Yet another delightful stay along the Oregon coast near Yachats came to an end. With the turn in weather causing more rainy and cloudy days than not – it was time to move on up the coast for our next stop.
The next lighthouses are two right by each other – Yaquina Bay Lighthouse and Yaquina Head Lighthouse, both in Newport, OR.
South Beach State Park – Newport, OR
There are two state park campgrounds in the area – South Beach and Beverly Beach just north of Newport. When we saw that South Beach was just mile or two away from the Oregon Coast Aquarium and had a bit better cellular coverage according to our Coverage? app – we decided on South Beach State Park.
It’s a huge park with over 300 sites – but they’re all pretty well laid out. As the parks are going into off season mode, many of the loops were closed off. Their reservation system however isn’t clearly indicating that most of the sites are on a first-come first serve basis – making it seem like the park is full most of the time with limited availability.
But that’s just the reservable inventory. We went ahead and snagged a site for 2 nights, paying the $8 reservation fee plus $24/night for water/electric hook-ups. We really wish the park systems would be more consistent in indicating that most of their spaces are actually open, and you don’t need reservations this time of year.
It was an incredibly long driving day from Tillicum Beach Campground to South Beach State Park. 17 miles. I think it took longer to pack-up and hitch up than it did to drive.
We arrived in time to get pulled into our site and hooked up – and still had the afternoon free to hit the Oregon Coast Aquarium. It’s small, but really well done – and we enjoyed learning more about the aquatic life in the areas we’ve been exploring.
I then went and updated our location on RVillage.com – and discovered that Bernie & Marsha where checked into our campground. I dropped them a note to see if they might like to meet up, which we did the next morning. We just love seeing RVillage working out in the world!
After our meet-up getting to know the lovely Bernie & Marsha, we headed off to see the lighthouses in the area.
Yaquina Head Lighthouse
First up was Yaquina Head Lighthouse, just on the north edge of Newport. This lighthouse replaced the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse shortly after it opened. It’s managed by the BLM and requires a $7 entrance fee to get into the parking lot. The lighthouse itself is undergoing renovations and is closed for tours – but apparently they’re done in period costumes!
However, Yaquina Head has a really great interpretive center, with fantastic displays and a video of the tour. The volunteer host on duty chatted us up and learned we had just come off lighthouse hosting at Cape Blanco, and brought out their interpretive ranger to meet us (trying to tempt us into volunteering ourselves).
Much to our surprise, Ranger Jay is a long time Technomadia reader – from way back in our Oliver Travel Trailer days. What wonderful serendipity, and it was great to geek out on fiberglass trailers and tech on the road. We did pick up a volunteer application, just in case we decide to come back to the Oregon coast in the future.
While the lighthouse is closed to tours, you can still walk up to the fence line and snap some pics. Quite a lovely location!
Yaquina Bay Lighthouse
We then drove back down south a few miles to Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, and got there just in time before the gates closed for a quick tour. This lighthouse was only in operation for a few years before Yaquina Head Lighthouse replaced its functionality.
It was setup with the light keeper’s housing in the bottom, and the light beacon on top. Pretty cool setup, and you wander through the rooms on your own with all of the rooms setup with period furniture.
The lantern room is closed off, but it’s still a cute little lighthouse to see.
With both the Yaquina lighthouses marked off our list, that means we had completed 7 of 9 of the Oregon coast lighthouse! Us Star Trek geeks just had to giggle at the milestone.
Other posts in this Oregon lighthouse series thus far:
- Heceta Head Lighthouse & Yachats
- Umpqua River Lighthouse & Winchester Bay
- Cape Arago Lighthouse & Charleston
- Coquille River Lighthouse & Bandon
- Cape Blanco Lighthouse (where we were tour guides at)
RVillage Bonus Meet-Up
When we got back, we had a note on our door from Steve & Dianne – who we knew of from the RV-Dreams forums. They too had landed at South Beach State Park in their crazy custom HDT truck & 5th wheel setup (seriously, go take a look at their blog for pictures). We dropped them an e-mail that we’d pop by their spot the next day sometime and meet-up.
We were out the next morning taking a walk to scope out potential sites to move to and extend our stay – and Bernie & Marsha flagged us down. They were in the middle of having a meet-up with Steve & Dianne after they checked into RVillage.com. How cool!
Steve & Dianne proposed a happy hour later in the day, which sounded great to us! We had a fantastic time hanging out with new friends. Now this is what RVillage is all about.. making new friends!
RVillage.com now has over 11,000 members (incredible!!), their newly launched mobile version is working great on smartphones and a lot of new features have been added since we helped it launch back in March. We’re really impressed with how its grown in such a short time. If you’ve not checked back in a while or haven’t created an account yet, please do (it’s completely free!).. the community is growing leaps and bounds, and meet-ups like ours are happening all over the country.
This coastal series is actually running about a week behind our actual real time location. We’re currently in Portland visiting dear friends (and our time here has been completely filled – it seems we could stay in Portland for months and never run out of things to do and people to meet!), and we’ll be leaving out soon to rendezvous back up with our RVing buddies Nina & Paul in Eugene, OR next week.
I’ll be flying out to Florida to visit my mom for a special occasion, and then our little caravan will pick me up in Reno where we’ll all start meandering down the Eastern Sierras onto our winter adventures in the southwest.