Reviews of the campgrounds we stayed at on our recent road trip from California up to British Columbia and back - Vancouver Island, Olympic National Park, Oregon Coast, and Redwoods.
2 nights of camping at Goldstream Provincial Park just outside of Victoria. This is a GREAT campground. It is heavily wooded, so each campsite is very secluded and quiet. The facilities are also clean and better than any I have seen in California! The campground is about a 20 minute drive to downtown Victoria, and also not far from Sooke (which is worth a visit). It's also a short drive to a shopping center that has grocery stores and a starbucks. However, you feel like you're in the middle of a lush forest with nothing around when you are at your stie!
This is a beautiful campground in the coastal section of Olympic National Park. We chose a site that was right above the beach, which was gorgeous. It was a little windy as there is not a lot of shelter in the beach sites, but it was worth it for the view! There are plenty of sites a little further back from the beach that are wooded and quite secluded if that's what you prefer. The facilities are minimal at this campground - no showers, no power at the sites, etc., but the bathrooms were clean and the scenery was just spectacular. I hope to come back again!
This is a pretty standard campground - nothing particularly interesting or scenic about it. The sites were pretty close together and not very private. I would recommend calling the ranger and asking which sites have the most privacy before making a reservation. The other downside of the campground is that RVs and tents are all right next to each other. I would prefer a separate RV area so that they are not all right next to me in my little tent! The upsides: that the bathrooms were some of the cleanest I've seen while camping, and there are lots of showers, campsites are mostly sandy so the ground is soft for setting up a tent, and the location is right outside of Newport (about a 5 min. drive).
Bullards Beach campground was almost identical to South Beach in terms of layout and appearance, only there were even fewer trees so the sites were even less secluded. One unique thing was that we were a short walk from Bullards Beach and the Coquille River lighthouse. They also have a horse campground here which I randomly discovered while walking around, and got to see lots of horses "camping" which was kind of fun. The bathroom was pretty much identical to the South Beach campground and it was just as clean.
This is probably one of the most remote campgrounds I have ever stayed at - it is a 20-minute drive from the main road and you have to go down a windy dusty road to get there. You drive through the redwoods for the 20 minutes, and then you emerge at a stunning beach. The grounds are spectacular - a gorgeous beach and then a cliff behind you covered in redwood trees. We had elk walking around right behind our site at sunset! Our tent was nestled in the sea grass and it was just divine. We were also a 2-mile walk (or 5 min drive) from Fern Canyon, which is one of the highlights of the Redwood Parks in my opinion.
Some things to know:
*Gold Bluffs Beach is first-come, first-served. Checkout time is at noon, so I would recommend arriving between 11 and 1 to get a site during the busy months. We arrived right around 1 PM, and there were plenty of sites available, but we were there on a Thursday night as opposed to a weekend. I would also recommend making a reservation at Elk Prairie Campground which is right next to the 101 as a backup. Not having a reservation made me a bit nervous, and Elk Prairie was full when we passed through there. Luckily it worked out for us, but if you don't like risking having nowhere to stay, you may want a backup plan.
*The campground is almost entirely open with no trees for shelter, so it's a good idea to bring a canopy tent to sit under during the day. You're basically on the beach, so be prepared with whatever you would normally take with you for a beach day.
*Fog tends to roll in here during the night/early morning, so we woke up to a damp tent which we had to wipe down before packing up camp. If you are leaving before your tent has a chance to dry naturally, just be prepared with towels.
*There are showers here but no electricity (bathrooms are solar powered)
Even though staying here requires a bit more planning and effort, it was totally worth it for us. I hope to go back someday and spend more time.