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Family Trip in Mid August

Kennewick...
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Family Trip in Mid August

We are planning a family trip from Tri-Cities Washington and are wondering if the plan we have is feasible. Here is what we were thinking:

Day 1:Wake up and leave early (6am ish) Drive to Kimberly, OR to see John Day Fossil Beds then on to Bend to stay the night (we have friends in Bend)

Day 2: Leave by 9am to Drive to Crater Lake (our kids ages 5 and 7 want to do the Junior Ranger thing here)

Drive down to Oregon Caves and camp. Possibly try and do a cave tour.

Day 3: Do a cave tour in Oregon Caves if we couldn't the day before. Drive to Redwood Forest (Trees of Mystery area). Camp near Trees of Mystery. Explore the Redwoods.

Day 4: Camp at Cape Blanco stop and see things on the way. (I could use some suggestions here on what cool things there are to see around the area)

Day 5: Drive toward Tillamook and stop when we get tired of driving. See cool things along the way (Again, some ideas would be awesome). Stay in a hotel somewhere.

Day 6: Lincoln City (walk on the beach, gab something to eat, maybe do the outlet mall if time allows)Tillamook Cheese Factory tour maybe something else cool in Tillamook drive to Fort Stevens (we have a reservation there for this night)

Day 7 and 8 drive up to Ilwaco to camp (reservations already made) check out Kite Festival, Astoria, Light House, Lewis and Clark National Park, Astoria Column Cannon Beach, Seaside.

Day 9: Drive back to Tri Cities check out Fort Vancouver on the way home

Our kids are so good in the car so long days of driving isn't a concern at all for us. They are also really laid back so we can fit as much or as little in a day as we want. Our family loves to do shortish hikes (1-3 miles round trip). We also love to see unusual things and our daughters LOVE doing the Junior Ranger programs at the National Parks (thus we are seeing 6 of them this trip I believe). Any suggestions would be awesome! I'm trying to keep the trip fairly cheap but if it's something really cool that we just HAVE to see we can make it work.

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1. Re: Family Trip in Mid August

In the Tillamook area is Cape Lookout State Park and The Cheese Factory. Your plans look very good. Happy travels! :)

Portland, Oregon
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2. Re: Family Trip in Mid August

If you're okay with spending hours in the car every day, and a different hotel or campground every night, your itinerary is certainly doable. But I'd be concerned that you may not have time for things like the lava tubes and wonderful hiking around Bend, a boat ride on Crater Lake, jetboat rides up the Rogue River, a dune buggy ride near Florence, the 804 Trail in Yachats, the Oregon Aquarium in Newport, the walk into Short Sands at Oswald West State Park, tide-pools at the base of Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach, bumper cars and Ten Tiny Tees in Seaside, plus the many other things that'll catch your attention along the way. And if you do manage to fit in some of those activities, I'm wondering when your kids will have time to build sandcastles, fly kites, and splash in the shallows of all the beautiful beaches you'll be passing by. In short, I think you're trying to fit too much into your 9 days, especially with kids the ages of yours.

Oregon Coast
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for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
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3. Re: Family Trip in Mid August

Hi, days 5 & 6 are mixed up! Since you're heading north, you'll reach Lincoln City before Tillamook ;-)

Instead of Cape Blanco (which is pretty, but isolated), how about continuing on for about one more hour and staying at Sunset Bay SP or Bastendorff Beach County Park?

Along the central part - Newport has attractions that may be of interest. The aquarium is pricey but the Marine Science Center is free. Are you planning to stay in Tillamook or Lincoln City? There are campgrounds all through here if you prefer that over a motel. I'm assuming you're tent camping!

I would not suggest Cape Lookout. No need to go out there.

At Klamath, Calif, there is Mystic Forest campground which is very near to Trees of Mystery. Klamath has almost nothing in the way of grocery stores or eateries. The nearest full size grocery store is in Crescent City. Half a day isn't much time to explore the redwoods, though :-(

Salem, Oregon
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4. Re: Family Trip in Mid August

You might want to consider staying in the Grants Pass area on Day 2. Trying to make it to the Caves from Bend with a stop at Crater Lake (& Jr. Ranger program) will make for an incredibly long day with a ton of driving. Travel time from GP to the Caves is much longer than it looks because the road from Cave Junction to the Caves is very narrow and winding--thus slow driving.

A campground to consider is Valley of the Rogue State Park.

Port Angeles, WA
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5. Re: Family Trip in Mid August

There are 3 John Day Fossil Beds. They are all far apart from each other, and they all require a long drive through empty but stunningly beautiful country. It would take a full day to see all three. I am not sure if you were aware of this information; perhaps you knew this and planned on visiting just one or two of the sites. If you visit Clarno, the smallest, you can walk a short, rocky interpretive trail along a hillside where there are actual fossil leaves, leaf impressions, and fossilized tree branches that you can touch. Don't expect animal fossils or shells. This trail is very hot, very dry, and very likely to contain rattlesnakes, so always, always watch where you put your hands. Bring water, and bring hats.

Sheep Rock is the most visitor friendly of the three sites. It has a large, interesting visitor center staffed with rangers, and it features a network of short but beautiful trails that take you into a blue clay canyon. Along the trails you will see replicas of fossils found in the canyon, including a really beautiful sabretooth cat.

The third site, Painted Hills, is volcanic, so it has no fossils. It does have gorgeous hills made up of layers of minerals and volcanic ash, all in an array of colors: olive green, black, ocher, and yellow. Trails run up and down the hills. There is no visitor center, just a set of display boards at the parking lot. There is no running water, but there are outhouses. This site is bare of cover and quite sunny, but it is breezy and much cooler than the other two. This is a good birdwatching spot.

Kennewick...
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6. Re: Family Trip in Mid August

Thank you all for your input! As far as Bend we've done a lot of Bend before so it's merely a place to crash for the night and visit with friends. We've also done John Day Fossil Beds before but the kids just didn't do their Junior Ranger thing there so we are just hitting up the Visitor Center and walking around a bit before heading to Bend. Our budget is very minimal so things like Boat Rides and buggy rides aren't in the schedule.

I decided on Cape Blanco since we are moving pretty rapidly it would be a short day and we can spend more time in the Redwoods before heading that way if we wanted and we can stop along the way and play at the beach.

I did mix up days 5 and 6! Haha. We were planning on staying in Lincoln City in a hotel so we had less to worry about that night/next morning and playing on the beach .

We have 3 nights up in the area of Cannon Beach/Astoria. I could only get 1 night at Ft Stevens and then got 2 nights in Ilwaco. We plan on dropping down and doing things those days we are in the area.

I will look into Grant's Pass area. I was worried about that day going from Crater Lake to Oregon Caves

We can leave a day earlier and maybe we will do that so we have more time to work with and to stretch out the time.

Last year we drove from Tri Cities to Mt. Rushmore and did 2500 miles in 10 days. This is about half the distance in just under the same time frame. I guess we travel differently than most people. :)

Oregon Coast
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7. Re: Family Trip in Mid August

There are lots of free things to see in the redwoods. Many people, especially kids, love the drive thru tree in Klamath. If you have an SUV or larger car, you may not fit, but you can walk through it for $1 each. There are some very nice drives and you would probably enjoy seeing the Big Tree on Newton Drury, and of course the elk near Stone Lagoon which also has a campground right there where the elk gather at the Little Red Schoolhouse :-)

In LIncoln City, you might look at the Sea Gypsy. It's all condos now but the ones I looked at on www.vrbo.com were quite reasonable and it's flat to get to the beach, not up on a bluff. Sailor Jack Oceanfront Inn is very reasonable too, I believe. There are also several inexpensive motels that are not on the ocean.

Astoria - did you also check the KOA in Warrenton? Might look at Sea Ranch and Wright's for Camping in Cannon Beach.

Kennewick...
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8. Re: Family Trip in Mid August

Awesome! I will look into those suggestions. Thank you so much for your input!

Oregon Coast
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9. Re: Family Trip in Mid August

You're welcome :-)

If you have more questions, please feel free to ask!

Edited: 3:34 pm, April 10, 2014
10. Re: Family Trip in Mid August

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