Break in Menifee, CA to Life on the Dunes
Updated: May 4, 2022
We made our way to Menifee, California on March 1st and spent the next 3 weeks at Wilderness Lakes RV Resort. This was actually the first time we stayed in one place for 3 weeks straight since starting our full-time RV'ing life. The park is built on several canals which provide habitat for various water fowl, including, ducks, geese, coots, & herons.
This friendly Black-Crowned Night Heron visited our site on a few occasions.
A gaggle of resident geese.
I hadn't planned on doing a lot of sight-seeing during our stay here. We needed this time to get work done. Alyssa was only 1.5 hours away, and Pat had planned to do some maintenance on her car while we were there. We also needed to order a new mattress, and we knew it would take a couple of weeks to arrive. Pat needed to work on the taxes and some other RV-related things, too. The RV park was in a great area as far as being close to all the conveniences, i.e., stores, restaurants, etc. We really didn't mind the down time, and it was a good opportunity to get stuff done.
We always find some time to hike, though, when we are in a new area. One day we hiked the 2.4 mile Menifee Cross Trail in Aldergate Park. We climbed up a mountain that led to a cross with some beautiful views of the valley and city below.
We noticed that this particular park seems to attract hummingbirds, so we decided to set up a hummingbird feeder. Everyday we were greeted with several colorful hummingbirds of varied species. We were entertained by daily visits from our tiny, feathered friends.
We spent one day visiting Alyssa in Pasedena. She took us to one of her favorite places, Arlington Garden, where we enjoyed strolling the grounds and learning about the native flora in a lovely, natural setting.
We ended the day with dinner at a delicious restaurant, Sage Vegan Bistro, in downtown Pasedena, before heading back to the RV park. It's always a special day when we can spend time with our daughter!
We offered to take Alyssa to the Burbank Airport on March 16th for her flight to Denver and decided to hang around the area before going back to Menifee. We've been to LA multiple times, but we thought it would be fun to hike a trail near Griffith Park leading to Mt. Hollywood. It was a fairly challenging trail, and it was a pretty warm day for a strenuous hike, but we managed to climb to the peak and were rewarded with a gorgeous view of LA and the surrounding suburbs.
Pat surprised me with an exciting birthday gift to celebrate my 60th birthday! He knew how much I loved the idea of flying, so he booked a paragliding flight for me on March 19th (day before my actual birthday) at Torrey Pines Gliderport near San Diego. This was a tandem flight with an experienced pilot. We took off over a cliff and soared along the Pacific Coastline during this 20 minute flight. The view from this perspective was truly breathtaking! It was an experience I will never forget and the best birthday present (barring being with family) I could have asked for. I was also able to check off another box on the old bucket list!
We arrived at our next destination on March 24th. Pacific Dunes Ranch RV Resort in Oceano, CA was our new home for the next 2 weeks. There are very few amenities here, no pool, hot tub, etc., but the location is amazing! The RV park is situated on the edge of the Oceano Dunes Non Vehicle Area. The dunes are accessible from the upper level of the park. As we walked onto the dunes, it was as if stepping into another world. We were surrounded by tawny, rippling sand dunes in all directions and as far as the eye could see. I've never been to the Sahara Desert, but I'm assuming this area is similar to that landscape but on a much smaller scale. The Pacific Ocean is about a 1.5 mile walk over the dunes.
We noticed people were having fun sledding on the dunes, so we bought a sled at the camp store and gave it a try. Myah didn't need a sled to slide down the dune! We discovered that walking on the dunes after a good rain made for a much easier trek across them, otherwise, it was quite a workout. We came upon a rainbow one night, and the sunsets were pretty amazing, too.
Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area is a big attraction because it is the only California State Park that allows vehicles to drive on the beach. For a $5 fee, you can drive about 5 miles on a designated area of the beach. We decided to take our Jeep out for a ride to experience the feel of driving on a sandy beach. Luckily, we didn't get stuck.
The coastal town of Pismo Beach is only 10 minutes away from the RV resort. We visited several times while we were there. Pismo Beach is a typical California coastal beach town with a famous pier and a variety of shops and restaurants. One particular establishment, Old West Cinnamon Rolls, drew us in with their heavenly "cinnamony" aroma, and we just couldn't resist! They were definitely worth the calories.
One day we visited nearby Dinosaur Caves Park. This park provided a picturesque setting for a relaxing walk on a pathway with awesome views of the ocean, rocky bluffs, and purple sea-lavender. The name is a little deceiving because there are neither dinosaurs nor caves in the area. Click here to learn how the park got its name.
Since we were in wine country, we enjoyed a tasting at Laetitia Vineyard & Winery in nearby Arroyo Grande. We sat outside on their garden patio and tried a variety of bubbly wines along with a yummy charcuterie tray.
About 38 minutes from the RV resort, is the iconic fishing village of Morro Bay. The big draw to Morro Bay is the famous rock, the backdrop to the many pictures and postcards depicting this area. We spent the day exploring this quaint coastal village, walking around the rock, playing with Myah on the dog beach, and ending the day with a delicious meal at a local seafood restaurant. We also caught a glimpse of several sea otters cradling their pups as they floated on their backs along the seashore. This area ranks as one of my favorite places to visit!
Of course no stay is complete without us taking a hike or two. We really enjoyed a trail that wrapped around a mountain and was located across the highway from the ocean in the Pismo Preserve. It wasn't a difficult trail because it wasn't a steep incline but rather a gradual increase in elevation. As we hiked along the mountainside, we were presented with a beautiful view of the ocean from most sides of the trail. The wildflowers were starting to bloom, too, so this added to the beauty of one of my now most favorite hiking trails.
We had an amazing, fun-filled 2 week adventure in the Pismo Beach area. We will definitely put this place on the "visit again" list! Next stop San Benito.