Who doesn’t want an ocean view? It’s not often you can get one in an RV, but at Malibu Beach RV Park, you can. And it is spectacular! We stayed there while Mike was working in Santa Monica for Project LiveWire. Lucky for us, it was the closest one to his work. Tough, I know!
Enjoying the view is pricey. It costs $100-$150 a night. You don’t necessarily get a lot for the money, either. Yes, the scenery is gorgeous. But the spots are very tight, and there aren’t any extra amenities like a pool or a workout room. There are nifty walking paths around the park, and a great fresh seafood restaurant is a few (steep) steps away. It’s tricky to get to the ocean, though. You’ve gotta walk down the hill, dash across the PCH when there’s a break in traffic, and then walk half a block to the beach stairs. We probably wouldn’t have stayed there if we weren’t being reimbursed for the fees. But we sure made the most of it. We made the tricky trek to the beach a couple of times, and three times a day, we took the dogs out for a stroll on the trails. With plenty of soft sand and banks of tropical flowers on each side, every walk was like a little piece of paradise.
The park staff was amiable, but we encountered a couple of residents who were nasty. Our first night, we arrived late – after getting approval from the park first, of course. The spot to our right was empty, but there was Class B parked next to it. We unhooked and parked as quickly as we could, but apparently it wasn’t fast enough. With the engine still running while we were setting up, the door of the Class B opened and a tall, thin, blond-haired man strode toward us. In a thick German accent, he told us that the noise was very disruptive and reminded us that it was almost 10 at night. Like we didn’t know! He was angry and rude. After a long day of driving, we were having none of it. I advised him that we were going as quickly as we could and that we’d gotten permission from the park to arrive this late. If he had a problem, I said, he needed to take it up with park management, not us. The next morning, he was gone, and the side of our coach was decorated with something dark brown: mud or something else? We don’t know for sure that he did it, but we had our suspicions.
The rest of our stay was uneventful, but when we were leaving, we had another unpleasant encounter. As I mentioned before, the park is very tight, and there’s no good place to unhook or hook up your toad. You certainly don’t want to be doing it on the side of the PCH. We did it right by the office, where you stop on your way in to check in. Because of the small size of the park, there are rigs parked right next to the entrance and exit. As we were hooking up the Jeep, as fast we could, a gentleman two coaches down complained to us that we were spewing exhaust. There’s was nothing we could do; it was again a park issue. We hurried to hook up – as we always do – and headed out, glad to put the park behind us.
As pretty as the views were, it wouldn’t be worth the hassle to stay again.
We only stayed in Cedar Key, Florida, for a week, but we packed it full of fun stuff. One of our favorite things was kayaking out to Atsena Otie (which means cedar island in a tribal language). Mike and I shared a kayak and accompanied guide Mandy Davis and three of her friends on an awesome daylong adventure.
Mandy is an accomplished, seasoned naturalist and guide who’s recently set up shop in Cedar Key. She runs Hidden Coast Outdoors, and the Atsena Otie adventure is one of many tours she offers. Not only did Mandy show us how to kayak, but she also educated us on the history of Cedar Key. We learned that the city of Cedar Key was located on Atsena Otie Island. Cedar Key was an important port. Two mills on the island produced ‘cedar’ slats for shipment to northern pencil factories. Economic decline began when Henry Plant’s railroad to Tampa began service in 1886, and a devastating Atlantic hurricane in 1896 was the final blow.
We made the short hike to the now-closed pier and the cemetery. Mandy brought along paper and crayons so we could take headstone rubbings. I chose a grave marker with my name (except with a Z instead of an S). What a unique souvenir! We then kayaked further east for lunch. Mandy prepared a homemade, gourmet Mexican meal for us, and we ate on the beach near eaglets and other water birds.
It was a glorious experience, so much fun and a wonderful workout. $90 (per person) VERY well spent!!