Now, that's a happy cat...and a pretty neat view too!

Now, that’s a happy cat…and a pretty neat RV view too!

They call it the best kept secret on the Oregon coast, at least that’s the friendly motto that greets you when you enter the blue-soaked Marina. We were about to put that claim to the test on a fully booked-out family summer week-end with absolutely no reservations. Yes rather crazy of us, especially given our “beastly” size (we don’t exactly do “stealth”), but if it’s really a secret we should have no problems, right?

Well, I tell ya they weren’t kidding.

They even have lovely green spots here

They even have a green park here

We left a bustling, rather nutty gathering of kids and dogs at Harbor Vista County Park and glided into a spacious lot with 4 empty spots on either side of us and 180 degree views of soft, calm blue. Nothing but the bright sounds of sea-gulls and the lulling music of boat riggings (I don’t know why I find that particular sound so relaxing, but I just do) with just a whisper of lapping water to top it all off. Oh, and we paid $14 for the privilege. We may be parked on concrete without any hookups, but holy smokes what a spot!

I could get used to this

All this for only $14/night…not too shabby!

Sunset from Umqua River Lighthouse. That triangle on the left is where they farm the local oysters.

Sunset from Umqua River Lighthouse. That triangle on the left is where they farm the local oysters.

How did we know about this little gem? Previous research, my dear Watson. Last year we passed through this area and immediately fell in love with ultra-cute Winchester Bay. It’s an active fishing port famous for it’s locally-grown oysters and the massive nearby dunes. There’s a lot of ATVers that come to the area to ride the 40 miles of the dunes, but there’s also some pretty cool hikes (last year we loved the John Dellenback Trail so much we did it twice!), not to mention another excellent lighthouse. The real kicker and best-kept secret though is the quiet dry-camping in the Marina. Right on the water-front with unobstructed views for $14/night, $84/week or $252/month.  How can you beat that value?

This time around we simply wanted to slot into one of those prime spots, relax and bask in the area.

Might be a bit of sand involved here

Might be a bit of sand involved here

And so we did. Taggart plonked herself royally in the RV window to soak up the view and the sun while pooch and us wondered over to nearby Ziolkouski Beach Park‎ to play in the sand. In the late afternoon we ALL sat on the “porch” admiring the boats and the sounds of the Marina. I even took a quick trip back to Umqua River Lighthouse to watch the sunset turn her white paint pink and redden the sky. Quite the special spot and a fitting “end” to our southern drive before starting our summer hosting jobs in Bandon, OR.

I’ve got one more post (a quick review of the dry-camping spot) before I bring you up to date on our new gig and “home” for the next 2 months. Until then, my friends.

View from the back of the Marina

View from the back of the Marina

The sweet sounds of rigging

The sweet sounds of rigging

Blue view from the RV

Blue view from the RV

Umqua Lighthouse turns pink at sunset

Umqua Lighthouse turns pink at sunset

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39 Responses to The Best Kept Secret On The OR Coast? Winchester Bay, OR

  1. Sheila says:

    Nina, lovely – the blues of the sea and sky, the sounds of an active fishing community and even the smells! Wish I was there. We camped there several years ago, while on vacation, we had an Airstream at the time. Look for the banana slugs!

    • libertatemamo says:

      I know exactly what you mean. The smells and sound of the community are something quite unique. Glad you got to experience it too.

  2. Lee and Shelia says:

    Thanks……….. So want to do the Oregon coast next year. Your ability to write and describe is amazing.

  3. Jil says:


  4. Patty says:

    Nina, I’m so looking forward to my RV trip up 395 then onto OR and down the coast. Your blog is SO helpful n helping me plan my stops. Thanks for your campground reviews and photos.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Excellent! I’m happy to give ya some good ideas for your trip. Sounds like you’re gonna do the “dream route”. LOVE the 395!

  5. One of our favorite places in Oregon. Gorgeous!

  6. Janna says:

    Absolutely spectacular–you do find some good ones Nina!

  7. Pam Wright says:

    Another perfect location! I might have even dry camped for that spot! The water and the sound of the riggings are so relaxing, I agree:) Water just makes everything seem calm and peaceful.

    Beautifully captured views of the area. Good to see Taggart is so excited about the new view…haha! Polly definitely is showing her love.

    Hope all is going well with at the lighthouse.

    • libertatemamo says:

      The cats were LOVING the spot. Even Rand (usually our night-owl kitty) wanted to go out and hang by the water during the afternoon.

      By the way there IS a full hookup park here (Winchester Bay RV Resort) which is just on the other side of the dry camping area. You’ll get the same gorgeous water views there, just for a higher price.


  8. Next time (next summer?) we’ll camp there; what a bargain! Last time (five years ago) we camped in a campground with proximity to the dunes. Big mistake…Motorheads and Machines everywhere, zipping round the campground, running through the gears, waaaaa-waaaaa-waaaaa, I like the sounds of a harbor port much better. Thanks to your endless (don’t stop, your work is not done) quest for the best places and the best camps!
    Tagging along,
    Box Canyon Mark

    • libertatemamo says:

      Yup, TOTAL bargain, and NO dune buggy noise (thank goodness..I know exactly what you mean). I’m thinking about putting together a post called “Oregon Coast on the cheap” -> there’s actually several “hidden” spots which are pretty inexpensive…IF you know where to go. This just happens to be one of the nicest IMHO.

  9. Desert Diva says:

    Beautiful photos and a such descriptive comments make your posts a joy to read. I’m heading that way soon!

    • libertatemamo says:

      Thanks! We’re getting exceptional weather right now so I think you’re coming at the right time. We’ll try to keep that sun going for ya!

  10. Ingrid says:

    Ah….yes….sounds like the perfect spot….right up my alley. Enjoy :-)

  11. Awesome! I can’t wait until we start our trip down the coast in a couple weeks – you’ve already found all of the best places! In the meantime we’ll be in Mt Hood, Portland, then Hood River. We’re at a cool campsite in Mt Hood right now but we’re a bit apprehensive about what’s going to happen this weekend with the 4th coming up. Hopefully I’ll get some good blog material if nothing else….

    • libertatemamo says:

      Hope your July 4th wasn’t too crazy? We’re full to the brim here at Bullards Beach, but I kinda expected that. Maybe we’ll see ya further south on your trip?

  12. hobopals says:

    Toss a stone and you’ll be in a beautiful place on the coast or on the Columbia. Luck you.

  13. Allison says:

    What a perfect post! We do appreciate you finding all of the good places on the coast for us.

  14. Murlene Anderson says:

    OK girl, you have done another good deed with your blogs. You made full- timing sound like great fun and we bought it.
    A few months ago we mentioned to you our plans to sell everything and go “full time”. Well, it’s a done deed. We sold everything and closed on the house on May 30. Moved into the motorhome that afternoon and began our new life. We are now campground hosting in Montana. From Knoxville, TN to Superior, MT in one fell swoop!! What do you think about that?
    Our kitty cried for the first 4 days because she didn’t like her new home. I felt really bad about her situation. She let me drag her around the woods here at the campground at first, but now she refuses to go out. She hates her walking jacket.
    Now we are searching for a place in the South to spend the Winter. Where will you be spending the Winter months?
    Happy 4th!
    Joe and Murlene Anderson

    • libertatemamo says:

      Well, a huge CONGRATS to you!! Hope you enjoy your hosting experience (and the MT summer)! Sorry your kitty hasn’t settled down yet. It took ours a few months to be comfortable. Of course we went really, really slowly at first…we spent over a month just living in the RV stationary (which allowed the cats to find their “spots”) and then only moved very short distances until they were comfortable. Hopefully your hosting stay in MT will give your kitty the time to settle in.

      The same with the harness. It took about a month or two for them to like it. We started with only a few mins “on harness” and then moved from there. Also, one of our kitties only likes to walk at night. If you want to try it again, that’s what I’d recommend. Go really, really slow & maybe try it at night.

      Not sure where we’ll be this winter. Definitely in SW somewhere, but haven’t firmed up any plans.


  15. Emily says:

    This looks like a spot we’d love. Thanks so much for sharing the secret. Only hope it won’t be packed now after your big reveal!

    • libertatemamo says:

      Yeah, I’m guessing not everyone will want to go without hookups. For those of us who don’t mind “roughing it”, it’s a pretty sweet spot :)

  16. LuAnn says:

    Gorgeous photos and a very fine find indeed! :)

  17. Donna K says:

    Polly looks like she had a terrific time at the beach!!

    • libertatemamo says:

      She sure did. It’s a real neat little beach too. Surfers seem to like it, but otherwise not too many folks go. We basically had the whole area to ourselves.

  18. Marcia GB says:

    Very nice spot you have there! I’m tucking away all of your OR coast info for an extended trip in the next two years.

  19. Terry M says:

    Well yeah, the lulling music of boat riggings is just awakening your inner Viking spirit!

    • libertatemamo says:

      Maaaybe. The funny thing is that I get sea-sick at the drop of a hat. Can’t even sit on a boat in flat water in the harbor (I’ve tried and within 20 mins I get sea-sick haha). And yet, I still enjoy the sound of boat riggings. Go figure!

  20. […] ← The Best Kept Secret On The OR Coast? Winchester Bay, OR […]

  21. I love this blog! I will be following you. Lived in Bandon, Oregon for 3 years. It is a beautiful town. When I lived there (25 years ago) I used to run the land that is now Bandon Dunes Golf Course. In fact, my friends owned a large piece of the property. They said when I lived there that they would never sell. I guess they must have been given an offer they couldn’t refuse! We are exploring the option going full-time in our fifth wheel, which I why I started to blog and is why I am exploring blogs that might be of help in making our decision. What a gold mine when I found yours! I will definitely be following you!

  22. Roger says:

    We were there right after you, 0n the 12th. Our second year coming. Last year we got 2 nice kings and dungeoness crabs, this year the wind was up and the seas rough so fishing not so good. We always enjoy this spot with fresh salmon, crab, smoked oysters and a bottle of Oregon pinot noir.

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