It’s the season for road trips, and with more time comes more travel. For my first adventure of the summer, I took to the Oregon Coast and Crater Lake in southern Oregon.
For the first day, my friend and I drove from Bellingham to Olympia so we could get a head start for the next day. We woke up at 5 a.m. and drove the four and a half hour distance all the way to Seal Rock, which is south of Newport, Oregon. If you want to break up the lengthy drive, I recommend stopping in Portland, the outlet mall in Woodburn or starting along the coast in Lincoln City.
We made it to Seal Rock around noon and walked along the rocky beach full of hidden marine life, seagulls, seals and a whale.
After about an hour, we arrived in Florence, Oregon. The town is home to Sand Master Park, which rents out sandboards, sleds, surfboards, bikes, buggy rides and sandboarding lessons. 40 acres of privately owned dunes sit down the road from the store. We rented the cheapest boards, $10 each for 24 hours, and drove about 20 minutes to the dunes that hug the shoreline. We spent the next four hours skimming the sand, falling and playing on the beach. It’s similar to snowboarding except for a couple technique differences.
We camped at Sutton Campground for $24 per night. The campground itself is nice with open fields, shady trees and well-maintained toilets. However, there was no wifi or showers, and I’d say that’s a pretty steep price for just two people. If I were to go back, I would research other campgrounds.
We built a fire and bought a bundle of firewood for $5 from the campground hosts. For dinner, we fire-roasted vegetables and sweet potatoes, which was one of the best meals I’ve ever had.
We went to sleep early with a sleeping bag and blanket each and were surprisingly warm for camping on the coast.
On the third day, we woke up at 6 a.m. and started towards the McCredie hot springs south of Oakridge. We ended up driving up and down the Willamette Highway searching for the hot springs, and everyone we talked to sent us in different directions. We were told about other hot springs in Roseburg, Oregon, so we tried to find those on the way home but ended up passing them accidentally and didn’t want to turn around, so we missed out on the springs this time around.
Our new destination was Crater Lake, another two hours down the road. It’s the deepest lake in the United States at 1,949 feet, formed after the collapse of the volcano Mount Mazama. It’s fed completely by rain and snowfall, and, although in southern Oregon, there was still plenty of snow along the roadway because of the high elevation. We found that there wasn’t a whole lot to do, so we made some coffee and enjoyed the view.
That night we camped at Jo’s Motel and Campground, about a half hour south of the lake. At $20 a night with free showers, free firewood, nice grounds and community fire pits, it was a good deal aside from lacking wifi.
In the morning, we drove back up to Crater Lake for coffee and the sunrise. We surprisingly didn’t hit Portland or Seattle traffic and made it back to Bellingham 9 p.m.
There is so much to see and do in Oregon and along the coast. We had a perfect mix of fun at the dunes and relaxation at Crater Lake. At first, we planned to travel all the way to California and see even more, but the smartest decision we made was making more quality time at just a few stops. I recommend picking a couple good places along the trip, slowing down and soaking in the quality moments.