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Top 5 Reasons We Would Spend Another Winter in an RV on the Southern Oregon Coast

Have you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to live in an RV on the Southern Oregon Coast in the winter? “Don’t do it” they said! “Go south to the desert” they said! We didn’t listen and we stayed in our 5th wheel just a few hundred yards from the beach for the entire fall and winter of 2020/21. Learning the ins and outs of full time RV Living was difficult enough so why in the world did we choose spend our first winter in a place where even summers are cool and wet? We had no intentions of staying for the duration but each month we fell more in love with the campground, the people and the place and we kept extending until spring. During our stay we explored roughly 150 miles of coast line from Crescent City to the south and Florence to the north. At no time did we stray farther than a mile or two inland from the pacific ocean so we had a pretty good sampling of all that mother nature can throw at you in the winter time.

oregon coast waves at ocean shores during winter storm and king tide
"Siren's Song" ~ Winter Surf at Shore Acres State Park (Printable Digital Image available in my Image Gallery)

For the first time we were introduced to the term “Atmospheric River”. An atmospheric river is quite literally a river of water in the sky that can bring rainfall measured in feet. These rivers are wide and they envelope hundreds of miles of coastline at a time. We’ve learned that when the meteorologist says there’s one on the way you need to batten down the hatches find something indoors to keep your mind busy while you ride it out. Days of torrential rains bring “Areal Flooding” and low lying places fill with rising water. Perhaps the most difficult thing about the long stretches of rain is that you actually forget what the blue sky and sunlight look and feel like. A pitter patter of rain on the rv roof might at first seem quaint but we can tell you that hour upon hour of the tapping combined with extreme light deprivation can be cause for agitation, bizarre behavior and binge watching netflix.

So we lived in an RV that was parked in the rainforest and when the wind blew we came to understand that debris from above will hit the roof. Even a fallen pine cone or a small piece of a branch can startle the animals and cause the humans inside to use colorful language. Fortunately the trees that were most likely to fall had already been removed in our campground and we felt relatively safe from catastrophe.

High winds also bring high seas. Offshore Gales bring swells, swells bring big waves and big waves bring coastal erosion and sneaker waves that can sweep a person off their feet and pull them out into the cold raging torrent. And then nature adds an exclamation point to the word Danger with the King Tides. During the winter months when Sun and Moon are closest to Earth and all three come into alignment the highest tides of the year occur. If the king tides occur in conjunction with a winter storm the ground will literally vibrate beneath your feet with the crashing surf.

oregon ocean winter waves during king tide
"King Tide Afternoon" ~ near Port Orford (Printable digital image available in my Image Gallery)

So with all of the inclement weather why would a person choose to live in an RV on the Southern Oregon Coast in the winter? Here are our top reasons why the oregon coast will always be on our list of preferred winter harbors.

  1. Storm Watching: Winter storms bring the huge waves that are in many ways the essence of the Oregon Coast. The excitement of watching the explosive surf collide with the rocky shoreline is addictive. Once you have witnessed that raw power of nature you will likely want to do it over and over again.

  2. Weather: Ultimately the inclement weather will subside and the clouds will part. In what seems like the blink of an eye the senses come alive with a renewed appreciation for this magnificent place. Even in the depth of winter we had days filled the most vibrant blues and greens and nights where a symphony of frogs and crashing surf that lull us to sleep. Along the Oregon Coast We learned that it’s not uncommon to pick mushrooms in December or admire flowers in January. Relatively speaking the temperatures here are predictably mild. The same layer of marine air that makes the coast cooler than inland during the summer makes it warmer than inland during the winter. So far this winter the mercury has bottomed out in the upper 30s. It rarely freezes There.

  3. Beach Combing: The big tides of winter are constantly re-shaping the landscapes at the coast through erosion which means that no two visits to the same beach will reveal the same things. And with the tides come all sorts of interesting treasures like hag stones, agates, fossils and driftwood and it wasn’t uncommon to return to our RV with pockets full of mementos from an outing.

  4. Solitude: If you’ve driven highway 101 in the summer months you know that every roadside pullout is often lined with cars. In winter time, especially during the week its not uncommon to have the road and the hiking trails all to yourself. There is nothing quite like making the only set of tracks on a deserted beach.

  5. Sunsets: Winters are less foggy than summers at the coast so when you don’t have cloud cover along the western horizon the sunsets are more spectacular and more frequent.

southern oregon coast sunset at samuel boardman scenic corridor
"Story Book Ending" ~ Samuel Boardman Scenic Corridor (Printable digital image available in my Image Gallery)


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