Thursday, July 27, 2017

I Hate Beach Camping #2

After the Assateague Island disaster of 2016, I decided to try again with a different beach and a different season. Thankfully no theft or illness befell us while we were camping at First Landing State Park but it was miserable.

1. I made the mistake of choosing camp site 150.

  • On the map, 150 looked great. There was nothing between 150 and the ocean. In real life, though, site 150 was surrounded by tall shrubs and sand dunes making a beach view impossible. 
  • Site 150 was in the full sun with zero shade available.  The sand was burning hot and there was no shade to escape to. In the early morning the site was ideal, but only until about 9 am.
  • 150 was all sand and no dirt. I had to pitch the tent on the deep sand because there were no other choices available. With sand right outside the tent door, keeping sand out of the tent was impossible. 

2. We arrived during a heatwave

  • Even on a reasonably cool July day I should have expected lots of sun and temps in the 70s and 80s. We arrived during a heat wave and the temps were in the 90s with high humidity. 
  • Camping with children is tiring on a good day. Excessive heat makes camping exhausting.

3. We didn't sleep well in the tent

  • The night provided little relief from the heat. The humidity and sweat caused sand to stick to our bodies even in bed.
  • The helicopters from Fort Story were active during the night, flying directly over the tent at low altitude many times. This was a neat experience, but tiring.

4. Sand was everywhere

  • Sand was in the car. I still have sand in the car from Assateague Island from 2016. Next year I still have sand in the car from First Landing. No amount of vacuuming will remove all of it.
  • Sand was on our bodies during the night despite rinsing off at the beach shower. We should have gone to the bath house to take a full shower but we were too tired on that first night.  
  • Sand was in my bed the morning after I got home. I used the same blanket in the tent that I used on my bed but I shook it out well. It wasn't enough.

5. We weren't at the ocean!

  • How I could have missed the fact that First Landing State Park was on the Chesapeake Bay and not the Atlantic Ocean is mind boggling to me. The ocean was a 5 mile drive away but we didn't go because I thought we were looking at the ocean. One look at the campground map would have informed me of this, but I was so sure the campground was on the ocean that information to the contrary didn't register.

6. The water at our beach was dangerously dirty with poop

  • One day after we left, the State of Virginia issued a Swimming Advisory and posted a warning sign at First Landing beach explaining how people shouldn't wade or swim in the water because the poop levels were too high. Yuck!
  • All the beaches surrounding First Landing were fine. Of all the water we could have chosen, we had to choose the dirty water.