Walking in Millersylvania State Park

We’ve officially reached the end of our RV season this year. With snow covering the ground at home and temperatures reaching below 20 degrees, our trailer is winterized until next season. For our final trip of the season we turned Thanksgiving week into vacation week. With two family gatherings bringing us 2 and 3 hours away from home, we figured it was in our best interest to break up the drive and stay close by in our trailer to avoid bouncing back and forth between gatherings. Finding places to stay in late November didn’t leave us tons of options, but with some searching we found great locations that were both convenient and enjoyable.

Time at the Ocean Was One of the Stops We Were Able to Make

Our first stop was for Thanksgiving gathering #1 in Buckley. Though their home didn’t have a space designed for RV parking, after measuring the length of the available space and unhooking the truck, we had a perfect location for our son to nap in the trailer while we continued to enjoy time with family inside the house. When he woke up, he was happy to play with family and toys, and eat all the olives he could at the dinner table. At the end of the night we walked out to the driveway and were already “home” at our trailer and able to get settled in for bed without the usual long drive ahead of us.

The next day after grabbing breakfast in the trailer and taking a brief walk in the neighborhood, we went on to our next destination: Millersylvania State Park near Lacey. Though the campground was closed to tents this time of year and many sites were closed off, there were still some options for RV camping. With the sites being first come first served, we were glad we arrived as soon as we did. Nearly all the hook up sites were taken and there were only a handful of sites open without hookups. We were surprised to see how many others were camping since camping this late in the season was a first for us. While it may have been convenient to have hookups, the born and raised “tent camper” in me just thought the hook up sites didn’t have that “woodsy” feel. We found a nice sheltered site among the trees without hook ups and were very pleased with this location. While this did require us to unhook the truck from the trailer again, we so appreciated the extra space along with the feel of added privacy.

"Woodsy" campsite at Millersylvania State Park

Our son Nolan’s favorite activity here by far was playing in all the puddles. It rained quite hard while we were there so he had plenty of puddles to chose from. What else could we expect but rain when camping in Washington in the month of November? May as well enjoy it to the fullest! As the rain tapered off in the evening, we enjoyed time around the campfire before snuggling in to bed. In the morning we took some time to explore the campground more by taking a walk to the swimming and picnic area. As beautiful as it was in the cold, rainy season, we knew this spot would be extra enjoyable in the summer for swimming, fishing and laying by the lake. It looked like a great place to be, we just expect there to be plenty of company in the warmer months.

Puddle Jumping in November

After packing up from the campground we went to our next location: Thanksgiving gathering #2 in Montesano. We discussed our parking needs in advance and had plenty of space to park our truck and trailer along the fence in front of the house, while still leaving the entire driveway open to others for parking. With 40 people attending this gathering we were glad not to take up too much space. We once again enjoyed time visiting with family and sharing good food. And by extending our stay overnight with our trailer, we got extra time to visit with family in a smaller setting as the large gathering came to an end.

When we got up the next morning, we headed out to our final destination for a few days at Ocean Shores in the RV park at the Quinault Casino (see previous article on Casino Camping). This was located behind the normal parking lot for the casino, with lots of available sites. Though none are designed for hook ups we couldn’t complain for the price of $5/night! An added bonus was they allow you to bring your own above ground fire pit which really helped us enjoy the camping experience. The casino even offered a free shuttle to and from your campsite to the casino whenever you needed it. Aside from the potential of others' noisy generators (as can occur nearly anywhere you camp), the only downside we found to this set up was the large overhead parking lot lights which still streamed through near the sites. Parking further down at the end of the available sites would have been a good option to avoid this, but it really was not problematic for us.

Campsite at Quinault Casino

Convenient RV Parking at Quinault Casino Near the Beach

While neither my husband nor I are interested in casino entertainment, we loved the option of cheap lodging and appreciated the wonderful benefit of getting to have some indoor amenities close at hand (our main reason for choosing this location). With forecasts correctly predicting large amounts of rain and up to 30 mph winds, we knew we would need some time indoors for all of us. We had spent time searching online and discovered that staying at the Quinault Casino RV park gave us the option to pay our way in to the pool for $20 for an all-day pass for our whole family. So on the day with the roughest weather we took a quick drive to the ocean, stayed out long enough to get drenched and chilled, and then hit the pool and enjoyed the warmth and relaxation while we watched the wind and rain blowing at the windows.

Just $20 for an All-Day Pass to the Pool at the Casino

Later that day we returned to the casino for their dinner time buffet to celebrate my husband’s birthday. The restaurant was free from the smell of smoke (yes!), beautiful, spacious, and full of delicious food. Our son enjoyed eating all the melon he could grab off our plates, looking at the decorative lights, and practicing drinking from a straw. We had such a great time camping here and I’m so glad we had some indoor time to shelter us from the storm without being cooped up in the trailer all weekend. The next morning we spent a little more time on the beach- this time with beautiful weather, and then started the trek back home.

With multiple family gatherings, stormy weather, and a birthday to celebrate, we were so thankful to bring our trailer along to make our travel time and experiences that much more comfortable. While the search is much more limited, we were so pleased to find great camping options even in November! Where do you like to camp in the late season?

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season!

Emily Helgeson
Author: Emily HelgesonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Emily Helgeson lives with her husband and two children in Eastern Washington. They enjoy adventuring together and are learning how to use their RV to continue this lifestyle with their growing family.

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