Saturday, July 22, 2017

A Month in Charleston, OR, Week 1

We're starting off our summer on the Oregon coast with a full month at Oceanside Beachfront RV Resort in Charleston, OR. It feels luxurious to have the ocean a mere block away. All we have to do is walk to the end of our row, catch the short beach trail through the dunes and moments later we are looking at the Pacific Ocean.

The RV "resort" is not fancy, roads and sites are gravel. There are about 70 full hookup sites, a dozen or so tent sites (some right on the edge of the beach), a couple of fancy "glamping" safari tents, and a few cute little cabins. The draw here is the adjacent beach and the proximity to several incredibly beautiful state parks just a few miles away.

Most folks stay here only a night or two, maybe up to a week. Because we are staying an entire month we were given one of the better sites. Site #54 backs up to a pet area that is probably about an acre. Since most folks walk their dogs here briefly in the morning and evening, it is usually very peaceful and we are able to get Rosie out often for walks.

Our site feels pretty spacious with all that grass behind us, much nicer than many of the other sites which have dead grass between them and look quite close to their neighbors.

Site #54, we can place our chairs facing the grassy meadow for a nice wide open view.

Looking at our site from across the pet area.

Rosie in her element on the fringes of the meadow.

Bastendorff Beach lies right behind our RV park.
Photo taken from the jetty about half a mile north of our RV park. 

Our RV park is located on the Cape Arago Highway, a stunning stretch of Oregon coast that boasts three state parks, lovely coastal trails, tidepools and sea lion viewing. Sunset Bay is the start of a four mile section of the Oregon Coast Trail that takes us through the three state parks. We'll hike this multiple times during our are some scenes from the Sunset Bay to Shores Acres section.

All along the coast we see slanted rocks jutting out of the ocean, evidence of tectonic action going on below.

Shore Acres State Park was once the grand estate of wealthy timber baron Louis Simpson.
The estates' gardens have been restored to their former beauty
and include formal gardens, a Japanese garden and rose gardens.

Striking concretions on Simpson Beach.

More evidence of uplift along the coast.

Cape Arago lighthouse is no longer in service and,since 2013, belongs to the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians. It is inaccessible to the public.

Charleston harbor is a working harbor. Crabs can be caught right from the docks, a couple of fishermen sell fish right from their boats, and there are a few small fish markets and cafes too.

Charleston Harbor.

Delicious local rum from Stillwagon Distillery.

Seven Devils State Recreation Site is a long stretch of pristine, off the beaten path beach about halfway between Charleston and Bandon. On a gorgeous Sunday morning the beach was practically deserted. The beach can be walked for miles in either direction and folks like to hunt for agates here.

We walked south to these rocks for some terrific tidepooling.

On a day trip into Coos Bay, the largest town on the OR coast, we even managed to find a pretty place to hike while getting our truck's oil changed at Walmart.

Empire Lakes.

We hiked from Shore Acres to Cape Arago another day. This portion of the Oregon Coast Trail took us past Simpson Reef, a popular breeding and resting area for marine life, including Northern Elephant seals, Harbor seals, Stellar sea lions and California sea lions.

The beach on Shell Island is the gathering place!

The large guys in the back are Northern Elephant seals and the tan ones in front are Stellar sea lions.

We passed several plein air artists.

A view of Simpson Reef from the south.
Some very pretty picnic spots at Cape Arago State Park.

The trail winds in and out of lush forest with all sorts of fantastic fungi.

Looks like it's going to be an awesome month in Charleston!


  1. Ah yes! Looks like you are off to a great start!

  2. Saweeeet !
    I could stay there a month, too. What a place to kick back, stroll the beach, and find weird things that grow/live in such moist places. Enjoy your good life... :)
    Box Canyon Mark

  3. That looks like a great area to spend a month. And lucky Rosie, having such a nice backyard to explore!

  4. WOW! What a beautiful piece of heaven you have found! And a whole month...I can hardly wait for the weekly posts! So happy to see starfish, Rosie with lots of exploring spots, the shoreline, rock outcroppings, tall trees, and rum! And how lucky you have the best RV spot!

  5. What great tide pools. You find some mighty fine places.

  6. Oh I just loved the state parks outside of Charleston! Lucky you getting to spend an entire month at one of the best areas of the Oregon coast.

  7. So beautiful! You are doing what I had hoped to do this summer. Maybe next summer for us..,

  8. Hi Lisa and Hans, We met you two and took a small hike in Buffalo WY. a couple of years ago. We are going to be in Coos Bay/North Bend August 15th-22nd. We are taking the month of August to do the Oregon Coast starting in Astoria and finishing in Brookings. If you have time maybe we can grab a beer together. Rick and Jenn

    1. Hi Rick and Jenn! We leave Charleston on 8/13 and head to South Beach SP for 4 nights. Any chance you will be near Newport on 8/13 or 14?

    2. We are going to be in Lincoln City the 8th-15th. We could meet up one of those days/evenings as I am sure that we will be in Newport for some of our visit. Just let us know what works for you.

    3. Cool! Can you message us through Metamorphosis Road Facebook page? Then we can exchange contact info privately, instead of in this public space. Thanks!

  9. What a lovely place to spend the month! I love all the diversity in the rock formations along the shore. So many beautiful places to explore. Love your tide pool,too! Aren't the sea stars just so pretty:)

  10. Sunset Beach/Cape Arago/Charleston is one of our favorite places on the southern Oregon coast. How wonderful to spend a month there! You found some terrific tide pools! And fungi. Love Rosie the "jungle kitty." :-))

  11. Stunning photos - I already miss the coast! Love the unique concretions and the fabulous fungus.