Monday, August 22, 2016

a Pacific Northwest road trip, part 1: Mora Campgrounds

Welcome to part I of a new series all about camping in the Pacific Northwest. Technically, the Pacific Northwest covers a large area spanning multiple states and regions of Canada. In this series, I am only focusing on Washington State, in particular the Olympic Peninsula. Why? Simple: it's my stomping ground and seriously beautiful. The only place that comes close to rivaling it is New Zealand. 

This particular road trip would be great for anyone who lives in or is visiting Western Washington, which is any place west of the Cascade Mountains. That includes all the major cities like Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia. 

This road trip took us along Highway 101, and our final destination for this road trip & camping experience was Mora Campgrounds, which is situated along the Pacific Ocean close to the northern tip of Washington State. 

View the map below to see exactly where it is positioned:
We chose this campgrounds for a few reasons. First, we wanted to go to the coast and Mora is only a 3 hour drive from Poulsbo, Washington, which is where we spent our summer. On the map above, the closest town to Poulsbo is Bainbridge Island. Second, we had camped at Mora before and loved it due to its close proximity to many interesting trails and beaches. Lastly, for us, this place has huge sentimental value. After all, we got married on a beach just about 10 minutes down the road from this campgrounds, and our road trip happened to coincide with our 7-year wedding anniversary. 
First, let's clarify: Mora Campgrounds is a car campgrounds. The idea is that you drive into the campgrounds, select a site and then set up your tent. This is not a campgrounds for hike-in users. I will feature camping locations in this series that are for overnight hikers, but this is not one of them. While car camping is not exactly my idea of classic Pacific Northwest camping, we car camped for one reason: we gave away all of our hike-in camping gear before we moved to Taiwan. Luckily, a friend lent us the basics for car camping. 

That said, this is still a great location even for people who scoff at the idea of car camping in the Pacific Northwest. Right outside the entrance to Mora is a trail network. Also, this campgrounds is very quiet, even in the height of summer, and usually quite empty because reservations are not possible in advance. Every night that we stayed at Mora, we had no neighbors around us (except for some slugs and squirrels). 

As far as its great location, all of these places are within 5 minutes to 1 hour driving distance from Mora Campgrounds:
I will feature all of these places in this series. I cannot recommend enough taking a late spring, summer or early fall road trip out to Mora Campgrounds to experience this beauty firsthand for yourself. 

Important Info:
  • A site at Mora Campgrounds costs $20/night.
  • Firewood can be purchased at the campgrounds for $5/bundle.
  • While there are restrooms, there are no showers.
  • The town of Forks is about a 15 minute drive from the campgrounds; you can get groceries at the local Albertsons. 
  • There are at least 2 other campgrounds in the nearby area if this one happens to be full. 
Stay tuned for more of the gorgeous Pacific Northwest! 

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