I’ve been hanging out on the Oregon coast for a couple of weeks now and will probably be here for a while longer.
I follow the weather and the coastal temperatures are cooler which makes the west coast is a great place to be over the summer months.
Along with the cooler temps, the daytime views and ocean sunsets are breathtaking!
Enjoying The Oregon Coast
Most of the time I look for free or inexpensive places to camp or overnight park.
One of the things I enjoy about Oregon is you can park at Oregon rest areas and turnouts for up to 12 hours in a 24 hour period unless there are signs stating otherwise.
The key word here is park.
You can not camp at rest areas and turnouts.
Twelve hours is a generous amount of time. Half a day is plenty of time to pick my spot, go for a walk, chill out, cook dinner, do the dishes and watch a movie before going to sleep.
Unless I oversleep I also have plenty of time in the morning to make breakfast, shower or putz around before leaving to find my day spot.
If I oversleep and don’t have time to do breakfast I simply get out of bed, get dressed, comb my hair or put a hat on (so I don’t scare too many people) and, then, hop in the driver’s seat and move to a new spot.
Overstaying The 12 Hour Limit
Once in a while I notice a few people who overstay their 12 hour time limit. Sometimes by more than a day.
Granted, I don’t know their situation but just because someone else looks like they’re not following the rules doesn’t mean I’m going to follow suit.
Am I a Saint? No.
But I prefer to stick to the rules.
Some of these people may have valid reasons but, for those who don’t, too many rule-breakers can leave the entire nomadic community at risk for getting these places shut down.
Following the rules gives me peace of mind. I don’t have to worry about being booted out.
Whether you’re a full-time nomad or a part-time traveler, the code of ethics for overnight parking and camping is really simple:
- Follow the rules for the area you’re in.
- Be respectful.
My Favorite Spots
This is my second summer on the Oregon coast and I have my favorite spots.
Much of my time is spent between Newport OR and Brookings OR. This is a stretch of about 200 miles. There are many places to park overnight and most have level spots and a Verizon cell signal.
Port Orford has an area on the upper dock that costs $10 a night to dry camp. Last week I spent a couple of nights there when there were gale wind warnings and it was super-duper windy at the turnouts. I don’t like the Wizard of Oz feeling (like the van is going to blow away) and I felt better going to town for the night. It wasn’t quite as windy at the docks either.
I know this stretch of the Oregon coast by heart but, when I came here for the first time (last year), I used OvernightRVParking.com (a paid service) to find places to overnight or camp.
If you’re not up for a paid service you can find similar information on FreeCampsites.net (a free service). Some of the information may be the same but, for the most part, it’s very different and I like having both services.
When I’m in the mood for a campground I use Compendium.com.
I go to campgrounds on occasion but, for the most part, I find myself getting kinda cheap! I set my van up to be off-grid so why pay for a campground when I can stay for free AND have a million dollar ocean side view?!
Walmart vs Small Town Grocery Stores
The Walmart’s here are sparser than in other parts of the country. If you stay on hwy 101 there’s a Walmart in Newport OR with the next Walmart being 230 miles away in Crescent City CA.
You can also go inland but the closest Walmart is usually an hour or more away.
When I go to Walmart I typically get enough supplies to last a week but, sometimes, I need or want something different to tide me over until my next weekly supply run.
There are stores in every town along the Oregon coast. Most of these stores are the small town type. The prices may be a bit higher but that’s typical. I actually enjoy going to these stores because I love the small town atmosphere and the friendly people.
Weekly Porta-Potty Dump and Water Tank Refill
Another thing I do weekly is dump my porta-potty and fill my portable water tanks. This is what I call this the dump-n-fill.
I have a 5 gallon Thetford porta-potty that I almost 100% of the time.
Public restrooms and rest area restrooms are usually too toxic for me.
My drinking water is always store bought spring water but I have 2 six gallon portable water tanks and a 2 gallon garden sprayer that I attached a kitchen sink sprayer to.
The water from my portable tanks is used for dishes, showers, laundry and any other cleaning needs.
I do my laundry by hand because laundromats are very toxic to me.
My dump n fill will last at least 2 weeks but I like to do it weekly. That way I know I always have an extra week in case I need it (and I’ve needed it a few times).
Many places are free and I usually find these places using RVdumpSites.net (a free website).
Some dump stations will cost money but I always go for the free stuff first. In the year and a half that I’ve been living a nomadic lifestyle I’ve only paid to dump-n-fill once (it cost $10).
Of course, there are many sites and apps you can use to find dump stations but I use RVdumpSites.net.
I’m a simple person. I don’t like complicated choices and I don’t care to have a lot of options. When find something that works for me that’s what I stick with until it no longer serves a purpose for me.
I usually don’t like to have more than 3 options.
That’s just how I roll!