I was really looking forward to this trip. We stayed on the Bayside of the campground. Our site was close to the bathhouse, which was modest with cold water and vault toilets. Fresh water pump was nearby, as well.
Based on the reviews, I was expecting a beach camp out with the ambience of wild horses running along the shore. Sand between our toes. Fire cooked meals. Idyllic... Sadly, that’s not at all what we got.
We arrived late to meet some friends before setting up camp. We were supposed to have dinner with the them. But dinner was delayed — VERY delayed — because of horses. A small herd of them (around 8) decided to hangout in our campsite waiting for their meal. This meant we couldn’t get ours. As soon as any food would come into ‘nose-shot,’ they would start advancing on us. We waited over an hour for them to lose interest and move on to the next site. We went through this for every meal. It became a real hassle.
It’s obvious other campers have not been so responsible with their food in this area. The standard is to hide all food as soon as you see the horses. This mean storing anything with a scent in your closed vehicle or in the “horse box” under the picnic table. With the way they would wait for us to pull food out, it was very apparent other campers allowed them to have a free-for-all previously. And no amount of noise shooed them off. If anything, it made them more aggressive and we had to watch them closely.
A little while later, we finally settled in and set up camp after having our “dinner” in the confines of our car. Dinner was snacks since we couldn’t cook anything. Placing anything on the fire or stove was like a beacon to the horses.
The next problem we encountered was the mosquitoes — they were everywhere and in hoards. No matter how hard you tried, there’s no keeping them out of the tent. We left a day later covered in bumps, most from throughout the night.
One good thing was the cooler temps meant no horseflies. On a previous beach trip, we were swarmed and covered in bites within minutes of exiting our car. Be prepared because bug spray does very little.
Let’s also not forget the “stickers” — little burr-like plant pods that are all on the ground and stuck to anything and everything, especially skin. These stung bad.
Once settled in for the night, we dealt with the wind flapping the tent pretty wildly at times, horses neighing almost constantly and coming awfully close, and two raccoons fighting on the edge of our tent. A restful night was not in the cards there.
The only good thing was the location. We were a short walk away from the beach. The kids and I at least enjoyed that part.
I was beyond disappointed and cancelled my upcoming trip for the following month as soon as I got home. I don’t know if the experience was different Oceanside, but i will never be staying Bayside again.