Sunday, October 18, 2015

Fort Stevens State Park

We enjoy Oregon State Parks. This time of year many loops are closed and there aren't as many programs, but we have found them to be uncrowded, forested and well-maintained.

Fort Stevens was a military defense installation from the Civil War to WW2. It is now a 4,300 acre park near Astoria with more than we could explore in our three night stay.


The sites at Fort Stevens State Park  are paved, treed, and well-maintained.  Though the welcome center is only open 0900-1100 at this time of year, the rangers were friendly and helpful to Stacia with the JR Ranger program.  The bathrooms and shower houses are the nicest we've seen in a state park. Our water/electric site was $29. We've found full hookup sites tend to be full - but we can drive in and find water/electric sites. My only complaint of the park is the trash/recycling was a .7 mile walk, which is hardly worth mentioning in the grand scheme of RVing.
We retraced the Lewis and Clark steps here, here, and here and could have spent several days more in the area exploring the expedition. We flew kites, climbed over the Peter Iredale Shipwreck and visited Fort Stevens Military Museum. There is MUCH in Astoria, Seaside and Cannon Beach we didn't have time to do - we're saving up activities for another trip.

 Fort Stevens State Park is a great launching pad into this area of both Washington and Oregon. The National Park Service publishes "Lewis and Clark at the Pacific." This guide is a WEALTH of information for exploring the area - both the Washington and Oregon sides of the river.  

 Click "campgrounds" in the category cloud in the side more for more reviews.

Sunday Living

Sunday afternoon bike rides - now that's living. Oregon state parks are marvelous on Sunday afternoons. ::grin::

Michael fixed Stacia's inner tube AGAIN and we set off to ride from our campsite to Cleowox Lake.  We planned to look and bike....but the kids had other ideas.


Who would guess they'd SWIM on 18 Oct. They're hard core.

Krista and Arielle went home early this morning - they had their own churches to attend. We topped off our evening with a campfire.  It may be our last for a bit of time.  We all read by the campfire - it was perfect. We are heading back to California to get some answers and go to some appointments.  The rain has been a challenge, but we've enjoyed the fall feel up here.

Blogging by the fire

Westport Lighthouse Campground and RV Park (Military Campground)

Westport Lighthouse Campground and RV Park is located on the grounds of Gray's Harbor Lighthouse and is run by the United States Coast Guard. You  must have a valid military ID to utilize this campground.  The reservation process was a bit complicated - but was well worth the effort.  The sites have water and electricity. There is a rustic bathroom and shower. Nothing fancy - but not scary to use.  The sites cost only $15 a night.

This is RVing as one dares to imagine it. We were the only ones in the campground, we were under a LIGHTHOUSE, walking distance to the beach, it was quiet and peaceful and wonderful. The campground IS rustic. This was the hardest spot for Michael to get our 31 foot trailer into. Our space was narrow and uneven, and the road was muddy.  However, once we were in - we LOVED it.  We had a lot of space around the "RV dirt pad," a fire ring, two tables and lots of trees around us.
The lighthouse is operational and the keeper gives a GREAT tour. The tour is free to military ID card holders.

We barely scratched the surface of things to do in the Westport area, but we had a blast and this little campground is a perfect place to launch for adventures.

The review on this site has contact info and directions. For more campground reviews click "campground" in the category section in the side bar.

Toutle River RV Resort

Toutle River RV Resort is the campground we WANTED to LOVE.  It's also the park that taught me to check Google Earth as well as various RV Park site reviews.

 There is much to love here.  The Tents for Troops program originated with this Resort. They gave us two free nights of camping - we stayed four. Their fees are not posted on the website - but from what we were charged I would guess $45 - $47 a night. This was a great deal for us at $23 a night average. Toutle River RV Resort is located directly off I-5 in Castle Rock, WA. It is one exit away from the exit for Mount Saint Helens. We expected road noise.

 We had trouble trying to make a reservation on the phone, but decided to just drop in. There were LOTS of spaces available and the lady in the gift shop was the friendliest with which we've done business.

This location is loaded with amenities and the facilities were the nicest we've seen. This is a very family friendly resort, right along a river. We met families who come here often on weekends. We could tell how well-organized and maintained this location was as we drove in.

There is much to show from this spot - here are some photos showing some of the amenities.

Private Saunas

Dog wash


Covered Picnic Areas


Disc Golf

Fun playground

Soccer and "Big Foot" Croquet

RV Wash?

Huge covered area - and covered badmitton, Ping-Pong, basketball

Free to use smoke house

Great fire pits at sites and around resort

Free G rated movies and popcorn for kids


Hot tub


The one thing we did not realize is that a train travels behind the Resort every 20 - 30 minutes. Our spot was about mid-way in the park between I 5 and the Train.  Even being a ways from the tracks, we did shake, rattle and yell every 20 - 30 min. The monthly residents say you get used to it. Quite a few have their trailers parked permanently against the fence which runs along the tracks, so I assume they are right.

 We enjoyed our stay here. The kids were happy to have the pool. I was happy to have the hot tub and laundry. The river trail was a great bike ride. We didn't get to use all the free amenities offered as we were busy exploring Mount Saint Helens each day. Some of our kids actually say this is their favorite spot - and judging by the families we met, they are not alone in their assessment.
I'm not sure if we would choose to stay here again. I think if one is driving through  and needs a quick spot to stop, do laundry and let the kids run - Toutle River RV Resort is for you. If one is looking for a destination spot - lots of fun things to do without leaving the location and doesn't mind the train noise - Toutle River RV Resort is a great option.  If one is looking for a bit of quiet - there are other parks which appear to be quieter on the way to Mount Saint Helens: the Mount Saint Helens KOA park (not the other by that name), Silver Cove Resort, Kid Valley Campground to name a few.
We loved this park and we hated the train noise....still not sure how to rate the experience.

For more campground reviews click "campground" in the category section in the side bar.