We decided at the last minute that we wanted to do a weekend at the beach. I hopped online and started trying to make a reservation at Nahalem Bay State Park. There was one tent spot left, I clicked ‘add to basket’, and it was gone. I missed it by seconds. I tried to find another state park in the area – nothing. When we camp we prefer to stay in more rustic places, or state parks. We have very good ones in Oregon, and I like to support them. They are generally less expensive than RV resorts and usually offer a little more space, and sometimes privacy. Since nothing else was available, I broke down, and called the KOA.
I have never stayed at a KOA before this, but have stayed at a couple other RV resorts. To be honest, I was a little disappointed, when we got to our spot. It really felt like they had made the best use of space, to get as many people in, and things were tight. Spots are not at all private and we ended up making friends with the neighbors, because everyone heard and saw everything you did. Our spot (#64) was only slightly more private than other spots, because we backed onto a farm, (with 3 lovely horses, and several elk, which our neighbors were pining to hunt – it seems they have tags for next weekend).
The bathrooms were clean, but with the number of folks using them, got very busy (and being at the beach, stuff was constantly drug in (i.e. sand and grass)). They are not as updated as many of the state parks we have been to, but served their purpose. There were showers, sinks, and flushies. The showers were free though, which at some other independent campgeounds in other states, we had to pay by the minute. That was a really nice feature at the KOA. Our site came with water, power, a picnic table, and fire ring. We paid $37.06/night.
The people working there are some of the nicest people you will come across. They take great pride in their campground, and it shows. While the playground has seen a lot of use, it was well maintained, and Laddy loved it. Cool pony swings, regular swings, slides, giant tractor tires to climb on, sand pits (in case you didn’t get enough at the beach!), and tetherball kept him really busy. He also got to see his first game of horseshoes played, and there were several ringers!
The roads are gravel, but mostly flat, and Laddy also had a great time riding his bike. They had organized events you were welcome to participate in, including a special half hour of kids games and an ice cream social and campfire (it was $1/person for the ice cream, and you got 2 HUGE scoops of Tillamook ice cream, in your choice of 5 flavors). They lead the group in campfire songs and it was a fun time. They also had a nice convenience store, where the prices were very reasonable, and what you would have probably have paid in town.
Folks who are not wanting to make breakfast, you have an option to eat at Mel’s Kamper Kitchen, which serves breakfast each morning on site. Again, the prices looked reasonable, but we didn’t eat there.
For folks not wanting to tent or camper camp (or if you are bringing someone along who doesn’t), they have little cabins available also. They are as cute as can be, complete with a porch swing.
All in all, I would give the campground a 6.5 out of 10. It was packed with families and there were tons of kids. The playground and activities made it fun and very family friendly, even though the sites were tiny. We occupied ourselves with other things during the day, so it was a good place to crash at night. If you are looking for more privacy, you might need to go elsewhere.
A couple of things to do near by, include East Devil’s Lake Park, which is down the road about 5 miles. We didn’t stop in, but could see the lake and it was beautiful.
The Lincoln City Tanger Outlets are at the far end of the road. We did pop in quickly, but it was getting close to dinner time and we didn’t need much. That is one of Oregon’s largest outlet malls, and has lots of shopping available. You can buy a coupon book from their guest services that will give you discounts at many of the stores. They sell for $5.
My husband wanted to play in the surf in his kayak, so we went down to Road’s End State Recreation Site, which is no more than 5 miles away. You will go back out to 101, and turn right at the first really busy intersection. Follow the road down and it will be on your left. This is a beautiful stretch of beach, with good surfing, and there is no day-use fee. It is quite popular, so the parking lot gets pretty packed. Laddy had a great time playing along the cliff in caves that had been dug out and the beach is pretty flat so we were able to build some great sand mounds. There was lots of football and frisbee going on as well. If you are in the area and want some good beach time, definitely check it out. They also have bathrooms there, and a few picnic tables around the parking lot, as well as a foot shower to get the sand off.