RV spot: Cascade Locks Marine Park
Location/distance from Vancouver: At the Port of Cascade Locks, Ore., 45 miles east of Vancouver via either Highway 14 or Interstate 84.
Cost/Reservations: $41/night for sites with water and 30 amp electric; free but spotty WiFi is included. No sewer hookups, but there is a dump station. Reserve at www.portofcascadelocks.org/campground or call 509-637-6911.
Why go: Set on a bluff overlooking the historic locks, Thunder Island and the Columbia River shipping channel, you can drive there and be set up in 90 minutes. Great people-watching lasts all day long, and you can walk to town for local craft beer or soft-serve ice cream. Day cruises on the port’s replica sternwheeler leave from the park and are a fun excursion.
But know: It’s often windy in Cascade Locks. You enter the park through an underpass with a maximum clearance of 12 feet, so big RVs may not fit. The railroad tracks adjoin the campground, but the frequent trains don’t usually blow their horns.
Personal observations: This is a great place to work remotely. The campground is small, with only 16 sites, but is part of a big grassy park with mature shade trees. There’s a playground for kids, and fishing in season, but no beach or safe water access to the river.