Since our last great camping in Death Valley National Park last December, we had been looking for another campground that would be closer to home as a weekend getaway but at the same time not so close that we would feel as if we are camping in our own backyard. And while my hubby always prefers camping at beachfront so nothing would block him from taking all in the sea view, my once dreadful experience of losing all night sleep from unrelenting howling sea wind that constantly pounded our tent has since made me hesitate at beachfront camping ̶ unless the campsite happens to have bushes around to block out the wind that would warrant me a good night sleep.
As luck would have it, I finally got a site at Wright’s Beach Campground to spend our last weekend of April there after revisiting the online booking site numerous times. This is a super popular campground in northern California that faces direct to the Pacific Ocean and is about a two-hour drive from home (or similar hours if traveling from San Francisco). On top of that, the latest weather forecast for that weekend was all sunny with clear blue sky and temperature in comfortable 70 -75°F (21-24°C), not the foggy and cold weather that we would often encounter when traveling through that area. And given a few weeks ago we were just forced to cancel our trip to Bodega Dune Campground, about 10-15 minute drive from Wright’s Beach Campground, because of heavy rain that weekend, boy, we were truly in luck this time! And our luck continued when the ranger told us upon our arrival that we could consider switching from our booked site #22 to site #14 whose reservation was just canceled. We took it after a quick inspection of the site because #14 was much closer to the beach.
We decided to get ourselves completely settled before heading for the beach. When we were settling in, we noticed this was a dog-friendly campground. Several of our neighbors brought along their dogs. There were only 22 sites in total in this campground. With bushes that naturally divide each site and block out the sea wind, I would consider this is the most serene campground I’ve ever experienced. Plus, not only each of the six bathrooms close to our site was very clean, well maintained, but each had its own faucet, hot water, and a bar soap right inside the bathroom. Although the campground didn’t have a shower facility, we’re OK with that since we would camp only one night.
Just a few steps out and we were at the beach. The beach was really clean. Our daughter was apparently intrigued by lots of large and intact clam shells scattered on the beach and had some fun collecting them into her sand bucket. To our surprise and enjoyment, there were few people at the beach that Saturday afternoon, quite an unusual sight in the standards of California beaches, but surely a pleasant one. The view of the sunset was beyond words. I grew up in the island nation of Taiwan, traveled and lived in several countries in Europe, the Middle East, and the United States, and have seen lots of beautiful sunsets. But for this one, you got to see it to believe me when I said it was beyond words. It’s truly divine, serene and joyful.
In between two visits to the beach that Saturday afternoon, we had prepared grilled chicken marinated in America dry rub, Indian tandoori and Korean barbecue sauce, respectively, as well as grilled veggies and mushroom. To relieve all that greasiness in our stomach, we had a cup of Taiwan Oolong tea that I brewed at home an hour before our trip. [This video shows the typical way I brew the tea].
Oolong tea has become a regular healthy drink I would bring along during camping. It’s healthier compared with sugary drinks such as soda and juice; it doesn’t require any refrigeration or cooler to stay fresh as does for orange juice and yogurt; anyone can enjoy as much as he/she can, day or night, without worrying being intoxicated.
But it’s hard to resist sugar rush even when we’re out in the camp. So we later brewed the Mid-Eastern-style sweet mint tea – dumping lots of fresh home-grown mint into a pot of hot black tea with a couple spoons of sugar, watched stars and enjoyed the family chat over the campfire before calling it a night.
We woke up to a beautiful, sunny and warm Sunday morning. And for the first time in my life, I didn’t bother to wear a jacket to keep out the chill while at the beach in the morning. We sat on the beach watching our daughter chasing waves and people surfing and enjoyed doing nothing but soaking up the sun for a few hours and sipping more iced Oolong tea. We were even lucky to see two whales – one big, one small - emerging from the sea in the close distance. We later learned that Wright’s Beach is a popular place to watch whales.
To make the best out of this trip, we warmed up our grilled chicken and bread as lunch at the beach table near the day use area and stayed until mid-afternoon, before hitting the road home with our heart complete satisfied.