Grayland Beach State Park

This is overdue. It’s the new year and this was back in mid-October. It’s fun looking back at the pictures because I’d rather be at the beach right now than back to real life after the long holiday break. I don’t want to 2023. But such is life. Getting right to Grayland…

Two families we hang with often went to Grayland Beach State Park in 2021 together. They invited us to join them in 2022. Because we’re down for (mostly) anything, we—of course—said yes. The plan was to go in spring but our schedules and yurt availability didn’t align until October. When we booked way back in spring, October felt far away. And then it was October. We went Friday to Sunday, and it was much needed. There was nothing but smoke around home, and we had been stuck inside for well over two weeks. It was unbearable. And it felt like it went on forever, because it did. All the kiddos’ outdoor classes were cancelled, and any indoor classes they had were 100% indoors. There was no outside time for anyone. The beach was going to be our escape. And looking in advance at the air quality, it was looking promising we’d get fresh, ocean air.


Friday afternoon we set out, just after lunch. The car was packed to the brim with not only luggage, but sleeping bags, pillows, food for the weekend, bikes, skateboards, beach toys… and the seven of us. The car always feels heavy when we head out for camping weekends. Surprisingly, we managed to remember everything. We usually forget one or two things. Which is no biggie, but I feel accomplished when we forget nothing.

It’s a short-ish drive, for us—about three hours to Grayland Beach State Park. It’s west of Aberdeen, and then slightly south. The Aberdeen Come As You Are welcome sign is about as exciting as Aberdeen gets. Thank goodness they have Kurt going for them, it’s something. The bonus for Brian on the drive is passing by the Satsop Nuclear Power Plant and seeing the two defunct towers visible from the freeway. We pulled into the park about 4pm, and it took us a bit to find our yurt.

The yurts are super nice! Well, a yurt is a yurt. But the site is the best one yet. The yurts are spaced out quite a bit from each other, with long driveways and what feels like total privacy. The yurt we stayed in is surrounded by tall trees and a little grassy area, hiding behind said trees. The kiddos were quick to jump out of the car and explore.

Brian and I got to unloading. Mostly Brian. One of the families had a car accident on the way, and I went over to chat with them to make sure all was okay. The car, not so much—thankfully it’s still drivable—but everyone was fine. All the kids were on bikes and roaming about, exploring the grounds. Even Maive was in on the biking action. She is NOT going to be left behind!

All unpacked and ready to get our weekend on, we decided to head to the beach to check it out. Talk about a walk. Not that it’s bad or anything but the beach is not really close? Even though it’s close?! From the campground, you have to walk through sand dunes, before getting the the beach that feels like it goes on forever before hitting the ocean. Perhaps this is one of the reasons cars are allowed to drive on the beach.

It was windy and approaching sunset, so we only stayed on the beach for maybe 20 minutes. We had all of our five kiddos, and a few others from the two other families. Once you have five, any additional kids are barely noticeable, haha. All the kiddos were running on excitment, to be at the State Park and with friends. We made our way back to our respective yurts for dinner. Brian is our family cook, and he takes on the role when we’re camping also. He started making burgers for dinner while I putzed around with the kiddos. Mostly with Maive. The older four are trustworthy enough to roam about without us needing to hover.

Dinner, check. It was time for the campfire and s’mores. We did the fire at our yurt and all the kiddos congregated. Marshmallows and s’mores, and then bedtime. At least for the younger three gals. They were fast asleep while Blaise and Laine, and their buddies, stayed up until 10pm or so, playing a card game. We eventually called it a night, and all went to bed. I was quite impressed with myself… this time, I brought the twin-size blow-up mattress. All for me! This way I didn’t have to sleep with any wiggling kiddos. And I slept well.


The plan Saturday was to head into Westport. It’s a small town there on the coast, on a peninsula. And seems mostly touristy. I had looked online before our trip, to see what there was to do in Westport. We decided to visit the aquarium and this lookout tower they have along the coast. And after checking off those two things, and walking around Westport a bit, we planned to hit a pizza joint we discovered last year when we stayed at Twin Harbors State Park. We only went for one night and planned on grabbing food locally for a meal. We randomly found a pizza place online, and Brian went to pick up our order. He really liked the place. Probably because he had to wait for our food, alone, and enjoyed one of his two annual beers (haha!) at the pizza joint. He really liked the atmosphere and spoke highly about the place, enough that we added it to our Westport list.

All that, that’s exactly what we did. Pictures to make it easy.

Aquarium.

These quaint little coastal aquariums are my favorite… Morro Bay, Seaside, Crescent City, and now Westport. I’m sure we’ll discover more small town aquariums in the future. Bonus to this one, they have a fun art making setup. The girls were all over this.

Lookout Tower.

This was one of those things I knew would be kind of cheesy but I wanted to check it out anyway. And sure enough, it’s a bit cheesy. But I do like the visual appeal of the sucker. More so in pictures than in person. But hey, it’s been checked off the list. Kind of cool, you can see Ocean Shores across the bay.

Westport Harbor.

We walked around Westport a bit before heading to the pizza place.

Pizza Joint (no pictures).

Okay, I totally get why Brian likes this place. It’s spacious and has ample dining space, all in a casual environment. And the pizza is pretty good! Brian enjoyed one of his annual beers while we were there. Haha!


Back at Grayland State Park, we hit the beach with the other two families. One of the things I was most looking forward to going to the ocean was to escape the smoke that was never-ending here at home. But, nope! The damn smoke was on the coast also. Not as terrible as it was at home but it was still around. It didn’t stop us from enjoying the beach and ocean.

Man, I love the ocean. I really took it for granted that we lived on the coast and I drove past Pismo Beach multiple times each week. It’s so wild to me there are people who have never seen the ocean! I’m not even a big go in the ocean person, but I love the sound, smell, feel of being near the ocean.

Brian brought the skimboards he bought over summer, when we were in Lincoln City. Some of the kiddos wanted to try them out, and Brian was playing around with one also. After the water play that went on for well over an hour, the kiddos settled in on the sand and got to digging. It was getting close to dinner time and sunset, so we all called it a beach day around 5pm.

Saturday night was similar to Friday night: dinner, fire, s’mores, bedtime. Everyone was exhausted. You know the kids are tired when they choose to call it a night instead of staying up to hang with their buddies.


Sunday was all about moving slow, packing up, and heading out. It was a quiet morning. Well, not quiet with 12 kiddos, but quiet in the activity department. The kiddos mostly rode bikes when they weren’t tossing a football around. Checkout was 11am I think? Maybe 10am? Nah, it had to be 11am. We left about 10:30am for home. It was a smooth drive home except for lunch. I swear we always have tension around meals on the road. I’m not a fan of stopping anywhere whenever we are heading home. I like to get home. Even at the expense of eating. It’s under three hours. And we had snacks. But Brian, he always likes to have meals at traditional mealtimes.

We were just north of Olympia when we exited the 5, looking for a Denny’s. It’s this awkward parking lot that can only be entered though a hotel driveway. And when you round the corner, the option is to get back on the 5. Needless to say, we missed Denny’s. Circling back around, we saw a Sherri’s. We went in and there was a wait. Because we are a large group. Other families of four or fewer came in and were seated right away. I get it, large tables typically have a longer wait. We waited a good 30 minutes and I was over it all. I didn’t even want to be there, let alone wait any longer. We would have been that much closer to home had we not stopped. We left. Hit a McDonald’s on the way and made it home by early afternoon.

The best part of coming home in the early afternoon is there is ample time to unpack everything, get laundry going, and still feel like there is down time before the weekend is over. It was another successful trip!


Bonus: there were some super cool mushrooms outside of our yurt!

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