Welcome to our (very personal) reviews of the campsites we have visited. If you arrived here from a link on our travel blog, Semi-True Tales of Our Life On the Road, you can click here to read all of our campground reviews.

If you would like to know more about me, or contact us, click on "Who are We?" (to the right). For more information about what you can expect to find in these reviews, click on "About These Reviews". Finally, a note about the photos: hover your cursor over a photo to read the caption, or click the photo to enlarge it.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Newport Elks 1Our Opinion: Neutral - but we would not be likely to return.  Private; you must be an Elk to stay here.

Date of Stay: August 16, 17, 18, 2011.

Weather During Stay: Beautiful sunshine, cool temperatures - and WIND at the beach..

Sites:  8 back-in sites on asphalt behind the lodge building. All sites have 30 amp E, water, and cable TV.  Rather narrow sites (no room for your awning if you have neighbors) are sloped to varying degrees; we used boards on the passenger side to level sufficiently.

Rate: $15/night for W/E and cable TV.  No dump station.  Stay limit 7 days.

Phone/radio/TV: Good Verizon phone and aircard signal.  No obstructions to block TV satellite dish, and cable TV is provided.  NPR on 90.5 FM.

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain:  This lodge sits on the side of a hill above the marina and old Bayfront area of Newport between a residential neighborhood and a heavily trafficked commercial street.  Most of the RV sites are not level, but we managed to settle in comfortably.  Views are of neighboring rigs, the back of the lodge, and nearby houses.

Lighting/Noise: A major east/west state highway traverses the hillside just above the RV parking.  Lots of daytime traffic noise, and occasional very noisy trucks or motorcycles during the night. If you click on the top photo, you can spot the cab of a truck passing by on the road, just above our motorhome (the one with the white solar screen).

Newport Elks 2Favorite Sites: None of them are great!  Sites 5 and 6 look reasonably level and longer, but face directly to the back of the lodge.  The photos look a bit nicer than the actual sites.

Hiking/Walking: We walked down the steep hill to the boardwalk along the marina.  Quite a hike back, but there is a bus that heads up the hill.

Comments: We would recommend this Elks parking only if you really want/need to be in Newport and are not willing to pay the high prices commanded by local RV parks - fees above $40/night are not unusual.  An nearby asphalt plant (or similar) puffs out a foul odor a couple of times a day, and there is considerable urban noise.  Next time, we’d stay at the nicer Elks parking in either Florence (south) or Lincoln City (north), or bite the bullet and pay the higher rate at an RV park.  Still, we commend the Newport Elks for making this budget-priced parking available to traveling Elks.  Probably the best deal in town.


Site 38Our Opinion: Recommend.  If you are a Passport America member, the price is very good.

Date of Stay: August 14-15, 2011

Weather During Stay:  Beautiful sunshine without too much heat.

Site Description:   Sites here are well designed for easy pull-through, with grass between the sites and a dedicated spot to park your tow/towed at the back of each site.  Our site had FHU, 30 and 50 amps, plus cable TV.  Each site had a picnic table, and sites are reasonable roomy for a commercial park.

Interior roads and sites are gravel/dirt, so a little dusty in dry weather.  Getting into the park and your site is easy; getting out is a little less easy.  Signs indicate that you are not to use the entrance road as an exit, but many big rigs did - making a left turn from the designated exit (to head west on Hwy 213) was next to impossible in a big rig.

Silver Spur overviewIt’s a big park (134 sites) with nice facilities including a couple of ponds, short walking trails, and a very large lodge/office building.  Price includes good WiFi.

Rate: $17/night for Passport America (minimal restrictions apply); twice that otherwise.

Phone/radio/TV: Good Verizon signal for phones and aircard.  We used their WiFi while here, and it was usually reasonably fast.  No obstacles for roof-mounted satellite dish, and they offered dozens of stations on cable TV.  We also got many local stations on the air antenna.  NPR on 91.5.   

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain:  Level park in a semi-rural area.  Views are of neighbors and distant trees.

Lighting/Noise: Considering the proximity to a major county road, this park was pleasingly quiet, and was reasonably dark at night (low lighting).

Rig and LodgeFavorite Sites: No favorites here.  Our site, 38, faced NW, so our patio side was shaded in the afternoon.

Hiking/Walking:  The park has a short walking trail around the ponds (we saw a Blue Heron).  You could walk into downtown Silverton (1 mile) and to Safeway (¼ mile or so?).

Comments: This is a good home base for exploring the Oregon Garden, Salem (Oregon’s capitol) or making a trip to Silver Falls State Park (15 miles away).  We had a pleasant stay at a very reasonable price.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Kelso Elks front rowOur Opinion: Neutral.  Private; you must be an Elk to stay here.

Date of Stay: August 9 and 10, 2011.

Weather During Stay: Overcast mornings, partly cloudy afternoons.  Moderate temperatures.

Sites:  13 pull-through sites on level dirt/gravel (one site might be occupied by a host?) in two rows. All sites have 30 amp E, water, and cable TV.  Get a key for your electric box from the Elks office when you register. 

No trees; all sites have open exposure.  Sites are large enough for big rigs, but very narrow - just enough room for slides and steps. Tow and towed vehicles fit sideways behind or in front of sites. 

The lodge has a large, paved parking lot that is convenient for unhooking a towed vehicle before entering the fenced RV campground, which requires careful maneuvering if the campground is full.  Watch for potholes in and entering the campground.

Kelso Elks parkingRate: $15/night for W/E and cable TV, includes use of the dump station (located in the campground; a little tricky to access).  Stay limit 7 days May through August; 14 days September through April.  7 days out before re-entry.

Phone/radio/TV: Reasonable Verizon phones and aircard signal.  No obstructions to block TV satellite dish.  20 +/- stations on cable TV.  Lodge has WiFi in the lounge; the motel next door has open WiFi accessible from the campsites.  NPR from Seattle on 104.7 FM.

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain:  This is a small, flat parking area at sea level.  Sites face southeast, into a row of trees and beyond to a motel and the back of a Safeway grocery store. 

Lighting/Noise: Reasonably dark and quiet at night; typical urban noises, including background noise from nearby I-5.

Favorite Sites: No difference between sites.

Elks Lodge BuildingHiking/Walking: Walk to Safeway, Three Rivers Mall (Target) and chain restaurants.  For a longer (and pleasant) walk, drive east on Allen Street, under I-5.  Pass Brookhollow Mobile Home Park, and park in a small lot on the right at the end of a levee immediately past the entrance to Brookhollow RV Park.  Walk along the gravel trail on the grassy levee to Tam-O-Shanter Park.  Excellent hiking at Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.

Comments: Though this parking is nothing special (and quite tight when full), services are good, the price is right, and the location is handy when traveling the I-5 corridor or for visiting Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.  This was our third or fourth stop here, and the first time we have seen the campsites full - the Elks Annual Golf Tournament (held on their own beautiful golf course a few miles away) began on Thursday.  The nearby Safeway store has a gas station that is big-rig accessible.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Sequim Elks LodgeOur Opinion: Recommend.  Private; you must be an Elk to stay here.

Date of Stay: August 7 and 8, 2011.

Weather During Stay: Cool, gloomy, foggy mornings, sunny afternoons.

Sites: 20 RV sites are back to back in two long rows facing east and west on a large, grassy field.  All sites have 30 amp E and water.  There are a couple of trees, but most sites are the open.  Sites are suitable for big rigs, and wide enough for slides, awnings and parking a towed vehicle. 

Easy access through the lodge parking lot to the RV sites in back.  Lots of room for dry camping, or parking a cargo trailer or boat.  This is a quiet neighborhood with a rural feel.

We're in site 5Rate: $18/night for W/E.  No dump station available (we heard there is one nearby, but we didn’t need it).

Phone/radio/TV: Good Verizon phones and aircard signal.  No obstructions to block TV satellite dish in most sites.  We didn’t use our antenna.  Local NPR on 91.1 FM (and others).

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain:  This is a very level, flat, grassy area only slightly above sea level.  Views are of other rigs and the lodge, with forested mountains in the distance.  Pleasant neighborhood.

Lighting/Noise: Quiet at night; we weren't bothered by lights at night.

Sites face west and eastFavorite Sites: Not much difference between the sites, so pick according to whether you prefer to face east or west.

Hiking/Walking: There is a paved parcourse/walking trail less than ½ mile from the lodge.  Lots of hiking in Olympic National Park, or at nearby county parks.

Comments: We use this spacious park as a base for day trips into Olympic National Parks.  Easy in and out, spacious, quiet - works great for us. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Site 340 looking eastOur Opinion: Neutral?  Recommend?  We have mixed feelings.  A somewhat scruffy campground – crowded when full - with good services, in a fabulous location.  The great weather was important for a fun stay.

Date of Stay: August 1-4, 2011

Weather During Stay:  Beautiful sunny days, or morning clouds and afternoon sunshine, occasional fog.  Highs around 70, lows around 50.

Site Description:   The site we reserved (340) was wide and level, with a front view out over the water towards Ft. Casey on Whidbey Island.  Too bad for us, the neighboring site (341) was quite narrow, so we had a VERY close neighbor for most of our stay.

The 46 sites are priced according to size and view.  Two sites are dry camping; the remaining 44 sites are level FHU (30 amps) on scruffy beach grass and/or gravel, with good cable TV and reasonably fast WiFi included in the fees.  Picnic tables are scattered around.  No fire rings.  Roads (paved) are very narrow, designed way before big rigs were invented!

Sites are either “on the point” (of the small peninsula where the park is located) or “in the loop”, two rows west of the point, and are priced according to location.  Sites 338 through 347 are in the front row of the Loop, with an unobstructed view; the view from the second row is blocked by those of us in the first row.  Seven of the 24 sites on the Point are designated “waterfront” and are parallel to the water; for those you pay a premium price.  The remaining sites on the point have somewhat obstructed views.  (Click here to see map.)

Site 340 with historic buildingThe campground is part of a much larger complex that includes a small marina, the port administration building, a couple of restaurants, etc., all in historic old wooden buildings.  It is an interesting and busy place, with open access to the public - people come to walk the beach, launch kayaks, bird watch, sit on benches watching the watercraft go by and generally enjoy the waterside ambiance.  Campsites are amongst it all.

Rate: $52/night for point waterfront sites.  $35/night for non-waterfront point sites and for the first row (waterfront) of the loop (this included our site).  $27/night for the second row of the loop.  2 weeks maximum stay.  Winter rates are lower ($35/$30/$27), with no stay limit (Oct-April).  The two dry camp sites are $20 year round.  Add a $7 reservation fee.

Phone/radio/TV: Good Verizon signal for phones and aircard.  We used their WiFi while here, and it was usually reasonably fast.  No obstacles for roof-mounted satellite TV dish, and they offered dozens of stations on cable TV.  NPR on 88.5 from Seattle.   

Mt. Baker in the distanceElevation/Landscape/Terrain:  This is a sea-level park with a northern beach feel.  GREAT views of water and boats of all sizes.  We were blessed with sunshine, so could see massive, snow-covered Mt. Baker and Mt. Rainier, along with many peaks of the Cascade range, in the distance.  Our waterfront site was expansive; views from many of the other sites would be less appealing.

Lighting/Noise: Moderate night lighting, but our very nearby neighbor liked to leave his porch light on (20 feet from our bedroom). Very quiet at night except for the occasional foghorn or bell and raucous seagulls.  Quite a bit of daytime noise, human and vehicular.

Favorite Sites:  We liked the sites in the front row of the loop - great views, and most were reasonably wide.  Our favorites were 338, 339, 344, 345, 346 and 347.  If you don’t mind paying more, the seven premium “point” sites run parallel to the water, so have a neighbor on just one side… but for $52?  Too steep for us.

Hiking/Walking:  Great.  Walk the rocky beach (clear to Ft. Worden State Park, possibly) or anywhere in Port Townsend.

Public AccessComments: This campground is all about location, location, location.  Great waterfront access and views, on the far end of the charming town of Port Townsend at the tip of the Olympic Peninsula.  The park itself, though, is nothing special; narrow roads, some crowding, and lots of road and foot traffic.  With the lovely weather we had during our stay, I really enjoyed the park.  Bad weather would be a really disappointment, because the view is what makes this park worth the price.  I would return for the view and easy access to Port Townsend; Odel preferred the Port Townsend Elks Lodge or the Escapee Park in Chimacum, 6 or 8 miles away.