Those seeking a beachside location for their next RV vacation should point the campervan towards the scenic Washington coast. Ocean City State Park sits oceanside and offers an unpretentious setting for visitors to be one with nature and forget about the stresses of everyday life. Whether you're hoping to simply relax on the beach, or partake in some more vigorous outdoor recreation, Ocean City State Park offers a wide variety of activities that the whole family will love.
At just 257 acres, Ocean City State Park is one of the smallest parks in the state. But don't let the size fool you. There are plenty of activities to keep you busy no matter what time of year you visit. The beach is obviously the main attraction, and the park is famous for its picturesque sunsets. Whether you're into beachcombing, fishing, swimming, boating, or birding, you can do so with the pacific ocean as your backdrop. There are also miles of trails that traverse the area, and the nearby Interpretive Center in Ocean Shores is a great way to learn more about the area. No matter how you spend your time here, you'll leave feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
If one day simply wasn't enough to soak in the gorgeous views that the park affords, then park the RV overnight at one of 178 campsites. Overnight guests can choose from standard or full-hookup sites, and the campground is open year-round for added convenience.
Located in the middle of the scenic Washington coast, Ocean City State Park is a favorite destination for locals and vacationers alike. The park is easy to reach, as it is just off of WA-109. This well-maintained route does have a few twists and turns along the way, but even those maneuvering big rigs shouldn't have any major issues getting to the park. The famously picture-perfect Highway 101 is also just minutes from the park, and you could spend days traveling up and down the dramatic coastline.
Once inside the park, the main road will take you everywhere you want to go, including the campground, interpretive center, trailheads, and of course -- the beach. A major plus about this park is that you can drive directly onto the beach (weather depending), so there's no need to worry about lugging your picnic baskets and beach gear all the way from the parking lot.
If the weather doesn't allow for driving onto the beach, there are plenty of parking lots in and around the campground. Those staying overnight can, of course, park at their designated site.
Ocean City State Park's campground is comprised of four different loops. Most of the 178 sites are standard, but 29 offer full hookups -- sites with full hookups can be found in Loop 4 only. All sites come equipped with picnic tables and fire rings, and pets are welcome. There are restrooms with flush toilets and hot showers in Loops 1, 3, and 4, while vault toilets are available in Loop 2. A dump station can be found in Loop 1, and there are various parking lots located throughout the campground.
Overnight guests can stay entertained with hiking trails that lead to the beach, picnicking areas, and there's plenty of grassy areas for volleyball, badminton, or croquet in Loops 1 and 2. Firewood can be purchased from the Welcome Center on your way into the park, and any other supplies you may need can be found in the nearby city of Ocean Shores just a few minutes south of the park. The campground is open year-round, and reservations can be made online in advance.
If you couldn't secure a spot to camp at Ocean City State Park, you won't have to go far to find a place to park the campervan for a night or two. There are numerous beach resorts along the coast that offer top-notch facilities, but there are also some state parks in the area that you may not want to miss.
Pacific Beach State Park is just 25 minutes to the north and features over 60 RV- and trailer-friendly sites, some of which offer electric hookups.
Across the bay to the south, you'll find Twin Harbors State Park and Grayland Beach State Park. Twin Harbors is equipped with nearly 200 campsites, many of which are outfitted with water and electric hookups, while Grayland Beach treats overnight guests to 60 full-hookup sites and an additional 38 sites equipped with water and electric connections.
Ocean City State Park offers two group camping sites. If you and your group would like to stay in your RVs, Group Camp One is the site for you. The campsite can accommodate up to 40 people, and there are two water and electric hookups available. If you don't mind sleeping under the stars, Group Camp 2 can accommodate up to 30 people and four vehicles, but RVs are prohibited from entering the area. Both sites are located off of Loop 4 and come equipped with picnic tables, fire rings, and restrooms, and pets are welcome to join you as well. There's also plenty of extra parking in the vicinity if you have extra vehicles. The group camps are open year-round, and reservations can be made online in advance.
If you'd like to explore the Ocean City State Park in a unique way, consider renting a moped. Private outfitters can be found all along the beach, with especially high concentrations in the nearby Ocean Shores. You could spend a whole afternoon riding up and down the beach breathing in the salty air and feeling the wind on your face. Stick around until early evening to catch one of the park's famed sunsets. Be sure to layer up before taking off, as the ocean breeze tends to be chilly!
Although Ocean City State Park is not known for having a vast network of trails, there are a few short hikes available. Visitors will find trailheads around the campground -- some that will lead you around the grassier areas of the park, and others that will take you directly down to the beach. The trails are neither long or difficult, but they make for a nice after-dinner stroll and offer a good way to stretch your legs after a long ride in the Class A.
There's no better way to spend a nice summer afternoon than by enjoying a scenic picnic. Ocean City State Park is equipped with ten unsheltered picnic tables and four that offer shelters. You can also hunker down right on the sand on the beach if that's more your style. If you're staying overnight, you can, of course, enjoy a private picnic right outside of your motorhome, as each campsite is equipped with a fire ring and table. Those who are expecting a large group or hosting an event can head a few miles north to Griffiths Priday State Park for access to a larger picnic shelter that can accommodate up to 50 people. Reservations are recommended.
Although summers on the Washington coast aren't known for being scorchers, it can still be fun to spend a day playing in the waves -- so don't forget to pack your bathing suit along in the travel trailer. If you have lots to tote down to the beach, you can actually drive your vehicle right onto the sand -- weather permitting. Even if you don't dip your toes in the cold, salty water, you can spend your day at the beach sunbathing, beachcombing, or just taking in the splendid views.
Once you've seen all there is to see at Ocean City State Park, head a few miles south to the town of Ocean Shores. This small city is located less than five minutes from the park and offers tons of activities the whole family will enjoy. You could spend an afternoon golfing at the 18-hole course, fishing or boating on Duck Lake, or learning more about the area at the Interpretive Center. If you're sick of camp food, you can even grab a bite to eat at one of the many local restaurants. To reach Ocean Shores, simply point the Sprinter south on SR-115, and you'll be there in minutes.
Ocean City State Park's unique geography and geology make it a prime spot for wildlife watching. The park gets an average of 100 inches of rainfall each year, allowing wildflowers, beach grasses, and shore pine to flourish. The rich vegetation of the area entices birds to make the park their home, and visitors have their chance of seeing over 300 species of birds. The park is also part of the pacific flyway, so depending on the time of year you visit, you'll be able to see flocks searching for food, a place to nest, or somewhere warm to spend the winter. But birds aren't the only ones who pass by the area. Gray whales and other sea mammals follow a similar migratory route, and if you're lucky, you just may see them passing by the park.
Those looking to get out onto the water for some ocean fishing during their RV trip to Ocean City State Park will have their chance to reel in chinook salmon, halibut, and with any luck, albacore tuna. Ocean fishing is not for the faint of heart, and boating conditions can become dangerous if the weather changes quickly. If you'd like to cast out but don't know if you're up for the challenge, or if you didn't tow a boat behind the Sprinter, there are private outfitters located along the coast.
If you're more into lake fishing, head a few minutes south to Ocean Shores. Here you'll find the plentiful Duck Lake, with common catches including rainbow trout, yellow perch, and bluegill.
During the spring, crowds flock to the shoreline at Ocean City State Park and the surrounding area to dig up razor clams. After you park the Airstream at your site and set up camp, head to the beach and get hunting. The weather may be less than perfect at best, but those willing to brave the elements will be treated to their fair share of these tasty mollusks. All you will need is a clam shovel, a container, and of course, a license.