Pirates weren’t part of the plan for this camping trip

Let’s be honest, sometimes car camping feels like tailgating. When minivans are parked into slots like sardines and the campfire next door blows smoke into your face, it’s annoying. Plus, I always worry about amoebas when I wash dishes at a spigot. But part of my dream is to show my children America, and tent camping is an affordable way to go.

My family has hit Washington’s national parks pretty hard in recent years, so this summer we decided to explore state parks instead. I’m ecstatic because this means coin-operated showers.

In late July, we stayed at Twin Harbors Beach State Park in the southwest corner of Washington. It boasts one of the prettiest beaches I’ve ever seen. We found sand dollars, jellyfish, mussels and massive amounts of purple sails, or velellas.

Most of the campground was crowded, but site 267 offered pine trees, spaciousness, clean water and a short walk to the beach. Unfortunately, all that roominess wasn’t enough to protect us from pirates.

Yup, you read that right: pirates.

The people in site 272 were in full pirate regalia. They started drinking at 9 in the morning and carousing around. In addition to their striped pants and eye patches, some of them wore pistols. I wasn’t sure whether these guns were stage props or the real deal. It would be dumb to drink heavily and arm yourself, but smart decisions seemed to be in short supply with these buccaneers. They also left their unattended campfire roaring away.

“Cody! You know better than that!” Captain Stupid yelled every time his three-legged dog started barking. “Can’t you hear me?”

Um … yeah, dude, the whole campground could hear you.

“Shut the fudge up, you dang dog!” the lady pirate would shout — only she used saltier language.

When I envisioned showing my kids America, this wasn’t what I had in mind. So we escaped to the beach as much as possible.

My husband and I kicked back while our son flew his kite and our daughter buried our feet in sand. We enjoyed gorgeous weather and stellar views — until some hotshot drove his mammoth truck right next to our beach towels.

The first time this happened, I was shocked. I’d never before been to a beach that allowed cars. Most of our fellow beachgoers were on foot. But there were plenty of people driving 4x4s, belching exhaust and crunching sand dollars to dust.

I don’t believe in infringing on other people’s rights. But I also believe in treating nature with respect. Just because you can drive on the beach doesn’t mean you should. It was sad to see one of the most beautiful places in Washington turn into a parking lot.

Pirates and plunderers? Walk the plank! Twin Harbors Beach is more beauty than you deserve.

Jennifer Bardsley is an Edmonds mom of two and blogs at teachingmybabytoread.com.

More in Life

Shrimp and grits, rendered healthful and Italian? We’re in.

This recipe features a sauce made with olive oil, tomatoes and herbs instead of cheese and cream.

UFO at Paine Field playground was left by an artist — not aliens

The flying saucer at community park in Everett is a cosmic attraction.

Chef James Abbott makes Buck’s peanut butter pie at Buck’s American Cafe in Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Fur & Feathers: 4 lovable dogs need homes

Meet Lola, Sadie, Scooter and Chance

Sweet baking tips: How to rescue brown sugar that’s turned hard

Soften the rock solid stuff, then try this recipe for chocolate chunk cookies with sea salt.

Valentina Bogdanova, 74, loves working in the gardens that nearly surround the Bakerview Apartments, where she has lived for 20 years. The units are among 16 affordable and subsidized properties leased to seniors by the Everett Housing Authority. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
As real estate booms, those with fixed-incomes need help

When senior citizens get housing, they are able to ‘age in place.’

Harry Potter exhibit marks 20th anniversary of first book

Many of the things Harry Potter fans thought were imaginary were actually based in fact — or folklore.

Visiting Germany’s Lutherland, birthplace of Reformation

The sights include the church where the first Protestant service took place in 1521.

Can you top ‘Hamilton’? Author Ron Chernow is about to find out

The notable writer’s latest book, published Oct. 10, is a lengthy biography on Ulysses S. Grant.

Most Read