Navarro Beach Campground in California

 Navarro Beach Campground in California

navarro2We have just finished up ten days at a beachfront campground on the California coast that has been a favorite of ours for years – Navarro Beach. It’s part of Navarro River Redwoods State Park, a park located in the narrow valley formed by the Navarro River. Highway 128 winds up from the coastal highway through second growth redwoods, which is nice, but we like the beach better.  This section of the Pacific Coast Highway between Point Arena and Fort Bragg is about 150 miles north of San Fransisco and sparsely populated, which is the way we like it.

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This is 2012, back when we had our Chevy. The cars parked in front of us are day stay people.

We first came here nine years ago when we first got our Chevy Roadtrek and were very happy just sitting on the beach, listening to the surf and the seagulls, and watching the seals and other wildlife. It’s definitely a Northern California feel with fog, redwood logs, and kelp, not the sunny sand of Malibu. All weather camping capability is important – I made many friends passing out coffee to tent campers who couldn’t get their stoves lit in the drizzle. My awning came in handy on such mornings.

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This is the whole campground, about a dozen spots side by side at the base of the bluff.

Since it’s an extension of the state park system, which has fallen upon hard financial times,  it’s a bit pricey for a picnic table and fire ring campground – currently $25 a night, with $2 off for a senior pass. What that does is make sure that it isn’t crowded, except for Friday and Saturday nights.  Most of the time we had the place to ourselves during the week. There are day stay people who drop by to exercise their dogs or wander the beach, and friendly ranger staff who drop by once a day to collect the money in the iron ranger drop box, but for beachfront accommodations it’s pretty secluded. You are well off the highway and there’s not much noise. There’s water and a dump up at Van Damme State Park four miles north for day stay fees of $8, and shopping at Fort Bragg 20 miles north.

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This is looking north across the river- ocean is to the left. Copious supply of driftwood in foreground.

You’re allowed to collect up to 50 pounds of driftwood for fires, and there’s no way this is ever going to be a supply problem – these short coastal rivers bring down an astonishing amount of driftwood, including whole tree trunks a hundred feet long. Kids build teepee structures and forts out of the abundant supply. No fires on the beach, though – one dumb person and the whole thing could go up in flames.

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Here’s the river mouth under normal conditions. The sand bar builds up and blocks it occasionally.

There’s only one problem with this campground, though – the river flows out into the ocean most of the time, but every once in a while high surf will build up a sandbar across the river mouth, and water starts to rise in the valley, eventually coming into the campground. The road out is elevated enough so you never get trapped, as long as you keep an eye on the river. On what turned out to be our last night there an offshore storm kicked up big swells, and when we woke the river was ten feet higher than it was the day before, with water seeping into our campsite. We packed up and headed out, not wishing to wait around until the river eventually found its way back out into the ocean.

campskunk

"campskunk" is a blissfully retired former public servant who has left the challenges of how to run the government to younger and less cynical hands, and wanders the continent in his Roadtrek Class B RV with his wife and cat. In addition to his work in the public sector, he has also at various times been a mechanic and delivery driver, skills which come in handy in his new role. Because his former job involved the forensic evaluation and sometimes the subsequent detention of some not-so-nice people, he uses the name campskunk instead of his legal name on the Internet. His was not the type of job where customer service feedback would be welcome.

2 Comments

  • Mike, I saw the picture you posted of your Chevy RT at the beach in 2012. Can you tell me about the storage box configuration on the back of that Chevy? I have a Chevy RT and am trying out various options for extra cargo.

    • it’s called a Stowaway 2. you can google around and find out more about them, i was very happy with mine.

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