Cape Disappointment SP

Discussion in 'Washington' started by SirLancelot, Aug 7, 2014.

  1. SirLancelot

    SirLancelot Member

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    My family and I have stayed at Cape Disappointment for extended vacations fairly extensively, but this year was our first since owning our popup. The park is laid out very very well, is almost completely level, VERY bike/family friendly, and have very good privacy between each site in almost every single loop regardless of tent or utility hookups. We've typically stayed in the 150-numbered loop with friends. Each set of 3 loops (clover leaf style loops) has a small bathroom that is typically kept very clean and has coin-fed showers. We found out this year that the coin feed doesn't actually work and that the hot water turns on without quarters. Free showers are great! There is a large set of very new and clean showers and bathrooms located fairly centrally in the park near the trailer loops that has larger showers that are typically a little bit cleaner as well. The only garbage stations are located at the park entrance, or near these central bathrooms. This is very inconvenient if you're used to taking your garbage out right before you go to bed, instead of having more centrally located dumpsters as they did several years ago near each set of 3 loops. This now requires you somehow carry the garbage bags while riding your bike, or driving to the dumpsters. Or you can always let the raccoons have at it overnight...

    The scenery around the park is really amazing! Near the park entrance is a public fishing boat launch onto the Columbia River. There's another road that heads SW toward a Coast Guard station near the river entrance and also accesses trails to the south lighthouse, the Lewis & Clark center, and another great destination beach called "Dead Man's Cove". This is probably our favorite beach of all in the park due to its secluded feel, safe beach (no large waves or undertow), and scenery.

    Just inside the park entrance is Waikiki Beach, probably our second favorite beach in the park. It's moderately wide and bounded to the south by the south light house perched high above on a rock, and to the right by the South Jetty built by the Army COE years ago. There are tons and tons of driftwood the kids love playing in, a beautiful sand beach, and safe waves for playing in with no undertow. Kids and dogs love it and it's generally FAR less windy that the open ocean beaches.

    Proceed into the park and there's a hike to an old WWI/WWII battery with some short but very dark tunnels and rooms for the kids to enjoy spooking around in and some great views of the South Jetty and lands below. It's not at all uncommon to see wildlife down below such as deer.

    Continue in the park to the actual campsites and you'll see access signs for Benson Beach, the largest beach in the park. It is an open ocean beach and has long long stretches of nice sandy expanses bordered on the north by the north lighthouse, and on the south by the South Jetty. This is a great beach for hanging out with the kids while they play in the sand, fly kites, etc., however the rip tide can be a very real threat at all times of the day. It seems one or two (or more) people (often children) die each year along these ocean beaches from rip tide. The scenery is beautiful however and as long as you're monitoring where your kids are, it's a great time. There is usually enough of a breeze to fly kites and there's plenty of space for it.

    The campsites themselves are shielded from the ocean wind due to many many tall mature fir trees. There is a ton of privacy between almost all sites. Each loop has a center section usually populated by numerous fir trees that the kids love to climb in and ride bikes between.

    There is a ton of wildlife around the campground and it's not uncommon to see dear up close and personal. They don't tend to come in to the camping area much, but are seen all the time near the park entrance. There are tons of thieving raccoons so seal up your food tight at night. They'll steal anything not nailed down! Plenty of chipmunks, rabbits, and garter snakes as well. Several years ago our lab Molly had the unfortunate luck of meeting a porcupine on our last night. 43 quills later and surgery at the vet to retrieve one embedded in her skin and she was fine. This year my daughter and other family members saw a black bear near the camp entrance. They're pretty skittish though(luckily).

    Outside the park there are other attractions as well. North Head Lighthouse has a small but well-valued hike with great views of the ocean and campground area. Bring the camera! Beard's Hollow is another fun destination beach just north of the North Lighthouse and also has a fantastic paved bike trail running along the beach itself that goes directly into the town of Long Beach. It's a great bike ride for the kids with numerous great photo ops along the way.

    The only real wildcard for this campground is the weather. Due its proximity to the mouth of the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean it's not at all uncommon to get heavy ocean mist/fog overnight and into the morning and even afternoon hours. It may be clear and beautiful only a mile or two away inland, but it could remain foggy here the entire day. That's happened before. Also, due to this same location and the same reasons, it's not at all uncommon to get pretty decent precipitation even in the middle of summer. Back before we bought our trailer we'd been rained out at least a couple of times. The last big rainout was actually one of the catalysts for my wife agreeing to switching to a popup trailer and she hasn't regretted it since.

    All-in-all it's a beautiful location with many hikes and sites for the family to enjoy and see. It's easy to spend 5-8 days here. We've spent longer than that before. The prices for WA State Parks aren't amazing, but they're not terrible either. It's a great family destination, although the drive can be a bit of a bear if you don't leave town early...
     
  2. Unstable_Tripod

    Unstable_Tripod Well, there's your problem!

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    I stayed there once about ten years ago and took a lot of shots of the light house. It was a nice place but I didn't care for the marine layer and dampness.
     

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