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Summer Vacation in Oregon 2010

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Summer Vacation in Oregon 2010

My family (mum, dad, boy of 13 and girl of 10) are planning a trip to Oregon next summer for approximately four weeks. In this time we would hope to be able to cover all areas of the state as well as perhaps venturing into Washington and Idaho.

Cost is the major issue for us (as with most people). Basically, unless we can keep costs down we can't consider going. Clearly, there is not a lot we can do about the flights but the idea of camping and cooking ourselves may really cut down the costs. We camp in the UK but camping in the US would be a new experience. As I see it, if we camp just to keep costs down but it becomes a chore (see our worries below) then it is pointless , alternatively, if the following things are not an issue then it could be a great adventure!

Possible issues with camping: (a) too wet, presumably unlikely; (b) too cold, presumably unlikely, but what about in the east at night? (c) too hot; (d) nasty creatures, e.g. spiders, scorpions, mosquitos etc. Any guidance on these points would be really helpful.

Cooking ourselves is one way of really slashing holiday costs; is it easy to find the basics such as milk & bread each morning in the East of Oregon or are most campsites far away from general stores. What sort of facilities would there be at an 'average ' site (preferably not RV sites)? Is there a website or directory anyone could recommend?

We would much prefer not to have to book campsites in advance as this gives us full freedom. Is this OK or are we likely to face full campsites?

If campsites are full is it possible to camp in the wilderness? We would only be considering this on rare occasions.

Not looking to entirely camp. Very likely that will need the odd night in a motel. For this we would look at budget options such as Motel 6. (a) What could we expect to pay a night for this? (b) Do you know of other reasonable budget chains or should we try independent motels? (c) Would we have to book these in advance or can we just turn up? (d) How easy is it to find hotels in the East of Oregon?

Sorry to bombard you with questions but this will be a very special trip for us and as you can tell we intend to do a lot of research first!

Oregon Coast
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for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
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11. Re: Summer Vacation in Oregon 2010

Just a few random thoughts here.

Camping on the coast will require booking ahead in summer. State Parks are very busy. There are some private camping parks where you don't have to book months ahead. Some counties also have nice campgrounds. In August, you will be fairly safe not to get rained on. Campgrounds here do not have central cooking facilities.

Camping costs on the average will be about $20 - $25 per night, possibly a bit less.

Many small towns have older, less expensive motels, where you can get a basic room for a cost of around $50 -$75 in the summer. Motel 6's are pretty reliable, very basic, and are about that price.

Temperatures in eastern Oregon in the summer are *hot*. Expect approximately 95º F during the day. Nights are cooler, but nothing you'll call chilly, I'd guess. Coastal temps are much cooler.

Oregon has some nasty little critters, but not very many. Most are in the eastern half, such as rattlers. Not sure there are any scorpions nor black widows in Oregon, as a rule. (None on the coast for sure, unless they got imported from somewhere else!) But cardinal rule is to never put your hands or feet anywhere you cannot see - including when putting on your shoes. Tap them out first.

Mosquitos, yes. Lots in swampy areas. Also what we call "no-see-ums" . . . isn't that a quaint term? You call them midges ;-)

Eating here is *far* cheaper than in the UK! Plus most grocery stores have small delis where you can buy sandwich ingredients or quick takeaway foods at very reasonable costs. There are lots of fast food places with very inexpensive prices - a small hamburger for $1 is pretty common.

Portland, Oregon
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12. Re: Summer Vacation in Oregon 2010

Couple more random thoughts....

It's nice that you're wanting to get off the beaten path, but there are reasons why parts of Oregon are relatively uninhabited and have few visitors/tourists. Most areas recommending vehicles with high clearance would be in that category, I think. So, I echo Chinookgrrl's question; what is it you're expecting to see in SE Oregon? The Steen Mountains are nice, I've heard, but even though I've lived in Oregon for most of my life, I've never been in the SE corner of the state other than to drive through. And, it's not as if you couldn't otherwise fill your four weeks. So, my suggestion would be to draw a line generally from the SW corner to the NE, and leave most everything south of the line out.

That wildlife you're hoping to see? Raccoons are easy, if you don't mind seeing them as road kill. I'd bet most of us consider them a nuisance. I've seen bald eagles in central Oregon, around Bend, where you'd also want to visit the High Desert Museum, which I'd think would be the only place you'd want to encounter a rattlesnake.

Maybe you've already found this site, but a few state parks have cabins and yurts. Not as nice as a Motel 6, but at least you're not pitching the tent. http://www.oregon.gov/OPRD/PARKS/deluxe.shtml

Baker City
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13. Re: Summer Vacation in Oregon 2010

Since this is a 4 week vacation, I highly recommend that you travel the extra miles across Idaho and visit Yellowstone National Park. You will see bears, buffalo, coyotes, etc., etc, etc, and some of the most amazing natural phenomena.

Yellowstone is Mother Nature's theme park. It is fantastic. It should be seen by all.


Destination Expert
for Portland, Sunriver
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14. Re: Summer Vacation in Oregon 2010

kusko--Very good suggestion. I have only been there in the winter a couple of times, but it was amazing!

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15. Re: Summer Vacation in Oregon 2010

I'd like to echo the suggestion to include Yellowstone in your visit. As you wish to see Idaho, Yellowstone isn't that much further and you would certainly have the potential to experience lots of different species of wildlife not to mention the impressive natural beauty.

As for your camping needs- you might consider purchasing items from a second-hand vendor like "Play it Again Sports", if you are comfortable with that, and then you can sell the equipment back to them at the end of your visit. If you prefer to purchase new items, then a discounter like Wal-Mart, K-Mart, or Target will probably have what you need. You could still sell back to a second-hand vendor to recoup some of your cost.

Its refreshing to have someone making inquiries about Eastern Oregon for a change- please remember to post a trip report so we can hear how it goes for you.

Green Valley...
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for Yellowstone National Park, Seattle
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16. Re: Summer Vacation in Oregon 2010

Humpback whales? Perhaps you meant Gray Whales?

You might wish to plot a draft itinerary/route and "call back". If you fly into Portland, OR, you could drive south along the coast (easier/safer to pull over at viewpoints), head inland by Crater Lake, see the Bend area (well worth it), continue east to locations you might have identified, perhaps visit Yellowstone (give yourselves at the very least two full days, it's huge and wonderful), then back to, say, WA state, see Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, and so forth.

Here are some resources for you, overload, perhaps, but should help plot your route.


This National Park website contains a lot of very good information. http://www.nps.gov/yell/

Official Lodging and Tour vendor for Yellowstone National Park (Call them frequently, cancellations occur.)


For wildlife viewing and photography:


Packing for your trip:


WA State -

Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument http://www.fs.fed.us/gpnf/mshnvm/

Mount Rainier National Park http://www.nps.gov/mora/

Oregon State -

Oregon Byways and Regions



Oregon, Central/Bend Area


Oregon Coast


Newport, OR



Yachats/Cape Perpetua fs.fed.us/r6/…


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17. Re: Summer Vacation in Oregon 2010

Thanks so much for your advice and ideas - through you we are gathering loads of information that will be so useful when planning our holiday in detail.

As far as SE Oregon goes we have picked out Steens Mountain, Hole in the Ground, Crack in the Ground, Picture Rock, Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge, Diamond Craters, Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Alvord Desert Loop Road... Obviously we have no wish to put ourselves in danger but hearing words like remote and unpopulated makes us even more keen to go there!

Yellowstone is somewhere we have always wanted to go but didn't think it would be achievable on this trip - now you guys have have put the idea into our heads we will be looking into it!

There seen to be quite a few official campsites which are first come-first served. Do you think it would be feasible to utilise these and not make any reservations? We really don't know how long we will stay in each area and would much prefer to decide this as we go along and not have to stick to a schedule.

18. Re: Summer Vacation in Oregon 2010

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