Location: Wright’s Beach campground, Sonoma Coast State Park (off of Hwy 1, Sonoma Coast), $45/night for premium sites (reserveamerica.com up to 7 months in advance, new dates are released in blocks 1 month at a time)
Trip Date: October 2015
How do you plan for your first overnight adventure in a campervan that you’ve been waiting for for 7 months? So much pressure! I wanted to find a campground that would completely “wow” us and be a place we would never forget. Kind of a tall order, but Wright’s Beach did NOT disappoint!
Wright’s Beach is a small 27 site campground that is directly on the beach. It is part of the Sonoma Coast State Park system and reservations can be made up to 7 months in advance. Available sites are opened in 1 month blocks at the first of the month. We had been given a September completion date for the campervan so we were hoping to make a reservation in October. Counting back 7 months, we needed to make a reservation on April 1. From reading reviews, it seemed that reservations were hard to come by especially if you wanted one of the premium sites (1-10). Determined to get one of those, hubby and I woke up early on April 1st and got everything ready: account opened, sites picked out and ranked in order, our 3 weekend dates memorized and the search page info filled out. As soon as it turned 7:00 am, he got busy clicking away and I navigated our queries, having to keep going down the list of our preferred sites and dates. By the time we found an available site (final choice date) it felt like we were on the trading floor yelling “buy, buy, buy!” It was all over in less than 4 minutes! All the weekend sites were gone when we checked 5 minutes later. This was hardcore, we’ve made reservations, but never at such a popular place with such few sites. We got site #6 on Sat, Oct 24 (2015). This was what it was like getting a reservation during the NON peak season!?! Now all we had to do was wait 7 months… I hope you all have a chance to visit Wright’s Beach and that your reservation experience will be way more relaxed. If you score one, you will be treated to a campsite on a beach that feels like it’s your very own.
Although the daytime temps were very pleasant, the night temps dropped to the low 40s (like I said, me=wimpy). We had dinner outside watching the sunset, but after that my daughter and I high tailed it inside and changed into comfy PJs to watch the night sky go dark through the windows.I wanted to know what it was like to sleep in the penthouse top, which is made of thick canvas, so I slept up there in my 15° sleeping bag. My daughter had already claimed that space as hers (I think the penthouse top is a kid magnet, it’s like being in a treehouse/clubhouse), but the both of us fit just fine. It was very warm and cozy up there the whole night and the foam mattress had great support. It didn’t feel claustrophobic at all (and I do get claustrophobic in enclosed spaces). Here’s something we never thought about when thinking about the design of the campervan. If there is a bed upstairs and downstairs, where the heck do you put the ladder at night so that the person upstairs (just me, my daughter is part monkey and she can get around anywhere) can use it to get down? I had used the ladder to go up, then my hubby moved it out of the way so that he could set up the gaucho in the sleeping position. When I got up in the morning to go to the bathroom, I had to jump down onto the downstairs bed where my hubby was sleeping and I barely missed landing on his legs (shh, don’t tell him). Then when I wanted to get back upstairs, there was no space for me to set up the ladder so I used the counter, did the splits, pulled a muscle and hoisted myself up (all without waking anybody, tada, I’ll be here all week). Next time I’m bringing everything downstairs and staying downstairs (or I’ll just sleep downstairs, duh). Oh, and the upstairs light was not on a dimmer so there are these super bright lights right in your face when you are trying to wind down. It was good when my daughter was doing her homework up there though. Gotta get those lights on a dimmer or find different ones.
After a breakfast of pancakes and eggs we hiked a coastal trail (Kortum trail) that started above the campground at the end of a dirt parking lot. It was very windy, misty and cold that morning, so we cut our hike short and decided to do some exploring in the van. I bet it would have been a gorgeous walk on a nice day. We packed up and headed north to explore more of the Sonoma Coast. Soon we came upon a sign for Goat Rock. We made the turn onto Goat Rock Road and started to look for rocks in the shape of a goat (?). Obviously we hadn’t done our research. I read later that Goat Rock was given this name because goats had grazed at one point on the top which is flat and grassy. Ohhhhh!
There were several parking lots with varying views of the ocean and rock formations. This road takes you to the bottom near the beaches and empties out into more parking lots.
Goat Rock Road ended at two places depending on which way you turned at the fork. If you went left and down a one lane road, you ended up at Goat Rock. The other fork led you to Goat Rock Beach at the mouth of the Russian River.
It was one view after another and then another… Beautiful view overload – nah, no such thing!