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Outdoorsy family visiting OR Coast to Portland

Outdoorsy family visiting OR Coast to Portland

Old Jun 25th, 2014, 07:24 PM
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Outdoorsy family visiting OR Coast to Portland

Our family (2 parents and 2 kids, ages 11 and 8) need to be in San Francisco for Labor Day weekend, so we're planning a 12 day trip to get us there. We will fly into Portland and road trip down to finish in San Francisco, so we're looking for suggestions. About us:

Good for up to 8 hours in a car in a day, but not every day.
Car camping will be the preferred lodging and hiking will happen.
Must swim every day - we're ambitious swimmers and don't mind cold (have dunked in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Irish Sea), but don't want to die in rough surf.
Love a good day in a city to see museums, history, bookstores, and enjoy good food.

Extra credit if the kids get to dress up in historical costumes somewhere along the way. (I'm thinking Gold Rush or Oregon Trail historic sites?)

Any thoughts on whether adding Mt. St. Helen and/or Crater Lake is too ambitious or if a straight coastal route is more than enough are much appreciated.

Thanks!!
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Old Jun 25th, 2014, 09:14 PM
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The flaw that I see with your plan is a drop off fee on the rental car. The way I would avoid this would be to rent the car in downtown Portland (come from airport on light rail).
Head for the cost via McMinville. Near McMinville, is the Evergreen Aviation Museum which has the Spruce Goose and some other neat flying craft.
I would encourage you to sleep in a yurt in one of the Oregon State Parks along the coast.
When you reach Reedsport take Rt. 38 east. About 5 miles out of town you will see the Dean's Creek viewpoint. You should be able to see some Roosevelt Elk. End the day at Diamond Lake along Rt. 138 not far from Crater Lake.
See Crater Lake the next day and then head for the Newberry Caldera about 20 miles east of US 97 north of LaPine. Make sure to make it to the top of Paulina Peak. It is a dirt road to the top but many people drive up for the spectacular view.
You can swim in East Lake or Paulina Lake. You should also see the High Desert Museum about 5 miles south of Bend.
From Bend take US 97 north to Madras and then US 26 west to the east side of Mt. Hood and then north on Rt. 35 to come down to the Columbia Gorge at Hood River. Hood River is known widely as a great place to do wind surfing on the Columbia River. See the waterfalls on the way back to Portland.
Turn in the car in Portland and take the Amtrak Coast Starlight overnight to Sacramento. Rent another car in Sacramento or take a Capitol Corridor train to Emeryville with an Amtrak bus over to the Ferry Building in SF.
I love the California Railroad Museum in Old Town Sacramento which is within walking distance of the train station.
The thing I don't like about SF is driving around for more than 20 minutes looking for a parking spot. With BART you can easily stay outside the city and ride in to sight see.
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Old Jun 26th, 2014, 05:13 AM
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I'll look into the return fee, but I would hope it's less than four overnight train tickets. We're definitely ditching the car as soon as we reach San Fran, but I'd like to drive the coast, so hopefully the return fee isn't outrageous. Thanks for the tip!
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Old Jun 26th, 2014, 05:44 AM
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Definitely drive the beautiful/rugged Oregon coast if you can - and pay the dropoff fee - unless it's super expensive. And get a good map.

There is a great park by Depoe Bay - just south of Lincoln City - which I think has camp spots. I stayed at the nearby Surfrider Resort at Depot Bay - but the campground is just a half? mile down the road.

And I have camped at Diamond Lake - just moi and my sleeping bag under the stars.

I grew up in nearby Klamath Falls - and would also recommend you visit the incredibly blue Crater Lake - one of the natural wonders of the world.
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Old Jun 26th, 2014, 06:28 AM
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Here's the info on cabins and yurts in Oregon State parks.
http://oregonstateparks.org/index.cf...sp_cabinsyurts
They are much more comfortable than sleeping in the car or trying to set up a tent and taking it down wet.
The fare (coach) from Portland to San Francisco (Fisherman's Wharf) for 2 adults + 2 children 2-12 is $219 (saver) $258 (value) on Sunday arriving on Labor Day.
The Coast Starlight leaves PDX at 2:25PM every day and arrives at Emeryville about 8:10AM (17:45 on the train) The dedicated Amtrak bus gets into the city shortly after 9AM.
At the south end of Diamond Lake you can stay at the Broken Arrow campground which is away from the busy campground near the resort. There is a campground in the eastern part of Crater Lake NP (Pinnacles) that may not be full that late in the season.
If you wanted to ditch the car in Klamath Falls, the Coast Starlight leaves at 10PM.
While going down the Oregon coast, make a stop at the Tillamook cheese factory for some great ice cream and cheese.
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Old Jun 26th, 2014, 12:46 PM
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LOL Tomf. The Broken Arrow campground is where I camped out - under the stars - and met a fishing guide in the Pizza place - and went out the next morning and caught 4 - big, beautiful Rainbow Trout.
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Old Jun 26th, 2014, 02:54 PM
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Cheese AND ice cream in one place!?! Sounds fantastic. And the camping options and train info are excellent. You guys rock!
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Old Jun 26th, 2014, 03:29 PM
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I posted on your other thread -
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Old Jun 26th, 2014, 04:39 PM
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Thanks, sunbum1944. I couldn't figure out how to tag on both states at once!
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Old Jul 1st, 2014, 10:30 AM
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Car rental rates are brutal! Wondering if we can do Sunday noontime til Tuesday morning car-free in Portland (Powell's Books, Grant Park for the Beverly Cleary statues, the market, etc.) and then pick up the car on Tuesday morning to drive the Gorge out towards Mt. Hood and then down to Crater Lake and back to the coast and south to CA. Is Portland transit-friendly enough to put off the car rental?
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Old Jul 1st, 2014, 10:51 AM
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Yes, you do not need a car for Portland itself. It is very walkable, plus there is MAX and the streetcar Enjoy your time here
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Old Jul 1st, 2014, 04:11 PM
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We had a car when we lived in Portland, it only came out when we drove to the Coast .
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Old Jul 1st, 2014, 07:40 PM
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Awesome, thanks!!
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Old Jul 11th, 2014, 12:46 PM
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Definitely don't need the car in Portland. The kids might enjoy a stop at Fort Clatsop outside of Astoria - a recreation of Lewis & Clark's fort, with demonstrations on how to make candles, fire muskets, etc.

They might also enjoy a stop at Battery Russell at Fort Stevens and to see the remains of the Peter Airdale on the beach nearby (just outside of Astoria).

Check the Oregon State Park's website, but I would guess that all of the yurts and cabins are reserved for the summer.
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