryville in Kentucky). Even though we couldn’t make it to Kentucky, he learned a lot of things at the Fort about the Civil War. We took a picture of the cannons they had there to add to his presentation because the artillery was the same kind as those used in Perryville. Every 30 minutes they fired off the cannon which was really cool, well the pugs weren’t thrilled with it, but we liked it. All and all it was a jam-packed busy day full of long walks and lessons on history. It was also cool to see what the other side of the river looked like as last year we only were able to glance at it from Cape Disappointment State Park.

Sunday was a day of shopping and a reminder as to why we do not normally leave the campsite on a holiday weekend. We took a short drive down the Oregon Coast to the town of Seaside, a popular destination for families with children. The highway to get to Seaside, hwy 101, was bumper to bumper on our way into town. Parking was hit or miss but we figured if we followed the RV parking signs we’d find plenty of spots for bigger trucks and we did. A short walk was all it took taking us into the heart of the city our first stop being the boardwalk along the beach, and beautiful beach it was. It is a great beach to hang out on as there is plenty to do. They have vollyball nets set up and swing sets right on the beach for kids. The hotels there offer beautiful views as well. There is also plenty of shopping in Seaside with dozens of interesting and unique shops including a mall with a carousel in the middle and a cool hat shop. The kids will love the place because of the many things to see and do. There is an aquarium, a fun palace with an arcade and plenty of games, bumper cars, and a lot of candy shops(we left with a $20.00 giant bag of salt water taffy). You could spend a lot of time there and money. It was starting to rain while we were there and it was really crowded so we didn’t spend a lot of time there. Besides the kids were itching to get back to the pool at the KOA.

Upon returning to camp the”when can we go to the  pool” nagging got to be too much and we finally went to the pool which was full of kids (48 to be exact). The kids had a blast in the pool even in spite of it being crowded. While we were in the pool the skies opened up and the rains began, not really letting up the rest of the evening. This put a damper on our campfire plans but we instead improvised and after a great meal of BBQ chicken we got out all the sugar snacks we could find and had a movie marathon in the RV for 9. Good thing we bought this Sprinter as 9 people would not have fit in the Jayco. It is worth mentioning that Astoria is only a few minutes away from this KOA and worth exploring. Had we had another day we would have gone there for more than just to eat. We did go into town on Friday night for dinner at the Wet Dog Cafe, which had excellent beer,  but didn’t walk around much. There is always next time.

  • Ingrid

    Looks like a fun weekend despite the weather and crowds. Isn’t it a shame we have to make reservations so far in advance anywhere for a holiday weekend? That shipwreck looks really awesome 🙂

    • campingourway

      Yes it really is. It’s not just holidays it’s summer in general too. The problem is people make reservations and don’t use them. Trying to make one for the 4th of July requires you to make a 2 week reservation to get the date. Washington State Parks are trying something new with a cancellation fees, the longer you have the reservation the more it costs to cancel, up to 50% of your total fee. I hope it stops the site hording but I doubt it. The shipwreck is cool. I’m going to try to dig up a photo of my grandparents at the same shipwreck years ago showing a lot more of the ship.