Tuesday morning we found ourselves with several hours to explore Fort Stevens before driving to nearby Nehalem Bay State Park to meet Clara and her friend Lia later in the afternoon.
We drove to the South Jetty observation tower to spot ships crossing the Columbia River bar and arrived just in time to witness the United States Coast Guard rescue a teen stranded on a sandbar at flood tide. A gaggle of birders flocked with the Oregon Park Rangers, the Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office, the Warrenton Fire Department, and the Warrenton Police Department to watch the rescue unfold.
After the excitement was over we turned our attention to the surfers catching late morning waves along the jetty.
We walked the trail out to the South Jetty for a better view of the Columbia River and to spot endangered migrating brown pelicans.
We packed up our site and headed south on Highway 101 towards Seaside, Oregon as we waited for our check-in time at Nehalem Bay State Park. We hadn’t been to Seaside in well over 15 years. We enjoyed a leisurely afternoon wandering through town and grabbing a quick lunch before heading to Nehalem Bay.
We arrived at Nehalem State Park with plenty of time to trick out our campsite with hammocks, chairs around the firepit, a canopy over our tableclothed picnic table, candles and fairy lights and a regulation cornhole game set. Clara and Lia arrived in their Volt from their first road trip just in time for dinner.
After dinner, we walked over to check out the horse campsites. Not being equestrians, we didn’t know camping with horses in a state park was a thing. But apparently, it is. And the sites looked really nice.
With wine glasses in hand and sand in our shoes, we navigated our way through trails of tall grasses across the dunes to the beach at Nehalem Spit for sunset.
As the sun set the temperature dropped and the marine layer quickly rolled onshore like a foggy quilt to tuck us in for the night. We kept it at bay with Lia’s pyro-maniacal campfire-making skills complete with toasty s’mores. It was a sweet ending to an already sweet day.