SLC to Oregon Coast to Reno to SLC - May 26th - June 4th

Upgrayedd

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Apr 12, 2014
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184
This is a bit different post than normal so hopefully it's appropriate in here.
After 12 years of marriage my wife and I are finally planning out our first big road trip as a family. I've done many epic road trips pre-kid and I took my wife on a long three week loop of the west before we were married. The longest trip we've taken as a family is to Vegas from SLC and that 6hr drive usually ends up being 8hrs or more with the kids. As such, I'm trying to do as much planning and logistics ahead of time as possible to try to minimize stress/surprises, etc.

We’ll have five kids (10, 9, 8, 4, 2) my wife and I packed into a minivan. Trying to decide if I want to do a roof top carrier or potentially hitch mounted carrier (doesn’t have a hitch yet) or just keep everything inside and try to pack light.


My kids have never seen the ocean, and we're all fair skinned and don't love the sun/heat so we landed on seeing the Oregon coast from May 26th to June 4th. It's a tighter timeline than I'd like but all I can pull off with work right now.

We plan on doing appropriate outdoors hikes (we love mountains and forest) and nature based sight seeing along the way. I'd say nothing longer than a 5 mile hike and for most stuff 2 miles or less which I understand limits our options. The kids want to see the beach and tide pool sea creatures and my wife is a photographer so I'm sure she'll want to take thousands of pictures of the kids in nature and having fun. I want to make it as memorable (hopefully in a good way lol) as possible.

We have family in Reno that we may stay with.

We're also looking for delicious places to eat and places to stay (preferably somewhat humble/affordable but most importantly safe) along the way. Would love suggestions and feedback from you all.
 

Janice

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In July 2006, when our kids were 9 and 6, we took them to Oregon (and Washington) for their second "out West" trip. We live in Michigan so we flew (didn't have enough time to drive all the way there and back). We started in Medford, went to Crater Lake which we loved but doesn't make sense for your timing in May/June, then went to the coast. When we were planning, we considered various spots along the coast and ended up in the middle area, staying in Yachats. Here are my notes from back then; I realize things may have changed:

• Stayed at Yachats Inn (www.yachatsinn.com, 1-888-270-3456) – very nice – would stay there again
• Sea Lion Caves – good – interesting even though smelly
• Cape Perpetua – 1 mile hike each way up and down – nice – then went to tidepools - wonderful here – check tide charts to find out when low tides are, when the intertidal zone will be exposed, try for minus tides if possible – lots of great starfish, sea urchins, anemones, etc. etc.
• More tidepooling at Cape Perpetua very early next morning
• Devil’s Churn – enjoyed even though low tide made not much wave action – supposedly best in storms
• Drove north on I-5 to Columbia River Gorge – scenic highway with lots of waterfall stops – Multnomah Falls 640 ft high – lovely – 1+ mile each way up and down – this was nice but maybe could have been skipped to have more time for other things – but maybe other people would love this and not want to skip it at all

Years later my husband and I went (sans kids) to Portland and spent a lovely day on the coast further north than the Yachats area. We enjoyed hiking Neakhanie Mtn - maybe your kids could manage it? - and had a great evening at Cannon Beach at sunset. Maybe this would make sense for you as well?

I know that south of Yachats there are big dunes - Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. I imagine that would be a lot of fun for your family. We didn't go there, as we have big dunes in Michigan along Lakes Michigan & Superior so we used our limited time for other things.

Hope you'll have a great trip!
 

wsp_scott

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5 kids and two adults is a lot of stuff. I can't help with the actual trip, but I would strongly recommend a roof box to help keep organized. Makes it easy to stuff dirty hiking stuff or sandy beach stuff or just camp chairs or ...

I use a roof box maybe once a year so I went super cheap. It is a pain to get setup, but half the price of the name brand boxes. https://www.jegs.com/i/JEGS/555/90098/10002/-1
 

Bob

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better gas mileage with a hich box.
 

Titans

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As mentioned by @Janice - Cape Perpetua, super cool tidal pools. Ask at the visitor center for the exact location and be at the tidal pools location 30-45 mins before low tide, it’s a fairly narrow window to watch it all.

Bandon- beautiful stretch of beach with super cool rocks (Face Rock etc). Awesome photography opportunities. Great sunset spot too. Nice small town, many small local fish fry shacks, great bakery, etc.

Depoe Bay - Whale watching

Everywhere along the Oregon coast with the kids- be mindful of sneaker waves! Be prepared with clothing for cool and very windy weather and often dense fog early morning…. The locals say, “ if you don’t like the weather now, just wait 20 mins and it will all change “. Hope you all have a great trip, the Oregon coast is amazing!
 

Udink

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This is so strange. My wife and I are celebrating 25 years of marriage this month and planning our first big road trip without our kids to the Oregon coast.

I'm more of a desert rat so the first big chunk of the trip will be in the eastern half of the state. So far the possibilities are Succor Creek, Leslie Gulch, Jordan Craters, Alvord Desert, and Lake Albert.

After that it's Crescent City, CA, then farther north along the Oregon coast with no real plans so far. We're pulling our 28' RV so that adds some challenges, and I'm only planning a couple of days along the coast. Otherwise I'm hoping for some free or cheap camping without too many people around. I'll definitely be watching this thread for more ideas, thanks for the ones so far.
 

Upgrayedd

Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2014
Messages
184
In July 2006, when our kids were 9 and 6, we took them to Oregon (and Washington) for their second "out West" trip. We live in Michigan so we flew (didn't have enough time to drive all the way there and back). We started in Medford, went to Crater Lake which we loved but doesn't make sense for your timing in May/June, then went to the coast. When we were planning, we considered various spots along the coast and ended up in the middle area, staying in Yachats. Here are my notes from back then; I realize things may have changed:

• Stayed at Yachats Inn (www.yachatsinn.com, 1-888-270-3456) – very nice – would stay there again
• Sea Lion Caves – good – interesting even though smelly
• Cape Perpetua – 1 mile hike each way up and down – nice – then went to tidepools - wonderful here – check tide charts to find out when low tides are, when the intertidal zone will be exposed, try for minus tides if possible – lots of great starfish, sea urchins, anemones, etc. etc.
• More tidepooling at Cape Perpetua very early next morning
• Devil’s Churn – enjoyed even though low tide made not much wave action – supposedly best in storms
• Drove north on I-5 to Columbia River Gorge – scenic highway with lots of waterfall stops – Multnomah Falls 640 ft high – lovely – 1+ mile each way up and down – this was nice but maybe could have been skipped to have more time for other things – but maybe other people would love this and not want to skip it at all

Years later my husband and I went (sans kids) to Portland and spent a lovely day on the coast further north than the Yachats area. We enjoyed hiking Neakhanie Mtn - maybe your kids could manage it? - and had a great evening at Cannon Beach at sunset. Maybe this would make sense for you as well?

I know that south of Yachats there are big dunes - Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. I imagine that would be a lot of fun for your family. We didn't go there, as we have big dunes in Michigan along Lakes Michigan & Superior so we used our limited time for other things.

Hope you'll have a great trip!

Fantastic info, I'm going to check those areas out; thank you!

5 kids and two adults is a lot of stuff. I can't help with the actual trip, but I would strongly recommend a roof box to help keep organized. Makes it easy to stuff dirty hiking stuff or sandy beach stuff or just camp chairs or ...

I use a roof box maybe once a year so I went super cheap. It is a pain to get setup, but half the price of the name brand boxes. https://www.jegs.com/i/JEGS/555/90098/10002/-1

Been looking at them, scary how poor reviews are in general. The jegs one you listed actually seems decent for the money, which is 1/3 a Yakima or Thule.

better gas mileage with a hich box.

I thought of that too. My concern is how low the hitch would sit on this 23' Seinna. I'm worried a hitch basket would drag all over the place. I need to look into it.

As mentioned by @Janice - Cape Perpetua, super cool tidal pools. Ask at the visitor center for the exact location and be at the tidal pools location 30-45 mins before low tide, it’s a fairly narrow window to watch it all.

Bandon- beautiful stretch of beach with super cool rocks (Face Rock etc). Awesome photography opportunities. Great sunset spot too. Nice small town, many small local fish fry shacks, great bakery, etc.

Depoe Bay - Whale watching

Everywhere along the Oregon coast with the kids- be mindful of sneaker waves! Be prepared with clothing for cool and very windy weather and often dense fog early morning…. The locals say, “ if you don’t like the weather now, just wait 20 mins and it will all change “. Hope you all have a great trip, the Oregon coast is amazing!

Thanks for the recommendations and especially the advice on waves, clothing, etc.

This is so strange. My wife and I are celebrating 25 years of marriage this month and planning our first big road trip without our kids to the Oregon coast.

I'm more of a desert rat so the first big chunk of the trip will be in the eastern half of the state. So far the possibilities are Succor Creek, Leslie Gulch, Jordan Craters, Alvord Desert, and Lake Albert.

After that it's Crescent City, CA, then farther north along the Oregon coast with no real plans so far. We're pulling our 28' RV so that adds some challenges, and I'm only planning a couple of days along the coast. Otherwise I'm hoping for some free or cheap camping without too many people around. I'll definitely be watching this thread for more ideas, thanks for the ones so far.

Ha! That's awesome. I considered camping, but with the kids I don't feel good about camping in crowded, high traffic areas, and in the van I can't get us anyone fun/remote, so we'll probably just pay through the nose.
 

zionsky

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Joined
Dec 23, 2018
Messages
674
Its close to dinner so food is on my mind. I recall excellent and generous portions of ice cream at Face Rock Creamery in Coos Bay. I think they also have a location in Bandon. I also remember delicious marion berry pie (taste like blackberry) at Don's restaurant in Reedsport. The burger and fries were OK.

Lot's of state parks and lighthouses along 101 with many short trail options. Devil's punchbowl was pretty neat as the tide was coming in. Drift Creek Falls near Lincoln City was pretty and had a really cool suspension bridge next to the falls.

Last time we were there was in early-mid June and it was sunny, but cold and windy the entire trip so be prepared.
 

Rockskipper

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Jun 11, 2017
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If you're in the area (Kimberly, OR), the John Day Fossil Beds are pretty cool if you like geology. Some really nice photo opportunities there, also. If you like woolen stuff, the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store in Pendleton has some nice stuff at factory store prices.
 

Upgrayedd

Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2014
Messages
184
Here are some comments from Reddit that I thought I'd add to this conversation.

"Well, I assume you're going out 80 to Reno. Big first day maybe.

From there, I'd head north on 395 to 44 then I-5, maybe stay at Mt Shasta. Or Ashland. Nice towns. Then to Bandon over OR 42. Bandon is a great little coast town. Wonderful beaches; very popular with photogs (she'll recognize it). And fun for the rest of the fam while she's nerding out with the camera.

Then up the coast at least as far as the Dunes. From there, 20 east. Stay in Bend, another fun town with lots to do, then to 84 and home.

For OR hiking, check out any of Sullivan's guide books. Short and long hikes, with lots of people and natural history."


"If you're going to be in Reno, make sure to go over the hill and spend time at Lake Tahoe. South Lake Tahoe has great beaches as does Sand Harbor but the water will be cold. Great hikes in the Tahoe Basin plus fantastic photography.

On the northern Oregon coast, Cannon Beach is very nice with a good sand beach. Also, put Tillamook Cheese Factory on your list. Great cheese and a nice tour. Newport has a world class aquarium that's great for kids.

If you take 101 south to California, the Redwood National and State Parks are worth your time. Fern Canyon is amazing and the Avenue of the Giants is a nice change from the highway. You can cut back to I-5 north of Eureka to Redding and head down to 80 and to Reno.

Or avoid the northern California coast and cut back to 5 in Oregon on US 20 or Highway 126 (pretty drive). Then you can take 89 through the Sierras or 395, depending on how quickly you want to get to Reno. Lassen is a great park but will be buried by snow."
 

Rockskipper

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Jun 11, 2017
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If you're not in a hurry, go north from SLC to City of Rocks near Burley (ID), then across through Boise. You could even go visit the Wallowa Mins for a short side trip. But it's for sure not as fast as I-80.
 
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